How to Avoid Getting Lost in New York

If you read my last blog post, you’ll see that I was in New Jersey last month for an engagement shoot.  Of course, I couldn’t be that close to New York without going to visit the city.  On my last day of the weekend, I decided to walk around the city since my flight left later in the afternoon.

I didn’t have much time so I really had to pick and choose what I wanted to do.  The last time I was in New York by myself, I somehow ended up at the Guggenheim, with no money for the subway so I had to walk 30 blocks to 42nd street to catch my bus to Passaic.

I couldn’t afford to let that happen this time since I didn’t want to miss my flight.  I had to have a plan this time.  So what can you really do with only a few hours to spare?

Tip #1 is to assess logistics.  Wow.  That sounded super nerdy.  Basically, where is your starting point?  Times Square? Columbus Circle?  In my case it was the financial district since I rode to my friend’s job in the morning.

I decided to walk around Battery Park and from there decided I wanted to go to SoHo and just walk around.

Battery Park was such a nice area to walk around.  I suggest it for a picnic or stroll.

Tip #2 is figure out where you want to end up.  After walking around Battery Park for a while, I decided it was time to venture to SoHo.

A quick Google search let me know that the “A” train would take me to SoHo from where I was.  I jumped on the subway and as I was riding, realized I had a problem.

The ferry to Weehawken in Battery Park.
A view of Weehawken, NJ from a park bench in Batter Park.

I looked at the stops on the train and realized I didn’t know any of the street names that actually pertained to SoHo.  I was definitely on the right train, but had no idea where I would end up.

(Tip #3: Definitely research some street names.)

The first major stop I did recognize was the Brooklyn Bridge.  Since I had never been to the Brooklyn Bridge and I didn’t want to risk getting too far off track, I decided to jump off there.  I figured my trip to SoHo would just have to wait.

(Tip #4: If you end up in a situation like mine, don’t keep going.  Stop and see where you are or if you are familiar with the area.)

I’m so glad I decided to get off there, because I actually had been to SoHo a few years back and the Brooklyn Bridge is so much more spectacular in person than it is in photos or movies.  It was super crowded but I was still able to enjoy the views.

I was only able to spend about 20 minutes on the bridge since I was meeting a friend for lunch so I wasn’t able to walk all the way across.  It was still definitely worth it.

View of the NYC skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Looking up at the halfway point of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Because I only had about 2 hours to spend in the city, this was basically all I was able to do.  It doesn’t sound like much, but between the weather being perfect and the city bustling, it was a perfect few hours.

Tip 5: Just let it happen. 

Now, it’s actually kind of hard to get lost in New York.  There are signs everywhere and the city is basically just a huge grid.  You will eventually find your way back if you just slow down and pay attention.  The thing about New York City is that, as cliche as it might sound, it really is about the journey and not the destination.

Don’t get me wrong.  The destinations, or sights, are a great experience, but for me, just walking around a city that is that alive and looking up at the skyscrapers makes it a more filling experience.

A quick capture of Freedom Tower on my way to the subway.

Sometimes getting “lost” will give you a better story than being stuck in line with hundreds of tourists waiting to take a picture with someone dressed as Elmo in Times Square.

If you’re more visual, you can watch that vlog here:  

All of the photos in this post are available for purchase on my website

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