Lives in Stockport, United Kingdom
Since Nov 2011
50-64 year old female
After 17 years of holidaying in Devon ,UK with my parents (which I loved) - I think I deserved a change - if anything it fed that need to get away to experience a different change of scene , but also gave me that feeling of sadness and almost heartbreaking feeling of end of holiday blues. Don't get me wrong - there is no place like home -but like the man says " a lifetime without travel is akin to reading just one page of a book (or one book - can't remember now) - anyway almost 40 years after my first trip abroad which was a teacher chaperoned trip to Belgium for a week (my friends and I did manage to sneak away occasionally) I caught the travel bug - went on lots of packages initially , did the young wild type of holidays with friends,then young couples when I met my now hubby and then family holidays to the med (mainly Greece which we love) and Florida / Disney with our children (now teens) . We still love Greece (for sun and relaxation) and NYC inspires me like nowhere else .
Parks, Scenic Walking Areas
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Observation Decks & Towers, Lookouts
Parks, Scenic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Art Museums, Points of Interest & Landmarks
The Highline is a must see whilst in NYC - its basically a landscaped walkway which has been developed from an old elevated railway track, many of which are now extinct in New York, but nevertheless still a part of the city history. It's free and a walk on the Highline will reward you with some brilliant views of the Hudson to the west runs through the Chelsea / Meatpacking areas. Beautifully landscaped, the Highline is open from 7am till 10pm spring and fall, up to 11pm in the summer months but will close at 7pm in the winter. Like an urban garden in the sky - the Highline offers wooden sun loungers (these even move along the old tracks to follow the sun) and benches to relax and eat an impromptu lunch (there is a cafe and seating area during the summer and some market stalls). Best of all it's free and it's another unique place to tick off your list whilst also getting you from W34th st to Gansevoort st in the West Village.
Chinatown is well worth a visit whilst in NY - if only to experience the hustle and bustle of one of the largest thriving chinese communities in the world outside of China! Starting at the south end of Mulberry St just past Columbus park on the left, make a right turn onto Bayard St, where you can sample the delights of the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Seriously if you are an ice cream fan, you must visit here and sample some of the most unusual flavours listed on their menu. The waffle cone i had was huge and lasted quite a while around my stroll in Chinatown.
Ice cream fanatics must visit The Big Gay Ice Cream shop in the East Village. first timers have to try "the salty pimp" a big cone consisting of vanilla and dulce de leche flavoured ice creams, sea salt and chocolate dip. Many other fun titles and flavours on the menu.
During a wander around each of the neighbourhoods during your visit to NYC you will find something different - The East Village is very bohemian, a result of the Greenwich village overspill of artists and musicians putting down roots in the 70's. Do a little digging before coming to The East Village and it becomes almost like a treasure hunt - trying to find McSorleys, the oldest Irish tavern in New York City, Colonnade Row, which was once an estate of 9 terraced mansions belonging to The Astors (now only 4 remain), and the cube sculpture, which teeters impossibly on one corner and sits in front of the historic and beautiful Cooper Union building. A mixture of ancient and modern art and history sitting comfortably side by side.
Ok - the Manhattan skyline ... photographic proof that you HAVE been to New York! Of course all the while that you have been walking around the streets of Manhattan, you have not actually been able to step far enough back to photograph the Skyline in one whole piece! So here are a few suggestions of photo ops (and other places to visit) to get that whole iconic view to fit into your lens without either A) falling off one of the piers into the Hudson river or B) disturbing the person next to you in the window seat of the plane as you take off on your return flight home. 1) One of the easiest ways to photograph the skyline is to get the subway over to Brooklyn (Clark St/Court St) and take a stroll over to the Brooklyn Heights promenade - here you will get a fab view of not only the Manhattan skyline but another iconic NYC landmark The Brooklyn Bridge. 2) Roosevelt Island - a morning or afternoon spent on Roosevelt Island. you can stroll the outer path around Roosevelt Island (approx 2 miles long x 800ft wide) and not only get amazing pics of Manhattan, but you also get to photograph the East River and a portion of Long Island over to Gantry Plaza State Park (home of the famous vintage illuminated Pepsi sign). 3) If you have time and have spent the morning at Roosevelt Island you could carry on over to long Island to visit Gantry State Plaza Park - recently the park has undergone lots of refurbishment and is a great place to spend the afternoon and get some more shots of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island. 4) Take the train or ferry over to Staten Island - the ferry is free and sails right by the statue of Liberty so you are usually able to get good close up pics (if you are not too concerned about getting real up close and personal to Lady Liberty - if so you will need to get one of the Liberty cruises to go inside the statue). 5) Visit the Statue of Liberty! Obviously a view from the plinth balcony of Lady Lib gives you great pics of Manhattan. 6) Ferry/train over to New Jersey - not a must see - but if you have been to NYC a few times and would like to see beyond Manhattan without going too far away, there are a couple of Malls over on the New Jersey side where, whilst you are over there can enable you to get more views of the skyline.
Top of the Rock is actually the viewing deck at the top of the Rockefeller plaza building - and a ride up to the top will not only reward you with a fab view of the city from up above but unlike the view from the top of the Empire State Building you are also able to photograph the Empire State Building. Visit TOTR during the day and you get a brill view of Central Park - being up there at night you will just see a huge black rectangle in place of Central Park - however the rest of the view of the city lit up at night is a spectacle in itself. Perhaps this is the reason that TOTR offers a ticket option titled "sun & stars" a combo offer to enable visitors to visit twice in one day to experience the view during the day and at night.
Seriously there is so much to see in Central Park that you will always come across some secret hidden treasure every time you visit - whether it's the changing view from season to season to the multitude of free mini performances from magicians, musicians, circus performers or a hip hop dance group - each day in Central Park Is different and a treasure in itself. You could visit Central Park time and time again and discover a new experience each time. Enter the park via 81st street passing The American Museum of Natural History and begin your exploration of the park through the Rambles where you can get a great shot of the skyscrapers in the distance peeping above the treetops and reflecting in the lake, enjoy the view across the park from one of the balconies of miniature Belvedere Castle, cross the beautiful filigree Bow Bridge, and read the numerous messages and poems and dedications on the benches throughout the park.
Wow - where to start as regards visiting the Met? You could spend days here as The Metropolitan Museum of Art holds several of the largest collections of art and artifacts from around the world - Egyptian, African, Asian, classical - the list goes on and on. However, since this is the NYC guide to its secret side - another little secret is the 5th floor rooftop garden and cafe (where during the summer months you can also enjoy an early evening cocktail or two). If you have only an hour or two to spare and wish to save a more thorough visit to the Met for another day - make a donation (it's polite to check with concessions desk first), take the elevator up to the first floor, across to a second set of elevators which will take you up to the 5th floor and the most amazing view over Central Park and the skyline in the distance looming over the treetops.
A walk right alongside the Hudson river via Hudson River Park will once again give you a different perspective of Manhattan. Starting downtown at Battery Park Place you will get a great view of the Statue of Liberty - amongst other hidden gems, sculptures and memorials and a great view over to New Jersey (although you can enter the park at various other places should you not wish to do the whole 550 acres). It's a great walk with resting spots, cafes, activities - you may get distracted along the way before you reach the end of HRP at 59th street!
Granted - although not an option for the thrifty traveller - it is a little treat to come and have afternoon tea at The Crosby street hotel. Sit in the little enclosed courtyard garden at the back with all the hustle and bustle of everyone strolling through Soho just on the other side of the wall, or sit at the bar or in the bar lounge area and enjoy the trendy decor and quirky artifacts. Crosby street itself is cobbled in parts and was used for the scene in Ghost where poor Sam met his demise at the hands of hoodlum Willy.
The Eldridge St Museum is one of Manhattan's hidden little treasures. Built during the late 1880s in The Lower East side, the congregation of the synagogue flourished for 50 years, but sadly began to dwindle during the great depression - this led to the slow demise of the building over time and the future of the Eldridge St synagogue was uncertain as the main sanctuary was empty for twenty five years. However after 20 years of work, the building has now been beautifully restored and the stained glass window is truly a work of art. Tours are offered of the building, the staff are extremely helpful, welcoming and friendly.
Pershing square is worth a visit as not only do they do a great breakfast - the secret about this place is the decor!- you go back to early 1900's chinoiserie with its red panelled walls, black and white flooring and ornate lighting hanging from tin embossed ceilings. Ask to be seated down the left side by the window and you can fully appreciate all of the filigree workmanship in the stonework of Grand Central station.
If you just happen to be strolling through the Bowery and are passing The Bowery Hotel it's worth a look inside. You can't miss The Bowery Hotel in all its quirkiness, with the doormen dressed in their Bowler hats, white shirts and waistcoats, the lines of bicycles outside (for residents use). You may get asked if you are a resident on the way in, but just explain that you are thinking of staying there next time and would like to take a look or just enjoy a drink in their lobby bar. It's worth a peep to experience the faded grandeur of the decor - the huge fireplace and the comfy leather sofas and chairs.
Seriously Chinatown is huge - and there will doubtless be hundreds of hidden gems I've not yet come across - but here are some of my favourites. 1) The backstreets - one minute you can be walking through the crowded mainstreets of a busy working everyday part of chinatown with everyone going about their daily business, and take a turn and find yourself in a quirky quiet little backstreet almost as if you have stepped back in time and if you were to walk through one of the tiny doorways you may even be able to purchase yourself a magical mogwai (although its advisable not to if you've seen the movie). My favourites are Doyers (home of the Vintage Nom Wah Tea Parlor) and Bayard (home of The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory). 2) Pearl River Mart - not strictly chinatown, but on the edge of at 477 Broadway btw Grand and Broome and parallel to Crosby St. this is a huge store dedicated to Chinese souvenirs, housewares, furniture, clothing and you can find yourself a few unusual little bargains here - worth a visit if you are in the area. 3) The Mahayana Buddhist Temple - located at 133 Canal Street right opposite the entrance to The Manhattan Bridge and home to the beautiful 16 foot Buddha.