On my last trip to the U.S., my flight had an extended layover of 10 hours in New York City. Most of us get frightened by the thought of flight layover. But it was different with me. I was somehow excited as it would give me a chance to explore the Big Apple which I hadn’t done earlier on my trips to U.S.
10 hours in Manhattan is too short a time to explore everything this place has to offer but it’s definitely not impossible to become familiar with the place and aspects of its character.
Having researched extensively on available tours and commutation options, I made my custom itinerary and decided to explore the iconic parts of NYC by myself. There were walking tours available for famous areas but I didn’t want to restrict myself to any of the tours that gave an option to explore only 1-2 areas.
8 Hours in New York: My Experience
Checked out from Newark International Airport and boarded Newark Liberty Airport Express bus ($12.50 round-trip) to New York City that dropped me at 42nd Street at approximately 6:50 AM.
After 16 hours of traveling, a coffee at Starbucks was quintessential to kick-off my day.
As planned earlier, I bought a Big bus (hop on-hop off) day pass for the US $53.10 that gave an option to travel on 3 extensive routes along with a complimentary ferry ticket.
We crossed all the iconic and most popular tourist landmarks Times Square, Empire State Building, Little Italy, China Town and much more. Bright neon lights, racing cabs, gigantic buildings- it’s a must to experience this madness at least once in a lifetime.
I took the last stop near World Trade Center to explore 9/11 memorial on foot. Walking towards the south, I crossed Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Federal Reserve Building. Walking in the financial heart of the city that has cobblestone walkways, you come across staunch men and women in tailored suits and densely packed briefcases to realize the seriousness and significance of the place.
I was still walking, determined to make the most out of my time. My eyes gasped with delight seeing the stunning view of Brooklyn Bridge, I managed to reach Ferry station. There is no better way to admire the amazing Manhattan skyline than from the harbor. On the way, you get to see stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, New Jersey, Governor’s Island and Staten Island.
After exiting from the ferry at Ellis Island, I headed towards the Grand Central Station. Took some pictures there and it was time for the last lap.
I walked for approximately 20 -25 minutes to reach to Times Square. It was tiring but the entire area was worth the walk. The first thing I wanted to do as soon as I hit the Times Square was to have my lunch.
There were plenty of options for cute knick-knacks and tasty treats. But I knew what I wanted- my favorite Burrito @ Chipotle Mexican Grill. My meal cost me $17 approximately.
I strolled around the city with different thoughts crossing my mind.
“How it would be like to stay here?
Where I would want to spend maximum time when I am back next time?”
After a while, I boarded the bus back to Newark International Airport waiting to come back to this magnetic city.
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What I Missed?
There is a lot I missed! I missed a walk in Central Park, a walking tour in Soho village, a meal in Little Italy, the Brooklyn side, pictures on the Liberty Island and much talked about the nightlife of this city.
But then I know I saw a lot more than what other first-timers would manage to see in the fantastic, picturesque and cosmopolitan city and that too in less than $100.
A day couldn’t have been spent in a better way for many reasons and especially for satisfying my travel wanderlust!