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New York – what to see besides The Empire State Building

December 3, 2018
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What do you think about when you hear New York? Do you think about majestic Statue of Liberty? Or maybe about Manhattan with so many skyscrapers? Or about yellow taxis, which are so hard to catch? Maybe is it Central Park as the perfect place for a break? These places are well known. In the end, we’ve seen them so many times in the movies. A city that never sleeps has so much more to offer. Some of the places in New York are less discovered but equally interesting. Before the trip to New York I asked randomly selected people on Couchsurfing what is worth seeing. Thanks to that, a pretty interesting list was created. Below you can find part of the places that I managed to see and those that I will visit during my next trip. I invite you to see New York with New Yorker’s eyes

Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters

Fort Tryon Park is the highest park in Manhattan. Thanks to its location, it offers a beautiful view of the Hudson River. The park was opened in 1935 and is often described as a smaller version of the Central Park. In the northern part of Fort Tryon is the Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is a museum dedicated to medieval art. Even the buildings contain elements of French medieval monasteries: Saint-Michel-de-Cux, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Bonnefont-en-Comminges, Trie-en-Bigorre. You can find more information here.

Fort Tryon Park is located in the Washington Heights district at the top of Manhattan island.  Take the A train (8th Avenue Express) to the 190th Street station.  The entrance to the park is a five-minute walk from the station.  

The MET

Art lovers can’t miss one of the main attractions of New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in short MET, is one of the oldest and largest museums in the USA. Since it was founded in 1870, it is constantly growing. Only in the main headquarters on Fifth Avenue you can admire over 2 million works. It is worth getting ready for the visit beforehand, especially when we don’t want to spend the whole day there. It is also worth going to the Rooftop Garden Bar on the fifth floor. The bar is open from May to October and offers a great view of Central Park and the Upper East Side. More information about MET here.

MET can be reached by lines 4, 5, or 6 to 86th Street station, then 10 minutes walk to Fifth Avenue.

The High Line

The High Line is an example of how interesting industrial areas can be revitalized. For nearly 30 years, the freight rail track running through 22 blocks of New York has become abandoned. In 2009, a group of “High Line Friends” led to the opening of the first part of the park, which rises 9 meters above the ground. The second part of the project was completed in 2011 and now attracts millions of people each year. For about 2.3 km you can enjoy walkways, benches, chaise longues with grass, perennials, trees, bushes, fountains and small shops. The place is unique and it is worth going there to see Manhattan from a different perspective. More information here.

The park runs from Gansevoort St. to 34th St. in West Side. You can get there by using the subway:

The northern High Line: 7 to 34th St / Hudson Station or A / C / E / 1/2/3 to 34th St / Penn Station

Middle part: C / E to 23rd St.

The southern High Line: A / C / E / L to 14th St.

Bushwick

Bushwick is located in the northern part of Brooklyn. In the past it was known as the beer capital. For many years this Brooklyn neighborhood was neglected and forgotten. Now, Bushwick is experiencing a renaissance. Breweries are coming back and streets are turning into colourful galleries. Here you can find Bushwick Collective, which is the biggest open air street art exhibition. “Free Tours by Foot” offers guided tours, including Bushwick. It’s worth taking a look here for more information.

To get to Bushwick Collective it is approximately a 7-8 minute walk from the nearest train station Jefferson Street (L train)

The Strand Bookstore

For bookworms, The Strand Bookstore will be an ideal place. This bookstore, which is located at the corner of Broadway and 12th, since 1927 is home of 18 miles of new, used and rare books. At least that’s how they advertise. From the beginning, it remains in the hands of the same Bass family. On the third floor there is a Rare Books Room, where you can find the first editions of popular works or books signed by the author. The most expensive item for sale is the limited edition of Ulysses from 1935, signed by James Joyce and Henri Matisse. Only $ 45,000.

The nearest metro station is 14 Street – Union Square Station. It is possible to get there with lines: 4, 5, 6, L, Q.

Biking along the Hudson Greenway

For all those who love to discover new places from the level of a bicycle saddle, the Hudson River Greenway is the perfect place to be. You can start from Battery Park, which by the way, is perfect for admiring the Statue of Liberty at sunset. The ride offers scenic views of Hudson River all the way up to Fort Tryon Park. This path is the longest in New York City.

Here you can find more about Citi Bike.

The North Woods

Everyone must have heard of Central Park. This oasis of greenery in the middle of Manhattan is 4 km long between Central Park South and Central Park North, and is 0.8 km wide between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West. This is the most popular set location in the world for film and TV. Central Park has been used 231 times in the movies in the last 20 years. Walking around the park you can find more and less popular places. One of those more peaceful parts is The North Woods, which is located in the northwest corner of Central Park. It is an ideal place for hiking and bird watching. This is one of those places where one can really get away from the hustle and bustle of busy New York.

To get to The North Woods, take subway lines A, B, C up to station 110 St-Cathedral Pkwy.

The Grand Central Terminal

The most popular part of the Grand Central Terminal is the main hall. It carries the name of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who financed the construction of GCT. Above passengers and numerous tourists there is a ceiling with 12 zodiac signs and 2,500 stars. In the center of the hall there is a clock, which is a popular meeting place among New Yorkers. This is also where passenger information is located. The employees are patiently answering each of the questions asked. Also questions about Whispering Gallery. In this small vestibule, you can experience an interesting acoustic impression. Thanks to the special arrangement of tiles you can hear even the quietest whisper coming from the opposite corner.

There are lines 4, 5, 6, 7, S which go to Grand Central (Grand Central station – 42 St).

Subway secret tunnels

The Old City Hall subway station deserves special attention. It was opened for public use in 1904 and it was the first New York’s subway station. There are beautiful arches and chandeliers. In 1945, the Interborough Rapid Transit route was extended. The station then became not practical and was closed. On the New York Transit Museum website you can find tours of the station. You can also see it by staying in subway 6 when it turns back towards Uptown. Here you can find a list of other secret tunnels or stations of the New York subway.

The Brooklyn Bridge

Year 2017, Lake Louise, Canada. In the queue to the bus, we met two ladies from New York. I ask them then what they absolutely recommend to see during a first visit to NYC. Without thinking, they answer: crossing the Brooklyn bridge from the Brooklyn side. I kept this hint in my mind, although I wasn’t sure when I will make it there. A little over a year later I’m on the Brooklyn Bridge. I’m going along with thousands of other tourists. I see Manhattan and somewhere in the distance a miniature of the Statue of Liberty. Below me, on the lower level, cars are rushing. This oldest suspension bridge in the world is undoubtedly an icon of New York. It is already 135 years old and still very impressive. From the moment of building, it aroused considerable interest. People doubted whether this massiver structure would stay and whether it was safe. Only parade of 21 elephants, 10 camels and 7 dromedaries persuaded residents to solid construction of the bridge.

It is posssible to reach the bridge either from the Manhattan side – Brooklyn Bridge City Hall (lines 4, 5, 6) or from the Brooklyn side – High Street station (lines A, C).

New York – what I like

The above list is just a small part of what you can see in New York. The places I liked were, among others the High Line Park with the Greenwich Village area, the Brooklyn (at least the part that I was able to see), the Brooklyn Bridge and the Grand Central Station. From the places on the list above, which I would most like to see next time, it’s definitely Bushwick and Hudson Greenway with Fort Tryon Park. In general, it seems to me that in New York everyone will find something for themselves. It is also worth simply wandering around without aim in various neighberhoods and discover places where we feel good.

Map

To sum up, I’ve created a map which may help you to plan your trip:

 

Do you have your favourite places in New York? Do you know any of the places above?

Here you can find my first impressions about NYC.

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