New York City is one of if not the most iconic American cities there is. Like most tourists there are things you just have to do. See the Statue of Liberty, walk the city at night, enjoy the views from atop a giant steel skyscraper, and visit Central Park. But unlike most tourists we enjoyed some of the hidden gems of the city, the passed over views and unseen museums.
Not the flying elephant, but an up and coming neighborhood of Brooklyn. It stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass and is filled with turn of the century streets still paved with cobble stones and amazing views of Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. If you go to New York and never leave Manhattan you have never really been to New York. Next trip, do yourself a favor and either ride the A/C train to High Street or better yet walk the Brooklyn Bridge. You will be rewarded with amazing views, uncrowded streets, and the best pizza in NYC–Grimaldi’s (yes, it’s better then Patsy’s and miles ahead of any version of Ray’s Pizza). The views from DUMBO looking west to Manhattan with the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges are breathtaking.
New York Transit Museum
While in Brooklyn visit the MTA Transit Museum and walk through the several subway cars reaching back decades in New York’s interesting and diverse public transportation history. The museum is housed in a historic 1936 subway station.
Completed in 1883, it’s one of the oldest suspension bridges is the United States. To think men 140+ years ago designed a bridge that would be so iconic and sturdy to still be in use today is amazing. Even though six days after the bridge opened there was such a rumor the bridge would collapse; P.T. Barnum lead a parade of 21 elephants across the bridge to show its safety. To walk across the bridge is like a time machine. Just thinking of the thousands of workers and families that have walked the bridge in good times and bad was unbelievable.
Statue of Liberty via Staten Island Ferry
Want that iconic picture of Lady Liberty, as a friend of ours who lives in Manhattan told us, why deal with the crowds and pay lots of money. Take the Staten Island ferry and capture that great shot along with views of lower Manhattan and Battery Park. You can even see Jersey City and Bayonne without getting dirty or dealing with the mob.
Strolling Central Park
Central Park, a must stop in NYC and at 843 acres it’s hard to miss. Do some research prior to going and map out what you want to see or you can spend a day wandering the trails and seeing the ponds. We visited the Bethesda Fountain also known as the Angel in the Fountain at The Lake, and the Loeb Boathouse. While there, spend a few hours exploring The American Museum of Natural History.
Originally called “Longacre Square” and now known by its many nicknames: “Crossroads of the World, Center of the Universe, and the Great White Way.” Clearly not a hidden gem, but we feel every first time visitor to NYC owes themselves a visit there. Just be prepared for a crowd and check for special events–they can make it unbearable. Oh ya, maybe you too can end up on the Jumbotron for thousands to see…as for us we had some help from a friend.
Manhattan at Night
Nothing is more beautiful then a big city at night. The glow of the streetlights, energy in the air, and the architectural lighting playing off the tops and spires of buildings is New York City at night. Don’t fret though, the New York of today is relatively safe. It’s not the same city you saw in Serpirco or heard sung about in a Beastie Boys song, it has come along way since them. Stick to popular areas with crowds at night and enjoy the city for its namesake, “The city that never sleeps.” If you want a better view pay a little and enjoy the view from atop one of the city’s skyscrapers. Here’s a tip, if you want a photo of the empire state building or the Chrysler Building at night try Rockefeller Center’s, Top of the Rock–definitely worth the price of admission.