nyc museums

FAQ: How do you see all of NYC in one day?

esb; nyc

View from the top of the Empire State Building

How to take advantage of one full day in NYC

One of my favorite questions I get almost every day comes from the traveler who loves to spread themselves thin: I’m only going to be in New York for 24 hours, how do I see all of NYC in one day? There’s actually a pretty easy answer to this question.

You don’t.

If you think you can see all of New York City in one day, you’re out of your mind. Most people who have lived here for years on end are still trying to see the whole city. New York is just too big and there’s too much to do to see everything in one day. But that leads to the next question: How do I take advantage of my one day in NYC to see as much as possible?

Now we’re talking realistically. Allow me to lay out a play to see as much of NYC as possible in one day.

Early Wake Up Call

nyc bagels

You have to wake up early to truly take advantage of the day. Hit a bagel shop near your hotel that’s not named Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. For less than $5 you can get yourself the best bagel you’ve ever had and a coffee. You probably want to enjoy this breakfast as your stroll through Central Park. This is a true New York City start to the morning.

9 am: Manhattan Experience Tour

top of the rock

Top of the Rock, NYC

You’re going to start out your exploration with the 8-Hour Manhattan Experience tour. Don’t worry, this isn’t 8 hours of sitting on a bus or listening to some guys talk, this is an all-inclusive tour that begins at 9 a.m. and includes a trip to the Statue of Liberty, the Top of the Rock, Lunch in Little Italy, and exploration of some of Manhattan’s coolest places. You will be touring the city on a comfortable motorcoach and a tour guide will take you on walking tours of Wall Street, South Street Seaport, Grant’s Tomb, Rockefeller Center, Little Italy, and the World Trade Center memorial.

5 pm: Grab a Slice


The Manhattan Experience tour has knocked out a lot of the sightseeing, as well as giving you a sit-down meal in an authentic restaurant in Little Italy. Now it’s 5 p.m. so it’s time to grab a slice of pizza to hold you over, because you’re only getting one sit-down meal today.

5:30 pm: Catch a train to The Met

the met museum

You can’t go to NYC and not visit one of the world class museums we have to offer. If it’s a Friday or Saturday, you need to jump on the Subway and head up to either the 77th Street or 86th Street stop on the 4-5-6 line. The Metropolitain Museum of Art is open until 9 p.m. on these days, so that gives you plenty of time to see some of the museum.  If it’s not Friday or Saturday, check out the schedule of other NYC museums and stop by one that is open late on the day you’re in town. Again, you can’t truly see New York until you take in the art it has to offer.

7:30ish pm: Miscellaneous time

mr. met at citi field

Mr. Met at Citi Field

This one is one you, and time dependent. You need to do something that appeals to you specifically, not just take in the sights, so from this point forward, we’re on you time. Sports fan? Catch a game at Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center in the winter, Yankee Stadium or Citi Field if it’s summer. The early comedy shows typically start around 8 in the city, the same time most of the evening Broadway performances begin. This time is for you to do something catered to your personality.

10:30ish pm: Grab a drink, you’ve earned it

beer nyc

photo: flickr / aslakr

You have been up for a while now, trekking across the whole city. You must be tired, ready to call it a night, huh? Well, New York City has an exceptional night life, so if you’re truly trying to see the whole city in all of its elements, you’re not even close to done with your night. Find a good bar, probably a hole in the wall on the Lower East Side or in Brooklyn. The hole in the wall crowd is one that you haven’t experienced yet in your NYC travels.

1:00 am: Time for some street meat

street meat

Photo: Flickr / Oran Viriyincy

After a few drinks and maybe some karaoke, you just realized that you are starving. It’s time to leave the bar and find some food. NYC is home to some of the best street meat in the world, so keep your eye out for some food trucks. It’s shouldn’t be too hard to find one on the Lower East Side or Brooklyn this time of night, so hopefully you listened to me.

1:30 am: Let’s go Clubbing!


Grab a cab to the meatpacking district to end your night partying at one of New York City’s most extravagant clubs. This is one of the last environments you have yet to see on your NYC journey, so even if you’re not much of a dancer, it’s still something to experience. Here’s a quick tip for going to a NYC club: Be a pretty girl, be with a pretty girl, be rich, or be famous, and getting into the club will be exponentially easier.

4 am: You have to catch your flight!


You flying out of JFK early in the morning remember? Grab a cab to your hotel, gather your things, then head out to the airport. You’ll get there just in time for your early morning flight to LAX, and you can sleep on the plane.

So, you want to do NYC in one day? Here’s your itinerary.

Note: There are still tons of things that you’re missing out on, but again you only have 24 hours. What would you change about this itinerary? What other things in NYC do you want to see? Tell us on twitter at @GrayLineNewYork.


Review: Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum

flight deck

Every Week, Gray Line New York will be highlighting a “Partner of the Week” on our blog. We are going to provide a review for a new partner’s product and share our own insights and experiences. This week, our Partner of the Week is the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.

If you like exploration, inspiration and excitement, the Intrepid is the museum for you. This Sea, Air, & Space Museum, all located on the aircraft carrier, The Intrepid, gives you the opportunity to learn and experience US history from the past century. Positioned right on the Harbor, I personally think the Intrepid is one of the most uniquely located museums in all of New York City because it has beautiful views of the water on one side and the city on the other.

Captain's Bridge

Captain’s Bridge

Separate from a traditional museum, the Intrepid offers indoor and outdoor experiences like no other museum I have been to. After going quickly through security, I immediately stepped onto the large pier where the ship is docked. It was a beautiful day so I did not rush to get onto the ship/museum and I walked to the end of the pier where a British Airways Concorde was located. It was cool to see because this was one of the only airplanes featured that I could actually touch and walk under.

From there I finally boarded the Intrepid through one of the four towers. This took me onto the Hangar Deck, which is all indoors and filled with countless artifacts and history. A portion of this deck is an exhibit known as the Exploreum. I felt that this is worth noting because of the hands on activities. You could sit in the cockpits of fighter jets, lay in the ships bunk beds and experience a 4-D motion ride, just to name a few. I could tell a lot of kids were especially enjoying this section but that doesn’t mean I didn’t.

wwii navy artifacts

WWII Navy Artifacts

After the Exploreum fun was over, I went outside to climb up to the Flight Deck. Here, the entire outside top deck was filled with airplanes and helicopters, each with their own bit of history. I looked at and read about Fighter Jets from the US Navy that were part of wars such as, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and World War II. At the center of this deck I was able to climb up to the Captain’s Bridge. I thought this was one of the coolest parts of the ship because even though it was small, it still seemed like one of the nicest parts. I walked through the control room and the Captain’s Sea Cabin. It felt like one of the most exclusive parts of the ship and I think that’s why it was so appealing and exciting.

After that, I had two more decks to explore- the Third Deck and the Gallery Deck. These decks were inside and completely opposite from the Hangar Deck because it was a lot more closed in, filled with narrow hallways and doorways to climb through. Here, I was able to get a feel of what it was like to be working on the ship. I saw numerous cubbies with bunks and bathrooms, the kitchen, lounge and cafeteria rooms. It was fascinating to see how everything fit, even though it was so crammed.

As I was making my way off of the ship, back onto the pier, I realized that I loved this museum because it was so unique in a way that each deck was completely different from the other. Whether it be outside or inside, or open spaced or closed spaced, this kept the museum constantly exciting and gave off a real feel of the actual boat. I enjoyed that I felt like I was on an exploration rather than formally walking through an organized museum. It is needless to say at this point, but if you enjoy exploring and are looking for an adventure, the Intrepid is the place to be.

Pro Tips:

  • Bring sunscreen for warmer days
  • Bring Jacket for colder days
  • Exploreum for kids and the whole family
  • Bring a camera for a lot of pictures
  • Some sections you can only get to via stairs, but mostly elevators are provided

To pre-purchase tickets for the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, visit our website now: Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum Tickets

Review and photos by Megan Ryan

Review: New York Historical Society Museum and Library

new york historical society

Every Monday, Gray Line New York will be highlighting a “Partner of the Week” on our blog. We are going to provide a review for a new partner’s product and share our own insights and experiences. This week, our Partner of the Week is the New York Historical Society Museum and Library.

Founded in 1804, the New-York Historical Society Museum is New York’s oldest collecting institution. But that certainly does not make it unappealing. It is located right along Central Park West with central park right across the street, making the outside just as pleasant as the inside. During my visit inside the museum on a hot Spring, Wednesday afternoon, I discovered over ten million artifacts, documents, and works of art. In addition, I explored the earliest moments of our nation’s founding as well as important events of today. This included remarkable sculptures, furniture, paintings, ceramics, and other artifacts from history.

After admiring the elegance and displays of the lobby, which included brief historical pieces of New York City, slavery, The Revolution, and World War II, I headed upstairs to the exhibits. I first came across a library and a reading room free of charge to any visitor to sit and look or read. The rest of the second floor included “The Complete Flock of Audubon’s Aviary.” This contained numerous rooms with their collection of Audubon watercolor paintings. These watercolor models of The Birds of America were so unique to see. I learned that the New-York Historical Society is the only place to view these national treasures in their entirety. And I certainly believed that you could not find an exhibit like this anywhere else.

new york historical society

After bird watching, I went up another flight of stairs to explore all the different kinds of artifacts from the 17th century all the way through to the 21st century. First I found The Holiday Express, where I found an abundance of toys and trains from the Jerni collection. This was my favorite part of the entire museum because the beauty and detail in all the miniature trains and train stations was like nothing I have ever seen before. However, this was the only exhibit that I could not take pictures in, so you will have to visit and prove me right on this one.

I continued through-out the floor where I stumbled upon several different artifacts. I looked at numerous tables and chairs used by the first US Congress. Seeing desks that our forefathers sat in was incredible. The painting exhibit included American Paintings from the colonial period through the twentieth century. The paintings captured so much American History including depictions of Washington Crossing the Delaware and self-portraits of several US presidents. Similar to this, the sculpture room displayed sculptures of historical figures like Roosevelt, Lincoln, and Jefferson.

new york historical society

NYC police equipment from the 1940’s and 50’s.

Needless to say, I had no idea that there was so much awaiting me at the NY Historical Society Museum. I could talk all day about the unlimited history in this museum. Now that I’m thinking about it, I did fail to mention the Children’s History Section on the lower level and the Military weapons from the Civil War and both world wars on the upper lever. Lucky for you, I am providing you with some insight of the museum before arriving. There might have been a few more things I forgot to mention, but I guess you’ll have to plan a visit and find out for yourself. There is no way you can pass this recommendation to indulge yourself with rich stories of New York and American history.

To pre-purchase tickets for the New York Historical Society Museum and Library, visit our website now:  New York Historical Society Museum and Library Tickets

Review and photos by Megan Ryan

Review: MoMA in Two Hours

Every Monday, Gray Line New York will be highlighting a “Partner of the Week” on our blog. We are going to provide a review for a new partner’s product and share our own insights and experiences. This week, our Partner of the Week is The Museum of Modern Art.

MoMA, NYC, Museum of modern art

Museum of Modern Art

“Modern art is just like normal art, but with a modern twist.”

Way back during my freshman year of college, that is how my architecture professor summed up the idea of modern art. I don’t think I knew what he was talking about at the time, but looking back, I think that may have been the point. While that may seem like a pretty obvious description of modern art, it has always stuck with me and I never really knew why.

Last week I made the trek up to 55th street to visit The Museum of Modern Art. Since my days as a freshman architecture student, I have become quite the modern art fan. I don’t know much about artists or movements or art in general, but I love going to museums. The summer that I spent in London involved numerous trips to Tate Modern. Whenever I’ve gone to the Louvre or the Met or the V&A, I always find myself spending the majority of my time in the modern art section. Despite all of this, I somehow have never made it to the MoMA, arguably the world’s greatest modern art museum, which happens to be located right in the heart of my city. Needless to say, I was very excited for this trip.

One of my favorites, by Wassily Kandinsky

One of my favorites, by Wassily Kandinsky

When I arrived at the Museum of Modern Art, I wasn’t quite sure that I had gone to the right place. When I think about museums, I imagine standalone buildings with a massive presence like the American Museum of Natural History or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but this isn’t the case for the MoMA. Instead, it looks just like any other building that you might pass by in Midtown Manhattan. There was nothing special about the exterior- nothing that screamed, “Look at me, I’m a museum!”

When I entered the building, shortly after the museum had opened at 10:30 a.m., I felt like I had just gone into a crowded office building. There were a couple of main desks off to the sides, but mostly just an open area of space that serves as the lobby. Again, this was beginning unlike any trip to a museum I had ever experienced. It was ordinary. After a brief exchange at the information desk, I received my ticket and entered the museum side of the lobby. I was immediately overcome by the extremely open architectural design of the building and realized that this isn’t just like any old office building.

color quoteOn the day that I went to the MoMA, I was really stretched for time, as most tourists are when they visit New York City. I decided that it would be best to spend no more than two hours at the museum, so this review will reflect that. This is the story of how you can take on MoMA in less than two hours.

I started by taking the escalator straight to the top of the building. Floors four and five are for painting and sculpture, which is where most of the popular works are located. Once I was on the fifth floor, I began wandering from room to room, taking in all of the different pieces of art. Some paintings I recognized, some artists I had heard of, others I wasn’t familiar with. As it goes for most museums, I didn’t spend an equal amount of time admiring each piece of art that I saw. Some pieces caught my attention more than others, so those were the ones I dedicated my time to. After all, I only have two hours, so I need to use this time wisely.

moma, nyc, art

I have a similar piece in my home, but it’s value is diminished since I walk all over it every day.

The thing about the MoMA as opposed to other museums in NYC is that you need to go into it with an open mind. There were dozens of pieces of art that I looked at and thought to myself, “I could absolutely have made this- how is it hanging in a museum?” If you let that feeling get to you, you won’t enjoy your visit. Instead, just look at the art and say, “Damn, Barnett Newman is lucky that he decided to paint an entire canvas red before I did.”

While there are some pieces that will make you question what art really is, so many others will leave you staring at the wall, transfixed by a paintings beauty. “Color is a means of exerting direct influence upon the soul,” read the info card next to one painting. “Art is a creation for the eye and can only be hinted at with words,” read an actual canvas hanging on the wall.

the scream, moma, nyc

Crowds were small, but consistent around The Scream

The two big draws were not surprising in the least, given that they are probably the two most popular paintings in the museum. The first was The Scream by Edvard Munch, currently on loan to the MoMA by financier Leon Black, who purchased the painting at auction in 2012 for over $119 million, making it the most expensive painting ever sold. It has also been the target of multiple thefts, and versions of it have gone missing for up to two years giving it even more popularity. The painting was also the inspiration for the “ghostface” mask worn by the killer in the popular movie, Scream. For these reasons and many more, there was a crowd gathered by the painting at all times.

The second painting is Vincent Van Gogh’s, The Starry Night. Again, this painting had half a dozen people surrounding it at all times because of its popularity. What’s really cool about The Starry Night is the texture of the paint. I’ve seen pictures in art history books and online hundreds of times before, but seeing the actual painting hanging on the wall was a real treat. The brush strokes are so much more defined in real life than in photography, giving me the feeling that it really was the first time that I was laying my eyes upon Van Gogh’s masterpiece.

My personal favorite was a series of three painting by Umberto Boccioni entitled States of Mind. The series is really a story that has emotion and depth and really makes you feel feelings. I could have spent an hour just staring at these paintings, striking up conversation about them with other guests who took a liking, but since I only had a limited amount of time, I had to move on. When you stop by the MoMA, you should check them out. They’re awesome.

As I began describing earlier, the building that houses the Museum of Modern Art is modern art in and of itself. The spacing and balconies make it so that even when it is crowded, it doesn’t feel crowded. The selection and placement of the art is strategically done as to further provide that open feel. One large room left all of the walls empty just to hang a single piece from the ceiling. The building itself isn’t nearly as big as The Met, but it certainly feels that way.

umberto boccioni, moma, states of mind

Boccioni’s States of Mind I: The Farewells

By the time I made my way through the fourth and fifth floors, my two hours were nearly up. I never made it to floor three, which features Architecture and Design, Photography and Drawings, or floor two which houses Contemporary Galleries, Prints, and Media, but that’s fine. By not rushing my way through the museum to make sure that I saw all of it, I got to enjoy to parts that I did get to. If you’re going to the MoMA and are on a time limit, take a look at the map beforehand and decide what it is that you really want to see. Set your priorities and if you don’t make it to the bottom of your list, there’s always next time.

I made my way back to the street and down into the subway with a craving for more. As I rode the M train back to my office, I couldn’t help but think about my former professor’s quote. Everything about the MoMA was like other museums, but with a modern twist. From the entrance way to the escalators, the Museum of Modern Art truly is a modern experience. As obvious as that may sound, it still caught me off guard.

I cannot wait to get back to the museum. Surly I will be back soon, hopefully when I have a little more time to spare.

To pre-purchase tickets for the Museum of Modern Art and skip the line in the beginning, visit our website now: MoMA Tickets

Museum Mile Festival 2012

The Guggenheim is one of 10 museums featured in the Museum Mile Festival

The second Tuesday in June has come to be known as a special one in New York City because it means than the Museum Mile Festival is here!  New Yorkers and visitors of the city alike will descend on the stretch of 5th Avenue above 80th street for an evening of fun and free arts.  From 6-9 p.m., all ten participating museums will be opening their doors for free and giving guests access to the most priceless art in the world.  The streets will be lined with activities including photo booth, drawing classes for kids, chalk art and of course, a DJ named Stormin Norman!

The Museum Mile Festival, which originally started as an event to raise awareness during the fiscal crisis in the 70’s, has become a hit in Manhattan.  Every year, this is one of the best events New York has to offer for families, or even if you’re on your own.  The festival kicks off a 5:45 at the National Academy Museum with an opening ceremony of sorts.  Our Uptown Loop can drop you off right on Museum Mile and enlighten you with some fast facts, so check it out!

Participating Museums:











Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions In New York City

Happy New Year from Gray Line New York!

We’re looking forward to a brand new year here in the Big Apple and to kick things off, we thought we’d compile our own set of New Year’s Resolutions.

As the Community Manager for New York City’s red Double-Decker buses, you would think I’ve seen it all! The truth is, I’m a Florida transplant who still has a few items left on her New York City Bucket List.

With that, here are my Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions In New York City:

  1. Cloisters Museum – Doug, my co-worker in the Interactive Media Department, tells me all the time I should drop everything I do and visit this museum ASAP! The distance from our Midtown office is slightly intimidating, but the Medieval architecture and artwork ranging from the 12th-15th Century is extremely intriguing.
  2. Guggenheim Museum – My apartment is just a few short blocks from Museum Mile and this year, my goal is to check out a new exhibit at least once a month.
  3. 9/11 Memorial – For some reason, I can’t bring myself to visit the 9/11 Memorial just yet. When the time is right, I’ll make sure to bring my family and visit this extremely moving memorial together.
  4. Sex & The City Hotspots Tour – Alright, don’t judge now.. I’m a huge fan of this popular show filmed in the heart of the City that Never Sleeps. What’s your favorite movie or television show filmed in the city?
  5. How To Succeed In Business Without Even Trying – I’m a huge sucker for anything Harry Potter related, so when I learned that Daniel Radcliffe was the star of this hit Broadway Show, I knew I had to check it out. Although Radcliffe just wrapped up his final performance, I know this classic show will be a hit for years to come.
  6. Dialog in the Dark – Ever wondered what it’s like to experience the sights, sounds and smells of New York City in complete darkness? This experience will change your every day outlook on navigating the city streets.
  7. Rent – Confession: I’ve seen the movie Rent about 10 times, but still have yet to see the Broadway Show! Hopefully the cast members won’t mind me signing along.
  8. Empire State Building – Ever seen the movie, Sleepless in Seattle? Let’s just say I’m still waiting for the final scene to happen to me! 😉
  9. The Ride – If you’ve ever walked through Midtown Manhattan, you may have seen various actors break out in song and dance for The Ride. A Broadway Show and tour all in one? Sign me up.
  10. Woodbury Common Premium Outlets – Living in New York City can get sightly expensive if you aren’t careful, which is why I can’t wait to make a trip out to Woodbury Common this Spring. Shop ’til you drop!

Now it’s your turn!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions of new things to do while visiting New York City?

– Shannon May, Community Manager at Gray Line New York.