Always more often, through the pages of this blog and the social networks (you find me live almost always) I am asked for detailed itineraries and tips about what is the first time in New York for many people.
People who have been following me for a bit and who are enlisted to my newsletter, monthly receive guidebooks and theme paths aimed at discovering not only NY but also other wonderful (and sometimes less famous) American realities.
Despite this, really many emails about tours, from one to more days, and places not to miss in the Big Apple keep arriving.
Since it is impossible for me to answer everyone (you begin to be really many), I created, taking my cue from right the newsletter, an itinerary that can be extended to deepen according to the days (max from 1 to 3) with the several links tied to further websites and specific paths, always – of course – created and tested personally.
I hope it can be useful to who want deepen, even though you have less time in your hands, one’s knowledge of the city or to whom have desire to include something unusual compared to the classical tours offered by the web, too.
I’ve always thought that the beginning and the end of a stay in New York had to coincide unavoidably with “a few steps” in Central Park.
I don’t know why, nor I have a particular reason pushing me to recommend that.
I can only say that instinctively, since time immemorial, my first hours in the city pass over sweetly, usually without any hurry, into this boundless green forest (call it “park” seems to me really an understatement), made of lawns, lakes, hills, paths and fairytale constructions.
A sort of place-no-place set in a jungle definitely bigger and different…Manhattan.
A clear and strong contrast that immediately allows people who arrive to the city for the first time to understand (and it allows who comes back to remember) the stunning variety of feelings and impressions that New York will able to offer.
“My” (or perhaps it would be better to say “our”) New York, that one I want to tell about (and above all recommend) begins exactly from here, from a wrought iron bench of the Literary walk and a Sturbucks with a dash of milk Espresso in the hand.
The tour of the whole Central Park can require also an entire day. So if you have less time in your hands and you want to reach in a short time the most important locations, click here to follow my very personal itinerary and select what you are interested in most (according to the descriptions and preferences).
Leave Central Park behind you and go on foot along a stretch of the mythical 5th Avenue, starting from the crossroads with Central Park South: it can be easily found thanks to the transparent “cube” of the Apple Store on one side and thanks to the majesty of the Plaza (one of the most expensive and charming hotels in the city, which was made famous by several important movies) on the other one.
Going along the 5th Ave southwards you’ll run into some of Midtown’s symbol places, like the MOMA (the Museum of Modern Art) for example, in the side street of the 53rd Street, the Rockefeller Center and the St. Patrick Cathedral.
Once arrived at the crossroads with the 42nd Street, turn on the left towards Chrysler Building (you cannot help recognizing its particular “diamond” point turning your look upwards) and stop to have a quick look at the historic Grand Central Terminal.
Come back on the 5th Ave stop for some minutes at the New York Public Library, even only to admire quickly the reading rooms on the second floor (framed in many famous movies) and stay for a moment (but even more if you have time) at the Bryant Park at the back, to me the most beautiful park of the city.
Keep going southwards always along the 5th Ave, at the 33rd you’ll run into one of the symbols of the old NY, the Empire State Building.
You choose whether going up to the peak, like in a movie of the 1930s, or whether to take photos of it from the bottom searching for some original perspective.
Arrived at the crossroads with the 23rd street you’ll find yourselves in front of the Flatiron Building, the very famous “iron” shape building, certainly the most curious and original one in the whole New York (with a definitely singular story).
Turn on the right, always along the 23rd and reach the near Chelsea to go up, at the crossroads with the Tenth Ave, and go on foot along a stretch of the High Line: a very nice super elevated promenade arriving as far as Meatpacking District.
Please, once arrived at the end reach the very near and original Chelsea market to give yourselves a snack at one of the several food stores there.
I think that after the long walk at this point it’s better to rest and optimize time, to take the subway (at last, I’d add, above all if it’s the first time for you).
The famous New Yorker subway (here you find the info about the tickets typologies which are more suitable to your needs) to reach Lower Manhattan.
From the subway 14th street/8th Ave stop take the direct blue line to Chambers Street.
Once gone out you’ll find yourselves in the Ground Zero area, where once there were the Twin Towers and where now there are two boundless pools commemorating the tragic events.
My tip, if you have time (and I hope sincerely you’ll have) is to visit the National September Memorial Museum (reckon two/three abundant hours) and to go up to the very new One World Observatory of the Freedom Tower, after have booked and bought in advance the ticket on the official website, above all if you are in the city in a period of high tourist crowd.
In the area (right next to the Memorial Plaza) you can find one of the designated temples of the New Yorker shopping low cost, the Century 21. Click here to get more info and to discover the cheapest locations for the shopping in the city!
Going southwards cross Wall Street to take photograph of the outside of one of the most famous Stock Exchange in the world. And, walking among the ancient street of Lower Manhattan maybe seeking an unusual itinerary to deepen, reach Battery Park.
According to the time in your hands, choose whether to take part into the guided excursions to Ellis Island and to the Statue of Liberty or whether to take the free ferry to Staten Island, anyway giving a wonderful view of the Manhattan skyscrapers and of the Lady Liberty – and it takes a lot less time.
Now take again the near South Ferry subway and reach the Court Street stop in Brooklyn.
Through the Brooklyn Promenade (an amazing window on Manhattan) go up and go on foot along the mythical Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhattan: the sunset at the first lights of the evening will give you a breathtaking view (and photos) of the city.
A little tip. Once arrived on the bridge, pay attention to stay on the pedestrian ways on the left: cyclers on the right speed quickly without paying attention to pedestrians!
Then once crossed the bridge take again the near City Hall subway and reach Times Square, changing line at Grand Central Terminal.
Your day (or days, according to the time you have in your hands to deepen the several locations mentioned) must end among the thousands lights of one among the most famous squares in the world.
Maybe eating sauce spare ribs at the near Virgil’s, to me one of the best BBQ in the area, or going up to some near rooftop (some of the most amazing rooftops in the city) to give a last look at the sparkling night in Manhattan.
The numerous series of the subway lines stopping in Time Square will guarantee you a quick return to the hotel (or flat) wherever they are.