Got a picture of Times Square or the Empire State Building on your vision board for your 2022 travel plans? You’re not alone.
As Singaporeans continue their revenge travelling spree, New York has emerged as one of the several places in the world that is seeing plenty of interest. How do we know? Because this writer has just arrived home from the city that never sleeps, and we bumped into a lot of Singaporeans along the way.
Still, New York has a lot to offer travellers of all ages and agendas. And for first timers, the city can be somewhat intimidating. With that being said, we’ve done the homework and pounded the Manhattan pavements for you, so you can make full use of your time there to get the best experience – whether you’re looking to fall in love with fashion à la Sex and the City or seeking out the best nosh to have at midnight.
Are you ready to embark on your 72 hour-long Manhattan adventure?
P.S Pandemic travel still requires extra planning, paperwork and patience — be sure to use this handy travel tool that allows you to check on the right requirements for entry.
9:00am: Let’s start the day off bright and early at a classic New York establishment: Sadelle’s, which is in in SoHo. Be sure to order Sadelle’s Tower (US$125), which comes with a selection including spreadable whitefish, house salmon, chicken, and cucumbers. Spoon these onto the free flow of hot bagels (toasted, which is something else unique to Sadelle’s that most other bagel shops don’t usually do).
10:00am: Now that you’re done with nosh and you happen to be in SoHo, take a post-brekkie stroll around the area and find some fabulous fashion! SoHo is known for being the buzzier shopping cousin to the 5th Avenue row of stores, and there are some equally fab places to find in the area.
For starters, What Goes Around Comes Around stocks some of the best luxury vintage pieces – hello, John Galliano Spring/Summer 1997! Reformation is another must-visit spot to find earth-conscious pieces that are loved by fashion’s It girls. Lastly, one cannot miss out on Fueguia, which is a fragrance brand that explores native vegetal and floral ingredients in their blends all housed in Fueguia’s sultry interiors.
How to get there:
Sadelle’s is at 463 West Broadway, New York, NY 10012
What Goes Around Comes Around is at Between Broome and Grand, 351 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013
Reformation is at 23 Howard St., New York, NY 10013
Fueguia is at 21 Crosby St, New York, NY 10013
1:00pm: Now that you’ve worked up a suitable appetite, make steps to Rezdôra in Midtown. Yummy hits include Piselli ‘Cacio e Pepe’ (US$9), which is a pea-based dish done in the style of cacio e pepe with cheese and black pepper, as well as the Cow Grazing in Emilia Romagna (US$31) that gives you a juicy piece of sirloin steak with a trio of Northern Italian sauces. End off with a seductive helping of Tiramisu (US$16) and you’re all set for the second half of your day.
2:30pm: One of the must-do things in New York is to visit an observation deck, and our pick goes to Summit One Vanderbilt. Located next to Grand Central Station and just a few steps away from the iconic Chrysler Building, the Summit One Vanderbilt is one of the newer additions to New York’s skyline.
Walk through the deck’s immersive and interactive rooms that include playing with silver balloons and having clouds formed in your likeness, all while you enjoy the million-dollar views of Manhattan.
4:30pm: And we’re back to shopping! You’re in New York, after all, so you are either eating, sightseeing, or shopping.
Now that you’re in Midtown, take a leisurely stroll down towards 5th Avenue, where fabled shopping destinations await. Pay a visit to Bergdorf Goodman and get lost in the cosy confines of this historic department store, or cross the street to the flagship boutique of Tiffany & Co., which houses the brand’s full jewellery and high jewellery ranges across seven floors. Hepburn dress and croissant not included.
Nike’s 5th Avenue flagship store is also a must-go for a truly immersive shopping experience. Walk into the massive store space and be greeted by an exhibition that traces the brand’s history and key designs over the years. The second and third floors house Nike’s men’s and women’s collections – plus points for inclusive mannequins! – and the fourth floor is heaven on 5th Ave for shoe aficionados.
One of the quintessential experiences in New York is to have a hot dog from a vendor, and we found our favourite one up the street, on the corner across from H&M. Be sure to ask for dressing and onions – you won’t regret it.
How to get there:
Rezdora is at 27 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003
Summit One Vanderbilt is at 45 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
Bergdorf Goodman is at 754 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Tiffany & Co. Flagship Boutique is at 6 E 57th Street, New York, NY 10022
Nike Flagship Boutique is at 156 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010
7.30pm: As the sun sets on the city, make your dinner plans at Llama San. Serving up Peruvian Japanese fare, get a table in the cosy backroom of the restaurant facing the open kitchen to enjoy all the culinary theatrics.
Complemented with the friendliest staff who take time to explain each item on the menu, the food is no-frills and delicious. Stars of the menu include the Fluke Ceviche (price upon application), which serves as a great meal opener, thanks to its perfectly balanced palette of creaminess, acidity, and brininess.
The Octopus Crab Rice (US$32), which sees perfectly-cooked octopus legs and chunks of Alaskan king crab meat set atop a bed of umami rice and spicy sauce is another must-try, and food ‘Grammers will want to order the Iberico Pork and Udon Verde (US$36) – think pesto-style udon with a generous cut of juicy pork. To end off on a sweet note, the Satsuma Orange (US$10) promises to cut through the richness of the meal.
9.30pm: Jazz clubs are all over the city and finding a good one can make all the difference to your night. Our pick goes to Birdland Jazz, which has been playing tunes since 1949. A short subway ride uptown from Llama San, Birdland Jazz offers live performances as you enjoy your favourite cocktails. Clink, sip, and unwind.
How to get there:
Llama San is at 359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10014
Birdland Jazz is at 315 W 44th St #5402, New York, NY 10036
9:00am: Day 2 kicks off on a sweet note with a trip to Magnolia Bakery in the West Village, where you can pick up a selection of baked goods for a sugary breakfast treat. We recommend the bakery’s classic Red Velvet Cake (US$24.90 for half dozen) – one of the bakery’s oldest and best-selling flavours.
While you’re in the West Village, stroll around and visit the iconic apartment building of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, and the apartment featured in Friends.
11:00am: Once you’ve gotten your fill of delicious cakes and cookies, the next thing you should do is head towards The High Line.
Once a railway track that skirted along the edge of the city, it has since been given a second life as the city’s only elevated public park. Take a slow, leisurely walk along the park to admire some gorgeous mid-air scenery or stop amidst the plots of flowering bushes for a quick ‘gram snap!
How to get there:
Magnolia Bakery is at West 11th Street, 401 Bleecker St, New York, 10014
The High Line is at New York, NY 10011
12.30pm: Now that you’ve worked up an appetite from all that walking, it’s time for a yummy lunch! Use the park to connect you to Chelsea Market, and make a beeline for Los Tacos No.1. Known as one of the city’s most popular taquerias, select from beef, pork, chicken, or cactus fillings. Tacos (from US$4.65 per taco) are available in plain flour or corn flour versions, and pro tip: always pick the corn version. Wash everything down with a refreshing glass of iced hibiscus tea.
2:00pm: After a satisfying lunch, burn off all those calories at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lines for the tickets tend to run long, so it’s best to pre-book your entrance tickets before you drop in.
The museum houses an impressive collection of historical art ranging from ancient Egyptian sarcophagi to towering walls showcasing Asian art.
This year’s fashion exhibition “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” and last year’s exhibition “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” are also on display until September 5th, so catch them before they are taken down.
The museum is located in the middle of the iconic Central Park, so take a post-museum stroll and enjoy a bit of fresh air.
How to get there:
Chelsea Market is at 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 1001
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is at 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
6:30pm: It’s easy to lose track of time as you explore the endless nooks and crannies of the museum, but we’re on a schedule here! Before the next event, make sure you grab an earlier-than-usual dinner.
Head over to the corner of 6th Avenue and W 53rd St for yet another star street food haunt. And thanks to the aroma wafting in the air, you won’t miss the cart that’s marked with The Halal Guys’ signboard. We got ourselves a Beef Gyro Sandwich (price upon application), where the juiciest bits of beef intermix with crunchy veggies for an explosively yummy meal.
8.30pm: No New York experience is complete without watching a show on Broadway, and thankfully, there are some great musicals and plays showing at press time! The Lion King is a family-favourite pick that will entertain young and old (tip: book seats in the orchestra, near the aisle for a sweet surprise!), and The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman has also received rave reviews.
For those looking for a more auteur experience (and to ogle at Daniel Craig), Macbeth is also running until July.
11:00pm: Now that you’ve got the song and dance set into your heart, it’s time to let it out with a little night out on the town. But before we get you checked into the club, how about a late-night bite at Milk Bar in the East Village.
Their signature is the Crack Pie (US$6 per slice), which you would’ve seen on the desserts season of Chef’s Table. Indulgent? You bet.
12:00am: Finally, head over to House of X on Chrystie St, where the weird and the wonderful come together for a next-level partying experience. Without spoiling the surprise for you, step into a wonderland of conceptual art, sick beats, and unique performers that all come together to push your expectations of what it means to throw a party in 2022.
How to get there:
The Halal Guys is at 307 E 14 St. New York, NY 10003
Broadway theaters are situated between 41st Street and 54th Street and between Sixth Avenue and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan, with the exception of the Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre on 65th Street, all
Milk Bar is at 251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003
House of X is at Public Hotel, 215 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002
10:00am: You know what’s a good remedy for a hangover? Gelato. Okay, we may have made that up, but we’re still firm believers that you should make a trip down to Little Italy and visit Ferrara Bakery.
Touted as one of New York’s most famous bakeries, be greeted by an endless glass display of delectable looking pastries. From fruit tarts and decadent cannoli rolls to a huge selection of gelato flavours, you’ll satisfy every sweet tooth in your system.
11:30am: One cannot come to New York, without paying a short trip to Liberty Island. Pre-book your ferry tickets from Statue Citycruises, which takes you from Battery Park in Manhattan to Liberty Island.
If you’re planning to get Pedestal Reserve tickets, then be sure to wear comfy shoes, because there’s a long hike up very many stairs. The island also offers a fantastic view of the Manhattan skyline from the waterfront.
On the ferry trip back to Manhattan, you also have the option to stop by Ellis Island Museum, where you can learn more about the history of early immigrants arriving in America.
How to get there:
Ferrara Bakery is at 195 Grand St, New York, NY 10013, United States
Liberty Island is at Upper New York Bay
Ellis Island Museum is at Ellis Island Bridge, Jersey City, NJ 10280
2:00pm: By now, all that patriotism has probably gotten your appetite worked up. For this, we’re bringing you to Ivan Ramen for some nosh. Before you go “why would we eat ramen in New York”, hear us out: the Tokyo Shio (US$17) bowl of ramen is a seriously satisfying slurp that packs plenty of umami punch. We also recommend the Tofu Coney Island (US$12) and the Crispy Eggplant (US$13) if you’re extra peckish.
3:00pm: While you’re in the area, work off that post-lunch slump with a walk around some of the cool boutiques that pepper the East Village. Frankie Store offers Insta-worthy threads that have all the cool girls of the city lining up for, whilst Coming Soon is a great place to pick up some souvenirs and homeware to remember your trip by. The East Village also has some great vintage shops worth exploring.
How to get there:
Ivan Ramen is at 25 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002
Frankie Store is at 100 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002
Coming Soon is at 53 Canal St, New York, NY 10002
8:00pm: A 15-minute walk from the East Village takes you to the Strand Book Store. As the last surviving bookstore of Book Row – a city district that houses dozens of bookstores in its heyday of the 1890s to the 1960s – Strand Book Store is a utopia for the literary fiend. Find rare books, signed copies and second-hand books to tickle your bookwormish pleasures.
8.30pm: For a final meal, make a reservation at Charlie Bird for a modern take on American fare. The Razor Clams (US$22) are a great start to the meal, with its bright citrussy flavours intermixing with the brininess of the clams. The Tuscan Fried Chicken (US$21) and Roasted Branzino (US$48) are also hit dishes, so make sure you keep room for them.
11:00pm: A last tipple in New York means you must hit up Katana Kitten. Classic cocktails are given a Japanese twist. See the Hinoki Martini (US$18) that adds a woody finish to the classic martini, and the Calpico Swizzle (US$17) that marries gin, sake, calpico, lime and sansho peppers together.
12:00am: Just before we wrap up your New York experience, complete it with the quintessential post-drink activity: a late-night pizza to soak up all the booze. For that, visit Two Boots in the West Village. The order you should try? A slice of Meet the Mets (price upon application), which sees a refreshed take on the classic pepperoni pizza.
Now you’re ready to head home.
How to get there:
Strand Book Store is at 828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Charlie Bird is at 5 King St, New York, NY 10012
Katana Kitten is at 531 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014
Two Boots is at 101 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014
Tipping: Tipping is a big part of the culture in America, and at press time, the recommended minimum tip for dining spots is 18% of the total bill. In some dining establishments, tips are pre-calculated into your final bill, so do ensure you read through the itemised receipt before deciding if you want to tip, as you might risk double-tipping on the same bill.
Tipping your ride hail driver isn’t always necessary, though it’s recommended if they offered you good service.
Using the subway: One of the most convenient ways to get around the city (besides walking) is to use the subway. Start familiarising yourself with the Uptown and Downtown directions. For iPhone users, we also recommend setting up Apple Pay prior to your trip so that you can use Apple Pay to pay for your subway rides. This eliminates the need to buy fare cards, which you risk losing should it slip out of your pocket. The MTA also requires all riders to wear a face mask.
Useful apps to have: Most of our apps here work in New York, but make sure you have Lyft and Uber downloaded for easier transport options. Resy is also a good app to have to help you make reservations for dinner.
Areas to stay: We recommend staying in Midtown, West Village, Hell’s Kitchen, or the Upper East/ West sides. These areas offer the best access to major tourist attractions, and there are plenty of accommodation and food options around.
Going to and from the airport: You can choose to take public transport from the airport into Manhattan, thanks to its well-connected train system. However, if you’re like me and you don’t know what packing lightly means, then you might want to consider taking an Uber. A ride from John F Kennedy Airport to our hotel in Lower West Side set us back about US$90. It’s pricey, but it solves the hassle of travelling with heavy luggage.
For the return trip back to the airport, it is recommended that you reach 3 hours before your departure, so you have ample time to check in for your flight and clear customs. Check with your hotel concierge on how long it would take to get to the airport from your lodging, and if there are potential traffic jams to expect when planning your departure.
Plan ahead where possible: Lastly, whenever you get the option, pre-booking your tickets to attractions are recommended, especially during peak tourist seasons in the upcoming summer months. The same goes for restaurants – make a reservation early to avoid the disappointment of being turned away or having to wait for a table.
Covid-19 testing: If you feel an onset of symptoms, there are plenty of mobile Covid-19 test sites dotting around the city! Refer to this link to find one closest to you.
Wearing masks: At press time, New York doesn’t have a stringent mask policy, so expect to see plenty of places where people are walking around without their masks. That being said, in our two weeks spent in the city, we never attracted disapproving glances from passers-by when we wore our masks out in public. Some establishments – such as theatres on Broadway and The Met Museum – will require you to wear a mask throughout your visit, so make sure to read up on their policies.