Tuesday's Travel Tips – New York City

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Ah, the Big Apple! The big kahuna! Our hometown!

One great thing about New York City is that although it can be an expensive town, there are endless activities that you can participate in that cost little to nothing. For instance, rather than pay for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island tour, you can opt to take the Staten Island ferry for free and enjoy a twenty minute ride with beautiful views of the Statue and Ellis Island and of downtown Manhattan. Rather than pay for a ticket to the top of the Empire State Building, you can take the elevator up to a high floor and see if someone is nice enough to let you look out their office window or visit a friend and go to their rooftop for equally stunning views of the city. There are tons of cheap eats and people watching on a bench is endlessly fascinating and free of charge (though priceless, really, when it comes down to all that you’ll see).

See below for some tips from our eager New York Crewmembers about some local-expert-driven hot spots to check out around town.

Airport Business Planning Crewmember Nathan suggests you fly into LaGuardia Airport because it is easier to access Manhattan than other New York City-area airports (though our terminal at JFK, T5, just happens to offer an extraordinarily lovely airport experience).

One lesser-known fact about New York, says Technical Operations Crewmember Bryan is that there are bricks on the upper level of a building that don’t match the rest of the brickwork at 126 Sterling Place in Park Slope, Brooklyn. While it may seem trivial to many and probably goes unnoticed by most, it is actually evidence of a famous mid-air collision between two commercial jets back in 1960. Most striking about the incident was that all 128 passengers and crew on board both flights were killed, except for one 10-year old boy. Though he died the next day, he was awake for long enough to give interviews with the local papers. There is still a tribute to those victims at the nearby New York Methodist Hospital’s Phillips Chapel.

For instant public transportation and/or walking directions BlueWatch Security Manager Dennis suggests you use hopstop.com. It can also estimate taxi fares and they have an iPhone application. Dennis also suggests you venture into Queens to Ben’s Deli, for hands down, he says, the best pastrami and corned beef sandwich in the five boroughs. It’s just off the 63rd Drive stop on the R or M trains.

Specialist Materials John disagrees with Dennis about the best place to dig into a pastrami sandwich and points out that Katz’s Deli on the Lower East Side has the best pastrami sandwich. He also points out that one sandwich could easily be split between two people. John also recommends Croxley’s Ale House in the East Village for the best wings, The Meatball Shop for the best, well, meatballs, and Crif Dogs, the place to go for true hot dog fans (known for their deep fried bacon wrapped hotdogs).

Manager of Fuel Henry suggests you visit Club freeTime for free events and low-cost things to do around town. For even more tips on the ground, Time Out New York is a weekly where-to guide that will give you the low-down on every event that is happening from music to new eats, but they usually list things that are reasonably-priced. The free version of Time Out is L Magazine, a digest-sized mag that you can find in stands on the street around the city.

Consumer Promotions/Corporate Social Responsibility Crewmember Ben says for authentic, cheap, amazing Caribbean soul food Freda’s is a must!  It’s on 109 and Columbus in the Upper West Side.  You feel like you are in somebody’s kitchen and the food is just to die for.  Ben recommends you try the jerk chicken and candied yams.

As a local artist and musician on the Lower East Side, Ground Operations Crewmember Nadeem tailored a short list full of the variety New York City is known for which includes P.S. 1 contemporary art museum in Long Island City, Bleeker Street Bar, where you can get a “personal pitcher” of beer for $6.50, Tulcingo Del Valle Restaurant & Deli, where the staffers are “mole artists”, and Café Grumpy, a husband-and-wife-owned shop where the baristas have an “utter dedication to the almighty bean.”

Manager Loyalty & Partnership Marketing Nikki thinks you should check out the outdoor roller disco in Central Park on weekend afternoons. New York City’s eclectic mix of roller skaters and in-line skaters boogie to the beat, whilst a resident live DJ plays funky tunes. The moves are fantastic, the vibe always happy and relaxed, and whether you’re a 70s roller disco queen or king, or just trying it out for the first time, you can join in, or simply enjoy watching from the sidelines. I always take visitors to check it out, as it really represents the ‘anything goes’ spirit of New York. See video below.

Analyst Learning Systems Mary highly recommends the Clinton Street Baking Company for the best blueberry pancakes and maple butter syrup ever. It beat out Iron Chef Bobby Flay in Throwdown and always has lines down the street every morning (more than an hour wait). No reservations.

Also, for some authentic Szechuan Chinese food, Wu Liang Ye by Rockefeller Center is awesome. Try their razor clams and spicy tangerine prawns. Also by Rockefeller Center, pick up some wagashi (Japanese pastries) from Minamoto Kitchoan and some Jasmine truffles from Teuscher.

Lead Specialist Materials Leonard says that The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park is a good place to visit. Fort Tryon Park hosts a Renaissance Festival either the last Sunday in September or the first Sunday in October, which is always a fun time. The park is also located at the very north tip of Manhattan and boasts unmatched views of the Hudson River and hiking trails that leave you feeling like you’re no longer in the city. Another place to visit for a refreshing treat is the Lemon Ice King of Corona located on 108th St in Corona, Queens.

Coordinator Audit and Process Effectiveness Christina says for the best chocolate chip cookies EVER, trek to Manhattan’s Upper West Side and indulge in a cookie from LeVain Bakery on the corner of West 74th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. And when she says the best, ask Bobby Flay. He lost to the owners in a chocolate chip cookie throw-down on his show.

Christina also points out that the ethnic cuisine in Queens is unparalleled and is only a quick bus/subway stop from both LGA and JFK. Within 15-20 minutes of both airports you can get to Woodside, which boasts Jollibee, the Filipino version of McDonald’s, Donovan’s Pub on Roosevelt Avenue, known for the best burger in town, and SriPraPhai, consistently rated the best Thai restaurant in New York City.

Do you have any great New York City travel tips to add? Leave your comments below!