We introduce ourselves: I, Ester (the obsessed with the American sickness, as well as organizer and driver) Tommy, (my husband infected with my American sickness, official translator) and Luca, the 17-year-old son (the "dragged" who then to end is always exalted for the places visited).
Our intention from the beginning is to land in Newark (New Jersey) where to sleep one night, take the car and head towards Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, return the next day, deliver the car and spend 5 nights in New York , and so it was:
- August 14: Milan - Copenhagen - Newark
- 15 agosto: Newark – Watkins Glen – Niagara Falls
- 16 agosto: Niagara Falls – New York
- August 17: Walking around Lower Manhattan
- August 18: From the Metropolitan to Times Square
- August 19: Natural History Museum, Central Park and Cruise
- 20 agosto: Da Coney Island al Top of the Rock
- August 21: Gospel Mass, High Line and Chelsea Market
At the end of January we find the flight that suits us with the SAS company, after which we book a medium car at the Dollar at Newark airport for € 175 with navigator, so it's only for 2 days.
Read our tips on car rental in the USA
We stop hotels:
- Howard Johnson Newark (79€)
Convenient because it is 2 km from the airport and has a shuttle bus that comes and goes every 20 minutes, simple environment, run by Indians, nothing special and no breakfast.
- Days Inn Niagara Falls, Near the Falls. Canada: (94€ + 10 di parcheggio)
Excellent Hotel, large, clean room, good central location even if to get to the falls there is a walk of a quarter of an hour, breakfast included, but paid parking as in every structure in the area, I think.
- Country Inn & Suites located in Long Island City (720 € for 5 nights)
Perfect! Reasonably large and clean rooms, close to the metro stop, sweet and savory breakfast included.
Before March 15th (the date on which the annual price increase is expected) we buy 3 citypasses for 2 adults and a child $ 320.
Read our guide on how to choose a NY pass
Ok we are ready to go ... it just has to arrive on ...
August 14: Milan - Copenhagen - Newark
We leave at 12,30 (with an hour delay on the schedule) for Copenhagen, a 3-hour stopover. The flight was great, the plane was nice, the hostesses were nice, the food was good, I saw a couple of new movies and at 9,05pm we landed in Newark on time, both us and our bags. Immigration made in 5 minutes with a nice Cuban lady, then we took the airtrain that took us for free across the airport to Park 4, where the hotel shuttle bus was waiting for us and at 11 we go to bed in our Latvian American.
All connections to and from New York airports
15 agosto: Newark – Watkins Glen – Niagara Falls
We wake up early and we go down to take the shuttle back to the airport, then to the Dollar where in a quarter of an hour we take care of the car, a Nissan with a damaged tire that we change immediately with another brand new Nissan Altima, to which we add 2 days of road safe and the EZ-PASS (our toll road telepass) because it seems to be worth $ 18 a day. At 8,30 we leave for our mini-on the road !!!
Exit the New Jersey it wouldn't have been easy if we hadn't had a navigator, but luckily everything is for the best. We leave the highway just outside the casino to stop for breakfast and get some junk to keep in the car and we decide to take a lot of normal roads because we really like what we see. We are headed to the Finger Lakes and precisely to Watkins Glen State Park for a pleasant intermediate stop before arriving at Niagara Falls.
In Watkins Glen State Park we walked along a path of no more than a couple of hours carved into the rocks and sprinkled with pleasant waterfalls, bridges and steps surrounded by dense nature, through which you can access after paying 8 $ for parking. Despite the humid heat we went into the green even if it didn't even seem to be in the States thanks to the countless Indians (from India) with their colorful and noisy clothes like never before. The place is worth a stop. We then continued our journey passing along the whole Finger lakes and the houses, the granaries and the landscapes delighted us up to the Canadian border.
After depositing our luggage in the room we were quite tired, but we had to see the illuminated waterfalls and so we threw ourselves into that delirium of lights, sounds, playground full of screaming children that is Clifton Hill to reach the shores (a Las Vegas concentrated in 1 km). A few photos, a sweet and then the jet-lag, today's travel and walk make us fall dead tired.
How to organize a tour from NY to Niagara Falls
16 agosto: Niagara Falls – New York
Great sleep, we wake up at 8, have a nice breakfast, pack our bags and put them in the car. We ask if we can leave the Nissan in the parking lot we paid for yesterday for a few more hours, then on foot (and under a light drizzle) we head towards the boarding of the ferries that lead under the falls: theHornblower. At a cost of € 14 each they give a "very useful" red nylon anti-water cape and take us under the two famous waterfalls. We get wet which is wonderful. Unique emotions!
A little shopping in the countless souvenir shops and shortly after noon we are ready to return to the States.
A shy sun also comes out, too bad, maybe we missed the rainbow at Rainbow Bridge.
Advice on where to sleep in Niagara Falls
The return trip to Newark seemed longer than the outward journey, we stopped two or three times to eat and stretch our legs and between a storm and a summer sun we pass under a beautiful rainbow and see the New York skyline in the distance!
We bring the car back to Newark airport, take the freezing airtrain that takes us to the train stop, buy the ticket at $ 13 each, wait a bit and then in half an hour we are at Manhattan at the Penn Station stop. We feel a bit lost, but we manage to make the 3 metro cards thanks to the help of a nice homeless. In a short time we are at the hotel, dead tired but…. we are in NEW YORK!
August 17: Walking around Lower Manhattan
We still struggle to find our way with the metro, but our first destination is Battery Park and we get there pretty quickly; coming out from underground the impact is fantastic! The skyscrapers are incredible and the sun reflecting off their mirrored walls is impressive.
I immediately got a taste of the crowd that will accompany us for the next few days, the sound of the sirens of the firefighters and the traffic of yellow cars and taxis, the smoking manholes, the thousand ethnic groups of people running everywhere and also tourists and, at the end of the park ... her: Miss Liberty, the Statue of Liberty!
We head to the orange ferry that leaves for Staten Island, free and leaves every half hour and offers a great view of Manhattan and the statue of liberty, we don't want to miss it, right? Round trip in about an hour and it was worth it.
After passing by the charging bull and almost having a fight for a photo (!) We headed to the Word Trade Center. Those deep pools (the 9/11 Memorial) to replace the twin towers very well represent the sense of emptiness that now remains. We use our city pass for the 11/XNUMX museum for the first time, so without queuing they give us our booklet and we enter.
Let's go back to the sunlight that is now getting hotter and we decide to wander around the Broadway aimlessly with the nose up walking through Soho, then Little Italy, Chinatown until we found ourselves between the two bridges (Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge) with already aching feet and with the aim of going to the other side, DUMBO, for the sunset.
Once we crossed the mythical bridge on foot, we dragged ourselves like zombies and after the usual photo at DUMBO we lay down on the lawn of Brooklyn Bridge Park eating a family pizza; we enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets ever seen.
- For more information on this area of New York, read our Guide to Lower Manhattan
August 18: From the Metropolitan to Times Square
Today the Metropolitan is waiting for us first. Also this time we enter without queuing thanks to the citypass, I must say that I really liked it a lot !!! I have visited some European museums, but this is truly spectacular, as well as for the unique works contained in the world it is really beautiful as a structure and for how it is managed. Even my son was delighted… and I said it all. Going up to the terrace overlooking Central Park is another thing I recommend doing.
At the exit we decide to go to Union Square to try this famous sandwich at the Shake Shack, three small culinary jewels that we enjoyed in the shade in the park.
We pass in front of the Flatiron Building and continuing on 5th avenue we arrive at the Empire State Building. The maniacal organization of the employees means that in the blink of an eye we are already at the top and the spectacle that manifests us is to take your breath away!
Find Empire State Building Tickets
We return to the ground after a long time, we walk to the Hard Rock Cafe to finish the day in Times Square with a flourish just when the sun goes down and the lights start to get noticed. We stay a long time on the steps to rest and watch the delirium of people who are there and the strange and bizarre characters that animate the most famous and chaotic square in the world!
August 19: Natural History Museum, Central Park and Cruise
The agenda is: take it more calmly, and today we can do it… as much as possible.
After breakfast we take our metro a Queensboro Plaza and we head to the American Museum of Natural History. Here, I must say my opinion, I know completely personal, but already at the entrance it seemed to me a dark, dated environment with a strong stale smell. We didn't like it very much and therefore we don't stay long, we go out and go into Central Park on the west side, we walk up to the Great Lawn and we throw ourselves on a soft green lawn; this park is huge, we don't even see a third of it in reality.
We go to the station and then to Bryant Park, but shortly after we have a wonderful sunset cruise on the Hudson River around Manhattan: the Harbor Lights Cruise with the Circle Line. The departure is at 7, but you have to be at Pier 83 at least 40 minutes before, there are no metro stops that arrive close, so we opt for the bus and I must admit that it was very convenient for both the outward and return journeys.
At precisely 7 the ship left, just as the sky was tinged with red, the sight of the skyscrapers of New Jersey, of Manhattan, of Miss Liberty up close, of the Brooklyn bridge and the other bridges, up to Queens, of the fiery sun that disappeared on the horizon and of the thousand lights that slowly came on is a sight that I will hardly be able to forget.
20 agosto: Da Coney Island al Top of the Rock
Today our destination will be Coney Island, I know it is not the usual destination for those who stay for so few days in New York, but the idea of enjoying the beach, the ocean and the promenade seen many times on TV attracts us a lot.
So let's leave after having had the usual sweet / savory breakfast, we take our N line which will take us straight to the destination even if the journey will be about an hour. Arrived at the terminus we go down, a beautiful hot sun has come out perfect for going to the beach but first we walk among curious places like the place where the first Hot dog (Nathan's famous) was born, the mega funfair and entering the territory of the "warriors of the night ". Today there is also a buskers festival with street artists etc ...
We stay until the afternoon and then we take the metro again, we go down between Lexingon and 5th av. passing in front of the Apple Store, Tiffany and the most “swanky” shops in New York and we head towards the Rockefeller Center. Well, what about the view from up here? I was going to be there for hours, and maybe a couple of us were there too. Another incredible sunset and when all the lights come on the show is even more exciting: I'm at the TOP of the Rock!
August 21: Gospel Mass, High Line and Chelsea Market
And here we are on our last day in New York, the plane from Newark leaves at 21pm so we still have a good part of the day to exploit.
We pack your bags and after breakfast we leave the room by throwing the bags at the hotel reception. It's Sunday and we could have gone to see a gospel mass in Harlem, but we hadn't booked anything, we hadn't prepared ourselves and we thought we didn't make it in time (will it be for next time? You can't see everything in such a short time) , so we decide to go to Chelsea and look for the High line. Lunch at Chelsea Market with lobster roll is the final touch of a great holiday.
It is 3 o'clock by now and it is better to go back to the hotel to retrieve our luggage also because we have to re-cross all of Manhattan, take the train and go to New Jersey and it will take a while.
See it skyline di New York in the distance at sunset it gives a sense of melancholy, but at the same time it is so beautiful that it makes me appreciate our journey, albeit short, and fills my heart once again.
It was just a bite of the Big Apple, but every time I see one of those skyscrapers on TV I will be able to say: “I was there and I will never forget it”.