“Look across the water at the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, the place to which so many of the New York tribe came in order to truly live. Learn the tale of our tribe, because it’s your tribe too, no matter where you were born.”
~ Pete Hamill, Downtown: My Manhattan
While it is nearly impossible to narrow down a list of “must-sees” or “must-eats” in NYC (there are just too many places to explore in this city!), these are some of the places that I loved dearly. If you are in NYC for just a weekend, here is a list of My Top 5 (hint: the theme is sunset):
Running from Ganswevoort Street in the Meatpacking District (at the Whitney Museum of Art) to West 34th Street, this beautiful park was constructed on an elevated historic freight rail line. You can choose to walk the entire 1.45-mile walkway, with views of the Hudson on one side and the NY skyline on the other, or climb up at a mid-way point after picking up dinner or lunch at the Chelsea Market on 9th Ave.
Suggested: My favourite time to go is in the late afternoon-evening. Pick up a bite to eat for dinner at the Chelsea Market and stake out a spot on the High Line on one of the many open grassy areas overlooking the Hudson. Watching the sunset over the Hudson from the elevated park, and later as the city lights flicker on, is magical.
Perks: The Chelsea Market Passage, between 15th and 16th streets, boasts stained glass art and public art.
Located on basically a mountaintop (I’m kidding, but it is a trek to get up), The Cloisters overlooks the Hudson River in northern Manhattan. Named for the medieval cloisters that comprise the heart of the building, this museum is home to some of some of the most beautiful and peaceful gardens I’ve ever seen.
Suggested: Since it is a little out of the way from the rest of the sights in Manhattan, I would go early in the morning, right when they open, and then work your way back downtown, stopping to see Columbia University’s campus and grabbing lunch as you get closer to Central Park.
Perks: Offers gorgeous views of the Hudson River, and it is significantly less crowded than the other museums in NYC.
3. Central Park – Jackie Onassis Reservoir + The Guggenheim
I loved taking walking from the Upper West Side to Museum Mile. I’d start from around West 67th St., join the Schumann running track around part of the Jackie Onassis Reservoir, and then walk down towards Museum Mile. One of my favourite spots in general was Central Park, and I think that most everyone can agree that it remains such a special and essential part of NYC.
Suggested: Spend the morning exploring the West Village, then after lunch, find the Upper West Side of Central Park entrance (at around W. 63rd or W. 67th St.), and walk around part of the Jacki Onassis Reservoir, and down towards Museum Mile. Catch the latest exhibit and tour at The Guggenheim, and after the museum, stop by Via Quadronno for gelato or a late-afternoon coffee.
Perks: Free tours are offered daily at 2pm at The Guggenheim.
Also Try: The pastries at Via Quadronno are delicious. I recommend the Strawberry-Pistachio Tart
While the entire museum is massive and remarkable, the best spot in my opinion is the rooftop, where you can see 360-degree views of the NY skyline and Central Park.
Suggested: Go on a Friday or Saturday night at around 7pm, so that you can catch the sunset from the rooftop with a drink in hand, and later wander through some of the exhibits when it’s much more peaceful and quiet.
Perks: The museum stays open until 9pm on Friday and Saturday.
This free ferry operates 24/7, every 15-30 minutes from the Whitehall terminal in downtown Manhattan. I went right around 7pm, just around golden hour and sunset, and it was one of my favourite NYC memories. The journey back from Staten Island towards Manhattan offers stunning views of the Manhattan Skyline reflecting the colours of the sunset.
Suggested: Bring a drink or two and stake out a spot on the second balcony (the top one is too windy for me :), and cozy up watching the sun go down with Lady Liberty in the background.