This week we are hosting an exchange student from France whose one wish was to see NYC. Since we love the city as well, we decided to go up for a one day excursion. Given how often our guests want to go and see NYC, we decided to create this useful reference for first time visitors.
We left Bethesda at 5:45am, got to Jersey City around 9:30, and parked at the Park One Garage, 10 Exchange Pl, Jersey City, NJ 07302 (tel 201-432-7380). During the weekend the price is $15 if you stay less than 10 hours. It's a great place to park as you can quickly get to the city, either by taking Path trains ($2.75 per person per ride) or the ferry ($4 per person per ride on weekends). The beauty of parking in Jersey City is that the Hudson River Waterfront Walkaway provides you with an amazing view of New York, and it is a great photo op for your guest.
We took the ferry that takes you near the World Trade Center, and our first stop was the One World Observatory . As we didn't plan this stop in advance, we paid the regular $39 per person ticket, but if you book it online, it is $34. There is an option for priority admission, but there was no line when we got there around 10:45, so no need for it. I am usually not crazy about these towers with the view, but this one is really exceptional and definitively worth the visit. It gives an excellent overview of what you will see later during the day, and it allows your guest to see things they will not have time to explore, like the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island.
When you leave the observatory you will pass by the 9/11 Memorial Plaza . No matter how many times you have seen this, it is always heartbreaking. If you haven't seen it, please visit.
Then we continued walking down the Vesey Street to the Brooklyn Bridge. There is really no need to go across it- you can just go up to the first tower, or not even that far if you have enough of good photos.
By this time it was already 1pm, and everyone was starving. We recommend doing your research and deciding what you want to eat before you get tired and hungry, and then just ubering to the restaurant, otherwise you will spend precious time just looking at restaurant reviews. Uber is not cheap, but it beats the subway when you are exhausted. We opted for Buenos Aires, an Argentinian restaurant in the East Village, where we ate excellent milanesa and of course panqueques con dulce de leche (caramel crepes). Malbec is a must.
Few hundred photos later we took Broadway to Central Park, and as it was slowly getting dark around 5:30pm, we entered the park for a very quick glance. Completely tired and exhausted we started walking, looking for a coffee place where you can sit and relax. We recommend that you decide before the 40-block-walk where you want to rest in the afternoon, and then just take a taxi or uber to that place, preferably far away from tourists.
On the way back to our car we took the famous subway (so that our guest can experience it) and then Path train back to Jersey. The Hudson River Walkaway didn't disappoint us at night either- the view of the city was even more beautiful than during the day. We made it back to the garage before 8pm. Short and Sweet.