10 Places Tourists Miss
New York City, New York, USA
1) Manhattan Bridge
The problem with the usual tourist walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is that you can’t see the Brooklyn Bridge from there! Walking across the Manhattan Bridge, you’ll get magnificent Brooklyn Bridge views and – perhaps the best part – you’ll avoid the crowds.
2) The Cloisters
This far-flung outpost of the Metropolitan Museum of Art houses the Met’s medieval art collection. The building is composed of several medieval cloisters imported to New York from France. The cloisters are situated in the center of Fort Tryon Park which offers walking paths and majestic views of the Hudson. Take the uptown A train to 190th Street, and don’t forget to visit the Shakespeare Garden on your way! Go online for more information.
3) Staten Island Ferry
Ferry service to Staten Island is free and, at sunset, quite romantic. You’ll see the statue of liberty, the lights of Brooklyn and, finally, the twinkling view of Manhattan from the water on your return trip. For the ferry schedule, go to here.
4) Irish Hunger Memorial
Artist Brian Tolle built this memorial to the famine that swept Ireland from 1845-1852. Though it was built in 2003, the memorial feels as though its been there longer than the bustling city that surrounds it. Tolle has carefully re-built a famine era cottage on the site and created a gentle hill outside of the cottage that leads to a view of the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty.
Walk through the ivy-covered cottage and up the meandering path, pausing to watch the birds flit among the wildflowers and hear the wind rustle the tall grasses. Stones placed in the garden come from each county in Ireland. When you reach the top of this bleak garden, you’ll see the waters 2 million of Irishmen reached in order to escape the famine. Visit here for directions.
5) Union Square Market (+ Holiday Market)
The farmer’s market at Union Square is the jewel in the crown of the New York City greenmarket network. Stop by on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for seasonal vegetables, flowers, meats, cheeses, breads and even more exotic products, like hand-dyed wool and raw honey.
During the holiday season, local vendors set up shop on the other end of Union Square to sell beautiful gifts, from warm slippers to antique chess sets.
6) Movies under the Brooklyn Bridge
During the summer, movies are shown in the park just north of the Brooklyn Bridge. Local restaurants supply food, or you can bring a picnic of your own. As the sun sets, you might find that the illuminated bridge competes with the movie for top billing. Go here for more information.
7) Prospect Park/Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
Designed by the same people who designed Central Park, Prospect Park is less often visited by tourists. Take the 2 or 3 train to Grand Army Plaza to enter the park by the ornate gate. Visit www.prospectpark.org/ for maps and other information.
Right next to the Prospect Park you’ll find the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. During cherry blossom season (early spring), the garden is packed with gawking Brooklynites. But the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is worth visiting any time of year; there are almost always plants blooming. The garden staff also offer a number of interesting classes and walking tours. Visit www.bbg.org for more information.
8) The Rockaways
When most people think of a New York City beach, they think of Coney Island. Profit from this by beating the crowds at Rockaway Beach at the end of the A line. After the train passes the airport, you’ll likely be the only one aboard as it winds through the marshy Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. If you’d like to explore the trails of the Wildlife Refuge, get off at Broad Channel Station. A good source of information on the Wildlife Refuge can be found online.
At the final stop, Rockaway Park Beach, you’ll find a salty seaside town that feels remarkably remote from the rest of New York. The beach is at the end of the main street.
9) Arthur Avenue
In the Belmont section of the Bronx is another “Little Italy” that still has much of the authenticity that the Little Italy in Greenwich Village now lacks. Everything revolves around the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, a huge indoor market selling Italian specialties. The neighborhood surrounding the market also has its share of meat stores, pastry shops and restaurants.
10) The Empire State Building