How much I’m gonna spend on my trip to New York City?

After the question about the weather in New York – whose subject got a post last week – that’s another question that always ends up happening on the Facebook group – click here to join – or on my social media. My answer is: It depends! It depends on many, many factors. You want to visit which attractions? Do you want to see a Broadway show? Do you want to eat every day in a nice restaurant? Do you want shopping? It is something too personal to a stranger come and set your budget for YOUR trip. The truth is that a little research and organization does not kill anyone and helps avoid surprises during your vacation. Remember that Google’s there for that and this blogger who writes has made numerous posts giving A LOT of tips that help in planning the trip as well. And to help a little bit, I decided to put together this guide to help you in predicting how much you’re gonna spend.

NOTE: In this post, I am not taking into account the prices of airline tickets or hotels. If you want tips on how to save on accommodation in New York, click here and check out a post I wrote with several tips on this subject. The reason why I will not consider these two factors is that, first, hotels and airline tickets vary according to season – and in times of so many sales, it’s easy to buy a ticket. Second, let us consider that when someone is boarding, the concern is about the expenses during the stay in the city, since the person already paid the tickets and booked a hotel (and you already know how much you will spend on it). Understood? So, let’s go!

1. Organize your itinerary– you’ve decided that will travel to New York. If you are coming to the city, it’s for a reason. Is because you always dreamed about the city, either because they want to shop, either because you want to see the Statue of Liberty, because you simply chose the city for your vacation. It doesn’t matter. Now that the decision was taken, it’s time to start organizing. First, list all the things you always wanted to see and to do – Times Square, Museum of Natural History, Central Park. Then, search, search and search for more. Do not limit your list to only what comes to your mind. New York is a city full of things to do. So let’s search – whether here on the blog and other blogs, websites, books and magazines to see what the city has to offer. All that is interesting to you, take a note  and add on your wishlist. Do not forget the different programs – ice skating, attending a Broadway play, see a jazz concert, go to that wonderful concert that will coincide with the period of your trip: everything enters your list (if you’re up, Sure!).

2. Set your priorities and be aware about the options in the city– do you really want to see the Statue of Liberty or will you ever happy taking the free ferry to Staten Island? You will be satisfied with the view from Top of the Rock or you also wanna see the view from One World Trade Center? You can adapt your itinerary to get the free days of some attractions or do you prefer to pay the entire amount and go whenever you want? You are ok with the fact of taking the Air Train + subway when you arrive at the airport or do you rather invest a little more and take a shared van or even a particular car, like a Uber or a cab? Do you want to see a Broadway show? Find out what are the options for ticket purchase – there is a post here and another here. All this information must be taken into account when planning your trip. Here on the blog, there are several posts about free places to go or cheap tours in New York. Just browse the category “tours” in the main menu.

3. Open the map – for those not familiar, Google has a tool called Google Maps which is essential for anyone who is organizing his trip alone. In My Maps, you build your custom map and you search every place and can add to your map. In this way, you will already beginning to locate in the city and identifying which points are close to each other. Thus, you can plan each day of your itinerary, based on locations. Plan each day according to what is a priority for you.

4. List the price of each attraction – open a spreadsheet on Excel or even a simple document on Word and list all the attractions that you put on your itinerary. Now it’s time to check the price of each of them – and on the website of each attraction of you will find this information. Add the price of each – and do not forget what was mentioned in item 2. The MET museum and the Natural History Museum, for example, have suggested admissions- which means that you pay what you want. And there are also many free attractions: walk in Central Park, enjoy Times Square, cross the Brooklyn Bridge: all these tours are classic and totally free!

5. Do not forget the fixed costs– you will hire a health insurance? I’ve done a post about this here on the blog – and you can click here to check. For a 7-day trip, the value of insurance ranges from $26 to $41 per person. It’s the kind of investment that we make hoping to not have to use the service – after all, nobody wants to get sick or have any health problems during the trip. But it can happen and we must take this into account. Another thing: New York is a city where you walk a lot and also use the subway a lot. Each ride  costs $ 2.75 and there is unlimited card (personal, non-transferable) which costs $31 for a week and $116 for one month. If you will be here on vacation and will stay at least 5 days do not even think twice: use the weekly pass. If you go to spend 10 days, buy the weekly pass and then calculate how many times will need the subway and add the value to use during the remaining days. Still speaking about “fixed costs”, you need to define what will be your transportation from the airport and back to the airport – check the options here – and decide whether you will invest in a sim card to use the internet on your mobile – check  a post with more information here.

6. Eating – how much a person spend with food in a day in New York? It depends! You can spend from $2 in a slice of pizza up to $100 on a full meal in an expensive restaurant. One thing that a friend always says and I think it fits here: if I have X to spend on the trip, I’ll make my trip fits this X budget. Obviously, we need to know the reality of each city. But this phrase is true. Your hotel offers breakfast? If so, great, it’s an expense you don’t have to worry about. If not, you don’t need to spend a lot. There are a lot of Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts locations throughout the city – just to mention the cliché, as there are numerous other cafes in New York. There are even carts on the street selling coffee, muffins and bagels. Markets are also options to buy some food – both for breakfast and for snacks in the middle of the day. Speaking of meals – lunch and dinner – here on the blog I’ve talked about numerous restaurants – the most economical to the most cool (and, consequently, higher price). Explore Gastronomy menu on the main menu and check all the posts. I quote price range in all of them. You can choose to save money at lunch – spending, for example, $ 9 a meal – and then you can spend more at dinner, $15 to $20. Anyway, for each day of your itinerary, see what are the options in the area for lunch. Not happy with the suggestions of restaurants here in the blog? Download Foursquare and Yelp – they are great for you to search cafes and restaurants by areas. They report notes, tips, comments, the price range of each place.

7. Shopping – do you intend to buy something during your trip? If so, make a list of everything you want to buy. Lists prevent you from falling in the excitement and buy more than you should “only because it was cheap.” Time to check the prices. When it comes to electronics, there are two wevsites to check: Apple (for IPhone, IPad and other produts brand) and Best Buy,, for other types of electronics. Want to see home appliance prices? Check Bed Bath & Beyond. In this way, you will already have an idea, since the prices of websites are the same physical stores, in this case. Remember that some products are also cheaper on Amazon. Check if your hotel receives orders – or send to an Amazon Locker. Do you want to get an idea about cosmetics prices? See Harmon  and Sephora websites. If your idea is to buy clothes, look for the desired store: Century 21, H&M, Zara, Forever 21 – all of them have websites. Doing some research before, you will already have an idea of the price and how much you’re gonna spend, which helps a lot in planning. Do not forget to include the value with bus if you wanna go to some outlet out of town – as Jersey Gardens or Woodbury.

Finally, after reaching a final number, remember to round the value up. It is always good to have a safety margin! Predicting is predicting: at the end of the trip, you can spend less or more than expected, but I guarantee that after following your plan, the difference of what you will spend on what you have planned will not be that big!

Another thing: whether you are an old blog reader or just arrived here, I recommend an intensive reading: my blog has a lot of content, with a lot of posts about saving money. So, take your time and explore all categories.

Brooklyn Crab: a seafood restaurant in Red Hook

If you’be been following the blog in recent weeks, you saw that I wrote a few posts about Red Hook, a Brooklyn neighborhood. You can click here to check out a post about a winery and a barbecue place in the region and here to check another post about two chocolate factories. If you are the type of person who loves to meet unusual places during your trip – or if you are looking for places off the tourist route during your days in New York, you will surely like to know Red Hook. In addition to the places that I already presented in previous posts, today I will suggest another one! Red Hook is a neighborhood rich in gastronomic options and if you like fish and seafood, you need to know Brooklyn Crab!

Built on two decks overlooking the New York Harbor, Brooklyn Crab is a hub of year-round fun, games and food. Brooklyn Crab offers the freshest, and most sustainable whenever possible, seafood fare from all the way up the Atlantic Coast and down to the Gulf of Mexico. Its atmosphere is casual and super cool. Downstairs, there is a bar and space for play games. The second and third floor have tables overlooking the river – try a table on the top floor because the view is the most beautful. The decor is very rough and the atmosphere is very relaxed, perfect for a summer day – but it is worth remembering that the restaurant is open all year round!

Menu includes appetizers such as calamri, mussels and tacos in portions from $8 and there are also soups and salads from $8, plus sandwiches and burgers from $15. For those who enjoy, there are oysters and lobsters. In main courses, there is the traditional fish and chips, crab cake, shrimp, salmon, tuna and other options with steak and chicken. We were in a party of four and we ordered three dishes to share: fish and chips, ($ 18), shrimp basket ($19), which also comes with fries, and Crab Cake. We were well satisfied and we loved the food, everything was really yummy! The Crab Cake was very good, but its price varies according to the market and the portion with two units went for $38, a very expensive price. Despite that the dish was a delight, I think is not worth. Otherwise, I super recommend the restaurant! It was a great Sunday lunch experience on a summer day, with an incredible view. Oh, Brooklyn Crab also has a special selection of beers and assorted drinks.

If you want to see the full menu, just click here.

Address: 24 Reed Street.

How get there? The most convenient and fast way to get to Red Hook is using Water Taxi. The boat leaves from Pier 11 and the ticket costs $5. The best news is that on Saturdays and Sundays the boat is free. It is 16 minutes ride – first, Water Taxi stops at Ikea, then it goes to Red Hook Dock at Van Brunt Street. You can check out the details of this ride here. Once you get off the boat at Red Hook Dock, you will walk less than five minutes to get to Brooklyn Crab.

A day at Hamptons: exploring Southampton

Quem é fã de Revenge, Gossip Girl e Sex and the City certamente vai se lembrar dos Hamptons – principalmente se falarmos só em Revenge, já que a série toda tem como pano de fundo os Hamptons. Cenário de muitos filmes e seriados, essa região de praias é famosa pelo seu charme e por ser um refúgio do calor infernal de Nova York durante o verão. Não se trata de qualquer praia – é praia de gente rica, e não estou exagerando, já que pude ver tudo de perto. O próprio acesso ao local, as mansões, as lojas: tudo nos Hamptons tem essa coisa de ostentação, sabem? Fazia muito tempo que eu queria conhecer a região e, no último sábado, alugamos um carro com mais um casal de amigos em fomos passar um dia por lá.

If you’ve been watching Revenge, Gossip Girl or Sex and the City, you will certainly remember the Hamptons – especially if we speak about Revenge, as the whole series is set in the Hamptons. This region of beaches is famous for its charm and for being a refuge from New York during the summer. This is not just a beach – is beach for rich people, and I’m not exaggerating, as I could see it up close. The access to the place, the mansions, shops: all the Hamptons is about ostentation, you know? For a long time I wanted to know the area and on Saturday, we rented a car with a couple of friends and we spend a day there.

Hamptons is located in Eastern Long Island, in the New York State and consists of different areas, such as Southampton, East Hampton and Montauk. We chose Southampton as our destination – because is the city closer to Manhattan – we took just over 2 hours to get there. Everything is very quiet and you can not deny that we feel inside a movie. For me, it’s always lovely to be in a place I knew only because of movies and TV shows. The streets are charming, calm and wooded. We saw a lot of families and couples, many of them older. Do not think that Southampton is a bustling beach. Your air is countrified. At Main Street, you walk by restaurants, cafes, ice cream shops and other stores (Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors are present). The cool thing is that the architecture of these places follows the same style of the whole city. The streets are very clean and you can do everything walking at Main Street. I recommend using Foursquare or Yelp and choose a restaurant for lunch. There are several, super charming, with tables outside. We chose La Parmigiana, an Italian restaurant. It doesn’t have a very charming environment as others in the region, but the price was great, with generous portions. The gnocchi with pesto sauce costs $ 17 on average and quietly serves two people, as well as the chicken parmigiana, which comes with spaghetti with tomato sauce. We wasted so much food that we feel bad.

After lunch and walk down Main Street, we pass by the Agawam Park, which is nearby and has a beautiful view of the Lake Agawam. From there, we went to the beach and our mistake was to leave the car parked and walk. We walk more than 20 minutes! The path is amazing, you can not deny: super quiet tree-lined streets – and also full of mansions with their green fences. And we see on television. Pure ostentation.

The beach is beautiful, and it wasn’t crowded. But it is because of the access (very difficult if you don’t have a car) and the structure that you already realize that the place is not “accessible”, so to speak. There are no bars or restaurants by the sea – only a few mansions. There was only one public toilet (chemical toilet, which was dirty and no toilet paper). There is no sun guard or rent chairs – and any place to wash the body after the beach. You see, I was not surprised because I expected it to be so, but I’m just reporting so you know exactly what you will find. The beach is clean and beautiful and the sea has not many waves. So it’s good to know these details to go prepared, you know? We spent a few hours there, chatting and enjoying. I was the only one not to enter the water – but everyone assured it was a delight.

As I mentioned earlier in the post, we rented a car to make our schedule, and those who are thinking about visiting the place, I strongly recommend doing this as well. Despite that you can explore Main Street walking, the beach is far away, as I mentioned. Our friend, who was with us, had been there, and, at that time, he took a train (Long Island Rail Road, PenStation), but he also took a bicycle. So, despite being practical catch a train from Manhattan to one of the regions of the Hamptons, I do not recommend. If we were with no car, we would be very limited. I did not see bikes for rent, or cabs. If you are in a group, certainly it will be reasonable to rent a car. About accommodation in the area, I can not comment as we went back and forth on the same day. We chose a Saturday just to not get much traffic getting back. We left Manhattan at 10:30 am and return at 9pm and it was a very well spent day. But I had already researched, out of curiosity, some hotels and don’t be scared,, it’s expensive, very expensive.

My point of view? Super positive, I loved! If I wish the place had more structure to receive visitors? Obviously. But then, Hamptons would certainly lose its air of exclusivity that attracts and causes so much curiosity in people. For me, very worth the ride!

The new Westfield Mall and the new Eataly in Downtown

Last week, Manhattan Downtown area got a new destination. Finally, the Westfield Mall World Trade Center was completed and opened on Tuesday – with a John Legend surprise performance! For those not familiar, the mall is located inside the WTC Transportation Hub, the structure of the picture below, that resembles a bird – and some say it was inspired by the Museum do Amanhã, in Rio de Janeiro.

Also known as Oculus, the WTC Transportation Hub’s concourse will conveniently connect visitors to 11 different subway lines, the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) rail system, Battery Park City Ferry Terminal, the World Trade Center Memorial Site, WTC Towers 1, 2, 3, and 4, the World Financial Center and the Winter Garden. It will represent the most integrated network of underground pedestrian connections in New York City. It will serve 250,000 daily commuters and millions of annual visitors from around the world. At approximately 800,000 square feet, the Hub, designed by internationally acclaimed architect Santiago Calatrava, is the third largest transportation center in New York City, rivaling Grand Central Station in size.

I’ve been there two days after the opening, took some pictures and I’m gonna share my impressions with you.

The structure – I have heard controversial comments about the place’s architecture. Some people think it’s beautiful, some people think that spoiled the area. I’m from the first group: I was amazed with the grandeur of the architecture. In the main area, the ground floor and the second floor have shops. The structure is underground and there is a glass side, providing natural light, and consequently it is possible to see the outside. If you are on the ground floor, right in the middle, and looks up, you can see the One World Trade Center perfectly fitted. Magnificent. There are also several high areas – perfect for taking pictures. It’s impressive.

The mall – even with so many stores (over 40 have opened), they ended up being naturally incorporated into the architectural design. What I mean is that they do not appear more than they should. If you are in one of the high points of observation, the stores will not call your attention, because of the size of the pllace. What I realized is that the most luxurious shops were located at the first and second floors of the main area. Names like Dior, Kate Spade, Apple, Hugo Boss and Vince Camuto are in prime location. Other popular stores such as Sephora, Mac, Aldo and Victoria’s Secret (still closed) are in the hallways. The Westfield World Trade Center Mall has a concierge desk where you can pick up a map (it helps you). What I liked about this mall was how much it is democratic. Unlike, for example, Brookfield Place, which only has luxury names, Westfield World Trade Center Mall has a selection that ranges from London Jewelers and Pandora to Forever 21. That is, there are options for all budgets, with clothing, accessories, cosmetics, shoes, stationery, etc. There are many stores that are not opened yet – you can click here to check all the names. One of the brands that I most celebrated the presence is Kiko! It is an Italian brand of makeup with very good products and fair prices. You can click here and see some products to keep an eye.

The new Eataly – one of the highlights of the Westfield World Trade Center mall is due to the second unit of Eataly in the city, which opened a few days before the official opening of the mall. In fact, the new Eataly is on the third floor of the 4 World Trade Center building – see the map below – but the building is connected to the mall. In the same building there also a Banana Republic store, and soon, an H&M. Now, speaking of Eataly! For those who do not know, Eataly is a famous Italian gourmet market. It has four restaurants (pasta, meat, fish) and you can also shop – from products imported from Italy, to meats and fresh pasta. The place also has a wine bar, bakery, salad place, juice bar more! The area is bigger than Eataly Flatiron and one of the advantages is that this unit also serves breakfast. Particularly, I enjoyed the new Eataly and I though it is great that the market is on one side and the area restaurants – with wonderful views of the One World Trade Center – is in another. I was there at 1pm on a Thursday and the restaurants were crowded, but two hours later they were already empty. I think the restaurants are not accepting reservations yet, but worth keeping an eye on the website.

So, that’s it! The area is now full of things to do – remember that Century 21 is across street from the mall and not far away is located Brookfield Place, which is also worth a visit because of the amazing views and Le District, French gourmet market . I talked about them here.

How is the weather in New York?

One of the things that people always asked me – whether here on the blog, on the Facebook group, Instragram, Snapchat, on YouTube or by email – it’s about the weather in New York. People always want to know about the temperatures here and what to wear. I realize that many of them are scared about the winter. But the truth is that I am not a meteorologist, and even if I were, let’s remember that Mother Nature does whatever she wants. However, there are some facts that help you to understand the weather here and plan your trip.

Check the period of each season –  this is a basic geography’s concept, but let’s remember. The seasons in the Northern Hemisphere are opposite to seasons in the Southern Hemisphere. Translation: when it is winter in Southern Hemisphere, it’s summer here. Simple, right? If you know the period of the seasons where you live, then you know the seasons here. This means that winter is from December 21th to March 20th, the spring is from March 21th to June 20th, the summer is from June 21th to September 22th and fall is from September 23th to December 20th.

You have to know that the seasons are well defined – ok, you already know the period of the seasons and you also know that is how it works everywhere in the world. You know that each season has a peculiarity – but you also know that not all the seasons are well defined in all cities. In some parts of Brazil, for example, winter hardly exists. Well, it does not happen in New York – here, every season is very well defined. This means that winter is super cold and the summer is hot. That is, no need to bring coats in June, okay? And the fall and spring marks the mid-season period, with warm and cold days, but never extreme, and with magnificent landscapes. Many flowers in the spring and brown and red landscape during fall.

Real Feel temperature is very important – do you know what is Real Feel temperature? It’s the way our senses perceive the air temperature, which may differ from the actual temperature. This concept is very important when we talk about New York. In winter and summer, it’s unusual that the feeling will be the same as the temperature shown on the thermometer. Durint the winter, the feeling is worse, because the wind in the city. In the summer, because of the humidity, the stifling weather is worse. So whenever you check the temperature, check the Real Feel temperature.

Weather apps are your best friends – I confess I don’t like when people ask me how is the weather here, because this question is easily answered by opening a weather app – I suggest Yahoo Weather and Weather Channel – or even searching on Google. I check an app every time that I will leave my house. They not only show the temperature, hour by hour, as the Real Feel temperature, wind and humidity, plus the time that the sun rises and sets. All in real time. If you are coming here, download an app: you can check the weather situation in all cities of the world. Check the season of your trip and also check the picture above, which gives an idea of how is the weather month by month. Don’t worry about what to bring months before the trip: luggage is something you begin to plan a few days before leaving, always checking the forecast – that shows the weather for the next 10 days.

Mother Nature does what she wants – quando se fala em Nova York, algumas coisas são óbvias: o inverno é muito gelado e o verão é muito quente. Não dá pra ter dúvidas a respeito disso. O fato é que, viajando pra cá entre dezembro e fevereiro, você vai precisar de roupas térmicas e casacos pesados e se vier pra cá entre julho e setembro, só vai precisar de roupas leves. Mas, a mãe natureza tem vontade própria. No último Natal, por exemplo, tivemos alguns dias em que a temperatura bateu mais de 20 graus Celsius, algo nada comum. Já peguei dias de janeiro quentes também. Mas isso não é regra, é exceção. A mesma coisa vale para previsão de neve: é bem provável que caia neve em janeiro e fevereiro, mas é impossível prever – jamais acredite em previsões de neve um mês antes! Neve é um fenômeno que necessita de circunstâncias específicas – eu só acredito em previsão de neve alguns dias antes e olhe lá.

Deciding what time to visit the city is something very personal – people always ask which is the best time to visit New York. Well, in my opinion, the best time is between May and late October. If it is between the end of May and the end of September, great, because then you enjoy things like Coney Island, Governor’s Island, the ability to do more things outdoors as picnics and rooftops, etc. But again, this is my opinion. There are those who dream to see snow, for example, or enjoy the magical atmosphere of Christmas. New York is a city with well-defined seasons, remember, again. And this is wonderful, because every season shows a different city. And in any season, you will enjoy. You may not be able to make a picnic in Central Park in January – but you will be able to ice skating. And the great part of the city is the diversity of things to do.

Finally, I pick several pictures of outfits that I wore during these more than two and a half years living here. As you can see, the seasons are really well defined – just notice my clothes every month. Do you want to know another great exercise to help to choose outfits? Open your Instagram, go in search, places, enter a place of New York (may be Central Park, Times Square, Empire State) and see the photos taken there, checking the date. You will have an idea of how is the weather in the city by the outfits of people.

Also, check out this post, with tips of how to dress during winter. You can also click here and check out some outfits for summer.

Free Water Taxi in New York

I love the amount of free things to do in this city! With research – and smart tips, like this from today! – you can enjoy New York without spending much. I’ve talked here on the blog aboute Staten Island Ferry – free tour that provides an incredible view of Manhattan and Statue of Liberty, you can click here to check. I have also given a tip on the blog about Water Taxi, a paid tour that is a different alternative to get close to Lady Liberty – you can click here to read more details. What some people do not know is that, besides the classic tour, Water Taxi offers a daily shuttle to Ikea – the Water Taxi Express Ikea, whose ticket costs $5. And, on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays), this ride is free.

First of all, we need to make one thing clear: this shuttle to Ikea departs from Wall Street Pier 11 in Manhattan – and does not follow the same route of the classic tour of Water Taxi. The classic tour has six stops, including passing by the Statue of Liberty. Water Taxi Express Ikea departs from south of Manhattan and goes to Ikea, which is located in Red Hook, in Brooklyn. Before returning to Manhattan, the boat also makes a stop at Red Hook Dock at Van Brunt Street.

Even that it is not the traditional route of Water Taxi, the Water Taxi Ikea Express also provides a very nice ride. The travel time (round trip, since you do not have to get off the boat) is 25 to 30 minutes and the trip provides a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn Bridge. The boat passes by Governor’s Island, a very beautiful island – I wrote about it here on the blog – and you can also see Statue of Liberty. As the Water Taxi Ikea Express goes through Buttermilk Channel, you can also enjoy the ancient and charming architecture of Red Hook, in addition to cargo ships that depart from Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. The pictures of this post were taken at the end of the day – we took the 7pm ferry. I recommend to get a ride on Water Taxi to see the sunset – remember that the sunset’s time is different in each season of the year.

UPDATE: It may happen that they request passengers to disembark at Ikea pier – but then, there will be another water taxi to return. The first time I did this tour, they did not ask us to disembark. Second time,  they did. But it was just disembark and embark again.

As I mentioned earlier, you can just get on Water Taxi on Pier 11, making all the path and go back to Manhattan without leave the boat- but if you want to explore the area of Red Hook, you can either go to Ikea – I’ve shown this video here – as well as enjoy a day in the neighborhood – in this post here I spoke about a winery and also about a restaurant and here you can check a post about two chocolate factories. Oh, and you can reach Pier 11 in Manhattan by lines 2 and 3 , J, Z, 4 and 5. Check out the schedule here and remember that, on weekends, you just have to wait in the line to get in the ferry.