The best place in NYC to enjoy an Old Fashioned and look back towards central Manhattan.
The views are fantastic and unimpeded stretching from Central Park down to Wall St - well worth a trip out to West 48th to go and watch the city that never sleeps from one of its best vantage points.
It's a cafe, restaurant and bar with a terrace with great views facing the Hudson.
West 79th Street, New York, NY, United States
+1 212 496 5542
Google map: bit.ly/Jr3mlC
It's where W79 St meets the Hudson. Take a 1 train to 79 St and walk west (downhill), or take the M79 bus a block or so. Walk under the West Side Highway and keep going. You don't see it till you're there.
On our first trip to New York, my boyfriend and I decided to blow the budget on a yellow cab from the airport. The driver said he normally took the tunnel, but that he would take the bridge so we could get our first view of the skyline as we crossed he Hudson. It was perfect. Manhattan glittered in the sunshine against a bright blue sky, as magical as I had always hoped it would be. I grabbed my boyfriend’s hand and saw that he was feeling the same, and I swear I could hear Gershwin. One view that definitely should be shared, and that I will never forget.
There's not really anything glamorous about Staten Island. It's NYC's bastard borough. But the Staten Island ferry that ushers 60,000 people to and from Manhattan every day offers a beautiful view of the city. And it's free! The ride starts at Whitehall Terminal in downtown Manhattan (take the R, W, or 1 train to Whitehall Street-South Ferry) and then drops you off at St. George Terminal in Staten Island. I'm not recommending you hang out in Staten Island. It's residential and can be hard to navigate on foot. Get off the ferry and board the next one to Manhattan. You can take in the views and even sip wine or beer while you do it. Just don't end up overboard.
1 Bay Street, Staten Island, New York, United States
Google map: bit.ly/pK9ZFp
Amanda is our Been there local for New York. You can check out her page here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/new-york-local-amanda-green.jsp and her own NYC blog here: www.noisiestpassenger.com/
The CityPass is a booklet of vouchers you can buy in advance of your trip to NYC which gets you into a number of tourist hot-spots for a discounted price.
To make it worth its money, you do need to try and use most of the vouchers and I would say that you need at least four days in NYC to allow yourself enough time to do so.
The vouchers get you entry to:
The top of the Rock or the Guggenheim
Empire State Building
Statue of Liberty or Cruise around NYC.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Natural History Museum
The Museum of Modern Art
I really enjoyed all the things apart from the cruise - it was utterly tedious after the first 15 minutes. I'd strongly advise anyone to go for the Statue of Liberty option instead.
The absolute best thing about the pass was that it constantly allowed us to jump the often very long queues of people and get priority access. This was absolutely fantastic and saved us so much time.
If you're looking for spectacular photographs of New York avoid the top of the Empire State Building and visit the Top of the Rock instead. Not only are the crowds much smaller than at the top of the ESB, the views of Central Park are far superior and, of course, in the opposite direction looking downtown the iconic ESB takes pride of place in your snaps. Having been up both the ESB and the Rock, there is simply no comparison if you want some great photographs of NY. The Rock also has an official photographer at the top if you want to buy a shot of yourself and your loved one(s) with the NY skyline in the background.
Take the (free) Staten Island ferry and go to a baseball game. The Staten Island Yankees ballpark is an easy walk from the ferry terminal. For $16 you get over two hours' sport and fun - we laughed for the whole event (3rd base seating is recommended). The sight of men trying to get into frozen t-shirts between innings will stay with us.
Other top tips for NYC:
Travel from JFK - for parties of three or more take a yellow cab ($55ish to your hotel door).
Breakfast - Grand Central Station
Lunch/Dinner - Whole Foods market, excellent value and choice (avoid busy 6pm - 7pm period) 10 Columbus Circle, basement of Time Warner Center. Very convenient for Central Park.
While Grand Central station is a must see in itself there is quite a quirky feature that people should experience.
The archway outside the Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant creates a neat trick with sound. Simply stand in one corner of arch and whisper something into the wall. A friend who is standing diagonally across from you in the other corner will hear you as if you were standing next to them.
The Rockefeller Centre is an extraordinary and wonderful place to visit. Built in the mid-1930's it is a pure example of Art Deco architecture, both inside and out, right down to the smallest details of its interior, such as light fittings and switches.
Go early (or book online) and go to The Top of the Rock, the viewing area on the roof of the building, which is reached by high-speed but not frightening lifts. At the top you'll have a panoramic view of all of New York and as far as the Atlantic Ocean in clear weather.
It's not quite as high as the Empire State Building but that's included in the view from the Rock, so no problem. There is a charge for entry but it's well worth it.
If you only have a few days and are starting in New York City, I might suggest following US 1, a highway which goes from Maine to Florida Where available, you can choose to take US 1A (also known as Alternate US 1 - it's not a contiguous highway) for a more scenic coastal route. From New York, you can head north into New England (cool days, chilly nights in April). Or, for warm weather, head south from New York along the Mid-Atlantic coast into the South and all the way to Key West, if time permits.
Some of the best American regional cuisine is located along the East Coast. Most of the seasonal diners, crab shacks and lobster pounds will be open by April, but not yet crowded. My personal favorites include: the Maine Diner in Wells, Maine; Essex Seafood in Essex, Massachusetts; Durgin Park in Boston, Massachusetts; Mrs. Wilke's Dining Room in Savannah, Georgia; the Dixie Crossroads in Titusville, Florida; and Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House in Miami Beach, Florida. There are simply too many to list; you need to get the Roadfood book or see their website. Happy travels and happy eating.
One of the amazing things about New York is that the city is so iconic, yes it's the old cliché - we've all been there 100 times before in films and movies. The best way to appreciate the city is from a high vantage point, so if you've got an hour or so spare, then a trip up to the Top Of The Rock is great. At the top of the Rockafeller Centre you get the most stunning view of the city, without the madness and crowds and tacky tourist nature of the Empire State Building and fantastically you also get an amazing view of that most iconic building in Manhattan. You reserve your time to go up, meaning it's never too crowded, and after the most amazing lift ride to the roof (I won't spoil the surprise) you're treated to jaw-dropping views, with only full-length glass walls stopping you from falling off. You can stay up for as long as you want, and really get a sense of the city. It never fails to inspire me, and make me feel thankful that I get to travel to New York on business. If you want a similar view without doing the tourist thing, enjoy a meal or drink at the Rainbow Rooms which is just below the Top Of The Rock part of the building. A quick trip to the skies to sample that movie set view will bring you back down to work with a bump, but make you appreciate that you're in the Big Apple, one of the most exciting cities in the world.
www.topoftherocknyc.com30 Rockafella Plaza (Crossing 5th and 6th Ave)
It's cheap and covers some amazing scenery in a comfy environment, even the Amtrak food and drink is cheap. I accidentally booked a hotel in Canada, forgetting when I set it up to check which side of the falls I was on. Check it out at: writeronthestorm.wordpress.com
from Penn station to Niagara Falls
The viewing platform at the Rockefeller Center is less crowded that that at the Empire State and as a bonus you get to have the Empire State as part of your view. Go at dusk. Also you do not have to peer through wire mesh for the view.
For the best free view in the world go on this 25 minute commuter ferry to Staten Island and back again. Best views of lower Manhattan, and the Statue of Liberty. Before going, walk around Battery Park which has nice cafes and walks.
Battery Park, South Street, at Whitehall Street. Nearest subways: South Ferry and Bowling Green
The Circle Line is wonderful for a tour around Manhattan Island. It should not be missed. But much more exciting was our cruise on the Schooner Adirondack. There are some four sailings a day and we chose the sunset one.
You board at Chelsea Piers (on the Hudson near West 23rd). The two-hour cruise goes to the Statue of Liberty and returns, with champagne served by the crew.
The sunset cruise is particularly beautiful because you see the sunset to the west over New Jersey and to the east looms the skyline of lower Manhattan which is lit up brilliantly by the time you turn around and head back.
Unfortunately the cruise only runs from the end of April through the end of October. Cost is around $50, champagne included. We will never forget it!
A running track (1.58 miles) follows the edge of the reservoir (now officially the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir) and lets you experience the same views as Dustin Hoffman in the opening sequences of Marathon Man - the skyline of buildings that surround the park.
No worries about muggers - forget those scenes from Death Wish - you'll always have the company of other runners, even in the snow.
The reservoir is located in Central Park between 86th and 96th
70 floors above Rockefeller Center is the best observation deck in New York City. A 360' outdoor experience is possible from the 'Top of the Rock' terrace. Go to 50th Street entrance off 5th Avenue for ticket windows or buy online. Check out the great website: www.topoftherocknyc.com.
Rockefeller Center, 50th Street entrance off 5th Avenue
Staten Island Yankees are a minor-league baseball affiliate of the New York Yankees.
Admittedly, the standard of baseball is not as high as the NY Yankees or NY Mets, but they have a super ballpark.
Take the free Staten Island ferry from lower Manhattan, giving you a perfect view of the Statue of Liberty. 30 minutes later you arrive at Staten Island, right beside the ballpark. From your seat in the ballpark there are fantastic views to Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
The most expensive ticket is $13, while a draught beer is $5. A community atmosphere IS New York City.
Richmond County Ballpark, Staten Island. www.siyanks.com
Try 'top of the rock' on the 69th floor. It's got the one thing the Empire State doesn't have - a view of the Empire State!
Queues are infrequent at the Rockefeller, even on the sunset trip which was very popular.
You get great panoramic views right across the whole area and can stay for as long, or as little as you like. Doesn't get packed at the top and most people are courteous enough to keep moving so that everyone has the chance to snap good photos. The only downside is that the Chrysler Building is partially blocked by the horrible Met Life carbuncle.
At ground level, the whole plaza is a good place to chill out/ have a drink or food.
49th and 5th Ave, Midtown Manhattan
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