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5 Tips on How to Navigate New York City like a Local

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor May 8th, 2017 Posted in North America Travel Blog, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 7 Comments

New York City, renowned for its sheer size, iconic buildings and larger than life energy. For a first-time visitor it can be daunting: figuring out how to get around, what to see and do, where to eat and how to get the most out of your trip. Eric from NewYork.co.uk is here to help! After living and working in the big apple for many years, he set up a website, initially for friends and family, giving tips and advice on the best things to see and do in New York City. This site has since grown and along with his Facebook page (Facebook.com/newyork), Eric now advises anyone in the United Kingdom who is planning a trip to New York. Here are a few of his personal suggestions to help kick off your planning.

Cool Things to do in New York for a First Timer (like me!)
Sunrise behind the Empire State Building in New York City by Anthony Quintano / CC BY 2.0


Having spent a great deal of his adult life in the city that never sleeps, Eric is fully qualified to keep you up to date with the city’s ever-changing schedule. He has created a monthly New York calendar of events, so you will always be up to date with what is happening in New York during your stay. Whether you’re looking to see a show, catch a sports game, party on a rooftop bar tour or see your favourite band perform. Just select the month you will be in New York and check out all the possibilities.

Extra Tip: Check out Plumguide for the best holiday homes and vacation rentals in New York.


Most people who travel to New York are often there for a short time (3-5 days). To make the most of your time, plan exactly what you want to see and do in advance. Eric advises to group your activities and attractions by location and save time traveling. For example, if you have three days in New York, plan to spend a day in Midtown, a day in Downtown and a day in Central Park and Uptown. This way, you don’t waste a precious second of your time in New York City. Planning ahead also means you avoid disappointment when a show or game is sold out or a restaurant is fully booked. Book before you travel and guarantee you see and do everything on your wish list. Eric can even create a personal daily itinerary for you if you like: just tell him your travel dates and must do’s and he will put together a schedule for you with suggestions of how to best use your time.



Eric is your man on the ground when it comes to personal advice from a New Yorker. Whether you need advice on booking your airport transfers, what Broadway show to see, or how to find bike rental or helicopter flights, no question goes unanswered. Eric can tell you where to sit at a sports game and where to find a free public bathroom (he’s tested them all!). All advice is given from personal experience, Eric would never give tips on things he hasn’t encountered first hand.

To get you started he compiled this list of the top 10 New York attractions. His top tip? Book in advance. You’ll save time, money and hassle. You have your tickets to hand and you can often save time queuing too.


Hot of the (virtual) press comes his recently launched app: Eric’s New York, the best offline app for New York. This app for your smartphone or tablet contains maps, information on attractions, tips, tricks and you can buy tickets directly (all mobile friendly), for everything that you could possibly want to do in New York.5 AWESOME TIPS FOR YOUR NEW YORK CITY BREAK

Download the data at home (or via the WiFi at your hotel), then use the app offline as soon as you get to New York. You then have unlimited access to the city map showing all the hotspots, free WiFi locations, and public toilets. In addition, the subway map displaying the metro lines and stations can also be used offline. Thanks to the built-in GPS, you can always see exactly where you are and what sights and attractions are around you! Do you, despite the extensive information in the app, still have questions along the way? With a mere click of a button, you can contact Eric directly via email or WhatsApp.


New York can add up, you want to see and do so much and make the most of your time which can become costly. There are, though, a few things that you can do for free to keep the costs down and enjoy the city.

  • The Staten Island ferry is a free ferry that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week between Manhattan and Staten Island. From the boat, you will have a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty is clearly visible. Onboard you’ll find a café where you can enjoy a quiet drink during the crossing. To get to the ferry, take subway line 1 or R to South Ferry station, the terminal itself is officially called the Whitehall Ferry Terminal.

Cool Things to do in New York for a First Timer (like me!)

  • Head to a market to experience some authentic New York grocery shopping. The Union Square Green Market takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday on the North and East side of Union Square. You can find a wide variety of fresh products from local farmers and producers. Chelsea Market is an indoor market in the Meatpacking District, located on a former industrial site on 9th Not only a perfect spot for food shopping but also to have a bite to eat. Head to Amy’s Bread for delicious sandwiches, muffins, and cupcakes. At Friedman’s Lunch, you can sit at the high tables and enjoy real American comfort food such as burgers, chili or mac and cheese.


  • A must see! The Roosevelt Island Tram over the East River provides spectacular views of Manhattan, the East River, Roosevelt Island and a peek into the first Spiderman film. For the price of one trip on your unlimited MetroCard, the tram takes you to Roosevelt Island in four minutes. Roosevelt Island is a small island in the East River where about 16,000 people work and live. Once there, take a walk to the river and then left. There are many benches and a nice view of Manhattan.

Cool Things to do in New York for a First Timer (like me!)

  • Use the free WiFi hotspots to save money in New York. Luckily, there are many places in New York where free internet is available. It’s possible to surf in parks, hotels and even subway stations. Wi-Fi is available in a lot of (fast food) restaurants, bars, and diners. Almost every McDonald’s, Starbucks or Applebee’s has a Wi-Fi network available. Old phone booths have also been converted to Wi-Fi spots.

Anything else to add? Share your tips in the comment below!


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7 thoughts on “5 Tips on How to Navigate New York City like a Local

  1. When you go to New York , you’re actually visiting Manhattan . Do what a lot of New yorkers do. Visit what we call The outer boroughs , Brooklyn , Queens , Staten Island and The Bronx . There are many things to see and do in the outer boroughs .

  2. The calendar info became quite beneficial, it saves our time and makes our trip memorable because we can only visit eminent spots in a limited time. your blog save our time and endeavor a great guideline. thanks for sharing…

  3. 3 is so big Kach. I have a good idea of what to do in NYC since I grew up in NJ. And only visited The City like 500 times growing up LOL. Speak to native Tri-Staters. We are so happy to help you see the city as a local sees it, sharing all the off the beaten path spots that many tourists miss. Heading to a NYC house sit on the Upper West Side this Saturday, for 10 days. Woohoo!

    Super tips here 🙂


  4. Great insider tips! I love New York, its a beautiful city and it certainly deserves its name as the “city that never sleeps”. The skyline is stunning, I had the privilege of seeing it from above from a helicopter…it was definitely a great way to avoid the crowds and wonder at the organised beauty of the blocks and parks. Highly recommended!

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