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Autumn in New York: Discovering Manhattan in 5 Days

I fell in love with New York when I watched Gossip Girl on TV for the first time; Serena Van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf transported me to this wonderful city and made me dream of living with them on the 5th Avenue. Even Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany” is responsible for my unconditional love for the Big Apple, not to mention “Sexy & the City”! Lots of movies raised my interest and expectations of New York. And, in the end, this city has confirmed exactly what I was imagining: it’s beautiful. My dream came true in the fall of 2016, during a road trip on the East Coast of the USA that ended in New York City.

With this post I would like to tell you more about all the most famous attractions of New York City, giving you some suggestions and advice, are you ready?A week before the departure, the radio casually transmitted the song “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-z feat. Alicia Keys and I was moved just thinking of going to New York for the first time!


NY is divided into 5 districts: Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island and Queens. It’s quite impossible to see all the districts in 5 days because the city is huge, so I focused on Manhattan and a limited portion of Brooklyn. The districts are divided into quarters, each one with its own particularities and different from the others. The nice thing about NY is its metropolitan style mixed with the most advanced modernity; it is constantly evolving, with brand new constructions mixed with old buildings under renovation without changing, at the same time, the charming atmosphere that characterizes this city. New York is truly unique!

How I planned my trip


I’m sure that New York is beautiful in every season, but the choice to go there in October was perfect to me for these reasons: the climate, which was ok to stroll around the city (quite long days, with mild temperatures between 15 and 20 Celsius degrees); the Halloween celebrations and the foliage of the trees that was starting to change the colours of the landscape.

Flight, hotel and other things

We flew with Emirates, departing from Milan Malpensa with a direct flight at a super convenient cost. On Booking.com then I chose the hotel, The Evelyn, strategically located in midtown Manhattan. When I stayed there it was under renovation, but the quality / price ratio was great! To enter the US you need to have the ESTA, a sort of visa, that must be requested online on the official website, together with a medical insurance; I chose to get one through Columbus Insurance. Before leaving, I converted a certain amount of Euros to US dollars, but I advise you to bring with you a Visa credit card as it’s accepted everywhere and anytime, even to pay for a coffee!

Getting around

Having the hotel in the NoMad area, I was able to get around Manhattan by foot; I took the metro and tried the classic yellow taxi only once! I didn’t organize a precise itinerary, but during the weeks before leaving I downloaded an application on the phone with the map of NY (the app’s name is “New York Offline maps” with a red and white icon and the word ulmon) where I added stars on the places I was interested in and, every day, we planned what part of New York we wanted to visit.

Living the City

I wish I had more time to visit the less touristy part of New York, but it was my first time there and I decided to visit the must see attractions. Below everything I’ve seen in 5 days:

Upper East Side

5th Avenue: The most famous and exclusive street in New York. Along this street are located the most expensive apartments in Manhattan with a view on Central Park: you can easily recognise them because of the elegance and refinement of their buildings and even the porters and private drivers. The 5th avenue is a street full of cheap shops like Abercrombie & fitch, Uniqlo, H & M, mixed with the most exclusive ones like Prada, Gucci, Valentino, etc .. I definitely recommend a visit to Tiffany & co. , the entrance is free and this shop is a real spectacle for the eyes: precious jewels of enormous value shine everywhere. On 5th Avenue there is also the Apple Store and the elegant Plaza, a luxury hotel showed in various films.

Central Park: This huge and wonderful park in midtown Manhattan actually separates the Upper East Side from the Upper West Side. It is a “green lung” that stretches for about 4km from the north to the south, for 800 meters of width. Inside there are several lakes and bridges, many varieties of trees and plants, birds and squirrels. New Yorkers go there to do exercises and play sports, for reading and for picnics. At the beginning of the park, you can rent a bike and do the whole tour in about an hour; I did it and I can tell you that it is one of the best things to do in New York! I really enjoyed visiting the city on foot though, the fresh air you breathe and the singing birds make you forget you’re in a big city! Do not forget to go see the Bow Bridge, my favourite bridge in Central Park.

Guggenheim Museum: it is a museum of modern art, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, that I greatly appreciated for its minimal and clean architecture and design. When I went there, the main attraction was the golden toilet by Cattelan, made available to the public as a real restroom because the artist wants people to have the luxury of peeing in his work of gold.  An employee is then in charge of cleaning it every time a person enters. So, I queued for one hour to wait for my turn because I couldn’t miss it!

Metropolitan Museum: Also called “The MET” is probably the most important museum in New York and collects artefacts, paintings and works of art from the antiquity to the contemporary.


Top Of The Rock: It is the observatory of the Rockfeller Center located at the 70th floor of the GE building. Although it’s not the tallest in the city, it is definitely the one that has the best 360 degrees view of NY. I loved this viewpoint of the city, both for the view on Central Park and on the Empire, and because you can stay as much time as you want to admire the various buildings!

MoMa: It is a very important modern and contemporary art museum which displays permanent works of great artists like Monet, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Degas and many others. After being there, it became my favourite museum in the World!

New York Public Library: It is the most important public library in New York, freely accessible to the public. Its interior is elegant and quiet with an antique style. At the entrance there are two large lions statues.

Grand Central Terminal: It is the Midtown Manhattan railway terminal. This station is the largest existing with 67 tracks and 44 docks.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral: It is an imposing Gothic cathedral located in the 5th Avenue. I did not have time visit it but I’m sure the interior is just as beautiful as the outside.

Chrysler building: This is a charming skyscraper built between the ’20s and’ 30s to accommodate the headquarter of the car company. This building is iconic and it’s immediately recognizable at night, among many others, by the Empire observatory.

Times Square: This intersection of the Seventh Avenue and the Broadway is the beating heart of Manhattan where the digital billboards and the surrounding lights make this place one of the most recognizable of the city. Many people told me that “Times Square is not a big deal, you can even skip it” … honestly, are they kidding ?? Fortunately, I did not listen to them! It,officially falls into my NY top10! I literally LOVED sitting on the steps, watching the traffic jam while waiting for the sunset!

Empire State Building: It is the second tallest skyscraper in NY after the One World Trade Center and it is another popular symbol of the city. The panoramic view from the observatories, on the 86th and 102nd floors, is stunning! I went there at sunset and I was speechless, seeing New York at night from the top is something that I can’t describe. The only negative thing is that I found there so many people that it was quite hard to get a space on the balcony to take some pictures!

Flatiron building: With its particular triangular shape, which resembles the aspect of an iron, this skyscraper of almost 87 meters tall is one of the most iconic in New York and one of the oldest. It is located in the Flatiron district, a popular and very lively area. Do not miss it!

Union Square: A large and pretty square, with many trees and benches where you can sit to admire the view. Here the squirrels put on a show!

The High Line: This is an elevated park built on an old disused railway. It has recently been built, it has many flower beds and some original tracks have been kept in place. I really liked The High-Line, as here you can have a beautiful view of New York while walking among the flowers, immersed in this metropolitan atmosphere.

Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment: You should not miss the famous Carrie’s house if you are a fan of “Sex & the City” tv series! I highly recommend going there not only for the house, but also to see the whole neighbourhood. It is residential, clean and elegant. If I had the chance to live in NY, I would choose this area for sure! Also, nearby you’ll find the Magnolia Bakery, a delicious pastry that produces yummy cupcakes!


One World Trade Center: It is the tallest skyscraper in New York, built after the attack of September 11th, 2001, which has taken the place of the twin towers. At the top there is also the observatory. In front of the building there are two huge fountains, built on the foundations of the original towers. There is no photo that can portray the vastness you experience there in front of your own eyes. Only when I arrived at the foot of the One World Trade Center I felt the emptiness of what happened; I looked at the huge holes left by the buildings knocked down and I felt surrounded by silence. The names of the victims are engraved in the fountains and white roses are left on their birthday.  I was deeply touched by this place that leaves an indelible mark in your feelings!

9/11 Memorial Museum: It’s the Museum dedicated to the attacks of 9/11, where many artefacts are exposed which have been recovered from that tragedy: personal effects found on the site, photographs, tower pieces and other things. Several videos of that day flow on screens telling terrible moments of life. this was one of the most beautiful museums I had the pleasure to see (I cried from beginning to end).

Oculus: It is a recent and ultra-modern metro station designed by Santiago Calatrava. This huge white structure represents a dove as a symbol of freedom; inside, you can find more than 100 shops.

Statue of Liberty: The Statue of Liberty, another symbol of New York, can be reached by ferry from Battery Park. It is rather “small” compared to the skyscrapers of Manhattan, only 90m tall including the pedestal. I heard that New Yorkers never go to visit it, but I found it pretty and unmissable for a tourist like me, struggling around for the first time in New York!

Soho: It’s a city district very famous for its fashion shops.

Little Italy: It’s the neighbourhood of the Italo-Americans, even if I found desert streets and nothing Italians at all there! I liked the mural of “Coffee Rome” which portrays the actress Audrey Hepborn.

China Town: It’s the district of Chinese immigrants. Here you should absolutely note down the names of these two cafes & restaurants for a good brunch in the area of ​​Nolita:

“Two Hands”: very good and super refined, also frequented by famous people. We found Stella Maxwell having breakfast with some friends!

“The Butcher’s Daughter”, vegetarian and trendy, even if the queue could be quite long on Sundays!

Bowery Mural: Located between Houston Street and Bowery, it is a mural symbol of street art. It is frequently repainted by contemporary artists.

New York Stock Exchange and the bull: The New York Stock Exchange is in the financial district place in Wall Street. Here there is also the bronze bull, symbol of the strength and tenacity of the Americans after the crack of the 1987 stock exchange.


Brooklyn Bridge: Built in the second half of the ‘800s, the bridge which connect Manhattan to Brooklyn is another symbol of NY. You can cross it on foot thanks to the pedestrian walkway that runs above the lanes which are dedicated to cars. I advise you to cross it before the sunset, so when you’ll return back, you’ll see the Brooklyn Bridge with a wonderful pastel sky.

Dumbo: It’s a former industrial district in Brooklyn that has become residential and very fashionable. Here you can also admire the beautiful Manhattan Bridge passing through Washington St.

Main Street Park: A park in the Dumbo district with views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan.

Final notes

This has been my New York itinerary. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to visit Harlem, the Lincoln Center and Coney Island, three places I really wanted to see but for which I didn’t have enough time. Next time I won’t miss them!

Walking around, even in the evening, we had dinners in many different places, quite close to our hotel; these are 3 restaurants I’ve tried in midtown:

Hillstone: American cuisine, where the staff and the atmosphere are welcoming. Prices are a little high, but you eat well.

The State Restaurant: is located below the Empire State Building; the place offers an American cuisine and minimal style. Here you can eat pretty well, and the price is not exaggerated.

Ikazaya Mew Sushi: A hidden Japanese restaurant, as it doesn’t have a sign and it’s located in the underground, but guys, let me say it… the sushi was divine! You can’t book in advance, so you have to arrive at the restaurant, get in the list and be patient. I assure you, it’s totally worth it! The restaurant has a typical New York style and adequate prices.

I must not forget to mention Starbucks, an American coffee chain that I love and  where I had breakfast every morning. New York is also famous for its numerous Rooftops: locals with a view over the city, open from aperitif hours onwards. I tried the 360 ​​Rooftop Bar and Monarch Rooftop Bar and I found out that I literally go crazy for the nightlife in this city! There is nothing more beautiful than admiring New York lit up at night while drinking and chatting with friends.

I promised myself that next time I will go there not as a tourist but as a citizen, trying to live the city like a real New Yorker, trying to find some time for afternoon cocktails, jogging in Central Park and unbridled shopping in the 5th avenue!

If you haven’t understood it yet … I do love New York very much!


Thanks for reading, a hug <3


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