There is no more exciting a city than New York, especially for a short break. With 24-hour activity, fantastic shops, iconic attractions and world-class restaurants all vying for your attention, this city that never sleeps is a must-visit at any time of the year. Winter is a particularly fun time when Cayman residents can get the chance to experience snow, wrap up in some winter woolies and enjoy a dramatic change in weather – if for just a few days at a time!
How to get there
Running until 9th March 2019, Cayman Airways has a daily flight to JFK leaving just after 4pm, arriving at 8pm, so you will just be in time to catch a table for dinner at your favourite restaurant. Flights are pretty reasonable at around US$350 return (depending on when you fly). Jet Blue also runs a daily service getting you into JFK at around 5.30pm, for about the same price.
What to do
New York can be a bit overwhelming for the uninitiated, so if you are a newbie to the city the Big Bus Hop on Hop off bus tour is the best way to get acquainted with the different boroughs. You will probably be based in Manhattan and can board the bus anywhere in the city. Then take different coloured routes to explore places such as Uptown, Downtown, Harlem and Brooklyn. Manhattan is actually very easy to get around on foot, as the grid system of roads means you cannot easily get lost.
One of the world’s most-visited tourist attractions, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in a national park in New York Harbour is always packed with tourists, whatever time of year you travel. You must book ahead and it’s advisable to get a guided tour so you can easily move from place to place (such as the Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park where the tour starts, ferry rides to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, etc.) and not missing a thing!
The magnificent Central Park extends over 843 acres right in the middle of Manhattan and was designated a National Historic Landmark in the 1960s. It’s so huge it cannot be fully explored in a weekend, but you will easily get a sense of this lovely location after a stroll through its gently sloping pathways and green spaces. A great time to visit is at Christmas, when a horse drawn carriage will take you through the park as you enjoy the (usually) snowy landscape under the warmth of a blanket.
Ice skating is a popular pastime in Manhattan during the winter months. The most popular spots are at the Wollman Rink in Central Park and the Rink at the Rockefeller Centre in Midtown. A lesser known but really fun rink is the one at the Winter Village Bryant Park (located between 40th and 42nd Street), where admission is free but you need to pay to hire the skates. These rinks are only open seasonally so best to check their websites.
While there are literally hundreds of museums and art galleries to enjoy throughout New York City, an exciting and somewhat different attraction that is well worth the visit is to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum ( https://www.intrepidmuseum.org ), located on the West side of Manhattan on Pier 86, 12th Ave and 46th Street. Located on the aircraft carrier The Intrepid, you can tour a real-life space shuttle (Enterprise), visit a real Concord aircraft and explore a submarine called Growler among many other activities and exhibits.
It is always best to book tickets online ahead of your trip to avoid disappointment.
Where to stay
There are literally a thousand places to stay in New York City at prices to suit all budgets, so it’s best to think about where you want to base yourself – near to Central Park, in Midtown near to Times Square and all the hub of the theatre district, or further south near Battery Park/the Statue of Liberty, etc. If you are on a budget then check out the new Pod hotels that seem to be springing up everywhere. At the other end of the budget scale, there are plenty of hotels in which to splurge, such as The Plaza on Central Park and the Mandarin Oriental at Columbus Circle.
It can be freezing in winter with temperatures barely getting out of the 30s/40s F but spring and autumn are comfortable (60s and 70s). In summer it can get quite hot and humid (70s /80s F).