I'm very lucky that I live in Fairfield County Connecticut, right on the shore and right along Metro-North train line. It's only 90 minutes by train into New York City and my wife and I love going.
We know the city very well and rarely need to use a map (although Google Maps on Android with GPS is a great help when you get turned around) and we pack and dress appropriately for our trips. We don't look like tourists and people ask us for directions. We have a small pack from Swiss Army that we carry with water and misc. supplies. We can also fit some purchases in it. Big cameras and lots of bags are dead give-aways of tourists. Another good tip is to keep you money and credit cards in two different places. Crime against visitors is not very prevalent, especially when in the more populated areas, but better safe. Front pockets are best. The city is cold and gusty in the winter, so dress warmly.
Sunday, we headed down to the city for a little shopping, dinner and fun.
When we reached Grand Central Terminal, we had a New York bagel for lunch. There's just something about eating a bagel in New York.
We then headed over to 5th Avenue and headed north, window shopping in all the stores and stopping in a few to shop. Tiffany's was an experience. They have greeters everywhere and even have elevator attendants. One thing I really liked was that their items are categorized by price range making it easy to find something you can afford. We also stopped in to St. Patrick's Cathedral and lit a candle for my mother and my wife's grandparents.
St. Patrick's Cathedral
We ended at FAO Schwartz's toy store, but the line was way to long, especially since we've been there before. If you've never been, it's a lot of fun. That's were the famous piano scene from "Big" was filmed.
From here, we grabbed a cab and headed to Little Italy. We went to Ferrara's bakery and had coffee and a pastry and then walked around Little Italy for a while. Ferrara's is an institution and the coffee and baked goods are the best anywhere.
Little Italy decorations with Chrysler Building in background.
We did some more window shopping downtown before heading to dinner at MESA Grill (Bobby Flay's flag ship restaurant). The food and service was incredible, as usual. It's not cheap so it's a once every couple of years event, but well worth it. If you have the chance to go, try the Blue Corn Pancake with Barbecue Duck appetizer and the New York Strip steak and then have the Churro's for dessert. It's a food high like none other.
From here, a nice walk up 5th Avenue while downtown and then a cab ride up to Rockefeller Plaza to see the tree and the projection on Saks' exterior wall. A very cool quote for educators is on the GE Building that reads "Wisdom and Knowledge shall be the stability of thy times", from Isaiah 33:6 (KJV).
Rockefeller Center Tree
Some more window shopping and then back to Grand Central to come home.
It was a great time and a great trip. We always love our trips to New York.
If you are going to visit New York City, don't hesitate to ask for some tips and ideas.