New York City.
A labyrinth of roads, smells, accents, sounds, a magic hat which in turn characters, stories, places, paths you didn’t know they existed come out from.
I don’t think it exists a such complete guidebook to include really everything this city is able to offer.
So every time, thanks to an innate curiosity and the tips of some New Yorker friends, it is a new discovery…a particular museum, an inviting mix of savors, an historic building, an unusual walk, a new viewpoint of the city.
If you are planning a journey to the Big Apple or simply you are thinking about coming back there (let’s say that, once it seems to be never enough), here it is a short definitely unusual 5 paths guidebook.
New York City: The Green Wood Cemetery
Two hundred hectares of green, paths and lakes (with even boats to reach easier the sacraria on the opposite banks) developing around the hill sloping down towards Brooklyn.
An heaven of peace: going up to the top you enjoy a very beautiful view (above all in Winter when the trees blooming doesn’t prevent the view) of Brooklyn, the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan.
A really important historic place both for the famous characters resting in peace here (the inventor Samuel Morse, the graffitist Jean M. Basquiat, the composer Leonard Bernstein, only to quote a few….) and for the Battle Hill site, the highest and viewpoint: here in 1776 the Battle of Brooklyn during the Independence War was fought. Many of the fallen rest in peace right around the monument honoring the sacrifice.
At the park’s entrance the keepers, usually very kind, give info and free maps with the paths to follow and the indications to reach the famous characters tombs.
People who are interested in deepening the visit or people who are fond of history, on Wednesdays and on Saturdays at 1pm (always check before on the website eventual schedules changes and book some special visits) some guided tours leave: 15$ each, they last about two hours. Starting from Battle Hill they go through the various historic stages of the site with anecdotes, curious issues and tales (more or less creepy) about the buried famous characters.
To reach the Green Wood Cemetery (open 7 days a week 8am-5pm) it’s enough to reach the Brooklyn 25th street subway stop: the entrance, well evident, is few hundreds meters far.
New York City: the City Reliquary Museum
More than a museum it is an original and curious collection of all vintage related to New York City.
It was born about 12 years ago where before an old winery rose up, by the idea of two odd characters (talk to them can be a really unique experience, funny for some reasons). This place keeps the greatest collection of objects tied to NYC myth. Old road notices, signs, “pieces” (actually recovered pieces) of the subway, WC of the 1950s, all shapes and sizes of the Statues of Liberty, old seltz bottles, subway tokens, vintage pictures and newspapers and an indefinite number of bits and pieces to look about among…a paradise for the lovers of the kind.
There’s also a sort of gift store where to buy historic souvenir postcards and typical sweet things, but I don’t guarantee for the last ones!!
The City Reliquary is located in Williamsburg to the north of Brooklyn, near the Metropolitan Ave subway stop. Opening hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12-4pm. Free admission but a donation is welcomed (you will be told 5-10$ but I think 2/3$ will be good).
New York City: the Williamsburg Bridge
The “poor relation” of the Brooklyn Bridge is actually a huge steel constructione dating back to 1903, linking the former industrial district of Williamsburg (today budding fashion area) to Manhattan.
Why should you cross it?
Because it gives a different view of Manhattan because it allows to admire the graffiti on the Williamsburg buildings’ walls: since there are less cyclers and above all less tourists compared to the Brooklyn Bridge, it allows to enjoy better the route. And also to take all photographs you desire with no crowd, because it comes out in the Lower East Side: it is another neighborhood to explore, little far from the mythical Kat’s Delicatessen restaurant (do you know the apex scene of “When Harry met Sally”?) where the best pastrami sandwich in the city is served. First try and then trust.
The bridge can be used by the university students living in Williamsburg (the houses’ prices are definitely lower here) and who reach in a short time by bicycle the colleges in Manhattan.
The pedestrian way is completely covered by drawings and graffiti making it an icon of the New Yorker street art.
New York City: the Merchant’s House Museum
Imagine to walk through the East Village among stores,bBeautiful stone houses, modern buildings and fashion venues and suddenly to run into an old red brick house shaded with time that, as if by magic, it seems to have peeped out of the “The Age of Innocence” (do you know the famous book/movie?).
The Merchant’s House Museum is the only example perfectly preserved of a New Yorker middle-upper middle class house in the 1800s.
Here everything, from furniture to the daily use objects, the personal belongings, the cloths, the decorations, the servants’ rooms, is absolutely original. It’s like to enter a time machine…
It was built in 1832 and people lived uninterruptedly here until 1933 when the last member of The Tredwells, Gertrude, died. Just three years later, in 1936, it was opened to the public as museum and it was untouched from then.
The visit (10$ each) allows to visit the whole building, from the old entrance (a few meters under the actual road level, by now) to the very beautiful inside garden, as far as the “creaking” (and creepy) attic.
The Merchant’s House Museum is opened on Mondays and Thursday-Sunday, 12-5pm.
On Tuesdays and on Wednesdays guided tours are scheduled.
New York City: The cableway to Roosevelt Island
It exists a surprisingly cheap way to literally fly over a stretch of Manhattan and enjoy a really wonderful view.
It’s enough to reach the crossroads between the 60th street and the Second Ave and get on the cableway (it’s enough to use the subway card or buy a ticket – 2,50$ each way) that leaves to Roosevelt Island every 10 minutes.
The route is short but really exciting, above all if you have a seat opposite the front windows of the carriage.
My tip is to take it little before sunset to enjoy getting dark behind Manhattan’s skyscrapers directly from the Roosevelt Island. It’s an island (a former criminal colony, today residential and fun area) in the middle of the East River: it’s another heaven of peace and relax where to walk or simply enjoy the passage of the lighters and of the tourist ferries sit on a bench on the riverside.
Enjoy my unusual “taste” of New York City.