Are you planning to visit New York City solo with only a couple of days to spare? Don’t worry. As a New Yorker, I know how overwhelming it can be to have a well-rounded experience in this vibrant town when you have limited time. Below is the third installment of my new blog series, “48 Hours in New York City Solo” which offers my suggestions for enjoying The Big Apple from the historic to the trendy. Don’t be shy about checking out these fabulous sites on your own because New Yorkers are much friendlier and kinder than the rumor mill would have you believe. Take it from this local!
Day 1 – 48 Hours in New York City Solo
What: Grand Central Market is the perfect place to begin your two-day solo adventure in New York City because it’s located inside one of the most beautiful and historic buildings in the U.S. The market opens at 7 am on weekdays and at 10 am on weekends so soak up the pulse of
The Big Apple as masses of locals and visitors pass through. There are many gourmet food stalls to peruse. Grab some coffee at Oren’s, pastries and stop by Murray’s Cheese.
Where: Grand Central Station – 42nd St./Lexington Ave. between the Graybar Building and the 4/5/6 subway lines.
What: Coney Island is the birthplace of the rollercoaster and the hot dog. It is New York City’s only amusement park and it’s only 30-40 minutes from Midtown Manhattan. The boardwalk, arcade and certain restaurants are open year-round. Of course, the warmer months are best for having the true beach experience at this historic, Brooklyn site when the all of the rides, such as the wooden Cyclone roller coaster and Wonder Wheel are open. Try a hot dog at Nathan’s or pizza at Totonno’s and Grimaldi’s. All three spots are New York institutions. In addition to Coney Island’s boardwalk, beach, and amusement park rides, the aquarium is a big draw.
Fun Fact: I filed the U.S. trademark application for the WONDER WHEEL ride back in the early ’90s!
Where: Coney Island, Brooklyn. Take the D, F, N, Q trains to Stillwell Ave.
What: Charlie Bird is a contemporary, bi-level, Italian-inspired restaurant in the heart of Greenwich Village. The cuisine is local and organic and the vibes are very cool and very NYC. In the warmer months, enjoy the rooftop bar.
Where: 5 King St. Take the A, B, C, D, E, F, M trains to West 4th. St.
What: Blue Note Jazz Club is a great place to enjoy a night out in New York City solo because it’s an intimate club which encourages mingling and conversation. When you’ve finished with dinner at Charlie Bird walk a few blocks over. Blue Note has been in business since 1981 and has hosted many famous artists like David Sanborn, Chick Corea, Chris Botti, Patti Austin and many more. I sat at a communal table one night with Ashford and Simpson!
Where: 131 W. 3rd St. – Take the A, B, C, D, E, F, M trains to West 4th St.
Check out my post about How to Overcome Your Fear of Dining Out Alone.
Day 2 – 48 Hours in New York City Solo
What: Bryant Park Cafe and the more formal Bryant Park Grill are both wonderful places to grab an early lunch in midtown Manhattan. They are located behind the historic New York Public Library. In the warmer months, sit outside in the cafe or on the rooftop deck of the grill overlooking the action in Bryant Park. There is often lunchtime music on the grass by local bands, as well as fantastic people-watching. I worked around the corner at a law firm for four years when the park was being converted from a drug-infested mess to the beautiful Parisian-style garden it is today.
Where: Bryant Park is between 5th and 6th Avenues from 40th – 42nd Sts. Take the 7, B, D, F, M trains to 42nd St. 5th Ave./Bryant Park
What: Radio City Music Hall tours are available to educate you about this legendary venue which has entertained residents and visitors alike for decades. There are a couple of tour options which take you behind the scenes to the Roxy apartment, the rehearsal rooms, the grand foyer and a meet and greet with a Rockette! As a New Yorker, I find this tour to be as interesting and fun as the many shows I’ve seen here over the years. It truly is one of the enduring pieces of New York history.
Where: Radio City Music Hall box office on 6th Avenue between 50th and 51st Sts. Take the B, D, F and M trains to the 47-50 Streets – Rockefeller Plaza subway stop.
What: One If By Land, Two If By Sea has been voted “New York’s Most Romantic Restaurant.” I think it is definitely high on the list. It has stunning rooms, a grand piano, candlelight, elegant chandeliers and lovely garden. The history of the building which houses One If By Land, Two If By Sea dates back to the Revolutionary War. It was once a carriage house for Aaron Burr who fought that famously deadly duel with Alexander Hamilton! Don’t let the fact that this place is so romantic stop you from enjoying a solo dinner here. You must learn to romance yourself and stepping back in time at this historic building is something you won’t forget anytime soon. Try to get an early reservation, so you have time for my final suggestion on your two-day tour of NYC.
Where: 17 Barrow St. – Take the 1, 2 trains to Christopher St.
What: A Hornblower “Rock the Yacht” Cruise is something you should definitely check out if you are in New York City solo on a Friday or Saturday night. The cruise boards at 8:30 pm and sails from 9 pm – 11 pm. A DJ will be spinning fun music as you sip cocktails, mingle and ogle the fantastic views around Manhattan island from the East River and New York Harbor. Snap your pictures of the Statute of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Freedom Tower while you’re at it!
Where: Pier 15, East River Esplanade at South Street Seaport – Take the A, C, 2, 3, J, Z, 4, 5 trains to Fulton St.
I hope I’ve encouraged you to get out and enjoy these incredible sights in New York City solo. Time waits for no one and neither should you!