About a month ago I took a couple days to embark on a solo trip to New York city for the first time. Although I have always lived in the city of Toronto, I have always wanted to visit Manhattan and explore this concrete jungle. So, in the midst of every university students peak stress season [midterms] I decided to spontaneously book a hostel and a plane ticket to New York city. The night before I embarked on this short journey I a researched what I wanted to see. As it was my first time travelling to New York (and definitely not my last) I decided I would do ‘tourist’ activities. I signed up for a very reasonable bus tour with Big Bus Tours New York for the 2 day pass of downtown and uptown Manhattan. With this pass you simply flash your receipt, hop on the double decker bus with a guide and get off and back on wherever and whenever you please. It was a very cheap and fast way to see everything worth seeing in New York. What was even more exciting was a Ferry ride is included in the price which travels from the Brooklyn bridge to the Statue of Liberty.
I spent the first day on the Downtown tour, on and off the bus spending majority of my time walking and exploring and hopping back on the bus when I wanted to visit a new destination. I visited Time Square, Fifth Avenue, Noho, Soho, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Union Square, NYU Campus, Little Italy, China Town, Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, The World Trade Centre, Lower East Side, and the Rockefeller Centre. I did this all in 5 hours from noon to 5 PM and then I decided to embark on the River Cruise at sunset where I met some photographers/Cardiologists from Egypt. This cruise was the highlight of my trip for sure, it was 15 degrees out and I watched the sun set on the skyline of Manhattan and the siloutte of the Statue of Liberty. After this I decided to take a long walk back to Time Square where I found a great vegan restaurant to enjoy some food at in the centre of Manhattan.
The next day I began my adventure at sunrise, getting up at 6AM and heading straight to the bus to get the most out of my day. My morning stroll to the bus was at the perfect time of rush hour for the working people on New York. I always thought going to school in downtown Toronto meant I already had experienced the crowds of people rushing to work just after sunrise… I was so wrong; New York is 100x crazier, and the towering buildings that loom over the streets are nothing like I’ve ever seen before. I took the first bus from the M & M’s World Shop and began my trip through Up Town Manhattan.
I arrived at the third stop, Lincoln Centre Plaza and decided to get off here and walk around since the next 6 stops were for museums (which I didn’t have time to see). From here I entered Central Park through Strawberry Fields where a busker sat strumming his guitar singing Beatles songs as people crowded around the Imagine memorial. I explored the beautiful park for a couple hours, climbing the huge rocks, and getting lost in the winding trails that snake throughout it. After enjoying a picnic alone in the sun I decided to get back on the bus and tour through Harlem where I visited the the Apollo Theatre. Since it was so nice out I decided that I would walk back from Apollo Theatre, in and out of Central Park all the way back to my hostel which was beside the Empire State. I spent the next 5 hours of my day strolling across Manhattan in the sunshine exploring everything I felt like seeing. One of my favourite things about travelling solo is that you can do whatever you want whenever you want and see anything you desire. Although I was only in New York for a short time, the bus tour and the amazing location of my hostel really allowed me to see all the main destinations in the city. On my next visit I plan on exploring outside of Manhattan and spending more time in ‘non-tourist’ areas. I loved New York more than I thought I would and I can’t wait to go back to the city that never sleeps.
Below is the link to the bus tour I took, I highly recommend it as the price is very reasonable for the benefits you get from it. I also included the name and location of the hostel I stayed at. The hostel was located a couple blocks from the Empire State, it’s quaint and has very small rooms but is clean and the staff are friendly. It is also a really reasonable price if you just want to stay for a few nights.
Up Town Bus Tour: https://www.bigbustours.com/en/new-york/blue-route-new-york/
Downtown Buss Tour:https://www.bigbustours.com/en/new-york/red-route-new-york/
Hostel: New York Budget Inn 200 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016, USA