Things to do in New York If You’re Under 21

At the tender age of 17, Manhattan in New York was the most thrilling place I’d ever been to. Even ten years later on it’s still pretty high on my list. On the 2nd night of our stay my mum wasn’t very well so she slept while I went out to get dinner. Being a rebellious 17 year old I decided to wait to get dinner and explore Times Square instead.

Times Square

The excitement and thrill that I felt as I explored the bright lights, massive screens and loads of people almost made me piss myself. Holy mother is that an M&M store? My eyes couldn’t believe what they were seeing. I thought that it was an amazing idea; a store just devoted to M&Ms! Since then I have of course realised that the tourist hub of the M&M store represents capitalism in its worse form. But 17 year old me absolutely loved it.

Statue of Liberty

Seeing your own mum hold on for dear life as the speedboat bashes against the waves on the way to the Statue of Liberty is rather hilarious.

The Statue of Liberty looks just as you’d expect but even so it’s still rather lovely to see. Unfortunately for some reason we weren’t allowed to get off the boat and walk around Liberty island. The teenage me didn’t bother to listen or ask why so it wasn’t until five minutes ago that I realised that perhaps we went on the wrong trip. – It was probably cheaper to just sit on the boat and view it. To get off might’ve been an extra $50. If you go, I recommend getting tickets to visit her crown – it’s much better than just staring at her from the water.

Ground Zero

My visit to Ground Zero was around the time that America had just announced that it was building a Freedom tower. A taller, bigger, some would say obnoxious tower. Wouldn’t a nice memorial garden have been more respectful?

I was only 11 when 9/11 happened and it was obviously the most shocking thing I’d ever seen, so I felt I had to pay my respects.

Around the area stood a number of foreigners selling 9/11 memorial books and slightly distasteful souvenirs. When you walk around Ground Zero there is a certain somber atmosphere, at least there was before the Freedom Tower went up.

Why go up the Rockefeller Centre instead of the Empire State

Everyone goes up The Empire State Building but don’t! One of the best skyscrapers in New York’s skyline is the Empire State building; so you won’t be able to see it if you’re standing on top of the thing. I suggest going to The Rockefeller Centre instead. The lift is great, the top of it disappears as you go up making you feel like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate factory.

Top tips for going up the Empire State or Rockefeller tower:

– Go at night – lights are pretty

– Check the weather, don’t go when it’s cloudy, obvs

– Go up the Rockefeller instead so that you can fully appreciate the Empire State Building as well as the rest of New York’s gorgeous skyline

Central Park

OMG take me to Central Perk so I can see where Friends was filmed. No. I’m not a fan of Friends (I know, I’m the only one). The park is huge and as awesome as you’d expect. The hundreds of horses and carriages circulating the park however, are not. I refused to go on them because these poor horses are made to pull heavy carriages with large families in around the park in the heat, while only being a metre away from New York’s busy traffic.

When we were in Central Park a homeless man came up to me with a sign saying he was a mute and begging for money. I went to give him money but my more cautious mother said no. So instead he gave me his NY hat which I still have as a reminder of the man’s kindness.

So yeah, New York is awesome and the best place I’ve been to I’m America.