One of New York City's signature breakfasts is the bagel. New York City is filled with great bagels, and you'd be hard pressed to find two New Yorkers who agree about which bagel is the best. To make the most of your day in New York City, I highly recommend starting out at H and H Bagels at 80th Street and Broadway (212- 595-8003). Not only do they have great bagels, their location on the Upper West Side is the perfect place to begin your day.
Getting There: With your MetroCard, take the 1 (red line) train to the 79th Street station. You'll walk one block north on Broadway and H & H Bagels is on the corner. Enjoy a bagel (everything, not toasted with cream cheese is my personal favorite) and coffee ($9 for two) while getting ready for a great day in New York City.
One day is certainly not long enough to explore all of New York City's fabulous museums, but with this one-day itinerary, you can choose to spend your morning either at the American Museum of Natural History or the Metropolitan Museum of Art(be aware -- the Metropolitan Museum of Art is closed most Mondays). If you go to the American Museum of Natural History, you'll walk through Central Park after your visit, and if you go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art you'll walk through Central Park en route to the museum.
These two museums could be explored for weeks or months, but you'll just have a few hours at either one. (I urge you not to try and visit more than one museum per day.) I'd suggest you try the "Museum Highlights Tour" which is free with admission at both museums. Both museums offer Highlights tours at 10:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.(as well as at other times of the day). Consult the schedule for AMNH Highlights Tour and Metropolitan Highlights Tour if you're altering your plans or if you're visiting on a weekend.
Getting There: From H & H Bagels, you'll want to walk north one block and then east three blocks on 81st Street. This will put you at the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History. If you're heading to the Metropolitan, you'll want to enter Central Park at 81st Street and walk East across Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum, which is located on Fifth Avenue (which runs along the East Side of the Park) and 82nd Street. Watch your map closely, as the winding paths make it easy to head in the wrong direction. I'd recommend you print this map of Central Park. This walk should take you by the Shakespeare Garden, Delacorte Theater, the Great Lawn, the Obelisk and you can exit at either 79th or 85th Street.
No one should spend a day in New York City without enjoying a great piece of pizza, so our next journey will bring us to the oldest pizzeria in America -- Lombardi's. Like bagels, there are many great places in NYC for pizza, but Lombardi's is an excellent choice for a first time visitor.
Getting There: Regardless of which museum you saw, you should find yourself on 5th Avenue when you're ready to head to lunch. You'll get a chance to rest your feet and see lots of the city on Manhattan's M1 bus. Your MetroCard will cover your fare, but make sure you catch one of the M1 buses going to "South Ferry." (You can always ask the bus driver if you're unsure.) Although the bus takes longer than the subway, you'll have a chance to see Central Park, as well as many of Manhattan's famous hotels and stores as you ride down 5th Avenue. The ride will take about 45 minutes or so, and you'll want to get off at Houston Street (native New Yorkers say How-ston not Hugh-ston). You'll walk two blocks south on Broadway (you'll pass Prince Street) and take a left onto Spring Street. Walk four blocks (the first block you cross is Crosby) and you will find the red awning of Lombardi's Coal Oven Pizza. Touted as the oldest pizzeria in America, you're sure to enjoy a slice of New York here ($20 for a pizza and beers for two). Arriving around 2 p.m. during the week is ideal, as you're less likely to have to wait in line for a seat. Alternatively, if you want to make the journey more quickly, you can catch the subway from 86th & Lexington (3 blocks east and 4 blocks north of the Metropolitan Museum) and catch the 6 (Green Line) train to Spring Street. You'll miss the view, but it will cut your travel time significantly. Exit the train at Lafayette and Spring Streets -- walk east on Spring Street (you'll cross Lafayette and then Mulberry Streets) and Lombardi's will be on your right.