Halal Travel Guide to New York City
Ah, New York City, one of the greatest cities in the world. It’s the city that never sleeps. The city that has been in countless movies and sitcoms. It is the epitome of the American dream. With a city so big and has so much jam packed into it, it can be daunting to try to plan a trip there whether it is your first or tenth time there. That’s why we’ve written this halal travel guide to New York City to help you out with what halal restaurants in New York to eat at, where to stay, how to obtain your ESTA visa and more.
You can fly directly from any of London’s airports to either John F Kennedy International (JFK) airport or Newark Liberty airport (EWR). The flight is approximately 8 hours so make sure you stock up on some snacks and have a few movies downloaded on your iPad.
WHERE TO STAY
When it comes to accommodation in New York, it really is down to your budget, personal preference, and what you’ve come to the city for. Each neighbourhood has its own vibe and feel, whether that’s Midtown Manhattan, Upper West Side, or even Brooklyn.
Here are a few hotels to get you started:
- The Plaza – a beautiful NY institute which you’ve seen in the movies.
- Arlo NoMad – a great option if you’re going to be out and about most of the time.
- Crosby St Hotel – a stylish and luxury hotel.
- SIXTY Les – a compact yet comfortable hotel located in the trendy Lower East Side.
WHAT TO SEE
New York has many fantastic sights to see from museums to exploring different neighbourhoods to Coney Island. We’ve put together just a few of our favourites that are a must visit for your first time, otherwise this post will be never ending if we put them all.
→ Museum of Metropolitan Art (MoMA), Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET) and the American Museum of Natural History
Out of the 80 plus museums in the city, these three museums are part of the world’s best so it would be a shame to miss out on at least one of them on your trip. The choice of museum is completely down to your personal preference of either the arts or history.
→ Statue of Liberty
The Lady Liberty is to NYC what the Big Ben is to London and the Eiffel Tower to Paris – it’s a cliche but it’s a must do. You can either take a longer official tour or if you’re short for time, the Staten Island Ferry takes you close by to the Statue, is free, and lasts for 25 minutes.
→ Empire State Building
For some of the best views of New York, the trip up the Empire State Building is worth it. You’ll also manage to squeeze in a history lesson about the origins and development of this fantastic building. It is definitely not a trip for those who are afraid of heights!
→ Central Park
Depending on the weather, getting lost amidst the humongous Central Park is a great way to use up an afternoon. You can ride a bike around, visit the Bethesda Fountain (you have definitely seen this in Home Alone), or even rent a boat for an hour.
→ Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic bridge that is great for an early morning stroll to catch the sunrise or even for watching the sunset. The bridge takes about 20 minutes to cross and there are plenty of spots for picture taking.
WHAT TO EAT – HALAL RESTAURANTS IN NEW YORK
What we love about New York is that you’re able to find many hidden halal gems tucked away in all the nooks and crannies of the city. A lot of these restaurants are long standing institutes for many years however there are a few small ones that have broken through and taken the whole city by storm like BK Jani, the small Pakistani hole-in-the-wall that is now world famous for their grills. Here are just a small handful of what halal food you can expect to find out there:
* Please double check the halal status of any restaurant recommended here as suppliers may change*
ARIANA AFGHAN FOOD
New York is home to some of the best Afghan food we have eaten and we can’t pinpoint if it’s the popular white or green sauces, the beef tikka kebabs, the bolanis, dumplings, or even the sweet brown rice. Ariana Afghan Kebob is a staple Afghan restaurant of NYC and must be visited at least once before you leave. Choopan Grill is another establishment that is worth a try if you’re enroute Long Island.
Halal Status: All meats served are halal. No pork or alcohol present.
Address: 15 W Marie St, Hicksville, NY 11801
Touted to serve the best halal burger in New York, it’s no surprise BK Jani is a must visit on your next trip out there. This no-frill Pakistani restaurant serves up fantastic chops and seekh kebab rolls, but it’s their beef burgers with mint chutney and raita that steals the show here.
Halal Status: All meat served is halal. No pork or alcohol present.
Address: 679 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
If you’re craving a great steak, 212 Steakhouse is the place right now to make a reservation. Offering the finest halal Canadian T-bone steaks at a hefty 20 or 28oz, you’re going to be in a food comatose leaving here. Just don’t skip out on the sides like lobster mac and cheese or the truffle mash.
Halal Status: Two steaks on the menu are clearly labelled halal. No pork but alcohol present.
Address: 316 East 53rd St, NY 10022
MOHO MEXICAN GRILL
Moho Mexican Grill is a fairly new restaurant to cause ripples in the halal food scene in New York. Whilst they have elote (Mexican street corn) and loaded nachos, the birria tacos are what one needs to order when coming here. Moho’s take on birria is a braised beef taco with a pot of flavour-packed beef consome for dunking.
Halal Status: All meats served are halal.
Address: 38-05 Bell Blvd., Bayside, Ny 11361
There’s something about NY pizza that can never be replicated elsewhere; even the bad pizzas out there are good. Hangry are serving up halal pizzas by the slice or the entire pie, sandwiches, and wings. Opt for their halal pepperoni pizza for a good NY pizza experience.
Halal status: All meats served are halal.
Address: 725 Hillside Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY 11040
MOSQUES IN NEW YORK
There are many mosques located around New York which can be handy if you need to pop in for Jummah. Here are a few:
→ Islamic Cultural Centre of New York – 1711 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10029
→ Masjid Manhattan – 30 Cliff St, New York, NY 10038
→ SIJNY – 83 Ludy St, Hicksville, NY 11801
ESTA VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW YORK
Obtaining a visa to enter the USA is incredibly easy; no trips to the US embassy needed or waiting weeks for approval. Instead, you’ll need an ESTA visa which stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and requires a small fee. This process is entirely online and can be wrapped up in a matter of 10 minutes.
All travellers who wish to enter the USA must have an approved ESTA, including young children and business travellers too. The only exceptions are if you are entering the States via land or if you have a US passport.
The best part is that the visa is valid for a whole two years so you can make unlimited trips to the States in those two years without having to go through the troubles of applying each time.
For the form, see here: ESTA Application
Tips for New York City:
- If you are planning to do lots of sightseeing on your trip, it may be best to purchase a NYC CityPASS to save money on the top attractions.
- Pack a pair of comfortable sneakers to walk around in as the streets of NYC are made for walking.
- The subway is a great alternative to walking and sitting in traffic so be sure to make the most of it.
- Do check what the Covid-19 guidelines are for New York ahead of your visit.
- Don’t forget to apply for your ESTA ahead of your trip. It takes 10 minutes to complete and can be done online here.