New York is exciting! Just walking the streets of New York will give you a buzz not many other cities do. But New York can also be daunting. So much to see, so much to do and often not enough time to do it. Play it smart; rent and apartment, stay a week or preferably two and take your time exploring this wonderful city.
I had been New York quite a few times but on this trip, after a long time between visits, it was time to play tourist again and revisit some old familiar sights as well as a few new ones!
1.Walk the High Line
This walk on the restored elevated rail track that meanders from 30th street to Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking district, shows you another side of New York. Start at 30th Street (after visiting the incredible B& H camera store at 34th & 9th Ave) and follow the walkway to the Meatpacking district where you will find shops, bars and restaurants to keep you busy. Nothing beats a drink at the bar on the roof of the Standard Hotel after the walk.
Read ‘Walking New York’s High Line’
2.Take in the best view in New York
The jury is out as to whether the best view of New York is from the Top of the Rockefeller Centre or from the Empire State building. If time is on your side, visit both! Sunset is a popular time to visit but the queues can be long and the viewing platforms crowded.
We headed to the 70th floor of the Top of the Rock for these stunning views from the Statue of Liberty to Central Park and from the Hudson River to East River and further afield.
Book your ticket on line at www.topoftherocknyc.com. Download the free app ‘Top of the Rock’ so you know what you’re looking at!
3. Visit the 9/11 Memorial
There’s never a right time to pay your respects but the sensitive and reflective beauty of this memorial makes it easier. Until the buildings of the World Trade Centre are completed, tickets must be booked online or at the visitor centre in Vesey St
Read ‘The 9/11 Memorial in New York’. Details can be found on the 9/11 web site.
For the bargain hunters, Century 21 is close by where you can pick up a fashion label for less.
Let’s not forget the Museum of Modern Art, known around the world as MoMA, that showcases contemporary and modern art from the 1880’s to 1980’s, as well as photography and drawing. Here you will find the paintings of Warhol, Mondrian, Kadinsky and many others. There’s always a special exhibit to see- for us it was the exciting work of Cindy Sherman. Shoppers: Don’t miss MoMA’s famous gift shop.
There’s also two great restaurants at MoMA. ‘The Modern‘ overlooks the beautiful MoMA courtyard offering superb dining but I loved our meal in the Bar Room at the Modern, the more casual bar and restaurant of the two. More about this soon!!
5. The stars of’ the Museum Mile
Fifth Avenue’s ‘Museum Mile‘ is the name given to a tree lined section of the avenue that is home to nine of New York’s museums. A cultural home base where the most famous shouldn’t be missed! For me they were:
Metropolitan Museum of Art at 82nd St. From the famous Egytpian collection to the newly renovated Centre for Islamic Art, it’s hard to take it all in in one visit. Think about booking a guide. During the summer months, the annual sculpture exhibition on the roof garden is not to be missed, if only for the fabulous views.
The Solomon R Guggenheim Gallery at 88th St. Follow the circular walkway in Frank Lloyd Wright’s incredible building that houses modern and contemporary art. The architecture in itself is a masterpiece.
Seven to go!
6. Take a walk in the Park
Central Park; this green heart of Manhatten offers a fabulous escape from the hustle and bustle of the streets. Hire a boat on the lake, head to Strawberry Fields and see the memorial to John Lennon, join everyone lying in the sun or flying kites on the Sheep Meadow or walk around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. If you’ve got little ones, there’s the Central Park Zoo to explore.
7. Tour Harlem
Harlem was not what I imagined! I not sure what I was expecting, maybe the Harlem of old movie days, but its wide open streets, beautiful brownstones, tree lined walkways and restaurants surprised me. History surrounds you so the best way to take it all in is to book a tour. There are different architectural styles to be explained, history to explore and notable landmarks to be seen.
Book a seat for Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre, a Tuesday night institution where you get to tell the performers if they’re good or they’re not! On Sunday, you will be welcomed at one of the many churches to listen and enjoy some fabulous gospel singing. Afterwards book lunch or dinner at Red Rooster. It’s all about comfort food here- meatballs, mac and cheese or fried chicken appear on the menu but to start, don’t miss their delicious corn bread!
8. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
Plan your day around this fabulous walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. If you’re starting in Manhatten, head to City Hall (Park Row and Centre St) where the walk starts. The best views are back towards Manhatten, so if you’re not planning to walk back, don’t forget to keep stopping and looking back. Once on the other side, take the first exit and head to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Near here, you’ll find the The River Cafe, the perfect spot for lunch with a view or head to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria on Front Street for their famous pizza.
9.Visit Grand Central Station
You don’t need to be catching a train to visit Grand Central Terminal. Many come to take in the grandeur of the building, to have oysters at the famous Oyster Bar and Restaurant or test the whispering gallery. It works!! Stand in one corner, whisper sweet nothings to the wall and your friend in the other corner will be able to hear! Glance up at the ceiling and let me know if the zodiac is facing the wrong way?
Grand Central Terminal is at 87 east 42nd St. Just around the corner at 405 Lexington St is the art deco Chrysler Building . Don’t forget to look up to see these two icons together! Also on 42nd street is the New York Public Library. Here you can take a free one hour tour to learn about this amazing building.
10. Hang out Downtown.
With so many bars and restaurants on our doorstep, staying in Soho was the place for us. I loved walking around the streets with its loft buildings and cast iron architecture, fabulous shopping and galleries. What I loved most was that it was an easy walk in all directions to New York’s ‘villages’. The tree lined streets of Greenwich Village were only ten minutes away and a little further on West Village beckoned. Food shops and restaurants kept us returning to the streets of the Lower East Side and East Village. More on this soon!
11. Visit the Cloisters
The Cloisters is a hidden museum in New York. In the northwest corner of Manhatten in Fort Tryon Park, this branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is devoted to medieval art from Europe. The architecture of reconstructed cloisters, the statues and priceless art that fill the rooms and the beautiful gardens are a pleasure to wander around.
Take the subway to 190th Street, exit by the elevator and follow Margaret Corbin Drive to the entrance.
12. Tick off some more icons.
See the Statue of Liberty, go to the top of the Empire State Building, stand in the middle of Time Square at night taking in all that flashing neon and book a Broadway show. No explanation required!
And the list continues……
See the Love New York Sculpture by Robert Indiana at 6th Avenue and 55th Street
Find the Flatiron Building on 23rd. There’s lots to do around here…visit Eataly , roam the Union Square Markets or have a burger at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park
Wander the Frick Collection This beautiful old home houses a fabulous collection of art, furniture and sculpture. At 70th St between Madison and 5th
Check out the New Museum and its’ funky exterior.
Take in a performance at the Lincoln Centre, home to the New York’s philharmonic orchestra, NYC Ballet, opera , jazz and theatre.
See the city from above with a helicopter ride
Shop 5th Avenue
Listen to Jazz at one of New York’s clubs
Go to the other side and discover the secrets and street art of Brooklyn and Williamsburg
Eat, eat eat…….that’s a whole new post: Eating in New York
What do you like to do in New York
Eating in New York
Brunch in NYC
Red Rooster Rules in Harlem
Lunch at New York’s Eleven Madison Park