Sunset view from Empire State Building, New York City

Do you ♥ love New York?

Cover: Do you love New York? Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Do you remember the I ♥ New York marketing campaign? It was all the rage with the t-shirts and billboards back in the late 70s and early 80s. I’ll confess, I’ve never loved New York and all told, neither of us has ever really even liked it much. There’s just something about New York that never clicked for us. It’s not the size – we love Chicago, ParisRome, and other large cities. It’s not the tourists and crowds. We’ve done Venice in the summer and still managed to love it. And, it’s not for a lack of visits – we’ve been to the Big Apple many times over the years.

Do you love New York?
New York City skyline at night
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

So, what were we missing? I’ll admit, the issue bothered me a bit. So, we decided we needed to give the Big Apple another chance and booked three nights for a long weekend to explore the city with new eyes and, who knows, maybe we’d learn to love New York…

Staten Island Ferry, New York, New York
Staten Island Ferry, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In search of something to make us love New York

We landed at La Guardia on a Friday afternoon about 4:00pm. Admittedly, an hour-long cab ride to Lower Manhattan was probably not the best way to begin our weekend, but schedules are what they are, and traffic is what it is.

Where we stayed

I found a great deal at The Andaz Wall Street – and we really liked the hotel and location. The hotel is modern, low-key and located a couple of blocks from the New York Stock Exchange. The Financial District is quiet on the weekend, with none of the chaos of Midtown – which we strongly preferred. The rooms have a loft feel, with high ceilings, wood floors, and a window seat overlooking the street below.


Travel tip: If visiting New York City on the weekend, check rates on hotels in Lower Manhattan. While hotels may be filled during the week with Financial District business travelers, weekend rates can be over $100 per night less than Midtown hotels of comparable quality.


Once in the city and checked in, it was time to set out and fall in love with (well, at least in like with) New York. I’d made a long list of places to visit, attractions to check out and things to do – thirty in all. What better way to open one’s mind than with a martini and a great meal? That’s where we started…

A “Things to do list” that will make you fall in love with New York

1. Dinner and drinks at Harry’s Café and Steak

Dinner and drinks at Harry's Cafe in New York
Dinner and drinks at Harry’s Cafe in New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

About a block away from the Andaz, we stopped in at Harry’s Café and Steak, formerly Harry’s at Hanover Square, which you may remember being mentioned in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities or Easton Ellis’ American Psycho. A long time favorite watering hole of traders, the bar is lively, the dining room is a classic steakhouse, and the food is divine. We started the evening with a couple of lemon drop martinis, followed by an amazing Tuna Au Poivre. Loved Harry’s and the upscale, yet casual feel of the restaurant.

2. An evening visit to the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street

After dinner, we casually wandered over to the New York Stock Exchange. Located at 11 Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange is the world’s largest stock exchange with a market capitalization of listed companies exceeding 19 trillion dollars. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978, the New York Stock Exchange is no longer open to the public, but is a popular spot for financially focused visitors to stop by and is kind of pretty lit up at night.

After our visit, we found our way to the bar at the hotel and chatted with the bartenders over a glass of wine before turning in for the day. We were starting to warm up to this new version of New York. Was it love yet? No.. but we were off to a good start.

The New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A rainy day museum hopping

The forecast called for rain on Saturday and sun on Sunday, so we decided to start our first full day in New York at the museums. Grabbing a Starbucks and a cab, we headed up to the Central Park area to begin our day’s adventures.

3. A stop by Central Park, even in the rain

Central Park, New York City, New York
Central Park, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted in the middle of the 19th century, Central Park is an 843-acre oasis in the middle of the city filled with trails, green space, lakes, and attractions and was the first man-made park in the United States. Even on a dreary Saturday morning, the iconic park was bustling and full of life as people of all ages and walks of life gathered to enjoy some time outdoors.

A rainy Saturday in Central Park, New York City, New York
A rainy Saturday in Central Park, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

On the west side of the park sits one of our favorite museums, the American Museum of Natural History, and where we would start on our museum jaunt.


Travel tip: New York CityPASS can save you money and time on the top attractions in the city.

New York CityPASS, Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York CityPASS, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

New York CityPASS attractions include the Empire State Building Experience, American Museum of Natural History, choice of either Top of the Rock Observation Deck or the Guggenheim Museum, choice of Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, and choice of Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum or 9/11 Memorial Museum.

Learn more about New York CityPASS »


The Museums

4. A morning at the American Museum of Natural History

Hall of Mexico and Central America, American Museum of Natural History, New York City, New York
Hall of Mexico and Central America, American Museum of Natural History, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With 45 exhibition halls and over 32 million specimens housed in over 2 million square feet, the American Museum of Natural History is the largest natural history museum in the world. Founded in 1869, the world-renowned museum has only increased in popularity in recent times with the release of the movie, A Night at the Museum. Star attractions at the museum include a 94-foot long blue whale replica, the Hall of African mammals, Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians, the Hall of African Peoples, the Hall of Mexico and Central America, and the Giant Anopheles Mosquito.

Hall of African Mammals, The American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York
Hall of African Mammals, The American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

After a couple of hours of exploring the museum, we headed next door to the New-York Historical Society Museum.

5. Zap! Bam! Pow! at the New-York Historical Society Museum

Batmobile from the 1966 TV Series, New-York Historical Society Museum & Library
Batmobile from the 1966 TV Series, New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In all honesty, this was an unplanned visit, but when walking by, we spotted the Batmobile in the lobby. Yes, the real Batmobile from the 1960s TV show – well, apparently there were several, but yes, the REAL Batmobile.

Part of an exhibit at the New-York Historical Society Museum, Superheroes in Gotham, the car drew passersby ranging from toddlers to elders into the museum from the street, eagerly shelling out the $20 admission fee to be in the presence of the venerable Batmobile. Very cool – one more point in the “reasons to love New York” column.

The Batmobile, New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, New York, New York
The Batmobile, New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Once past the lobby, visitors also have the opportunity to discover New York’s oldest museum, with more than 1.6 million works of art. Highlights include a large Hudson River School collection, all 435 of John James Audubon’s extant preparatory watercolors for Birds of America, and the museum hosts a variety of exhibits throughout the year.

6. So much to love at The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Crossing to the east side of Central Park, we next made our way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, commonly referred to as The Met.

The Temple of Dendur, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
The Temple of Dendur, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The largest art museum in the United States, the Met has amassed a permanent collection of over two million pieces of art since it opened in 1872. One could roam The Met for days and not view the entire museum with works of art spanning a 5,000-year period.

Arms and Armor, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York
Arms and Armor, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

From the Temple of Dendur, to the Sphinx of Hatshepsut, to Arms and Armor, the Met has something for every interest. While visiting, take break with Diana, a bronze by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, in The Charles Engelhard Court in the American Wing or stop by the Great Hall Balcony Bar for a glass of wine and do some people watching.

7. A stop by the Guggenheim

The Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York
The Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, generally referred to as The Guggenheim, features an impressive collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern and contemporary art. Located on the Upper East Side, The Guggenheim collection is housed in a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, with a ramp gallery that winds its way from ground level to the top of the museum.

We hadn’t been to the Guggenheim in… well just say a long time. Huge fans of Frank Lloyd Wright, the building alone is worth the ticket price.

8. Going local with a visit to the Museum of the City of New York

Activist New York exhibit, Museum of the City of New York, New York City, New York
Activist New York exhibit, Museum of the City of New York, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Founded in 1923 by Henry Collins Brown, the Museum of the City of New York’s primary focus is on telling the history of New York and its residents. Over 1.5 million objects comprise the museum’s collection and include a wide variety of items such as costumes, home furnishings, toys, paintings, drawings, prints and photographs, each representing a small piece of the story of New York. The activist exhibit was very cool and the museum has great authenticity.

After a full day of uptown museums, we grabbed a light dinner then headed downtown for one last stop for the day, 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

9. Reflecting on the 9/11 terrorist attacks

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is located at site of the World Trade Center, where 2,983 people were killed in terrorist attacks on September 11, 2011. The 110,00 square foot 9/11 Memorial Museum contains more than 10,000 personal and historic objects related to the 9/11 events, including two steel tridents, which were part of the Twin Towers, in the Museums glass atrium.

9/11 Memorial Museum, New York, New York
9/11 Memorial Museum, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Adjacent to the Museum, the Memorial consists of two enormous reflecting pools with waterfall cascades built in the footprint of the Twin Towers. Exceptionally beautiful, the Memorial is entitled Reflecting Absence and was designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker. More than 24 million people have visited the Memorial since it opened in September 2011, including visitors from all 50 U.S. states and 175 countries.

A humbling piece of New York history, the Memorial is not to be missed.

The Oculus, World Trade Center Transportation Hub, New York, New York
The Oculus, World Trade Center Transportation Hub, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

10. Exploring Lower Manhattan

Lower Manhattan from the Manhattan Bridge
Lower Manhattan from the Manhattan Bridge, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The next morning, we decided to begin our day closer to our hotel and explore Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. The center of business and home to the City of New York government, Lower Manhattan is where New Amsterdam, which is now known as New York, originated in 1624. We once again grabbed a chai latte and simply headed out strolling the blissfully nearly empty streets on a Sunday morning downtown.

The New Amsterdam Building, New York, New York
The New Amsterdam Building, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Defined on three sides by bodies of water – the Hudson River on the west, the East River on the east, and New York Harbor on the South – Lower Manhattan includes the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Chinatown, the Freedom Tower, the Staten Island Ferry terminal, and Battery Park, where the Statue of Liberty Cruises depart.

Chinatown Dragon Fighters, New York, New York
Chinatown Dragon Fighters, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

11. Heading over to Battery Park

Miss Ellis Island, Statue Cruises, New York City, New York
Miss Ellis Island, Statue Cruises, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Situated on the southern tip of Manhattan, Battery Park is a 25-acre park that dates back to the 17th century. Home to Hope Garden, the East Coast Memorial and Castle Clinton, Battery Park is also the Manhattan boarding location for taking Statue Cruises to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

12. Paying a visit to Lady a Liberty

The Statue of Liberty ion Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City
The Statue of Liberty ion Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

An iconic symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty stands on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. A gift from France to the United States, the copper statue was designed by French sculptor, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, and was dedicated on October 28, 1886. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Statue of Liberty was closed for security reasons. In 2004, visits to Liberty Island resumed at the pedestal level and, in 2009 visits to the crown were once again allowed. The Statue of Liberty is a part of the National Parks Service.

13. Next stop, Ellis Island

Ellis Island, New York, New York
Ellis Island, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The next stop on the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island cruise is Ellis Island. The building that originally served as the port of entry to the United States now is home to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Around 12 million immigrants passed through the Ellis Island processing center from the time it opened in 1892 until it closed in 1954. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson declared Ellis Island part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. The main building was reopened in 1990 as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and the Peopling of America Center® was added in 2015.

14. Take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry – it’s free, you have to love that

Staten Island Ferry, New York City, New York
Staten Island Ferry, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

For a view of the Statue of Liberty from the harbor versus a visit on Liberty Island, the Staten Island Ferry is a good (and free) option. The Ferry departs from Whitehall Ferry Terminal next to Battery Park, takes about 25 minutes to reach Staten Island, and provides stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Brooklyn Bridge.

15. Visiting One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center, New York, New York
One World Trade Center, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Even though we’d visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum the night before, we wanted to go by One World Trade Center during the day. The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, One World Trade Center, also called the Freedom Tower, stands on the northwest corner of the World Trade Center grounds. Including its spire, the structure reaches a height of 1,776 feet (541 meters), referencing the year the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. One World Trade Center has an observation deck, but the line was loooooong and we knew we still had other two observation decks on the agenda. Next time.

16. A boat ride under the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade Center, New York City
Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade Center, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Since 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge has spanned the East River connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn. One of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 but is still heavily used to this day. According to the New York Department of Transportation, more than 120,000 vehicles drive across the bridge daily and 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 bicyclists cross via the pedestrian and bicycling promenade each day.

Torn between walking the bridge and riding under it on a harbor cruise, we opted for the latter. The views were simply amazing.

The Brooklyn Bridge, New York, New York
The Brooklyn Bridge, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

17. Going hipster and paying Brooklyn a call

Spring in Brooklyn, New York
Spring in Brooklyn, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The most populous of the five New York City boroughs, if Brooklyn were not a part of New York City, it would be the fourth largest city on the United States. With its tree-lined streets of row houses, unique shopping and charming eateries, Brooklyn has a European feel and diverse neighborhoods, ranging from quiet to hipster.

Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s version of Central Park, also designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux after their completion of Manhattan’s famous green space. With a zoo, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Audubon Center, the LeFrak Center, miles of hiking and biking trails and 585 acres of space, Prospect Park is a popular spot to get some fresh air and exercise in Brooklyn.

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch, Brooklyn, New York
The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch, Brooklyn, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Heading back to Midtown

Crossing the Manhattan Bridge, New York, New York
Crossing the Manhattan Bridge, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A cab ride back across the Manhattan bridge and we headed back up to Midtown – yes, on a Sunday afternoon. We knew it would be crowded with tourists, but it had to be on the list…

18. Midday in Midtown at Times Square

New York City's Times Square
New York City’s Times Square
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In the heart of Midtown, Times Square is where Broadway theaters, television studios, restaurants, hotels and tour companies converge in a sea of neon lights, giant billboards, traffic and tourists. The site of to the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop, Times Square is also home to Duffy Square and a giant red staircase, which provides panoramic views of the area. Below the staircase, TKTS Discount Booths can be found, where tickets to Broadway and Off Broadway musicals, plays, and dance productions can be purchased for 20% to 50% off regular prices.

It was crowded, but a quick stop passing through didn’t seem quite as insufferable as when staying there. I think of Times Square in similar terms of the Las Vegas Strip. It’s flashy, noisy and touristy and bears little likeness to the real United States, even most of the rest of NYC.

Stairs atop TKTS booth at Duffy Square, Times Square, New York City, New York
Stairs atop TKTS booth at Duffy Square, Times Square, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

19. A late lunch at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar

Guy's American Kitchen & Bar, New York, New York
Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Arriving in midtown mid-afternoon, we were starved.  We’d just had the Guy Fieri’s in Vegas at the Rio (killer tacos) and decided to give it a try. We split the Sashimi tacos and a shrimp po-boy and it was really tasty. Cool place.

20. Taking a break at Bryant Park

Bryant Park, New York City, New York
Bryant Park, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Located next to the New York Public Library, Bryant Park is the home of numerous events and a great place to stop for a few minutes, find a bench and watch the city go by.

21. Checking out Rockefeller Center

Vintage NBC TV Camera, New York, New York
Vintage NBC TV Camera, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

If you want to pick up a Jimmy Fallon coffee mug, attempt to get on the Today Show with your sign, go shopping, grab a coffee, take a spin around the ice or take in sweeping views of New York City, Rockefeller Center is the place to be.

Completed in 1933, the art deco-styled skyscraper at 30 Rockefeller Plaza has been known throughout the years as the RCA Building, the GE Building, Rockefeller Plaza, 30 Rock and, as of July 2015, the Comcast Building. Home to the NBC television network, the building rises 70 stories and is 14th tallest in New York.

Prometheus Statue, New York, New York
Prometheus Statue, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

While you’re at Rockefeller Center, stop by and book your appointment for the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, which uses a timed entrance system. A visit to the Top of the Rock ticket counter enables purchasing of tickets or exchanging CityPASS vouchers for a timed-entry ticket based on the next availability. In other words, access to the top is scheduled at the time of ticket purchase for a time in the future and access is limited (although once at the top, you can stay as long as you wish).

Top of the Rock Observation Deck entrance, New York City, New York
Top of the Rock Observation Deck entrance, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

22. Go big at Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall, New York City, New York
Radio City Music Hall, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Directly across from Rockefeller Center sits the largest indoor theatre in the world, Radio City Music Hall, which has hosted more than 300 million people to film premieres, stage shows, attractions and media events. With a city-block long marquee, the largest stage curtain in the world, a stage considered to the be the best equipped in the world, more than 25,000 lights, a massive custom-built organ, and special effects capabilities that include the ability to make fog and rain, Radio City Music Hall is truly a spectacular venue.

23. Take a spin around the ice (or at least watch the skaters)

The Rink at Rockefeller Center, New York, New York
The Rink at Rockefeller Center, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

It’s one of New York’s most famous attractions – The Rink at Rockefeller Center. With room for only 150 skaters per session, it’s best to reserve a spot ahead online to make sure you get that chance to lace up your skates and take a spin in one of the sessions throughout the day.

24. Observing the city at the Empire State Building

View from Empire State Building, New York City, New York
View from Empire State Building, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Since 1931, the Empire State Building has served as a landmark in Midtown Manhattan and one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world. Built in the art deco style, it stands 1,454 feet, and offers visitors spectacular views of the city. The Empire State Building has two observatories, one of the 86th floor and another on 102nd floor, and is one of the most popular attractions in New York City.

The CityPASS New York tickets actually provide entry two times during the same day – one during the daytime and a return visit later, which we took advantage of, visiting in the afternoon and again at twilight.

Sunset view from Empire State Building, New York City
Sunset view from Empire State Building, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

25. A stop by St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Saint Patrick's Cathedral, New York, New York
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The seat of the archbishop of New York, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a majestic structure of neo-Gothic design with spires that reach to 330 feet. A site where many, both famous and not, have christened, married, worshipped and mourned, the beautiful cathedral can hold 3,000 people and occupies an entire city block between 50th and 51st, Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue.

26. Watch New York at night from the Top of the Rock Observation Deck

Saint Patrick's Cathedral, New York, New York
Top of the Rock Observation Deck, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Visitors can take in views of New York from the top three floors of Rockefeller Plaza at the Top of the Rock Observation Deck.

Offering a panoramic city view that includes the Empire State Building, the 67th and 69th floor of the Top of the Rock observation deck is enclosed with glass, which has small gaps between the glass panels where cameras can catch shots unobstructed. For the best views, head straight to the 70th floor, for wide-open viewing.

New York Skyline at night, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, New York, New York
New York Skyline at night, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

 27. A late night dinner at ReSette

ReSette, 45th near 5th, New York City, New York
ReSette, 45th near 5th, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

When we left the Top of the Rock about 10 pm, we were famished. I’d noticed an Italian eatery on 45th as we made our way earlier from the Empire State Building to the Top of the Rock, and suggested we check it out. As we walked along, we noticed everything was shuttered in the city that never sleeps, and dinner plans were looking bleak. Arriving at the restaurant, we discovered it indeed was still open and were welcomed warmly, even though there were only a couple of other diners (they close at 11pm on Sundays). A beautiful restaurant, the pasta was delicious and the service welcoming and attentive.

After dinner, we headed back downtown to rest up for our final day in the city.

28. Walk around downtown as Wall Street gets back to work

Charging Bull in the Financial District, New York, New York
Charging Bull in the Financial District, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

By the time we awoke on Monday morning, Lower Manhattan was already in full swing. We stopped in grab our morning chai teas, then wandered around the Financial District, as suit-clad, cell phone talking movers and shakers hustled along, on their way in pursuit of the American dream.

Following our morning stroll, we packed up and left our bags with the hotel. There was only one more destination on the list, the Intrepid, and our plan was to visit to the museum then have a casual lunch before heading to the airport.

29. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Helicopters on the Flight Deck, The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Helicopters on the Flight Deck, The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Featuring the former U.S. aircraft carrier Intrepid, the space shuttle Enterprise, the submarine Growler, and the east coast’s most varied collection of aircraft, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is a popular attraction visited by over one million people each year. After serving in World War II and the Vietnam War, the Intrepid was retired and moved to New York’s Pier 86 at 46th Street, with the museum opening in 1982.

McDonnell F-3B Demon, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York
McDonnell F-3B Demon, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

30. Some New York casual time

New York, New York
New York, New York
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Leaving the museum, we wandered over to Hell’s Kitchen, and found a little spot for some Thai. After lunch, we continued on a leisurely walk towards midtown.

W 42nd & 8th, New York City
W 42nd & 8th, New York City
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

As our time in New York drew to a close, we hailed a cab to pick up our bags and head to the airport. As we drove along, I rolled down the window to let in the spring breeze and watched the city pass by. The buildings glistened in the afternoon light against a bright blue sky; a dog walker attempted to control five playful pups; joggers ran along the sidewalks at a leisurely pace as New Yorkers went about their Monday on this spring day.

After a whirlwind visit sampling the best of the city, did we fall in love with New York? Without a doubt, New York has so much to offer – attractions, museums, theater, restaurants, shopping, and the list goes on and on. We like the diverse culture, the skyline, and the fast pace. So, in love? We’re probably not there yet, but we did gain a new appreciation for the city.


Disclosure & disclaimer: Special thanks to CityPASS New York for hosting us as their guests. The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

CityPASS New York

New York CityPASS: The best attractions at a great price

Cover: New York CityPASS and the Statue of Liberty
Photo: Greg K.  Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


New York is an amazing city.

While there are a vast amount of things to do in New York City, there are certain attractions that really need to be experienced every so often by anyone visiting New York. Lady Liberty. The 9/11 Memorial. The Met. They’re iconic. They’re historic. They’re so New York.

As with everything in the Big Apple, they can be expensive to visit. The solution: New York CityPASS, offering discounts to the most visited attractions in the city.

New York CityPASS attraction: Metropolitan Museum of Art
CityPass attraction in New York City: Metropolitan Museum of Art Great Hall
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Save with New York CityPASS

New York CityPASS can really save you a lot of money and, in some locations, quite a bit of time. The CityPASS attractions include:

  • Empire State Building Experience  – Adult 86th floor admission $32 + late night re-entry (re-entry package not priced by Empire State Building Experience – CityPASS places a total value of ticket at $47)
  • American Museum of Natural History – Adult Plus 1 package admission $27
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art – Adult admission $25
  • Choice of Top of the Rock Observation Deck – Adult admission $32 or the Guggenheim Museum – Adult admission $25
  • Choice of Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island – Adult admission $18 or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises – Adult admission $37
  • Choice of Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum – Adult admission $24 or 9/11 Memorial Museum – Adult admission $24

For the optional tickets, we selected Top of The Rock Observation Deck, Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, and Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, which placed a value of the attractions admissions we visited in New York City at $173.

With New York CityPASS priced at $116 – that’s a 33% savings from purchasing the tickets individually from the attractions. Making CityPASS even more enticing, at some locations you speed through the fast lane, bypassing the general admission line. The result – you save time and money.

New York CityPASS Attractions

Empire State Building Experience

New York CityPASS attraction: Empire State Building
CityPASS attraction: Empire State Building
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Empire State Building Experience is a chance to step into history while enjoying 360° unobstructed views of New York City and beyond.

With CityPASS, visit during the 86th-floor observatory during the day, then return for a late night view as the city sparkles against the night sky (May-August between 10pm-closing, September-April between 8pm-closing). A complimentary audio tour can be obtained by presenting the CityPASS booklet on at the 2nd-floor kiosk. While there is a CityPASS fast lane, it wasn’t open when we visited. However, the regular admission line wasn’t too long of a wait and we reached the top in about 30 minutes.

American Museum of Natural History

New York CityPASSattraction: American Museum of Natural History
CityPASS attraction: American Museum of Natural History
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The museum the world fell in love with after the movie Night at the Museum was released, the American Museum of Natural History is an incredible opportunity to explore over 32 million specimens of nature. Highlights include a 94-foot-long blue whale model, one of the greatest dinosaur fossil collections in the world, and one of the museum’s most popular annual seasonal exhibitions, The Butterfly Conservatory.

New York CityPASS includes general admission to the museum and admission to a 3D movie in the LeFrak IMAX theater.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York CityPASS attraction: Metropolitan Museum of Art
CityPASS attraction: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The largest museum in the United States, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, generally referred to as The Met, has over two million works of art spanning more than 5,000 years. With collections ranging from Arms and Armor, to one of the largest compilations of American art in existence, to an entire wing devoted to Asian art, it has something for every interest.

A clearly-marked CityPASS line is available at the entrance, which enabled us to skip the main ticket line, which was long. Our New York CityPASS admission included general admission and entry to all exhibitions at The Met. Be sure and grab a floor plan on the way in and download The Met’s audio guide app on your smartphone (and take your earbuds). It’s free and very well done.

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

New York CityPASS attraction: Statue of Liberty
CityPASS attraction: Statue of Liberty
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

For the first of our attraction options, we had to decide between the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or the Circle Line Cruise. The Circle Line Cruise looked like fun, but it had been years since we’d been out to visit Lady Liberty, so we decided to pay her a call.

The CityPASS booklet contains all of the attraction vouchers and they don’t have to be used in any specific order, just sometime within 9 days of their first use. The Statue of Liberty is a good example of why this is important. The weather forecast for the three days we were in New York City was rainy on day 1, sunny on day 2 and partly sunny on day 3. So, we visited the museums on day 1 while it rained and, as the blue sky in the image above illustrates, our day 2 began with the Statue of Liberty under gorgeous New York skies.

Leaving from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, our CityPASS included a Statue Cruises ferry ride with stops at Liberty Island and Ellis Island, plus an audio tour on each island and Ellis Island Immigration Museum admission.

New York CityPASS attraction: Statue Cruises
CityPASS attraction: Statue Cruises
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Top of the Rock Observation Deck or the Guggenheim Museum

New York CityPASS attraction: Guggenheim Museum
CityPASS attraction: Guggenheim Museum
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The next option was Top of Rock Observation Deck or the Guggenheim Museum. After visiting The Empire State Building from late afternoon to twilight, we considered using the same-day late-entry pass to re-enter the Empire State Building for night photos and then visiting the Guggenheim the following day. Instead, we opted for Top of the Rock Observation Deck to photograph at night getting a different vantage point. That said, if you haven’t ever been to Guggenheim, it is a fabulous museum.

Showing the CityPASS booklet as we approached on the street, the man at the door waved us through, telling us to skip the upstairs line and proceed downstairs to the ticket counter. There you exchange your CityPASS ticket for the next time-available Top of the Rock general admission ticket which, in our case, was a couple of hours later. We wanted to do the experience at night, so that worked fine for us. At the scheduled time, you return and head through security.

The Top of Rock Observation Deck is actually three floors of 360º viewing at the top of Rockefeller Center. On the 67th & 69th floors, views are through glass panels that have small gaps, which is why the people in the photo below are spaced out as they are. The 70th floor is open, with unobstructed views.

New York CityPASS attraction: 69th floor at Top of the Rock Observation Deck
CityPASS attraction: 69th floor at Top of the Rock Observation Deck
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum or 9/11 Memorial Museum

New York CityPASS attraction: 9/11 Memorial & Museum
CityPASS attraction: 9/11 Memorial & Museum
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We were staying in Lower Manhattan during our visit and walked over to the 9/11 Memorial the first night after dinner. It is truly stunning.

We’d already discussed which attractions we’d visit during dinner and decided on the Intrepid, so we were actually going to purchase tickets to the 9/11 Museum so we could visit both, but we arrived too late and the museum was closing. It is definitely on our “next time” list.

Our day 3 agenda included a tour of the Intrepid. There was no wait in the CityPASS line and we received general admission tickets and quickly made our way to the ship. Launched in 1943, the former aircraft carrier survived five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike during World War II, then went on to serve throughout the Vietnam War. Decommissioned in 1974, the ship nows serves as the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, with numerous exhibits and one of the most varied aircraft collections on the east coast. In addition to the Intrepid, the museum is also home to the American guided missile submarine Growler.

New York CityPASS attraction: Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
CityPASS attraction: Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Is CityPASS New York right for you?

If you plan to visit more than two museums and/or attractions while visiting New York City, you should definitely look into getting a CityPASS. It’s easy to obtain, saves you money and time, and includes the must-visit attractions.

Learn more on the New York CityPASS website.

Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York
Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Disclosure & disclaimer: We received complimentary New York CityPASS booklets for this review. The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.