I was horribly wrong.
The New York Subway
New York’s subway system is the least user-friendly tube system I have ever encountered.
1. They don’t have a line specific subway map on the platform or on most trains so you don’t actually know which stop is which.
2: The directions are really vague if you don’t know the geography of New York. They give you a general sense of the direction of the train, so one side is going to ‘Uptown’ or to The Bronx whilst the other might be going ‘downtown’ or to Brooklyn or Queens, but this will mean nothing to you if you’re not a native New Yorker.
I got lost a fair few times, but by my last day I’d roughly figured out which direction places like Central Park, the museum’s and Wall Street would be.
The Statue Of Liberty
If you’re visiting New York, you have to visit the statue of Liberty. Luckily for cheapskates like me, you don’t actually have to pay to see it.
If you’re okay with not getting physically near the statue you can still get a fairly good view of her (plus some awesome views of the New York skyline) by catching the free Staten Island ferry from South Ferry station.
The ferry comes every half hour or so and it can get quite packed, so try to arrive early to get a good spot. Make sure you get on the right side of the ferry because you won’t be able to see the statue otherwise!
They have fish tanks in Staten Island to keep you entertained until the next ferry back.
The suggested entrance price for the Metropolitan Museum of Art is around $23, but you can choose the amount you actually pay. I paid $5 and no one battered an eyelid. Not only does The Met charge for entrance but it is also funded by taxpayer money, so I think a lot of New Yorkers only pay a few dollars per visit.
The Met is huge. Like, really really huge. I spent an hour and a half there and I only got around one side of the bottom floor! I didn’t even make it to the Mummy’s, which was quite depressing.
It’s ridiculously easy to get lost in The Met. You’ll have a vague idea of what you want to see, you’ll see something that looks cool so you’ll take a detour to take a quick look, and before you know it you’re in a stately room or surrounded by statues from Papua New Guinea and you have no idea how you got there.
Try to spend half the day there, because anything less than two hours is just not enough.
There is a lot more to Central Park than first meets the eye. Not only does it have the standard greenery, trees and lakes but it also has a forest section and a castle type thing!
Budget Food Near Central Park
If you’re entering the park from the East side and you want to have a mini picnic, I totally recommend Roma Pizza. A huge slice of pizza and a spinach pie came to under $5 and the food was really tasty, plus the guys who work there are really nice and it’s open into the early hours of the morning!
I’ve also discovered these huge cans of iced tea which put Lipton’s to shame. They’re only 99 cents and they’re refreshing as hell.
5th Avenue, Madison Avenue and W 125
The upper East side is everything you’d imagine it would be if you’ve ever seen Gossip Girl, Uptown Girls or Sex and the City. There are ridiculously fancy penthouses complete with doormen and hilariously expensive shops selling some quite unimpressive clothes.
There were a lot of problems on the Subway over this weekend and Google Maps didn’t seem to be aware of it so it kept telling me to go to places the trains weren’t even going to.
One of the things it told me to do was get out at W 125 and walk to the next subway station, so I got out of the tube and got onto street level and scurried back down to the metallic comfort of the subway.
The place just had a really bad vibe. There were loads of people crowded around the entrance so you had to squeeze past them and many of them were clearly off their heads on something or other.
The police were parked outside but the streets on either side looked really run down, dimly lit and deserted, and it just didn’t feel like a good place to be alone at night.
Thank God I did get back on the train because it turned out the station Google had wanted me to walk to was closed. I did like the art on another Subway station though.