New York is such an amazing city, and if like most people you’re there for three to four days there are lots of things to do that cost you little or nothing and are must-sees. Here are a few suggestions:
- Walk the fabulous High Line. Who would have thought that a disused railway line could be such a big hit. But being elevated above the roads and with some delightful and imaginative planting, it allows you to amble through Chelsea and the Meat Packing district without having to contend with cars and traffic lights. You can also enjoy the art and have a good old nose into the apartments running the length of it. From 30th Street and 10th Avenue to Gansevoort.
- Visit the iconic Grand Central Station and pretend you’re in a movie.This grand old lady (she recently turned 100 years old) can entertain you for a good few hours. Stand on the steps at either end of the cavernous atrium during rush hour and become mesmerized by all the commuters crisscrossing their way to their office or the trains. Find the one black brick that they didn’t clean when they did the recent scrub up of the ceiling to reveal the starry signs of the zodiac. It takes a bit of doing, but it’s there. Then there is the fabulous market in the walkway that ends on Lexington Avenue. If you’re feeling puckish, head to the famous Oyster Bar, or one of the many eateries on the lower floor. For something more substantial there’s Cipriani’s or Michael Jordan’s on the balcony that let you gaze over the famous clock while chowing down on some delicious food. And if it’s a drink you fancy, see if you can find the Campbell Apartment Bar – the Prohibition Cocktail is very strong!
- Central Park – you can spend hours wandering around this lovely green space, slap bang in the middle of all that concrete! Get lost in the rocky Rambles in the middle, wander around the Jackie Onassis Reservoir and savour the view that it affords of the city. Watch the rollerbladers doing their thing on the west side or the tango dancers strutting their stuff. Then there’s the John Lennon memorial, the Italian Garden, the Boating Lake and the Alice in Wonderland Statue. If you’re up to spend a little, you can visit the zoo or have a bite to eat at one of several lovely places dotted around the park. A top tip is to look at the numbers usually painted in white at the base of the lamp posts which tells you what street you on – very useful when you’re trying to find somewhere.
- Take the Staten Island Ferry from the South Ferry Terminal on Manhattan to Staten Island. It’s totally free and it takes you right past the Statue of Liberty for your perfect photo opportunity. You can imagine you have the lead role in Working 9 to 5 and enjoy the views. There’s not much to do in the vicinity of the Staten Island, so best just to turn around and come back. It is beautiful at dusk.
Take the subway across to Brooklyn and head to Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Bridge Park. The views back over Manhattan are pretty breathtaking. Take a seat and just watch the world go by. Again dusk is a lovely time of day to while away the hours, or get yourself a coffee in the morning and just hang out.
- Walk across Brooklyn Bridge. It’s easiest to go from the Manhattan side as it’s not so obvious how to get onto the Bridge from the Brooklyn side, but it’s not impossible! Get to City Hall and follow the signposts and the crowds. The views are wonderful and the bridge’s design is pretty stunning close up. Don’t wear heals as the floor is slatted wood and you’ll loose them. It’s a mile or so, but you can always reward yourself with a delicious ice cream from the Brooklyn Ice Cream Parlour just under the Bridge by the water. And do be careful of the bikes that whizz along in the bike lane. Of course, the tourists wander, totally obliviously, into the bike lane all the time, and get properly shouted at by the local, long-suffering cyclists. You’ve been warned!
You’ll walk for miles, so make sure your shoes are comfortable and you have a bottle of water. Avoid taking the bike rickshaws they are a total and utter rip off!