Top Sights in New York City with CityPASS
Last year a very good friend asked if we’d like to accompany him to New York City for his 50th birthday; it didn’t take too much thinking about. I’d been about 12 years ago but had my 12-year-old son with me at that time, so I didn’t feel as if I’d experienced it as an adult, and I jumped at the invitation. Our ‘core’ group was made up of 6 adults in their 40s and 50s, all intent on seeing and experiencing as much of this legendary vibrant city could offer. A New York CityPASS seemed a great way to do the daytime sightseeing. For $126 you get to visit $215 worth of attractions, 6 in total.
One of the options in the New York CityPASS booklet is to either visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or to enjoy a circle line sightseeing cruise. The weather in early May was surprisingly good, and so we walked to the dock to book the sightseeing cruise for the following day. Our tip would be to do the same, these cruises must get very full in peak season. It was simplicity itself to exchange our vouchers for an official ticket.
On our way, we walked past the Intrepid and realised that we had tickets for the sea, air and space museum. This was something that without the CityPASS we’d never have been aware of, and indeed I wish that I had done when I had my 12-year-old in tow.
I certainly hadn’t expected to be so close to a space shuttle, and it was huge, far bigger than I’d ever imagined.
Alas, my dream of flying on board Concord will never happen. We had great fun in this museum, pretending to be astronauts too!
After this, we walked to the 9/11 memorial. Both of my friends pictured above worked for American banks in London and knew people caught up in this horrible event. Whilst we didn’t visit the museum (this was the alternative to the Intrepid museum) they took some moments to reflect, and we loved the architecture of the new shopping centre. I’m hoping that new Westfield close to me will be as bold in its design.
The following day was time for our cruise. We were able to sip a cold beer/chilled wine and listen to the commentary about the shoreline. This needs no explanation.
The next day the Empire State building beckoned. We were able to go twice with our passes, once during the day, and then again that evening. Our passes meant that we fast-tracked the queues at the booking office. Our tip would be to make sure that you do go back in the evening, there were far fewer people and it was amazing seeing the city from above.
We had a lovely walk through Central Park and ended up at the Guggenheim. We decided to pay for our entrance to this instead of using the CityPASS as the alternative was the Top of the Rock Observation deck, which was to be our final destination before heading to the airport. I just loved this Frank Lloyd-Wright building.
I seem to have shot an interior photo that looks like a band promotional photos though!
Our only failure was with the Top of the Rock observation deck. We’d planned to go up here and then have a cocktail before heading to the airport. I think that we assumed it would be like the Empire State Building with fast-track entry for CityPASS holders. The ticket desk was hard to find, and when we did, the next free slot was 4 hours hence. We couldn’t even go to the cocktail bar as the dress code is business-wear. It was our only disappointment. Our tip would be to book this in advance.
Overall, the New York CityPASS was a great success. Not only did it save us money, it also took us to places in New York City that we may otherwise have missed.
CityPASS is available for 12 major cities in the USA and one in Canada. The price varies depending on the location but always offers a substantial discount on entry prices booked independently. For more information check their website