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New York – One of the most exciting cities in the world

Instead of going to Lake Garda, the time came in October 2022. After 10 years, we once again made a city trip to New York! This time we were very well organized and prepared. Because on our last trip, we were honestly overwhelmed with New York City at first and felt like we hadn’t seen anything. For us, New York City is one of the most exciting cities in the world.

The journey took place with Condor from Frankfurt airport. Our flight left in the morning, so we stayed at the IBIS Hotel in Kelsterbach. We were also able to park our car there cheaply for the duration of our city trip to New York and take the shuttle bus to the airport.

When entering the USA, the usual entry regulations must be observed. In any case you need an entry permit(ESTA). You can apply for this at

At the time of our entry (October 2022), there were no longer any corona restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals, nor was a negative test necessary.

Accommodation and surroundings

We booked a very nice accommodation in Queens Sunnyside through AirBnB. Sunnyside was founded in the early 20th century by Irish settlers, so you can already notice the strong Irish influence. You can find many pubs and on the street there is a green atmosphere with tree lined streets and gardens.

The neighborhood is quiet and a relief after a day out in Manhattan. The connection to the subway is perfect, the Bliss station is not far away. There are also some supermarkets, bars and restaurants nearby.

City trip to New York - Huevos Rancheros for breakfast

For breakfast we preferred to go to“The Brothers Café“. There we ate Huevos Rancheros for breakfast for the first time and I still miss it painfully, it was soooo delicious. So, after a failed attempt at IHOP, we ended up there every morning and also tried the delicious French Toast with Strawberry and Banana and more.

After our excursions in Manhattan we had a nightcap at“The Skillman” in the evening.

Public transportation in New York

Subway, metro, subway – ultimately all the same – or bus… we used Google Maps as a tool for route planning, which always worked very well for us.

Another little tip about the metro:

We considered beforehand whether to get a 7-day pass or individual tickets. From 11 individual trips, the 7-day pass is worth it. There is also a rechargeable Metrocard, with it the single trip costs 2.75 USD. We opted for single trips….

So that we didn’t have to constantly buy tickets or charge a card, our son gave us another very good tip:
All you need is a smartphone or smartwatch with an NFC chip. At the Subway stations at the turnstiles or in the buses you will find terminals where you can pay contactless. Set up your wallet on your smart phone via settings with Apple Pay or Google Pay, for example. You have to deposit your credit card there. Hold your smartphone or smartwatch to the reader and off you go!
The price is the same as for the Metro Card, you pay 2.75 USD for a single ride.

Of course, you can also take a cab or use ride services like Uber or Lyft. However, this is expensive fun and was not necessary for us. We felt safe in the metro at all times, even at late hours. In addition, you can always see interesting figures. Watching these people can also be exciting 😉

Sunnyside Queens decorated on Halloween

Day 1: City trip New York – Arrival

We arrived at JFK airport around 2:30 pm. Until we could finally leave the airport, 2 more hours passed. Immigration took forever, probably because we entered on a Sunday.

We were already thinking at home, do we take public transportation or a cab or Uber or Lyft. At the airport, after the whole procedure, we spontaneously decided to take the official cab. This was a very expensive decision ($70 without tip), but more relaxing.

So we sat chilled in the back of the cab and were already very excited about how our Airbnb accommodation will be.

When we reached our road, we first thought we were in England. There were the green gardens and brick houses everywhere and everything was already decorated for Halloween, a looker! The apartment was alsovery clean, comfortable and charmingly furnished. For us it was just perfect!

In the evening we explored the area a bit more and ended up at The Lowery Bar & Kitchen. Over very good roast beef sandwiches and Guinness we first discussed the planning for the next day.

Day 2 in New York: 9/11 Memorial

For our first full day of our city break in New York, we opted for a tour of the 9/11 Memorial. Andy can personally remember 09.11.2001 very well. He was sitting in a video conference with Americans when the two hijacked planes flew into the World towers. None of the participants of the video conference could have guessed the extent of the catastrophe at that time…

11 years later, in 2012, we were in New York for the first time to visit the terrorist attack memorial. At that time the museum was still under construction, only the two huge water basins, where the two towers stood, were finished.

Now, when we planned another trip to New York 10 years later, visiting the 9/11 Memorial was at the top of our list. We found out in advance about the best time to visit and bought the tickets in advance. This allowed us to avoid long waiting times.

Before we went to the metro station we had anextensive breakfast at the “Brothers Café”, more about that later.
From St. Bliss Station in Queens, we headed to the World Trade Center (WTC) train station. Once there, we were completely flashed by the huge building and the countless stores. Since we still had some time before we could visit the 9/11 Museum at the booked entrance time, we visited the two gigantic 9/11 Memorial Pools. Then we went to the entrance of the museum.

The museum has an audio guide that you can download to your phone. Don’t worry, there’s free wifi almost everywhere in New York, including at the 9/11 Museum.

Small tip: Don’t forget to bring your own headphones, listening to the audio guide with your cell phone to your ear is annoying in the long run 😉

Artwork Virgil in the 9/11 Memorial

The actual museum is located below the two former towers, thus also below the water basins. You are guided through the memorial via signposts, for us this was sometimes a bit confusing.

But: What you get to see down there is incredibly emotional, sometimes oppressive and frightening. During the tour you get a comprehensive insight into what happened on that 09.11.2001.

In addition to videos, one hears tape recordings of passengers on the death flights. That was quite intense and brought a tear or two to our eyes. You can also see again and again parts of the destroyed towers, as well as bent steel beams, destroyed fire engines, etc. You can see that this terrorist attack was a stab in the heart of the Americans.

After more than 3 hours we left the museum and we had to reflect for a few minutes to process what we had seen and especially what we had heard. We then took the Metro to Washington Square and from there we walked towards Times Square. Via Broadway and the lower part of 5th Avenue we went to the Hard Rock Café. We had booked a table there for the evening, the Hard Rock is somehow part of every city trip for us. As in Venice, we also went to the store to look for a t-shirt or other accessories.

At the restaurant we opted for a typical burger, before that we had nachos topped with cheese. Typically American, you better not worry about calories. The food was delicious and the service was good, but the prices are steep. You have to plan at least 40 USD per person.

The evening ended at The Skillman, our favorite pub in Sunnyside, after our ride back on the Metro.

Impressions from the 9/11 Memorial

Tickets for the 9/11 Memorial are available at Get Your Guide:

Day 3 in New York: High Line Park, Chelsea Market and Whispering Pubs

For breakfast we went to IHOP, which we still remembered well from our Las Vegas visit. However, we have to say, it was then not so the burner. We still remembered the delicious breakfast from the day before and it couldn’t be topped.

Strengthened we made our way to the High Line Park and the Chelsea Market. The High Line is a former freight train line that is now in a stunning park. It is a perfect place to enjoy the view of the city and relax from the hustle and bustle of the big city. We really enjoyed the walk, marveling at the gardens, artwork and buildings. On the way we admired “The Vessel” an interactive work of art at Hudson Yards and ended the tour at Chelsea Market. Chelsea Market is a huge food market with over 35 stores and restaurants. We would have liked to have a snack there, but it was just too crowded and stuffy.

Then we walked towards Brooklyn Bridge, arrived there we thought what is that for a migration across the bridge 😊. Sorry, but we really don’t do that to ourselves! So we walked towards the Hudson River and ended up in the “Two Bridges” neighborhood. From there we had a very good view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge. After a short photo session we continued to Chinatown and there our stomachs were already growling.

We then went to the first restaurant we saw, which was the Golden Unicorn. There were a variety of dim sum on the menu and we ordered a selection of these as we found them very delicious in China. The waitress took our order and the food was also quickly on the table. The dim sum were okay, but not great. We would not necessarily recommend the restaurant. After we paid, we walked a little through Chinatown and then looked at Little Italy. Nice to look at, but very touristy and a lot of rip-off.

Then it was already time to go to the meeting point of the booked whispering pub tour.

Whispering Pubs Tour New York City | Lower East Side

For our third evening in New York, we booked the Whispering Pubs Tour with Alex through Airbnb. The meeting place was the burger joint “The Burgary“. If you are there earlier, you have the possibility to have some food there before consuming some cocktails. When we were complete, Alex briefly explained the procedure again and then we could start.

The first bar “Garfunkels” was right above the burger joint and you had to go through a vault door and up a flight of stairs to get there. You enter a different world at that moment, old-school atmosphere, dimmed lights and cozy seating. Our guide told us a lot about Prohibition and we always had the opportunity to ask many questions. The cocktails in this bar already had a lot of revolutions, but were not bad in taste.

Pub the Burgary in New York - Whispering Pub Crawl

After leaving the first pub, we moved on to the next bar, “The Back Room”. Whether we would still find them today, we do not know, there are no signs or anything like that. We turned down a side alley and walked across a dark backyard. Then we were in front of a big iron door, Alex made a quick call and the door was opened by an impressive doorman.

This time we entered a bar with dim lighting, dark wood paneling and gloomy atmosphere, which we liked very much. The bar was full, but there were still a few free sofas and chairs for our group and we took a seat for now. It’s best to get the drinks yourself at the bar, they are still served in teacups for camouflage. An interesting location that takes you back to the time of prohibition. Attention: only cash payment possible!

The tour finally ended at a bar called “Fig 19,” hidden behind a door in the SFA art gallery. The atmosphere in the club was very cool and relaxed. The music was playing mutedly in the background and people were talking quietly. The “Fig 19” is very cozy with a spacious bar. Glittering chandeliers hang above it, there’s an old plank floor and exposed brick walls. It felt like we were in a secret club. Here we enjoyed the best cocktails!

After a while Alex asked if we had any questions and when we said no, he said goodbye. We still have the opportunity to get to know the other participants a little better. With a couple from LA we had a very good and funny conversation. Time flew by and when we were a bit tipsy, we happily made our way home.

It was a very interesting activity visiting the most exclusive and hidden bars in NYC and finding out why they are called whisper bars. Alex has a very good knowledge of the history of the prohibition of alcohol in the USA – Prohibition. This is an experience you definitely don’t want to miss when you visit New York! The Whispering Pub Tour is also a great way to get to know the city at night.
Here you can also book directly with Alex! The tour is offered in French, Italian, German, Spanish and English and lasts about 3 hours.

Day 4 in New York: Central Park, Summit One Vanderbilt

For Day 4 in New York, Summit One Vanderbilt was on the agenda. We had chosen early evening for this event because of the sunset. Therefore, we could approach the day quite relaxed. After our breakfast (as usual at Brothers Cafe), we took the Metro to Manhattan. We had decided to explore Central Park a little more intensively because of the beautiful weather. Central Park is actually part of every visit to New York, because of the size you can plan almost a whole day.

We opted for a shorter option and walked around the park for about 3 hours. The tranquility there is impressive when you consider that you are in the middle of a world metropolis. There is a lot to discover in Central Park, we were especially impressed by the Belvedere Tower.

On the way back towards the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, we had a snack at one of the hot dog stands in the park. After a brief detour to the Apple Store, we slowly made our way toward the Vanderbilt building. We had decided to walk down 5th Avenue, after the quiet in Central Park not our best decision. The many people, the traffic and the other hustle and bustle, it really stressed us out. On top of that, my stomach was empty (there’s nothing wrong with a hot dog), and finding an affordable restaurant on 5th Avenue was difficult.

In the end, we ended up at McDonalds, which was the best alternative for us at that moment. Since we still had some time after our break at the Mägges, we walked around the area of the Vanderbilt building. The building is in the immediate vicinity of Grand Central Station, so we decided to do another short tour there. The station is gigantic and there are many small restaurants and snack bars. If only we had known earlier….

Grand Central Station train station in New York

Around 5:30 p.m., we made our way to the entrance of Summit One Vanderbilt. This is also in Grand Central Station and not outside the building. We had already booked our tickets in advance, so the entrance was no problem. While waiting for the elevator to the top floors, you will be prepared for the event with various visual effects. Not knowing at all what to expect, we were slightly nervous.

We then took the elevator up to the top of the exhibition. The elevator ride takes only a few seconds and you are already in a gigantic “glass hall” with a panoramic view around New York. The exhibition extends over 3 floors, everything is made of glass, including the floor. Mirrors are partially embedded here, which further enhances the lighting effects.

Words can hardly describe the gigantic views of New York. Based on our research on the internet, we had specifically chosen sunset, which was absolutely the right decision. We believe the pictures speak for themselves. After about 2 hours and hundreds of pictures on our iPhone (aided by the image stabilizer gimbal), we made our way back to our apartment.

Is Summit One Vanderbilt in New York worth it?

For us, Summit One Vanderbilt was definitely worth it. The view over New York at sunset, or at night is gigantic. The exhibition over 3 floors with the light effects, the balloons and the glass elements is really worth seeing. In the bar on the top floor you also have the opportunity to enjoy a “sundowner” cocktail.

Day 5 in New York: Departure

Our flight from JFK to Frankfurt left at 4:20pm local time, so we had a relaxing morning. We went back to our favorite breakfast location to finish and enjoyed every bite. Afterwards we walked around the neighborhood a bit, the weather was really fine except for the first day.

Back at the apartment, we packed our bags, cleaned up a bit more, and finally ordered an Uber via the app. It took us about 35 minutes to get to JFK airport by car. The ride cost us $60 with tip.

How long should a city trip to New York be?

In total we were in New York for 5 days and had 3 full days for our sightseeing tours. For us, this was perfectly adequate, even if we did not see everything. On our first visit, we opted for a Hop On / Hop Off bus. This made it relatively easy for us to visit the top spots in New York without planning much in advance. A City Pass can also be worthwhile, but everyone has to decide that for themselves.

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