Five Non Touristy Reasons I’m Excited To Visit New York

New York is like Paris in the sense that it’s just one of those places you need to see in your life. Since I haven’t been before, you can imagine I’m getting incredibly excited as the date draws ever nearer (12th December – yes please!).

We’ve already booked our international flights on Icelandair (flying via Reykjavik in Iceland, too bad I’ll only see the inside of the airport for a few hours!) from Amsterdam to New York. I’ll certainly have mixed feelings about leaving our expat life here in The Netherlands but either way, you can bet I’m raring to go and check out The Big Apple.

Anyway, New York… so it’s a GIVEN that we’re going to see the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. We’ll waltz amongst the world famous art galleries of the MET, the MOMA and the Guggenheim, as well as the Natural History Museum.

We’ll explore the island of Manhattan…

Fun Fact: The Dutch traded the city of New York (what was then known as New Amsterdam) for Suriname to The English in 1674 – I wonder if they regret that decision now?

…and take the ferry whilst we soak up the sights.

So what are five things that are not-so-touristy that I’m looking forward to sinking my European spoiled teeth into?

Eating A New York Hotdog

So I hear New York has amazing hot dogs. I like hot dogs. That’s reason enough for me to get excited! In all seriousness though, Trudy has been to NY before and has advised me that hot dogs are epically party in your mouth and are like $1. Win!

Image Credit

Watching the New York Knicks vs Cleveland Cavaliers

So we booked tickets to watch the mighty Knicks face off the not-so-currently-steamrolling Cavaliers (Le Bron, we hate you). I expect New York to win and I expect it to be awesome. Tickets were actually reasonably priced, we got them from a ticket trade site owned by eBay for like $60 each!

Looking forward to roaring along with a crowd of New Yorkers to a few slam dunks in a loaded Madison Square Garden stadium.


Making Travel Cinemagraphs

Cinemagraphs? What the hell are they? Well, making a splash in the fashion world they are like GIFs for adults and have their origins in New York. The hot dog image/video above? That’s an awesome example of a Cinemagraph, hopefully we can make some that are just as good!

As one supermodel said, “it’s more than a photo but not quite a video”.

Trudy and I are learning how to make them but with an obvious travel focus. I’m loving the whole process and I’m finding it’s an excellent tech and creative outlet for me. Check out the Cinemagraph Series, where we’ve made some fun ones and posted them already.

Tipping 10-15%, say what?

I know, it may seem a bit strange that I’m excited to be tipping people, especially since being an Australian I’m not a big fan of tipping and it’s not ingrained into our culture at all.

However I feel like it’s going to be nice to just know exactly how much I should be tipping. There’s no maybes about it – no humming and ahh-ing about whether to tip and how much we should tip. It’s just done and at a set rate. The food will be cheaper anyway so it all works out in the end.

I’ll be tipping 10% for average service and 15% for excellent service!

Dazzling Christmas Decorations

I hear New York is beautiful leading up to Christmas. Cold, yes, but dazzling and wondrous in terms of Christmas decorations and trees. I’m expecting shops bedecked in Christmas cheer and cosy cafes oozing with the excitement that always comes during the days up to such a celebrated annual event.

There should be ice skating and warm drinks and busy shops with life buzzing all around us.

So I think we can narrow down my non-touristy reasons to be excited for New York as eating, watching, making, tipping & dazzling 😉

This post was brought to you in partnership with Johannes and

Flickr Photo Credit | featured image: kaysha | joffley | thoth92 | FilmDave

21 Responses to “Five Non Touristy Reasons I’m Excited To Visit New York”

  1. Don says:

    Tipping can be up to 20% if the service is excellent.

  2. Kayla says:

    You might want to up your standard tip a little bit bro. When I was in Vegas last May tipping was 18% standard. Not a huge deal for me though, us Canadians tip 15% standard.

    • Tom says:

      Doh, here I was thinking 15% was me being gracious. Looks like I’m going to have to tip 20% for good service and 15% for mediocrity. Oh the humanity! Thanks for the tip 😀 Don’t want to get chased down the street for being a horrible tipper!

  3. We got an interesting tip from a local recently…if you are into art and want to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, you don’t have to pay the full admission price. In tiny letters on the sign, it says that the $25 admission fee for adults is just a “recommended” amount.

    He told me that locals almost never pay that much, so while it might be tacky to pay TOO little (and might engender unpleasant glares from the person at the ticket window) one can get by with paying less, happily making this a budget friendly activity!

    • Tom says:

      Hi Shanna! Great budget travel tip there 😀 We’ll have to try that out and report back! Thanks for stopping in and adding value to the post!

  4. The Guy says:

    I find it hard to believe that someone is excited about tipping. Especially an Aussie! Hey ho, each to their own.

    Mind you, if it is a good hotdog…..

    Hope you have a great trip and enjoy all your planned events.

    • Tom says:

      Hi Guy!

      Haha, it’s more the concept of KNOWING exactly what to tip and there not being any grey area. The food is cheaper but I tip on top of it, and don’t get to feel cheap at the same time. Win!

  5. Traci says:

    SO glad to hear you’re visiting, and will be able to spread the word that New York is still up and running after Super Storm Sandy!

    By the way, that hot dog image is awesome!

    • Tom says:

      Hi Traci! Absolutely, and the blogger post collaboration you started was an excellent idea. We’re looking forward to seeing NY get back on its feet and up and running after the hurricane.

      The hot dog image is my favourite one too 🙂

  6. Chanel says:

    I hope you all have a wonderful visit to my city. Unfortunately average tipping is between 15-20% and usually for dinner it is automatically added to your bill! If you are a member of CouchSurfing, we have weekly meetups and events all the time. Enjoy!

    • Tom says:

      Hiya Chanel! Thanks for dropping in 🙂 I’m definitely going to tip 20% for good service, no worries there, I’ve been told 😀

      Oooh, CouchSurfing’s meet ups are always awesome, we’ll check it out for sure! Cheers!

  7. MollyG says:

    Hello! I am a lifelong New Yorker so I feel I can give you a few good tips on my fabulous city. Number 1: Tip 20%. Sorry. It sucks and I wish it was unnecessary, but jobs that receive tips in the US aren’t required to even make minimum wage. So that waiter in NYC makes about $5 an hour before tips. That is not a livable wage. They need their tips. Please keep this in mind!

    Things to do on the cheap: Most museums either have a free afternoon once a week (the MoMA, for example) or are a suggested donation (the Met and the Natural History Museum, for example). For the pay what you wish museums, $1 is perfectly fine. Don’t feel guilty saving money there. Central Park is amazing. Even New Yorkers think so. Hang out there, a lot. The Staten Island ferry is free so take it. But it is the only free ferry in NYC. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Great views and Brooklyn is awesome. Find fun cheap things to do on Time Out New York’s website ( See cheap comedy! The Magnet Theater, Upright Citizen’s Brigade, and many others have cheap shows every night of the week! Okay, that’s all I’ve got right now. Have a blast! New York is the best!

    • Tom says:

      Hi Molly! Great to hear some things to do from a local 😀 We will definitely tip 20%, no worries there! 🙂 This was a fantastic comment with some amazing tips for New York, we will try and do them all! Thanks so much!

      • MollyG says:

        Yay! Enjoy the city! I look forward to the post about what you guys did after your trip! I’m going on a big backpacking trip next year so I read your blog for inspiration. Thanks for keeping us updated!

  8. Alex says:

    Good list! Two places I would highly recommend visiting:
    – The Tenement Museum: It’s an old tenement building dating back to the 1800s where many immigrant families would live in tiny apartments without electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. The guides are fabulous and tell you stories about the actual families that lived there. This was my favourite museum in all of New York.
    – Highline Park: An old elevated rail line they turned into a beautiful park. Probably one of the quietest places in Manhattan since you’re above all the traffic! Lots of people selling local art too which is neat.
    Enjoy your trip, I haven’t spent Christmas in NY but I hear it’s amazing 🙂

    • Tom says:

      Hey Alex! Thanks for more awesome tips – woo! The Tenement Museum sounds fantastic as does Highline Park! Our to-do list in NYC is getting excitably large 😀

  9. New York is one of my favourite cities! Too bad there’s not hockey on. Hope you made it to central park and don’t forget to tip while you’re in Canada too 😉

  10. Ron Willams says:

    This is really a great list. Can’t wait to go back and visit again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© Copyright 2018 -