Many first-time visitors to New York City can feel nervous and overwhelmed upon reaching the Big Apple. The first time I took the NYC subway uptown, I was almost in tears as I walked up the stairs to the sidewalk, convinced I’d be mugged on sight. (In my defense, I was 16, had grown up in suburban Florida, and had watched too many Law and Order episodes. And for the record, the only bad thing that happened was that the bagel shop was closed.)
No matter how old, wise, or city-savvy you are, however, New York City is an intimidating place to navigate when you first arrive. There’s so much to see in so little time — where do you begin?
Start with USA Guided Tours NYC bus tours, and let us on the tough job of planning your trip! Our award-winningday and evening itineraries will drive, walk, and even sail you around the best sights of Manhattan, west Brooklyn, and even Hudson Bay with our luxury boat cruise past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You’ll cover the most iconic sights in a day or evening, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the rest of your vacation at your own pace.
While on our NYC guided bus tour, ask our expert guides for their ideas about making the best of the rest of your Big Apple vacation. They can give you tips on must-see restaurants, museums, places for people-watching (the unofficial sport of New York), and where to find the most family-friendly experiences, too.
I have some suggestions of my own to pass along for October, though: home of my favorite holiday, Halloween. The Village Halloween Parade is the City’s most famous celebration of All Hallows’ Eve, with 60,000 marchers watched by 2 million people along Sixth Avenue. It runs from 7 PM to 11 PM, so bring the kids! This year’s theme is “Cabinet of Curiosities.”
Speaking of curious cabinets, I saw the surreal and not unfunny silent film The [Curious] Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) a few years ago at another great New York City Halloween celebration: the Halloween Extravaganza at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine near Columbia University. Every year, they show a silent film with live organ accompaniment, followed by a parade of ghouls through the nave. If you go this year, you’ll be treated to the 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera!
If you’re in NYC in early October, don’t miss the “cabinet of curiosities” featured in the cathedral’s famous Feast of St. Francis and the Blessing of the Animals. After a joyous mass, owners walk their animals down the aisle in a silent procession; thanks to local zoos, there’s always a few exotic animals on view!
Another early October event full of scary creatures is Comic Con. This years’ guests include Felicity Jones and Mark Hamill from the Star Wars franchise, plus a live recording of StarRadio with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Adam Savage from MythBusters. You’ll see an array of costumes on full display, since Comic Con-ers love nothing more than to dress up as their favorite sci-fi and fantasy heroes (and villains).
So, as you see, October in New York can be the scariest of vacations in the best of ways. You don’t have to face the fear of planning your itinerary, however. With our award-winning daytime, evening, and custom NYC guided bus tours, we at USA Guided Tours can take the scary out of scheduling and show you the best of the City’s most famous sights, leaving you plenty of time to seek out your own thrills and chills!
Sara Murphy | USA Guided Tours NY Blog Contributor