Day trip to Sandy Hook Beach near New York

New York can be pretty hot during summer so if you are thinking about going to a beach I can recommend taking the ferry to Sandy Hook. This is a beautiful peninsula in New Jersey, only a 50 minute boat trip from Manhattan. Just take a Seastreak ferry from East 35th Street or Wall Street.

Tickets are 45 USD for round trip and they can be bought at the dock prior to boarding. On a weekend it is wise to be at the dock early because lines build up pretty quickly and there aren’t many seats available outside on the ferry, if that’s what you are aiming at.

Worth noting is also that there is a north and south dock and there is really no way of knowing which of these the boat till stop by. Follow the locals and you have a decent chance of chosing the right one. They are next to each other so you will be fine either way.

The ferry ride is an event in itself, you go under the bridges on the east side, including Brooklyn Bridge of course. And you also pass under the impressive Verrazano Narrows Bridge on the way to New Jersey.

Verrazano Narrows Bridge

Once the boat stops at Sandy Hook a school bus will take you to the beach of your choice, but you need to decide where you want to go, since there are different buses for each destination. Buses are included in the ferry ticket price.

North Beach, Sandy Hook
We chose to go to North Beach which is one of the closest to the ferry stop. It was a really nice beach and I can only assume that this is one of the best beaches close to New York. It’s a very large beach so there’s enough room for everyone, the sand was nice and, according to other visitors, it had unusually high waves when we visited.

Currents were quite strong and it was not suitable for small children to swim without an adult. The water was warm and it was very cool to swim with the Manhattan skyline in the horizon. Highly recommended.

Bring your own snacks since you can’t buy any food on North Beach, just drinks from a vending machine by the dressing rooms.

View from One World Observatory at One World Trade Center

Since May 29, 2015 there is a new skyscraper to visit for magnificent views of Manhattan and the surrounding New York and New Jersey areas. That’s when One World Observatory opened up to the public. The Observatory is located on the 100th, 101st and 102nd floors at the top of One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

It’s an impressive building and almost anywhere you go on lower Manhattan, you can see the top of the skyscraper.

One World Trade Center

Planning your visit
Plan your visit to the observatory in advance and it is easy to buy tickets online here and print at home. You should arrive 15 minutes before the chosen time on your ticket and we planned to enter at 6.15 PM to be able to watch the sunset. Entry was really quick and hardly no line at all so we just went through security which took a minute or two and then entered the elevator.

Videos are shown on the elevator walls which simulate the view of Manhattan and the trip up to the top is both smooth and quick. Once you arrive at the top you step inte the See Forever Theatre and are shown a two-minute film about the building and New York. Once the film is over the curtains go up and you get to see the live view of the surroundings for the first time.

Then you step down to the observation deck on the 100th floor and the 360 degree views that are absolutely breathtaking. It was well worth the wait to see the sun go down over New Jersey.

Sunset: View from One World Observatory

While the views are stunning I still think that a visit to the top of Empire State Building is more impressive since you get to see the views outside. It’s not the same thing to watch behind glass windows and it also made it much more difficult to take good photos since there were a lot of reflections. And also, people had the annoying habit of sitting on the small ledge below the windows, so that you had to wait until they left to be able to get a decent shot. Nevertheless, it was a cool experience and maybe next time in New York we will aim for Top of the Rock.

The High Line, New York

When we were in New York in February it was freezing cold so a walk on the High Line had to wait until our next visit. We just took a walk then down to one of the entrances at West 30th Street to try to catch the sunset. Now however, it was way more pleasant to stroll on the elevated park through Chelsea and the western parts of Manhattan.

We woke up early and took the subway down to the Meatpacking District. From the station at 14 Street/8 Ave it was just a short walk via Gansevoort Street to the southernmost entrance of the High Line on Washington Street. This is the first part of the park that was opened in June, 2009.

Entrance to the High Line, New York

 

Even on a Friday morning the park was already beginning to become busy with tourists and I can imagine that on a weekend it can get somewhat crowded.

the High Line, New York

 

It’s pretty cool to be able to walk through the blocks a few meters above the ground and not having to worry about traffic. You can get some really nice views of the neighbourhoods, for example between W 17th Street and W 16th Street, the walk crosses above 10th Ave and there are seats where you can sit and watch the streets below. Also a good photo spot for selfies…

Before you get to that point the High Line runs through Chelsea Market where you can buy artwork, coffee, ice cream and other stuff.

We actually walked all the way up to West 30th Street where the High Line ends and then walked all the way down again. It doesn’t take that long. We wanted to grab lunch at Bubby’s by the first entrance and it was not a disappointment.

Bubby’s, High Line

I had the Roasted Turkey BLT and the Watermelon Lemonade, naturally served in a hipster glass jar. Both were delicious and you should not miss the 7 USD watermelon drink if you go there. And there’s no need to spike it with vodka.

Bubby's New York

 

If you are planning to grab something to eat after your tour of the High Line I would recommend starting on the north end since the area around the southern entrances are much cozier. Unless you want to do like we did and walk the whole thing up and down.

Back in New York – Dinner at Ruby’s

Last Thursday, we landed in New York for the second time this year. The Big Apple greeted us with a heat wave and about 34 C. Quite a difference from our February visit when it was as low as -15 C. After a short meet up midtown with an old friend we went down to Nolita and Ruby’s Café, a small and intimate restaurant on Mulberry Street.

It doesn’t take reservations so we had to wait about 20 minutes to get seated, but it was worth it.

Ruby's Café, Nolita, New York

I had the Creamy Chicken Pasta which I definitely can recommend. And as always in the US, the portion sizes were quite big. Since we were both tired from jetlag and incredibly warm we didn’t even manage to finish the whole meal. Maybe next time…

Here’s a photo of the delicious creamy chicken from Ruby’s on Instagram:

Take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

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We visited New York in February this year and although it was really cold, at least the skies were clear. If you want to explore the famous Brooklyn Bridge and snap a classic picture like the one below, you can take the A or C subway to Brooklyn (High Street) and then walk back over the bridge.

That way you can cover the whole distance of the bridge without having to do it twice. This walk is supposedly best at sunset when you can see the Manhattan skyline as silhouettes but it was absolutely ok during daytime as well.

brooklyn-bridge
Brooklyn Bridge