Alaska’s frequent flying employees share their top tips for New York City

Empire State Building at night

Airline employees like to travel. A lot.

To celebrate expanded flying between the West Coast and the New York City area, Alaska Airlines employees share their favorite travel tip for visiting the Big Apple.

Check out restaurant, activity and transportation suggestions and start planning your own adventure to the city that never sleeps.

What type of trip do you want?

  1.  I’m on a budget.
  2. I don’t mind spending a little more money.
  3. I’m in New York City. I’m pulling out all the stops.

1. I’m on a budget.

Dallas BBQ – 1265 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021

“Dallas BBQ has some of the best Texas-style barbeque in the city. Great portions sizes, good cocktails and the food is very inexpensive. This place is not for those of you that want a quiet evening. It’s a NYC hustling and bustling dining experience.” – Demarco Best, simulator engineer, Seattle

Gray’s Papaya – 2090 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

“To me Gray’s Papaya has the best hot dogs. They are open 24 hours which is a huge plus. You can get two hot dogs and a drink for $4.99. They call it the recession special. I always try to go there.” – Kerchynna Blue, customer service agent, San Diego

The High Line

“The High Line is one of my favorite public spaces in the world and the best use of an old rail line route that I have seen. Just walk the length of it and take in little surprises like fountains and unique landscaping along the way. It’s only been open about five years: Here are some pics.” – Christy True, web content manager, Seattle

“The High Line Park is one of my daughter’s, who have lived in New York City, favorite places to take friends who come to visit.” – Phyllis Blanco, customer service agent, Washington D.C.

Brooklyn Bridge 

“Make sure you take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and discover lower Brooklyn Heights. The views from the bridge are breathtaking and it is free!” – Nancy Houdre, customer service agent, San Francisco

“Make sure you give yourself enough time to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge! The views from the Brooklyn side of Manhattan are amazing. And there is a cute little neighborhood in Brooklyn called Dumbo with great eats and galleries. There’s food and water available on both sides of the bridge. I don’t recommend wearing high heels though. The bridge is made of old wooden slats. Once you cross, you can take the subway back into the city.” – Cathy Donnelly, customer service agent, San Diego

Staten Island Ferry 

“Did you know you can hop the Staten Island Ferry and ride it for free over to Staten Island and it crosses right under the Statue of Liberty for a close up photo op?” – Juanita Russell, reservations sales agent, Boise

The City Pass

My tip for sightseeing in the Big Apple (NYC) is to purchase The City Pass. I took my mother, mother in-law and her sister to NYC for four days. With those passes we were able to see 12 major attractions and had transportation to all of them for a fraction of the price if we had we paid individually. Christmas time in the city was amazing!” – Cassandra Alcantara, customer service agent, Seattle

Broadway Shows – Purchase tickets at TKTs Times Square

“I love the theater!  So I always go to the queue at Times Square to get half price tickets to fabulous and current shows. Go a little early, so you don’t stand in line too long.” – Linda Taylor, Board Room concierge, Seattle

“Broadway shows offer extremely discounted tickets for shows on the day of. They are by lottery, but if you have patience and a little luck you can get cheap tickets. Otherwise, half price tickets or discounted tickets are sold from Time Square at the red steps for cash only.” – Carol Ecker, customer service agent, Los Angeles

2. I don’t mind spending a little more money.

La Mela Ristorante – 167 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10013

“La Mela Ristorante at 167 Mulberry in Little Italy is a really terrific, family-style dining-type restaurant.  Food and atmosphere are great!”- Kathy Hintz, flight attendant, San Diego

John’s of Times Square – 260 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036 

“Their motto is NO SLICES!  They sell by the pie and it’s great!  Also, they treat firefighters really well!  We were there with my husband’s fire department to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and they treated all of us like royalty and seated us immediately because the guys were in uniform after the parade.” – Kathy Hintz, flight attendant, San Diego

Comedy Cellar – 117 Macdougal St. New York, NY 10012

“For people traveling to NYC and love to laugh, I suggest visiting the famed Comedy Cellar. It’s located just south of the West Village in Manhattan. The Comedy Cellar hosts lots of awesome comedians, such as Louis CK and Bill Burr. The venue is small and intimate which allows the comedians to really connect to the audience. It’s a lot of fun! I highly suggest it.” – Allyson Logan, contract service lead, St. Louis

The Metropolitan Museum of Art – 1000 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10028 

“Be sure to check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art (along the East side of Central Park) to see Picassos, Rembrandts and many more!

 The Metropolitan Museum of Art was an incredible place to visit. When my friends wanted to go, I was a little bored at the idea of visiting an art museum. To my surprise, I was blown away at how massive this place was.” – Nicholas Griswold, ground service agent, Seattle

Baseball at Citi Field

If you are a die-hard baseball fan or just enjoy a game now and then, see the N.Y. Mets play the N.Y. Yankees in the subway series. This is a high-energy New York rivalry. Fans are loud and proud.  Watching and listening to the fans is just as good as the game. The subway takes you right to Citi Field (formerly known as Shea Stadium).” – Johnny Mann, flight attendant, Anchorage

3. I’m in New York City. I’m pulling out all the stops.

21 Club – 21 West 52nd Street, New York, New York 10019

“The 21 Club has been around for years. Everyone from presidents to movie stars to me have been eating there for years. The Chicken Hash is my favorite dish. It’s expensive, but what a treat.” – Kathryn O’Reilly Hansen, boardroom concierge, Los Angeles

River Café 1 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

“The restaurant dining provides a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge. The food was excellent and the ambiance really made our trip special. I had the steak which was cooked perfectly. Suit jackets are required for guys, and it’s not the cheapest place to eat, but I would highly recommend it if you want to splurge a little when in New York.” – David Henrich, web developer, Seattle

Bethpage State Park Black Course 

“Bethpage State Park Black Course is one of the finest public golf courses in the nation and is only 30-45 minutes depending on traffic on the Long Island expressway. Two recent US Open Men’s Golf championships have been held on that course.” – Danielle Parsons, retiree, Seattle

USA, New York State, New York City, Aerial view of city with Statue of Liberty at sunset
USA, New York State, New York City, Aerial view of city with Statue of Liberty at sunset

Transportation tips JFK into the city

“Take public transportation to Manhattan when you can. It’s cheaper than a cab and free if you have a WageWorks card.

From JFK

Take the airport AirTrain to Jamaica Station and connect to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR).  It takes about 35 minutes to get to Penn Station New York and costs $15.50 each way.  The subway is even cheaper, but takes much longer.”  – Christine Bazar, contract service lead, Newark

“It takes a while, but I took the AirTrain to Jamaica station, then took the subway all the way to lower Manhattan. You get to see some of the suburbs along the way, and pass this really cool HUGE cemetery before going under the East River. When riding the subway, make sure all of your valuables are tucked away.” – Nicholas Griswold, ground service agent, Seattle

Other employee tips: 

Get out of the city and go upstate. 

Go upstate to the Adirondacks.  There’s tons of hiking, skiing, boating, climbing, biking, etc.

I spend my time in Keene/Lake Placid/Saranac Lake, all around the same general area.  Another popular place is Lake George. The Adirondack region (known as ‘The Dacks’) covers exits 21-30 on the Northway, Interstate 87. It’s a huge park. The best way to get there is by renting a car and driving.  It’s about a four-hour drive.  There is a bus service called Adirondack Trailways, but that turns the trip into about eight hours.

My favorite activities are mountain biking and rock climbing.  They have tons of well-maintained bike trails, but not insane downhill like the West Coast.  There’s road biking too. Rock climbing is great, but it’s not as easy to find a beginner route, and all routes in general are widespread throughout the park. Routes are more extensive in The Gunks, a region much farther south in New York, with close concentration of a variety of routes, if you’re a climber. Ice climbing I’ve yet to try, but in the Dacks it’s excellent in the winter, as well as skiing.

Aside from those activities, the towns around the Dacks are great for tourism. Lots of unique shops and many of the restaurants are big on local and fresh organic ingredients.” – Samantha Riedl, contract service lead, Newark


  1. Are there any plans to add a direct flight from PDX to JFK? or LGA? Since MVP benefits on Delta have shrunk, is Alaska planning to compete more on Delta routes? It would be great if Alaska offered more direct flights out of PDX. Right now I have to fly Delta if I want to get there by early afternoon.

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