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5 unique ways to experience New York (and how you can win your flights and £1,000 spending money to go yourself!)

The Big Apple. The city that never sleeps. The city so nice they named it twice. Call it what you will, there’s no doubting the appeal of New York City. Today the city attracts more than 50 million visitors per annum and this year will see the number of hotel rooms pass the 100,000 mark – up more than 30,000 in the last decade. With this enduring popularity, finding unique ways to enjoy New York has become increasingly difficult, but here are five ideas for your next trip. Make sure you read on to the end as we’ll also be telling you how you can win a trip to the Big Apple yourself. New York Statue of Liberty Take a helicopter tour of the city Ever fancied a bird’s eye view of Manhattan? Imagine looking down on the Empire State Building and other famous landmarks, or soaring along the Hudson River, from above. Tours are available from Helicopter Flight Services, Liberty Helicopters and manny others. Also, thanks to a new service from Gotham Air, it’s now possible to transfer from Manhattan to JFK or Newark, incredibly at prices that are competitive with the cost of a cab. New York helicopter Go shopping with a personal stylist Need an expert to help you shop? Personal stylists might seem an extravagant luxury but they’ll know what colours suit you best, what’s right for your body shape and know the city and shops far better than you probably ever will, thus saving you time. The likes of Chic Inspiration and Style Room will offer you tailored shopping tours to cater for your every need, taking you to the best hotspots and coolest neighbourhoods, either individually or as a small group. New York shopping Take a Bateaux New York dinner cruise What could be more elegant and romantic than dining and dancing aboard the French-inspired and glass-enclosed Bateaux New York. As well as a gourmet three-course dinner, dinner guests will enjoy live jazz entertainment and stunning skyline views that take in Manhattan, New Jersey and Brooklyn, plus close-up views of the Statue of Liberty, Battery Park and Freedom Tower. Go first class and be treated to a VIP table, premium open bar and more. New York cruise Run the New York Marathon They often say the best way to experience a city is on foot. And, whilst it might sound a little extreme to some, I also think running a marathon is a great way to get to know a city. And by that, I don’t just mean the major landmarks; I did the New York Marathon in 1999 and had ankle trouble at the halfway mark at the same time as the heavens opened yet, despite he downpour, spectators will still lining the streets and cheering us on. The whole experience gave me an insight into the enthusiasm and spirit of New Yorkers as much as it did of the city itself. Just make sure you put in the training… a marathon is not a walk in the park, although it might just become that at the finish! New York Marathon Experience NYC nightlife like a VIP Looking for a special evening in the city? Dine in one of the highest rated Zagat or Michelin star restaurants before being chauffeured in luxury to one of New York’s most exclusive nightclubs. With access to the VIP areas, you can mingle with actors, celebrities and fashion elite from all over the world. Take a look at Take Me Out – enjoy cocktails in a luxury limo as your guide takes you past velvet ropes to some of the best venues in the city. Forget the queues (or lines, as they say in the US)… no stress, no waiting… just a night of fun that you’ll never forget. New York nightlife Has all this inspired you to visit? Aer Lingus are very kindly giving readers of A Luxury Travel Blog the chance to win two tickets to New York via Dublin Airport… plus £1000 spending money! This is all in the name of Aer Lingus’ recent announcement of their new, smart route to the US via Dublin Airport. Not only is Dublin Airport in the top tier of European airports when it comes to flights to North America, but its state of the art 75,000 sq m Terminal 2 is specially designed to meet the needs of long and short-haul passengers offering appropriate levels of space, light and comfort and an abundance of shops, bars, cafés and other service options. One of these is the US Customs Border Protection (CBP) pre-clearance from which all UK passengers can benefit, and this is unique to Dublin! The service allows passengers to arrive as domestic passengers in the States, making the overall experience of travelling easier and minimising time lost standing in line, giving you more time to hit the Big Apple. For a chance to win a trip with this award-winning airline (offering great value and on-board Wi-Fi as well as excellent customer service) via Dublin, simply click on this link and vote for your favourite blogger from the leaderboard list, and go on a virtual tour via Dublin Airport. Voters need a Twitter account to enter and each entrant is allowed one vote per day for 14 days; every vote counts as a unique entry, so more chances to win! The closing date for entries will be Thursday 26th March 2015 at 11am. Good luck! Images: Shutterstock Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Aer Lingus.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

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  1. Wonderful suggestions to visiting this colorful city that never sleeps. I can’t imagine what a helicopter ride must be like to see the skyline lit up at night time, magnificent I’m sure!

  2. That is an incredible number of hotel rooms – no wonder it is so difficult to choose where to stay! New York from the water or up high is definitely a must!

  3. I read about that new Gotham Air helicopter service from the airport – that would certainly be a cool way to arrive. Although having said that, I remember my first time in a taxi and seeing the Manhattan skyline on the horizon as the sun set – amazing. In any case you’d certainly struggle to be bored in the Big Apple; so many great things to do and enough for a lifetime

  4. I think i’d be happy to participate in any of these luxury experiences, except I don’t think the Marathon is in my future. Taking the Bateaux New York dinner cruise on a nice summer evening would be a really nice way to see the lights of NYC.

  5. I have been to New York City frequently and always enjoyed it, but I have to agree with some of your other readers who passed on the marathon. That would be too much for me. However, the other suggestions sound wonderful. It would be great to see the skyline from a helicopter. There is also a narrated ferry ride tour around Manhattan Island called the Circle Line. It is about a three hour ferry that goes completely around the island. You might check into that as well.

  6. Newyork Newyork it’s a wonderful town, would love to take the helicopter tour and visit the Empire State Building

  7. New York is a great city. I went with my daughter – she wasn’t so keen on trying helicopter! When my husband and I eventually get there it will be top of my list to do.

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