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Frenchs Forest, New South Wales, Australia

New York City

First thing to do after landing in NYC?

What's the very first thing I should do / see in New York after landing there from Australia? I was thinking Statue of Liberty but want to consider other great options.

17 Answers

top answer by
Caitlin from Brooklyn

I would not suggest the Statue of Liberty as the first thing. It's very time consuming and expensive. Between the lines and the ferry you're looking at a good three hours. First thing I'd suggest is go the Meatpacking District and walk up High Line Park. It's a former elevated train track that has recently been made into a beautiful aerial garden walk way. It stretches about 25 blocks with spectacular views of the west side and the Hudson River. You can stop at one of the food vendors for a bite to eat and sit and people watch. Entrance is free and it'd be a great way to start seeing the city.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Meatpacking District (neighborhood)
  2. High Line Park (attraction)
18 thankscomments (1)

answered by
noah from Boston

My recommendation would be to follow your stomach first... I'd head down to SoHo, maybe get off at Spring St stop on the C/E, and walk east. Which way you walk doesn't matter, or the exact streets. You should meander and see many great shops, stop in to get food at a variety of places, like Lombardi's PizzaRuss & DaughtersBalthazar Restaurant, but there are many more small great places to find. After you've walked those streets for a few hours, and gotten a sense for your bearings, and eaten your fill... then you can head north or south to more 'touristy' destinations. I lived in NY for many years, and never went to the Statue of Liberty, and Times Square can be a pain... (not that you shouldn't go to either). But the pleasure of NYC is just the shear ability to walk/cab around, seeing, tasting, and experiencing for yourself, and I think the view of that is better from being on the streets than anywhere else. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. SoHo (neighborhood)
  2. Lombardi's Pizza (restaurant)
  3. Russ & Daughters (restaurant)
  4. Statue of Liberty (attraction)
  5. Times Square (attraction)
  6. Balthazar Restaurant (restaurant)
13 thankscomments (3)

answered by
Courtney from Los Angeles

Hey, Dave,

I don't think you can go wrong with the answers above but just to add to that...

I would immediately check out Rockefeller Center. Yes, I said go to one of the biggest tourist traps in the city but as someone who was born and raised in the city, I still feel it's one of the most exhilarating parts of Manhattan and there really is something about the hustle and bustle of that area (and that part of 5th Avenue) that always gives me chills. That said, once you've seen it leave immediately and go right to the Flatiron District. This is actually where I grew up and while it was a totally nondescript neighborhood then, it's an exciting, vibrant part of the city now with relatively tourist-free people-watching, although I doubt it will be that way too much longer given the profusion of chain stores in the area. Then I would keep going downtown and head for the Meatpacking District as Caitlin suggested above. It's another area of the city that's become this exciting, of-the-moment, super-interesting area. 

Just to throw one more idea out there: I would think about checking out the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, mostly because it's not just a museum, but a bit of a point of pride and gathering place for the people of New York. Yes, it's full of tourists but it's also FULL of natives and to see it is to see the city in a way. 

OK, I lied--I have one more suggestion: Central Park. If the city had a heart, this would pretty much be it so I would think it would be an amazing introduction to the city and its people. No matter what time of year you go, I promise you'll be blown away by it so definitely consider it for your first stop! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rockefeller Center (attraction)
  2. Flatiron District (neighborhood)
  3. Meatpacking District (neighborhood)
  4. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (attraction)
  5. Central Park (attraction)
12 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Elisabeth from New York City

Absolutely agree with walking along the High Line but you should also visit Grand Central Station - it's always going to be packed with people (commuting) but it's such a beautiful place to take photos either very early morning or late at night.

Madison Square Park is a beautiful smaller park in the Flatiron district and from there you can take photos of the Flatiron Building and walk and shop on the lower side of 5th Avenue. Plus, you can grab some of those famous burgers at Shake Shack at Madison Square Park, or visit Eataly - the Italian market/restaurant.

The Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building are great but just a huge investment of time right after you land. Perhaps save those for when you de-stress from the flight!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. High Line (attraction)
  2. Grand Central Station (attraction)
  3. Madison Square Park (attraction)
  4. Flatiron Building (attraction)
  5. Shake Shack at Madison Square Park (attraction)
  6. Eataly (attraction)
  7. Statue of Liberty (attraction)
  8. Empire State Building (attraction)
7 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Tessa from New York City

Whaaaaaat!? You must get inaugurated by the blinding lights in Times Square All things gloriously touristy begin there! 

Go straight to 47th & Broadway. Immediately begin snapping photos with the bizarre cast of characters (costumed or naked) willing to exchange their dignity for a tip. But careful, some get nasty if you don’t tip (spidey recently slugged a cop).  Still, panhandling is illegal in New York (but beware toplessness is not) So snap your pics, grab the kids & bolt.  

Next, cop a squat on the red stairs in Times Square and pretend you’re Jay-z in the Empire State of Mind vid. Have someone take several photos of you with the famous New Years Eve ball in the back drop. FYI if you see a random girl smiling in your lovely photo – it’s probably me – your welcome!  

Take it all in then buy discounted Broadway Show tickets underneath the stairs at TKTS Times Square. I recommend seeing anything! Also, Times Square Alliance Inc Visitor’s center is just across the street. And that's where you’ll find the answers to your touristy questions, discount coupons and brochures.

Then, snap up some CitySights NY tour bus passes from an African chap in a red or yellow jacket. They’re super friendly & know the area like the back of their hand. Plus they speak French - in case that’s your native tongue.  Abc news-GMA also films in the square (btwn 7-9a.m.) and the celebs can be caught on camera there – always! 

Hungry? Hard Rock Cafe Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. or Junior's Restaurantare all within walking distance from the stairs.  Or if it’s after 5 p.m., follow the herd of pissed off commuters, marathon sprinting to the Port Authority Bus Terminal & they will lead you right to a Shake Shack where you can wait on an insane line, a block long, for a burger that you’ll think was just “meh” but the people watching will inspire you.   And across the street, on 46th st.  is an outdoor  Bazaar with great trinkets and souvenirs.  Peruse the streets of the Square, slap a horse (from the mounted squad) on the ass, play dodge ball with the yellow taxis & co-mingle with other tourists.

And finally when you’re dizzy from the crowd,  jump in a rickshaw cab over to Rockefeller Center, Central Park Grand Central Terminal, 5th Ave for shopping, Herald Square Bryant Park,Madame Tussauds New York B.B. King Blues Club & Grill,  The Historic New York Public Library - Mid-Manhattan Library The Museum of Modern Art Radio City Music Hall Culture Club Copacabana Plus trains to all the great places mentioned on this thread, run right through Times Square....get my drift?   

C'mon Don't you want to know why  "These streets will make you feel brand new?"  There's nothing you can't do!



Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Times Square (attraction)
  2. TKTS Times Square (attraction)
  3. Times Square Alliance Inc (attraction)
  4. CitySights NY (attraction)
  5. Abc news-GMA (attraction)
  6. Hard Rock Cafe (restaurant)
  7. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (restaurant)
  8. Junior's Restaurant (restaurant)
  9. Port Authority Bus Terminal (attraction)
  10. Shake Shack (restaurant)
  11. Rockefeller Center (attraction)
  12. Central Park (attraction)
  13. Grand Central Terminal (attraction)
  14. 5th Ave (attraction)
  15. Herald Square (attraction)
  16. Bryant Park (attraction)
  17. Madame Tussauds New York (attraction)
  18. B.B. King Blues Club & Grill (attraction)
  19. New York Public Library - Mid-Manhattan Library (attraction)
  20. Museum of Modern Art (attraction)
  21. Radio City Music Hall (attraction)
  22. Culture Club (attraction)
  23. Copacabana (restaurant)
6 thanks

answered by
raymundo from Jacksonville

I have been to NYC over 20 times and have never been to actually see the Statue of Liberty, I have passed close to it in a free Staten Island Ferry took pictures from the ferry and rode right back. Empire State Building I think is a first just so you can get an idea of how big the city is and then I would go walk around Central Park maybe. The first time it's a good idea to use the Grayline NYC Sightseeing Tour Buses because you can hop on and off all day. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Staten Island Ferry (attraction)
  2. Empire State Building (attraction)
  3. Central Park (attraction)
6 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Michael from Manhattan

Everyone's given great recommendations, but I'll throw in some advice if you don't go to the statue: Assuming you are on the morning connection from LAX-JFK (not the red-eye), your first afternoon in NY should be anything and everything outside in the sun to fight off that wicked jet lag. If you are a jogger/runner/overall healthy, I definitely recommend heading to the iconic runner's loop at Central Park Loop, where you'll be immersed among locals and rewarded with terrific views of the city throughout the jog (about 10K all the way around, can be shortened throughout, however). From there, exit the park at West 79th St and head to the Boat Basin Café, where you can immediately kick back with some great frosty beverages and terrific views over the Hudson River. If you can stay up past the sunset, you're golden, if you pass out in the hotel, you'll be able to start nice and early in the morning. :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Central Park Loop (attraction)
  2. Boat Basin Café (attraction)
5 thanks

answered by
Michelle from New York City

If you want to dive right into the artistic heart of the city, go straight to the Lower East Side (L.E.S.). Plan your larger tour attractions (Empire State Building, Times Square, etc) on off-hours so the volume of other tourists doesn't ambush your experience. I recommend riding to the top of the Empire State Building as late at night as possible, in fact.

Spend busier hours in places like Alphabet City and the L.E.S. and soak in the real deal! Explore the boutiques and cafes and oddities from the LES to Chinatown New York. Walk over the Williamsburg Bridge as the sun goes down. Walk up and down Ludlow Street Art Gallery after 8PM for a variety of nightlife, from Balkan dive bar Mehanata Bulgarian Bar (website) to cheesy (but fun) nightclubs. Get an overpriced (but worthwhile) sandwich from Katz's Delicatessen (website), see some live music at Cake Shop (website) or Pianos (website). It's impossible to recommend all of the amazing things to do here, downtown East is my fav. Have a blast!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lower East Side (attraction)
  2. Empire State Building (attraction)
  3. Times Square (metro area)
  4. Alphabet City (attraction)
  5. Chinatown New York (neighborhood)
  6. Williamsburg Bridge (attraction)
  7. Ludlow Street Art Gallery (attraction)
  8. Mehanata Bulgarian Bar (attraction)
  9. Katz's Delicatessen (restaurant)
  10. Cake Shop (attraction)
  11. Pianos (attraction)
5 thanks

answered by
Ashley from Everywhere

If it's your very first trip to NYC, go to the Top of the Rock to look out over the city. You can also ride the Staten Island Ferry for free, which gives amazing views of the city and the Statue of Liberty.

The very, VERY first thing you need to do though... have a slice of pizza :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Top of the Rock (attraction)
  2. Staten Island Ferry (attraction)
4 thanks

answered by
cyn from Reno

If you get there late, the first thing I would do is go to the Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center for Jazz music!! There is a late night show at 11:30pm, Tues/Wed. the cover charge is $5 plus $10 min. in drinks/food. We just got back 2 weeks ago, and by far that was my favorite thing to go to since our plane landed around 8pm.

3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
peter from Downtown Ithaca

This may seem hokey but it's not. Take the "Best of New York" Circle Line cruise. It's 2.5 hours. After your long flight you can relax and see and learn more of NYC than any other way. Check it out on line. There are professional guides on board to tell you what you are seeing. When you disembark head to Eataly or the Chelsea Market for good eats. After this you can do all of the things suggested by others.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Eataly (restaurant)
  2. Chelsea Market (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by

My favorite is walking across Brooklyn Bridge

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Brooklyn Bridge (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by

Head for Central Park and have breakfast Central Park Boathouse

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Central Park Boathouse (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by

Take a shower and get refreshed! I'm serious, it's muggy in NYC and after a long flight nothing feels better than a shower and change of clothes :)

1 thanks

answered by
rich from Athens, GA

Depends on what airport you are coming into.  My first stop is always John Brown Smokehouse (website) for some great BBQ.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. John Brown Smokehouse (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by

Firstly, you have to go to Times Square!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Times Square (metro area)

answered by

If you're not too tired after such a long flight from Australia I would suggest Times Square first or One World Trade Center first. Save the Statue of Liberty visit for several days into your visit. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Times Square (metro area)
  2. One World Trade Center (attraction)
  3. Statue of Liberty (attraction)
comments (2)

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