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One Quick Day In New York City: What to See, What to Do, Gluten Free Eating

We went on a cruise last month and flew into NJ so that I could visit my grandmother and see a close friend and then spend a day in New York City. Only one day in New York? Sadly our time was really limited but I couldn’t fly across the country and not see my favorite place!

I grew up only ten miles from Manhattan and I have fond memories of the city. From seeing Broadway shows with my mom, to going into the city on field trips and even in college, heading into the museums for art class. I took classes at FIT one semester during the dead of winter which is the worst time to be in the city but I loved every second. I used to spend a lot of time walking around Soho, getting treats from Dean & DeLuca and soaking up the atmosphere.

I always jump at the chance to go back, this doesn’t happen frequently. I keep saying I need to find a housesitting or petsitting gig so I can spend at least a week or two in NYC! My ideal trip would include walking from one end of the city to the other, taking pictures and eating salads.

When staying in New York, it’s wise to find a centrally located hotel, one close to the subway and Whole Foods. If there is nowhere else to eat or you need anything, Whole Foods has what you need and since I have so many food sensitivities, its perfect for me.



We stayed near Columbus Circle, blocks from Times Square. This was a great location for our short stay. Typically I like the Lower East Side or Greenwich Village but this time, I picked a location that would allow us to get to Central Park, Times Square, the theater district.



The weather forecast called for rain the next day so I wanted to be sure to visit Central Park while it was sunny. Since it was August, it was very hot and very humid! Central Park is so beautiful and there is much to see, visiting during the spring and summer you will see tons of green! Lots of plants and trees plus lawns where people are picnicking and playing.


Everywhere you look there is beauty! As someone who loves photography, I see endless opportunities to snap pictures. I frame things out in my mind and take the photo, keeping in mind how I will crop it. We only saw a tiny portion of the park, its enormous with so much to see. My favorite time in Central Park was a few years ago, taking a tour (Free Tours By Foot) and seeing many of the highlights from a professional tour guide.

From Central Park, we wandered around; I don’t need a particular place to go and wished we had time to just stroll through the streets. My husband is not a fan of cities in general and I knew he wasn’t as into exploring as I was (so I need to get back!).



On a whim, we bought tickets to use the Red Bus, the Hop On/Hop Off tour. There are a few different routes to take depending on which bus you take. I was open to anything and wanted to see as much as I could. We sat on the top of the double-decker bus which isn’t something I am normally comfortable with but since I wanted to get unobstructed views, and time was short, we sat up top. Yes, I worried I’d get decapitated by a random flag post or tree branch but I am happy to report that didn’t happen.

Find more info on the bus tours and attractions here.

typical scene of a NYC street


The next day my husband went to see the Intrepid Museum, I walked the High Line then we met up for a Circle Line Cruise around New York Harbor. This is a 1.5 hour cruise where you will see views of the Statue Of Liberty and  Lower Manhattan.

The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. 

Another swelteringly hot day, I tried not to be deterred by the heat and was determined to see the High Line and explore as much as I could. There is SO MUCH to see and do in the city and when the time is limited, you want to pack as much as you can in the hours you have.

The High Line


Statue of Liberty


A scene from a double-decker bus.


Since we had time left on our Bus Tour tickets, we hopped on for another tour, this time of Uptown.


If we had more time, we would have seen a Broadway show, visited the Lower East Side (I have been wanting to see the Tenement Museum for years), spent a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, visited the top of Rockefeller Center, and taken a tour of Central Park in order to see more. One day is not enough!

If you only have a day in NYC, you can…

*Stay in a central location as we did- walk to Central Park and the Theater District

*Get tickets for the Hop On/Hop Off bus and sit at the top for the best views. Stay on for the whole tour so you can get an overview of NYC

*The Circle Line tour of the harbor provides great views of the iconic Statue of Liberty

*If you get on the Circle Line tour,  you will be close to the Intrepid which is worth your time to see

*From the harbor area, you can walk to the High Line in Chelsea

*Click here for a printable map of the city




Gluten-Free Eating: 

There is a Whole Foods in the Columbus Circle area where I bought fruit and water and ate that for breakfast before leaving for the cruise terminal. We knew we’d be in a rush and I didn’t want to take the time to sit down and eat at a restaurant.

In between meals, I typically have sprouted Pumpkin Seeds or an apple and I try to drink a lot of water. I have some food sensitivities so I am super careful about what I eat.

 I used the Find Me Gluten Free app on my phone to find these restaurants.



Since I LOVED Keste down on Bleeker Street for amazing gluten-free pizza, I was thrilled to find their sister restaurant, Don Antonio, near our hotel. Living in California it’s very difficult to find pizza that rivals the east coast. When I am back in New Jersey or New York, I HAVE to get pizza.

Don Antonio, 309 West 50th Street  (at 8th Ave.)  New York, NY 10019

The gluten-free pizza crust was very good but when I asked for more sauce they said no. Order the pizza with extra sauce because its a little dry! If I had some sauce to dip my pizza in, I would be raving about this place! I like less cheese, more sauce on my pizza. But the crust is delicious.



Friedmans, inside the Edison Hotel NYC 228 West 47th Street New York, NY 10036

SO GOOD. I highly recommend this place for breakfast as the serving size was large and it was very tasty. Good coffee too! This is a large restaurant with lots of choices and the fact they offer gluten-free items made me so happy!



5 Napkin Burger

630 9TH AVENEW YORKNY  10036

Lettuce wrapped burger and french fries, absolutely fantastic! The waiter was familiar with gluten-free foods and recommended some options. They have gluten free buns but I wanted mine wrapped in lettuce.


I look forward to heading back to NYC for more photos and recommendations! If you are on Instagram, follow me here for tons more travel photos.




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