Basing yourself in Manhattan is a must on your first visit. Taxis from JFK actually offer a flat fare from the airport to anywhere in Manhattan, taking some of the worry out of getting to the hotel, and most city taxis have a TV display showing the route to your destination so getting your bearings is very easy. I love the city's basic grid system of streets enabling me to walk easily from one site to the next without the fear of getting lost.
The choice of hotels is almost endless, and of course depends on your own tastes, budget and, to a certain extent, whether you've been before. Staying downtown means you'll be closer to the Financial District and Wall Street as well as the regular ferries to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, but I'd always recommend staying Midtown. Here you'll have many of the sights on your doorstep, one of my favourite being Central Park. No matter which time of year you are there, the park is a wonderful place to stroll and relax.
As well as Central Park the Rockefeller Center is a must. 70 floors high, it offers the Top of the Rock observation deck consisting of 3 viewing decks providing 360 degree views of Central Park and the city skyline. And unlike the observation deck of the Empire State Building, which can be very overcrowded, here you have more space from which to admire the great views and see the Empire State Building in all its glory.
You will of course have certain 'must do' sights on your list: Ground Zero and the moving tribute at St Paul's Chapel nearby, the Chrysler Building and Grand Central Station to name but a few. But do also try to find time to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. An icon in itself, once you've crossed the East River the views from Brooklyn Bridge Park back to the Manhattan skyline and Manhattan Bridge are fantastic.
As well as the famous sights, New York also throws up some new and interesting places to visit. The High Line on Manhattan's West Side is an historic elevated freight rail line; abandoned for years, it has now been redeveloped into a unique urban park which runs from the fashionable Meatpacking District to Hudson Yards. With a wild flower 'field', raised viewing platforms, modern art installations and street food vendors all along the old rail route, it is a great place to while away a few hours.
New York also boasts some of the best museums and galleries in the world, including the Guggenheim and MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art. Prebooking tickets is a must to jump the queues and it's best to avoid the Free Fridays (from 4pm) as the galleries become incredibly busy.
With great exhibitions, not to mention the many shows on Broadway, it's worth putting a little planning into the trip to ensure you pre-book what you need to and get the most out of your short stay. Whether it's sightseeing, shopping or just a few extra days to relax we are happy to help with your plans.