Bunny’s 5 Days in New York City

Times Square
View from the Edge

Bunny has visited New York more than half a dozen times but she has rarely been in the city as a proper tourist. She has traveled to New York for work, concerts and birthdays but most often she has been there in transit, on her way to some other destination.

Last month, Bunny had the rare occasion to spend 5 full days in New York with a friend - purely as a tourist. She loved every minute of her action-packed break in New York.

Iconic views

Check out below Bunny’s itinerary and travel tips for New York.

Day 1: Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial and Kayaking in the City

On their first morning in New York, Bunny and friend headed straight to the Statue of Liberty. They had bought tickets in advance on the official website which offers three basic ticket types: general admission, pedestal reserve and crown reserve. The last ticket type is the most coveted and regularly sells out months in advance.

Bunny and friend managed to get pedestal access tickets for the first ferry of the day which is the recommended time slot if you are not fond of crowds and queueing… So they woke up early, had breakfast and took the subway to Battery Park. The first ferry for Statue City Cruises left at 9am. It was full but the queue was not too bad and it was nice to arrive at Liberty Island among the first visitors of the day.

New York skyline

Please Note: Statue City Cruises are the only authorized ticket provider for the Statue of Liberty. There are plenty of other cruises that offer views of the Statue of Liberty but don’t actually get you to Liberty Island itself.

Statue of Liberty

When Bunny first visited New York in 2004, access to the Statue of Liberty was closed following 9/11 safety concerns. So this was actually Bunny’s first ever close encounter with Lady Liberty.

And what a lady she was! The Statue of Liberty somehow manages to be quite majestic and enormously graceful at the same time. Bunny was certainly impressed. She was happy to climb the narrow staircase to get access to the pedestal, taking an even closer look of the statue and New York skyline, and naturally snapping about 2000 photos in the process.

Lady Liberty

There is a small museum inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, highlighting the building process and history of the statue. Bunny took heed of the notable progress from the somewhat rough early sketches to the final, beautiful form of the statue. Well done, French people, Bunny says!

Since only visitors with pedestal or crown access tickets can visit the museum in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, a new, modern museum was opened a couple of years ago on the other side of  the Liberty Island for all visitors. This museum was more polished, but also a much more crowded affair for Bunny. The museum hosts a number of interactive exhibits as well as the original torch of the statue which was cool to see.

Statue of Liberty
View of Ellis Island

After admiring Lady Liberty and the surrounding views for a couple of hours, Bunny and friend had developed an appetite. Luckily, Crown Cafe on Liberty Island had affordable fast food options for lunch (burgers, pizza, panini). Having eaten and checked out the gift shop, Bunny and friend were ready to continue onwards by ferry to Ellis Island, which was included in their ticket price.

Ellis island Immigration museum
Immigration museum, Ellis island

Ellis Island hosts the National Immigration Museum. The museum is located in the former immigration complex - a beautiful building that witnessed the arrival of more than 12 million immigrants to the United States during its 62 years of operation (1892-1954). The National Immigration Museum documents this history in beautiful and moving exhibitions that are spread around three floors of the building. Bunny and friend didn’t quite have the time to go through all the exhibits but they were impressed by the scale and organisation of the museum. They also managed to grab some ice cream in the leafy park next to the museum. Ellis Island is definitely worth visiting on your tour of the Statue of Liberty, Bunny says.

Immigration museum

When planning her trip to New York, Bunny had Googled “free things to do in NYC” and had come up with an option she couldn’t resist: free kayaking on the Hudson River. Bunny’s first full day in New York was very hot and sunny, so what could be nicer than cooling down on the river for a bit? For free.

Financial district
911 Memorial

So after Bunny and friend found themselves back in Battery Park, they started their long march towards Pier 26 - the location of the free kayaking provided by the Downtown Boathouse. Their trek took them right across the haunting 9/11 Memorial - a place they had both visited before - then along the Hudson River Park, past a number of nice-looking picnic spots.

North Tower Pool

At Pier 26 they found what they were looking for: happy-looking people bobbing up and down in colourful kayaks on the Hudson River. So they filled in the necessary forms, left their belongings in the adjacent lockers, put on life jackets and stood in line for a little while before both were assigned an individual kayak and off they went.

It was quite an interesting experience to kayak on the Hudson River. It was not exactly a sporty affair, as the kayaking area wasn’t very big, but it was definitely cooling and the view from the kayak was astonishing. It was not Bunny’s usual Sandy Island scenery at home, but a massive, sprawling mega city with skyscrapers dotting the tip of the kayak. Wonderfully weird.

Kayaking at Pier 26
Kayak with a view

The free kayaking was limited to 20 minutes only but no-one was really enforcing the rules. Bunny and friend didn’t want to abuse the great system so they respected the timeline, thanked the organisers and were soon on their way to the next destination, with slightly damp bottoms.

They were, in fact, in search of something to eat and somehow managed to walk from Pier 26 all the way to Washington Square Park in the process. Bunny had reserved time for exploring Soho and Greenwich Village in their sightseeing program later in the week but they managed to squeeze all that in on their first day in New York.

New York park
Pavement art

Washington Square Park was the perfect spot for a little respite and people-watching after a busy day. Bunny and friend sat on the grass and wolfed down their snacks. Bunny had opted for the excellent Mamoun’s Falafel nearby. They accepted cash only, as Bunny learned at the counter with exactly 8 dollars in her pocket. Well, it was just enough to get a Falafel sandwich, with a whopping 50 cents left in her pocket. Bunny managed the rest of her time in New York with this 50 cents by the way. Cash is not really needed in this city as long as your credit card works (more on that later…).

Day 2: Times Square, Shopping and Summit One Vanderbilt

The next morning in Bunny’s program was reserved for Times Square and shopping. So Bunny and friend wandered along the busy streets of the Times Square area in awe and visited a couple of flagship shops, including those of Disney and M&M, but didn’t do much shopping.

Times Square
New York shopping

They had lunch at Urbanspace Vanderbilt, an upmarket food hall, which was an excellent pick (well done, Bunny!), since it had plenty of vegetarian-friendly restaurants to choose from.

Bunny in Bryant Park
Lunch break

Bunny and friend had reserved tickets for the Summit One Vanderbilt for the afternoon. This is one of New York’s newest attractions, a kind of immersive art and skyscraper observation deck experience combined. It was very cool. So cool, in fact, that the queue to enter the building was quite intimidating.

New York skyline

It was clear from the start that Summit One was designed for the Instagram generation, with amazing photo ops and props at every turn, starting from the elevator ride up to the 91st floor. After that, you entered a massive, two-storied glass and mirrored hall with stupendous views, checked out rotating art installations (Clouds by Yayoi Kusama was kind of overshadowed by the surrounding hullabaloo) and wandered through another glass-walled room filled with inflatable silver balloons (who comes up with these ideas?).

Cool experience
Summit One art

Naturally, you also had an opportunity to stand on a cantilevered glass box 1000 feet above street level for some more cool photos. And of course Bunny loved it all!

Skyscraper experience
Bunny on Summit One

Bunny and friend spent a couple of hours at Summit One in total. They were totally entertained. Even the crowds did not feel too bad after the initial shock. And the refreshing cocktails on the outside rooftop terrace with views over Manhattan felt like icing on the cake at the end of their visit.

Mirror hall in Summit One
Summit One Vanderbilt

On their way back to their hotel, Element Times Square West, Bunny and friend grabbed some food to go and spent the rest of the evening on their hotel’s rooftop. Amazingly, they were the only ones enjoying the rooftop area that night so they sipped some Rose (read: drank the whole bottle), ate their food and admired the amazing Manhattan skyline. They were even able to blast their own music as there was no-one else there. Another successful day in New York had concluded.

Iconic NYC
Dinner at the hotel

Day 3: Central Park, Moulin Rouge and Night Bus

City hiking

The next day, Bunny and friend had planned to do a run in Central Park. They were both runners (well, Bunny was 20 years ago) so it felt like the thing to do. After some careful consideration and not-so-subtle hints from Bunny, they decided a hike would be a more appropriate course of action, not least due to swelteringly hot weather.

Central Park
John Lennon Memorial

So they took the subway to the Northern edge of Central Park and spent the rest of the morning walking across the whole park, taking in sights as they went. First, they lingered around Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, then visited the Belvedere Castle, hiked through the Ramble, walked around the Lake, checked out the John Lennon tribute in Strawberry Fields as well as quite a few of the public toilets. They also spent a bit of time observing people rowing (some very unsuccessfully, Bunny has to add) the rental boats around the pretty Bow Bridge area. At Bethesda Fountain they gawked at some newlywed couples while desperately looking for a toilet. Instead of a toilet, they found Balto, the heroic Alaskan sled dog.

View from Central Park
Posing in Central Park

After a few last photos at Gapstown Bridge, which looked like it had been transferred to Central Park directly from the English countryside, they ventured back into the real world and walked straight to 5th Avenue and the Trump Tower. Bunny was surprised to find out that anyone could just walk into the lobby of the building, so naturally they did. There was no sign of the man himself and better that way really.

Fifth Avenue
Bunny in Uniqlo

Their long trek in Central Park had not completely exhausted Bunny and friend yet, so they did manage some shopping while walking further along 5th Avenue. Not in the fancy shops though! Their (well-deserved) lunch stop was another Urbanspace food hall at W52nd. Bunny loved her Plant Junkie vegan bowl and declared herself a fan of Urbanspace food halls for life.

Back at the hotel, Bunny and friend squeezed in a little power nap before venturing downstairs for the hotel’s complementary wine and cheese hour. Not bad, not bad at all.

Moulin Rouge on Broadway
Moulin Rouge theater

That night, Bunny and friend had tickets for Moulin Rouge on Broadway. Bunny had not seen a Broadway play or musical before, so she was quite dazzled by the experience. In fact, Moulin Rouge was breathtaking. The show was particularly stunning visually (all that red! very fit cast!). Bunny also loved the incorporation of contemporary songs, sometimes with clever twists in the lyrics. These songs or snippets of songs were woven into the Moulin Rouge storyline seemingly effortlessly and it all worked together beautifully.

Broadway show

After the show, Bunny and friend fancied something sweet, so they dropped by Krispy Kreme donut store at Times Square. It was the first time Bunny has ever had to queue to enter a donut shop, but they did throw her a free donut from the "conveyor belt” whilst they were waiting so she cannot complain, really.

With tummies full of sugar, Bunny and friend walked around Times Square, just soaking in the chaos, when they suddenly decided to catch a night bus tour. It was being sold for 20 dollars only and the weather was warm and beautiful, so why not? They spent the next hour (starting at midnight!) zipping around Manhattan in an open-deck bus with an entertaining guide who occasionally also burst into song. The bus also made a brief dash into Brooklyn, whizzing along the Manhattan Bridge so that the passengers could admire a nice view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the stunning New York skyline.

Sightseeing bus
Street view

All in all, it was quite a good ex tempore tour and Bunny enjoyed the night views. However, some of the neighbourhoods were surprisingly quiet for the city that supposedly never sleeps, she thought.

Day 4: The High Line, Hudson Yards and The Edge

Meatpacking district
Chelsea Market

The next morning Bunny and friend headed to the Meatpacking District. Their first stop was Chelsea Market. Bunny loved the atmosphere at Chelsea Market but she wasn’t yet hungry after their breakfast so they decided to try something else offered at the market: Artechouse - a pioneer in experimental art.

Beyond the Light exhibition

Bunny has visited most of the “main" museums in New York and was looking for something different on this visit. When Bunny came across Artechouse, advertising “innovative art forms that redefine audience participation”, she was instantly keen. Their running exhibition at Chelsea Market, Beyond the Light, had been developed in cooperation with NASA and promised “an artistic exploration of our unseen universe”. Now Bunny is yet to visit space so she had nothing to compare the exhibition with, but it was certainly visually stunning. It was her first proper immersive art experience and she very much enjoyed it.

Cool exhibition

After their dose of experimental art, Bunny and friend started walking the High Line. The High Line is basically an elevated public park that is built on a historic freight rail line. It is a perfect place to enjoy some greenery, peace and quiet and (in Bunny’s case) a delicious berry smoothie while looking down on the busy streets of Manhattan.

Smoothie break
The High Line

The High Line leads straight to Hudson Yards and the Vessel, a weird structure and landmark that has no specific purpose, at least none that Bunny could detect. But it was free to visit and quite interesting to look at from the outside. The inside (vertical part) of the Vessel is permanently closed because it proved a bit too popular with suicidal visitors in the past. You can still visit the grounds and snap some interesting photos but the stairs to the upper floors are now out of bounds for tourists.

New York architecture
Hudson Yards

After the Vessel, it was time for shopping at the Hudson Yards shopping center. Bunny bypassed the expensive shops on the ground floor and headed straight to her own favorites on the plebeian upper floors: LuluLemon, Origins and Uniqlo.

She also lost her Shake Shack virginity at Hudson Yards with a decent enough veggie burger and fries. After lunch, Bunny’s credit card decided to stop all cooperation. The card went cold turkey just like that, probably sensing that an impoverished little Bunny had done enough shopping for now. Thankfully, Bunny’s friend was there to bail her out for the rest of the trip. Phew.

The Edge, the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western hemisphere, is also located in Hudson Yards. And it was the main reason Bunny and friend were visiting the area in the first place. They had reserved tickets for The Edge at 6:30pm and had plans to hang out on the sky deck until it became dark. Since there was still a bit more time to burn, they decided to go for a little stroll and ended up at Monarch Rooftop Bar with a cocktail in hand. What a surprise, you might think.

Rooftop bar
Monarch rooftop

Back in Hudson Yards a few cocktails later, it was finally time for The Edge. After their experience at Summit One, Bunny and friend were pleasantly surprised to note that the queue to enter was not very long. They were up in no time.

Posing in Edge
Many people on the Edge

The Edge is known for its uniquely-built sky deck that is suspended in mid-air 100 stories above the streets below. It was impressive, but pretty crowded. As expected, the views were gorgeous. The challenge was to find a good photo spot or try and step on the glass floor without getting into fights with other people. Or perhaps Bunny was just too polite amid all the Gen Z specimens elbowing their way forward?

The younger folk, in particular, seemed to behave like they were in Hunger Games, hunting for that perfect Instagram shot. Bunny thinks they can literally spend hours in one spot, taking a hundred thousand selfies that all look exactly the same. Come mentally prepared to endure these idiots, Bunny says. They are running loose all over New York but tend to congregate in places like The Edge or Summit One.

Night-time view

Be that as it may, Bunny and friend still enjoyed their time at The Edge. They explored the views, took photos (like normal people) and just marvelled at New York in general. After sunset, they also slurped down another overpriced cocktail because that’s what you have to do when in New York.

Another thing to prepare for at The Edge is the massive queue you have to face in order to leave the building. It sure had been easier to enter, but leaving the place proved to be an experience of some serious hardship.

There are only two elevators at The Edge and hundreds of people wanting to move up or down at any given time. When Bunny was ready to leave, the staff informed her that the queue would take approximately an hour to dissolve. No freaking way was Bunny going to stand in line for an hour waiting to be let out.

Drinks on top
New York by night

So instead Bunny and friend sat down and played with their phones until the queue shrank to a somewhat acceptable length, but still quite outrageous, half an hour or so. Thankfully, the wifi in the building at least worked well.

After The Edge, Bunny and friend grabbed some street food to go and walked straight back to the hotel and went to bed. It had been another exhausting yet marvellous day in New York.

Day 5: Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO and Manhattan Bridge

The next morning, Mr. Bunny was due to join the ladies in New York. He appeared fresh from his early morning flight and soon afterwards led his ladies (read: followed sheepishly 5 steps behind) to an expedition in Brooklyn.

Bunny had visited Brooklyn very briefly before (to see Lorde perform at Barclays Center, if you must know) but she had not really seen anything else in this borough. And most importantly, she had never walked the Brooklyn Bridge. Naturally this sacrilege had to be corrected.

Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge

So they took the subway to Brooklyn Bridge and proceeded to walk across it. The day was kind of grey with low hanging clouds and the threat of rain lingering in the air, so the views were not the best. It was still a worthwhile thing to do and got them to DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) where Bunny was planning to hop around for the rest of the day.

Iconic bridge

Unfortunately, the weather continued to hinder their plans for the day. They did manage to take that photo of the Manhattan Bridge at the intersection of Water Street and Washington Street and walk around DUMBO a bit, but it was most definitely not the glorious sunny day Bunny had ordered from the weather gods in advance.

Lunch at Juliana’s Pizza was excellent though. The place receives a lot of hype and the pizzas were fresh, tasty and came with a proper crust. Bunny would say it was easily the best pizza she had in New York, but then again, it was also the only pizza she had in New York so… Highly recommended in any case.

View of Manhattan Bridge
Pizza time at Juliana's

After lunch, the weather took an even nastier turn. It was raining almost non-stop so they decided to head to Time Out Market for a nice Italian desert. It seemed like the most logical thing to do while they waited for the Time Out Rooftop Bar Happy Hour to start at 4pm.

Luckily, the Happy Hour was a success. There were also lots of dinner options at Time Out Market and Bunny ended up having some pretty good sushi with her cheap drinks.

Rooftop Happy Hour
Time Out Market

Afterwards, they headed back out for some sunset photos. The Pebble Beach area was a pretty good vantage point and they spent a quite a bit of time there shooting the changing skyline.

Brooklyn Bridge from DUMBO

Then Bunny got the master idea of walking back via the Manhattan Bridge. She had not researched it and did not know whether it was quite safe to do so late at night (apparently not particularly). Finding access to the pedestrian walkway was also a bit of a challenge.

Street art in DUMBO
A different view

But all is well that ends well. Bunny and co actually enjoyed great views while walking back on the Manhattan Bridge. The pedestrian pathway was not the most attractive environment and the subway trains whizzing by made thunderous noises but at least nobody mugged them.

View from Manhattan Bridge

Back in Manhattan, they did a little stroll in Chinatown, walking right past Bowery 50, a great hotel Bunny had stayed in on one of her earlier trips to New York.

Then all that was left was a subway ride back to the hotel and Bunny’s New York sojourn was practically complete. Her flight back to Grenada left early the following morning. What a great visit it had been!

Iconic statue
Summit One Vanderbilt

Where to Stay

Bunny and friend stayed at Element Times Square WestThis proved to be a very good choice for them. The location was great, the room was very clean and spacious (by New York standards anyway) and the price was acceptable. One of the unexpected highlights was access to the hotel’s rooftop where Bunny and friend could enjoy spectacular views of Manhattan and have drinks and picnic food using the tables and chairs provided by the hotel.

Hotel rooftop view

Breakfast at Element Times Square New York was included in the room price and quite an American affair, meaning bland food complete with plastic plates, disposable cutlery and huge piles of waste every morning. That said, Bunny had breakfast at the hotel every day because it saved her a pretty penny. She was also pleasantly surprised by the hotel’s cocktail hour from Monday to Thursday, with complementary wine, beer and snacks readily available for hotel guests.

Element Times Square West
Bunny's room

Is New York Expensive?

New York is shockingly expensive. Brace yourself ahead of the trip, budget accordingly and then fully enjoy yourself whilst in the city.

It is also worthwhile to research everything well in advance and look for special deals, free things to do, last-minute offerings, Happy Hour deals and other bargains that might save some of your hard-earned dollars. Avoiding sit-down restaurant meals and thus New York’s outrageous tipping culture is another excellent way to curb costs.

NYC skyline
Grand Central Station

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  • Leo Cunningbear says:

    Fabulous trip and photos, bunny!

  • Tom says:

    Excellent 5 stars now I don’t have to visit New York.

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