Visiting New York City at any time of the year is always going to be busy – people love it there, and it’s open all year round (some people prefer to visit in the warmth of the spring, others love the way the city looks in the winter, and so on). Yet there is one time of year when it pays to be as prepared as possible, and that’s during U.N.G.A, or the United Nations General Assembly. This is the biggest diplomatic convention in the world, and it takes place in September each year and lasts for a week, and as you might imagine, hotels, restaurants, theaters, and attractions can get pretty full pretty quickly. It’s best to book well in advance if you happen to be visiting New York at the same time as the conference – or even if you’re attending it – so you can be sure not to miss out. Read on to find out more.
Find The Right Hotel
The first thing you’ll want to do when you know you’re attending U.N.G.A. or you’re going to be in the city when it’s happening is to book your hotel room. Your hotel is such a crucial part of your trip that booking in advance is vital, so you know you have a great place to stay. Here are some of the best hotels to look out for and choose a room in when you’re in New York.
1. Westgate New York Grand Central
The Westgate is within walking distance to U.N.G.A.
If you’re attending U.N.G.A., then the Westgate New York Grand Central is a perfect place to stay. In fact, this is where many of the people attending the conference choose to stay because it’s so close – well within walking distance. Even if you’re not going to the event itself, being this close to the action is a great way to see what’s going on. Plus, you’re close to a lot of other attractions, restaurants, and boutique stores too. The hotel has its own superb restaurant and a gym, giving you everything you need to enjoy yourself during U.N.G.A. or any time of the year.
2. Crosby Street Hotel
Crosby Street Hotel is run by Firmdale Hotels.
Crosby Street Hotel is another hotel close to U.N.G.A., and it will take you just four minutes on the subway to make the journey. Again, whether you’re attending or not, booking your room in advance if you want to stay here is vital. Otherwise, you might miss out on this most gorgeous of hotels. There is a wonderful bar and restaurant and a patio to enjoy your food and drink right on Lafayette Street. If you want a genuine spot to see New York, this is not a bad one to choose. You’ll even find a cinema in the basement, and there are regular events that take place there for residents and visitors alike.
3. Sixty SoHo
With a critically acclaimed restaurant, Sixty SoHo is a great choice.
There are many reasons why you might choose Sixty SoHo to stay in during U.N.G.A., but one of the best is the amazing bar and restaurant in the hotel. It is highly regarded by many a critic, so if you’re staying at Sixty SoHo, make sure you eat there at least once. The bar is on the roof, and during the summer, it’s a gorgeous spot to soak up the N.Y.C. atmosphere. As well as the food and drink offerings, there is free wifi and a gym, and the rooms are stylish and modern.
4. Millennium Hilton New York One U.N. Plaza
A hotel so close to the United Nations, you’ll need to book well ahead.
When you’re looking at hotels that are mere steps away from the United Nations headquarters, booking early if you’re visiting during U.N.G.A. is so important; otherwise, you’ll have to look for a different choice of hotel, and that’s not always fun. If you have your heart set on the Millennium Hilton New York – and why would you not – you’ll have to plan ahead, but it will be worth it. The service in this hotel is second to none, perhaps because so many dignitaries use it as their base when in town for U.N.G.A., but whatever the reason, you’ll be assured of a warm welcome and a great stay.
Book Your Favorite Attractions
It’s always a good idea to book the attractions you want to see in New York in advance to ensure you don’t miss out, but if you’re visiting the city during U.N.G.A., it makes even more sense. Always a busy place, at this time of year, thousands more people flock to the city. Of course, some attractions like Central Park, Grand Central Terminal, and the Staten Island Ferry are free, and booking isn’t needed, but others do have restrictions in place when it comes to numbers. Here are some of the best attractions to book.
When you think of booking tickets to something, the magnificent and magical Broadway will spring to mind. Whether you visit New York during U.N.G.A. or any other time of the year, you’ll need to book your tickets in advance if you want to see the show of your choice. This could be anything from Les Miserables to The Lion King to Moulin Rouge and so much more. No matter what style of show you love, from the funny to the dramatic, from musicals to plays, you can see it here. Book your tickets before you leave to ensure you get a good seat at the show of your choice.
6. The Statue Of Liberty
When you visit New York, booking yourself a spot in the Statue of Liberty’s crown is essential and during U.N.G.A., you might need to book many months ahead. Although most people don’t realize this and think they can turn up on the day and climb those famous 162 steps to the top of Lady Liberty’s crown, that’s not the case. Remember, the Statue of Liberty is on an island, and only a certain number of people can fit there at any one time. Even fewer people can fit in the crown. Therefore, you need to book your tickets, and it’s best to book as early as you can, as it might be months before there is a space for you.
7. The Empire State Building
The Empire State Building has been part of the New York skyline for over 80 years, and since the day it opened, this 102-story skyscraper has been a popular tourist destination. One of the reasons is the view – on a clear day, it’s possible to see so far that you’re looking out over five different states. It’s the 86th floor that you need to get to for that view, and this is what you need to book in advance because everyone else wants to go there too. Once you’re up there, you can stay for as long as you like, so book an early slot if you can, and that way, you’ll get a lot more value for money.
Where Will You Eat?
New York is famous for its thousands of excellent restaurants, and although you can just walk into some of them and be seated, this is becoming more and more unusual – more often than not, you’ll need a reservation, and in some cases, this will need to be made months in advance. Here are some of the restaurants where reservations are important.
8. Dept Of Culture
Dept Of Culture is a fantastic and relatively new restaurant in Brooklyn. The theme is that of a Nigerian home in the 1980s, and if that isn’t niche enough for you, we don’t know what is. Here you’ll be able to experience not just amazing food but a special culture that you might otherwise never get to know. You’ll be sitting on communal tables for the most part, but reservations are still required. What’s fun is that in the booths and around the walls are family photos from the chef, Ayo Balogun. The food is prepared for everyone together, and Balogun will regale diners with stories of his homeland. It’s a very special kind of dining experience.
Peasant is an authentic Italian restaurant on Elizabeth Street, New York. When we say authentic, we mean it – much of the food is cooked over open flames and fires to give it that real taste of Italy. It is, in fact, how the peasants did it and, in many cases, still do. This is a different take on Italian cuisine that you need to experience to understand fully. Some of the dishes on the menu include the family-style pig roast and the Bucatini carbonara, which is served right at your table.
Bonnie’s is a Cantonese-American restaurant that you won’t want to miss. It hasn’t been open long – less than a year, in fact – but it is so popular that reservations are a must. Chef Calvin Eng was inspired by his mother, Bonnie, to create a restaurant that served dishes from his childhood, and that’s why Bonnie’s exists. As well as these delicious delicacies, Eng has updated traditional American food with a Cantonese twist.