Taking a break from Europe for a second, let's go Columbus and explore the new world - America. I visited New York a few years back and lord, was it a disappointment. The best city in the world? The city of dreams? What the hell? Here's what you need to know in order to find a quantum of joy on your (preferably avoidable) trip to the Big Apple.
What to do in New York, US
I'd like to say you can walk everywhere, because in order to get the best of the city, you should - but do get a metro card. The sub in itself is an experience of its own, and your feet will thank you later. Also note that getting from JFK to Manhattan takes forever, at least on an airport shuttle bus.
I will only say this once, and then repeat it: get a hotel from Manhattan, whatever the cost; get a hotel from Manhattan, whatever the cost. I got mine for about 200 bucks per night, and since I shared it with a friend, it ended up as 100 bucks a night per person. It was just off Broadway, between Times Square and Central Park, a breathtaking view from the room, Rockefeller Center within a walking distance. Don't try to save money here. Stay in Manhattan.
3. What to see
I'd like to mention the top of the Empire State Building, but the view was somewhat... unreal, like photoshopped into place. I'd like to throw in a cliche like the Statue of Liberty, but it was kind of... meh (although the ferry ride gives you a nice view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge!). The Public Library in Bryant Park from The Day After Tomorrow? Sure, although if you're not careful, it might steal a piece of your sunglasses. There's one thing definitely worth seeing, though, especially if you're into Ayn Rand's works: the Atlas statue across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral. I wept. (The cathedral is also beautiful.)
4. What to eat
When I visited New York I was all but vegan so I found a Whole Foods Market by Union Square Park and just got takeaway buffet meals from there. I'm telling you, it was beyond delicious. So unless you're willing to 1) pay a lot, 2) wait a lot, 3) be placed in an uncomfortably windy table in a restaurant in Little Italy, and 3) settle for below average cooking, live on Whole Foods food and Starbucks coffees on your visit. (Note: there are a gazillion Starbucks cafes in Manhattan, some more sanitary than others.)
New York is a great city in that respect that you can conveniently explore it alone. If you choose to go with someone, though, make sure you're on the same page as to what you want to do and see. Don't drag one another to sights only one of you wants to see, and if your bud wants to spend a day shopping, you're allowed to find something else to do on your own. You can catch up over dinner.
That's it - the essential information you need to find joy in NYC! But if you can, stay away from there. From what I've heard, Seattle seems to beat New York hands down. (And that's just within the US. What about Hong Kong?)
Tomorrow we're returning to Europe for the best city in WIP travel guide series so far!
P.S. I found a Fossil store in a mall on Staten Island. The service was outstanding.