Make sure you have a good city map available at all times, as the city is big and you can easily get lost. Set up an itinerary of where you want to go each day so you have a course of action. Learn about using the subway, to get around as it is fast and gets you through the city. I would carry American Express Travelers Checks, since if something happens, they can be replaced. Carrying a lot of money can be a problem.
You will want to see Times Square, and Broadway, which ate two of the hottest spots to visit. The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Empire State Building and visit the site of the Twin Towers Memorial, but bring kleenex it will touch your heart.
New York can be a very safe place if you plan ahead and are prepared. This link may help you also prepare: http://gonyc.about.com/od/planyourtriptonyc/ss/travel_planner_10.htm
Ask natives where the best places to eat are. Many of the places can be very expensive for a College student, so the natives can tell you about the best restaurants that you can get a good meal at a reasonable price. The Chinese restaurants, Pizza places and Deli's are good places to grab a meal. There are also street vendors. Central Park and Bronx Zoo are good places to see.
I hope you enjoy your trip! My son is planning to try and be there for New Years Eve. He has gotten the same advice. Joan
What type of further suggestions would you like? That is only one link. I would be happy to continue to assist you as there is no further charge for follow ups. Joan
I was born in New York, and get back there whenever I can. Seeing the City like a native is different than coming in for the first time. I personally like the sidewalk vendors and food trucks to eat. Many restuarants are geared for tourism and over priced. The sidewalk vendors are more reasonable. I suggest you stay away from the big over priced restaurants. I love to see a show when I am there. Off Broadway is much more reasonable and you do not need reservations a year in advance. Central Park is a place I truly enjoy and. I love the many Museums, as there are many to choose from. When you are there personal choices will make a difference. Seeing the Reflection Pond where the Twin Towers stood is a place I love to visit just to pay my respects for those who lost their lives from 9/11. China Town is great. It has a mix of shopping, restaurants, museums and showcases a different culture.
You asked what I like and my personal opinion is New York is such a melting pot of cultures, it offers so much, but you have to decide what you would like. I love Madison Square Graden and Rockefeller Center especially in the winter time. The Ice Skating rink is wonderful. Central poark for a nice Picnic and a Carriage ride in the evening.
I would stay away from the Chain Restaurants like Olive Graden as you want to taste New York, nit something that you can get anywhere. Carnagi Deli and Katz Deli are nice, but very expensive, and that as a student is what you want to stay away from. This is a list of Deli's that you can choose from: http://www.zagat.com/lists/best-delis-tops-restaurants-0
Shopping, I love Macy's! My Mother worked for them and Macys in NY, is nothing like Macys anywhere else.
You may want to try and get a ticket into Letterman show. It is at the Ed Sullivan Theatre , this link tells how to get tickets: http://gonyc.about.com/od/tvtapings/p/david_letterman.htm
Please let me know if you need more. Once you get to New York, it is a whole new world. Joan