Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Top Things to do For a Week in New York City

Map Channels: free mapping tools

[note: Feel free to use this map, or this plan to help form your own trip. One thing I'd always wished I could find more of on the internet were custom trips. Yes, I want someone to say, "here is the best way to spend a week in New York." And since I couldn't find such a thing, I will create it. From what I can tell right now, this is the way to make the most of the least. If nothing else, it should make a smooth jumping off point for you.]

Saturday March 14
  • Wake up at 10:00am, unworried about fighting traffic to leave the Toronto Core.
  • Take the TTC to the bottom of Bathurst. Stay miles and miles away from Pearson International (YYZ) and enjoy a leisurely check-in time of 11:30am.
  • Depart the Toronto City Airport (YTZ) at 1:30pm
  • Arrive at Newark Airport (EWR) at 3:00pm.
  • Take the train into New York City.
The first thing to do, when arriving in a new city, is to get to know your public transportation. I have already discovered that for a relatively low price, I can buy a 7-day metro pass. This will be my lifeline, and my first purchase. In contrast to Toronto's weekly pass, this card is good for seven days from first use, not a Sunday - Saturday week (really TTC? That's what you thought was the best way to do it - and you wonder why you're losing money?).

Understandably I'll want to find my hotel, check it, stow my baggage, and then kick back out to the streets. But where to go first? What to see? At this point the light will be failing, and darkness will soon overtake the streets. Clearly there is but one place to go: Time's square.

With the bright lights in this big city, I will be able to take my first memorable photographs of the city.

Sunday March 15
Waking up early on Sunday, I hope to take my first walking tour of the city. Each tour was taken from my Fodor's See it: New York City guide book. I transposed the most interesting of the walks into my custom Google Map, so that I could see what areas of the city I'll cover by doing these alone. As it turns out, quite a lot.

The first walk I will be taking is Bowling Green to Schermerhorn Row. Clocking in at two and a half hours, this walk will take me from Castle Clinton, across Wall Street, and over to the historic seaport district.

As luck would have it, the first walk ends right at the beginning of the second: City Hall to Washington Square. It will take me from Ground Zero, past St. Paul's Chapel, on route to city hall. From there I will walk through Little Italy, and onwards to Washington Square.

Taking about two hours, this walk will lead me very close to 177A Bleeker St, Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum.

By this point, I'll probably be starting to feel all the walking, but there can be no ending yet. This is my first time to New York City, and who knows when I'll next be back. From the home site of Marvel's most Arcane Magician, I will make my way to Greenwich Village, walking past all manner of used, vintage, and other hipster-esque stores.

With miles of New York under my belt, and a good understanding of what is to come, I feel I can safely leave the rest of the day undecided: however much time there may be left.

Monday March 16
Monday night will come early, as much sleep is required for the morning and day that is to follow. So why not allow this to be a slower-paced day? One in which there will be no quests, no long walks, just simply sights seen and relaxation felt.

And where better for that, than Queens? I'll start my day out in Forest Hills, wandering Spider-Man's old stomping grounds. From his Aunt May's house, I will explore the neighbourhood, eventually leading me to Forest Hills High School where, as Peter Parker, our hero attended both as a student, and later a teacher.

On the way back into the city I will make sure to stop by P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center and 5 Pointz to view the local graffiti.

A leisurely ride on the F Train, and a trip across the water on the Staten Island Ferry will hopefully round out this low-key experience, and allow me all the time I need to rest up.

Tuesday March 17
Being St. Patrick's Day, I accept that there can be no specific planning. I will get up early enough to plant myself along 5th Avenue to watch the world's greatest St. Patrick's Day Parade - and when that ends, I'll let the day take me where it will. Which will probably include some sort of green beer. And why not something else delightfully green, like the Statue of Liberty?

Due to the parade's location to Central park, I'm sure I'll also use this as a chance to see the statues and explore Central Park West.

As much as I like to have things planned, it's nice to have a mostly open day floating around, for when things "come up."

Wednesday March 18
Today will start with a trip to the Bronx Zoo. When done viewing all the animals I can see, I will attempt to make my way into Harlem to see the Apolo Theatre and then, head to Park Ave. and East 106 Street where I can see the graffiti Wall of Fame.

The morning will be packed, unfortunately rushed, and full of mass transit. But, with only a few days remaining, and so much left unseen, there is no time to pause for everything.

Breaking into the cultural side of the city, as many museums as possible will be fit into the remainder of this day's hours. Those missed, will be unfortunate, but - again - in one week, there is only so much one can accomplish.

Thursday March 19
One full day, followed by another. Is there any other way to do a giant urban expanse? Most likely not. Today will see me exploring from Macy's to Rockefeller, as well as walking 42nd to UN. The second walk will grant me the chance to view Time's Square during the day time, the Public Library, Grand Central Station, the Chrystler building, and finally the United Nations headquarters.

The first self-directed tour, however, will be a very different sort of affair. It will take me through shopping districts, and past the Radio City Music Hall. Obviously, it will include Macy's and the Rockefeller Center - and where it heads north on 6th avenue, will put me quite close to both the Brooklyn Superhero Supply and the Marvel Comics headquarters, both located near fifth avenue between 35th and 38th street.

The Empire State Building will also be on the docket for today's explorations, as will a number of shops that I'd like to visit, such as Forbidden Planet, located over at 840 Broadway.

Friday March 20
Waking up on the last full day in New York City will be bitter sweet. So many things will have been seen and done by this point, but the understanding that there are so many other things still waiting to be explored - not to mention all that which exists off the beaten path, presently unknown by me.

Today I will wander
Chinatown, and attempt to find some delicious dumplings, or sweet and sour pork. From there, I will walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and set down the path of my final walking tour: Brooklyn Heights. Were it not part of New York City, I read, it would be America's sixth largest city. Though I know very little about Brooklyn - aside from the Jackie Robinson story - I will, without a doubt, gain a great insight into this district before my time is done.

In the evening I will try to take a whirlwind tour of both the Museum of Modern Art (free on Friday's from 4-8) and the Guggenheim Museum (also free on Friday's from6:00 - 8:00.). Again, as a perfect allegory for the city itself, while I will experience so much in these locations - there is so much more that will remain unknown.

Saturday March 21
  • Wake up at 7:00
  • Check out at 8:00
  • Hop the train to Newark Airport at 8:30
  • Check in at 9:00
  • Depart Newark Airport (EWR) 11:30
  • Arrive in Toronto (YTZ) 1:00
  • Make my way home for 2:30.
  • ... ... ...
  • Edit pictures and posts all night [?]

[note: Yes, I understand that from the moment I get off the ground on route to NYC my plans will all be thrown into chaos, and nothing will end up as it is here - but... if nothing else, this lets me know that everything I want to do, can be crammed into the days, with time left over to spare. So - wish me the best, and perhaps I'll see you out there.]


  1. Oh my goodness.........I just want to know if you survived all that walking on Monday!

  2. Looking forward to hearing whether you get to do all the things you've set out to do. I bet, you will!

  3. Too funny. In an attempt to for once plan my trip beforehand (this time to NY in April), I went searching for blog posts just like this one to help give me an idea of what can be fit into a day. thanks for this.

  4. hey, i know this is 2 year later but I might use something out of your itinerary for my trip.

  5. Hi, I'm an Australian my wife and I decided to travel to New York for a week in Sept about planning ahead! Your blog was my first hit! Thanks for the tips. Can I see a baseball or football game at that time...about to find that out now!


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