This summer, I visited Manhattan for the second time — what will be a lifelong love — and ticked off a few more Must-Do NY activities. Headed to New York? Check this out:
In This New York Travel Article You Will Discover:
- An Iconic Sandwich Shop
- The Best Elevated Walks
- Museum Pros & Cons
- Central Park Tips
Chow Down at Katz’s Deli
“I’ll have what she’s having.” If you don’t know the film this famous line is from, feel free to skip this section. There are a lot of places to get an amazing, gut-busting, one-pound pastrami sandwich in Manhattan — but there is only one Katz’s. (Answer: it’s When Harry Met Sally.) Line-ups? You bet. Pricey? About $20 for a sandwich — so, yeah, kinda. Infuriatingly disorganized ordering process? You have no idea. But this East Village staple offers a classic New York experience not to be missed. When we visited, we even got the best seat in the house (see photo). You can’t put a price tag on that. Oh wait, yes you can — $80.
Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge
My wife was working-the-day-away this time in NY, so I rode the subway to Fulton Street, near Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, to begin a solo stroll over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. (First, I made sure I had on my retro Ray Bays and Goorin Bros. hat, for hipster cred.) Most people walk Brooklyn-Manhattan, so I was going against the flow. I can see why this is so — you’ll enjoy better NYC skyline views that way. The path is crowded. Cyclists lose their minds if you wander even an inch into their lane. But, once again, it’s quintessential New York at its finest, one of America’s great architectural sites and the best place for a selfie in the city.
Stroll the High Line
Located in my favourite part of NY— the West Side — the High Line is 1.5-mile-long park built on a revitalized, elevated rail line. Running northward from Meat Packing District, it’s a lovely, surprisingly quiet juxtaposition to the concrete jungle below. Green spaces, lounging benches, public art, water features to cool your heels in and a marketplace with craft beer, street food and artisan goods conspire to make it my favourite outdoor-destination in the city. There is even a neat viewing area to watch the hustle-bustle of the street below. Admission is free. Find out more about this project at thehighline.org.
Get Lost in the American Museum of Natural History
I have mixed feelings about the American Museum of Natural History. The good? It’s worth the admission just to experience to sprawling madness of it all — a staffer told me it would take three days to stop at every exhibition. Certain collections are incredible: the Fossil Halls and Rose Center for Earth and Space were two standouts. And there’s the fact that everything seems like it might actually come alive when the doors close, a la Night at the Museum. The less-than-so? It gets stupidly crowded. Some of the displays are a bit archaic. Many exhibitions are little more than dioramas or taxidermy displayed behind glass windows. (In the Hall of African Mammals, I found the historical nature of the exhibit itself more impressive than the stuffed lions within.) But I enjoyed my four hours in the museum (I really hoofed it) and recommend it to you — just go on a shoulder-season weekday. Trust me.
Ride a Bike Around Central Park
If you skip Central Park, you’ve made a mistake. In fact, all the touristy stuff in New York is a must-do for the first (or second) timer. But wait until day-three of your NYC vacay to experience its signature green-space — by this time, you’ll need some peace-and-quiet. Although Central Park sees 35 million annual visitors, it’s easy enough to find a serene slab of granite to read a book on, or grab an open seat near the Conservatory Water and listen to the buskers for an hour or so. I rented a bicycle this time — not from the operations in the park, the rental agencies in the surrounding blocks are one-third the price — which makes short work of finding a suitable rest spot. The park is big, but on a bike, you can circumnavigate it in about 20 minutes. And most of the interior paths are foot-only. So, it’s not a great cycling destination if you’re into long-distance, but two-wheels help to hop spot-to-spot on-demand. (Tip: if you pay more than $20 for a three-hour rental, you’ve been taken.)