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Visiting New York is never the same; it makes me feel good and full of energy, and even after the 39th stay in town, I haven’t had enough of it. Actually, every time the idea of moving there grows stronger… this city never sleeps and makes me feel alive.

I have never written about New York, mainly because 37 on 39 visits have been on business trips and then because there are plenty of guides on the Big Apple, more or less complete and more or less useful and stimulating and then I’ve always felt that discovering it without reading any of them can be really exciting.

In this post, I won’t suggest to you what to visit because the options are almost unlimited. If you really want to boost good advice about routes in town, you should follow the dedicated section on my friend Simona Sacri’s blog. She’s the USA Italian specialist!

What I’m going to give you here is some practical info and tips for you to arrange your trip, whatever you want to experience in amazing New York.

Getting to New York

The main New York airport is JFK, located in Queens, the arrival hub of almost all international flights, including Emirates, so if you can fly with them! The value is unbeatable, and the comfort aboard incredible.

Once past the security controls upon arrival (fingerprints of all fingers of both hands, ID photo, stamp in the passport and baggage claim), you have to head to the second floor to take the convenient AirTrain to Jamaica Station for metro lines E, J and Z or up to Howard Beach Station to the line A. You will pay $ 5 for the Air Train + $ 2.75 for the city ticket, charged on the MetroCard I will tell you about later.

Other options to get downtown from JFK are the Airporter shuttle leaving every half hour between 5:00 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. from any terminal and connecting them to Penn Station and Grand Central Station in about an hour ($ 16). Having to reach Penn Station, you can also take the LIRR, the Long Island Rail Road, to Jamaica Station that connects the two hubs for $ 10 and in just 20 minutes.

Be careful because if you opt for a flight with United Airlines, you will land in Newark, New Jersey. From there, you can take the NJ Transit train to Penn Station ($ 12.50 in a half-hour) or the Newark Airport Express bus to Grand Central Station and Bryant Park ($ 16, leaving every half hour from the various terminals and taking about 45 minutes to downtown).

 Of course, you could always take a taxi, but in addition to being subject to traffic conditions, the cost is much higher: it starts from a base of about $ 50 plus the tolls charges and the tip.

Visiting New York? Here's a 5 points short guide

What to do before flying there

It seems trivial, but you have to start by checking your passport: check it’s an electronic one if released after October 2006, or machine-readable if issued or renewed before October 2005 and with a digital photograph. Also, be sure it doesn’t expire within six months after you return flight.
If everything is in order from this point of view, in the 72 hours before your departure, enter the ESTA website to fill the form in all its parts and obtain a two-year travel authorization (or until your passport expires).
If you stay longer than 90 days, first of all, “lucky you !!!” :-), and back to practical details: you will need to contact the nearest US Consulate to apply for a proper visa.

If you think you might frequently visit New York or other US cities, you can also opt for the Global Entry program, which, thanks to the many totems upon arrival, will allow you to accelerate the security procedures by jumping the queue at the passport control section.

 Another detail not to be underestimated when we were visiting the United States is good travel insurance. Medical facilities there are really excellent, but very expensive and you should therefore subscribe for medical insurance. Being an Amex user, I purchased it directly on the American Express website.

Getting around

As always, my dispassionate advice is to walk as much as possible, to walk for hours to discover the various districts and their peculiarities.

Public transport

New York City, however, is a megalopolis with five districts: the Queens, charming Bronx, the immense Brooklyn, the beautiful Staten Island, and the most famous island in the world, Manhattan, and even if you limit yourself to the star Manhattan distances are such as not to be able to do without the public transport at least once or twice per day.

Visitare New York? Ecco una guida pratica in 5 punti chiave.

The metro network is widespread, quick, and safe. You only need to pay attention to the trains’ direction once on the platform and express or local, depending on whether they stop anywhere or only in the main stations. Even buses cover the whole town, but depending on the traffic it can be a waste of time. In both cases, the service is managed by the MTA, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and tickets can be purchased at any station by charging the MetroCard ($ 2.75 per ride, $ 31 for a weekly pass, or $ 116.50 for a month). Public transport is operating seven days a week and 24 hours per day. It can be accessed by disabled people of all kinds and offers discounts for the latter and the unemployed, children, and senior citizens over 65.

A must then is a super picturesque ride on the Roosevelt Island Tram, which connects 59th Street to Roosevelt Island, between Manhattan and Queens.

Visitare New York? Ecco una guida pratica in 5 punti chiave.


One of the essential elements of New York City is water, and in addition to being a wonderful experience, taking one or more ferries will be inevitable.

Whether you decide to visit Staten Island or Liberty Island, or Ellis Island or take a ride along the Hudson River, you should consult the NY Waterway website for schedules and fares.

The islands themselves are also reachable by the New York Water Taxi, which offers a more tailored service.

In any case, you’ll see that the view from the water is amazing! 🙂

Visitare New York? Ecco una guida pratica in 5 punti chiave.


Who has never dreamed of hailing a cab as Holly Golightly did? In fact, all you need to do to have one stopping is raising your hand when you see one with lit numbers…

There are plenty of New York taxis running all around the clock, and they are quite charming. The fare always starts from $ 2.50 and increases more or less $ 0.50 per minute. In addition to the cost shown on the screen, you will have to add any toll charges and tip the driver.

All taxis accept credit cards, and the tablet screen in the rear seat allows you to follow the itinerary and fare. If you prefer, you can do some zapping and watch some television programs.


In addition to several organized bike tours, the bike-sharing system provided by Citi Bike is really super well organized, with thousands of bikes available every few blocks.

To use a bike, you need to insert your credit card into the Citi Bike totem, select a rental period ($ 9.95 for 24 hours + $ 101 deposit unlocked when you return the bike), and start pedaling.

I suggest the free app that, besides the Citi Bike Resort Map, also provides excellent advice about routes and city attractions.

Visiting New York

Visiting all the sites and monuments in New York during one single stay is impossible, and the offer is so varied that it is better to select your favorite attractions. I, therefore, recommend the tourist pass “Build your own pass” that allows you to visit what you prefer getting a great discount proportional to the number of selected monuments.

Oh, please, before you leave, check out the Time Out New York website; I’m sure you’ll find one or more shows you can’t help but attend! 😉


In the US you have to tip and New York is no exception.

Tipping applies to tourist accommodation facilities, restaurants, and bars, and as mentioned before, to taxis. Usually, you need to correspond 10-20% of the bill, and in lots of tourist places, you’ll find the tip calculated directly in the bill, under the total.

Visitare New York? Ecco una guida pratica in 5 punti chiave.

No matter in which season you decide to visit New York and what you choose to do, this city will seduce you, and you will surely fill your days with amazing sightseeing and activities, and you’ll leave planning your next stay in town. New York is like that … magic.

Have a nice trip to New York!

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.