The iconic film noir Naked City, shot on the streets of New York, ends with the famous line “there are eight million stories in the naked city...” There are also as many places to see the distinct sides of the city. Everything cited here is free and a uniquely New York experience.
Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, or just halfway, but do it. All of Manhattan, the harbor, the Statue of Liberty, the ships, will be before you. Cross by foot or subway and wander brownstone Brooklyn: Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights Fort Greene, Park Slope. There are hundreds of blocks of gorgeous tree-lined neighborhoods, built in the 19th century, full of places to eat, drink and shop.
Walk along Brooklyn Bridge Park, a 1.5 mile ribbon of landscaped, post-industrial riverfront with ferry landings, playing fields, sports courts, lawns, bike paths, art installations, and calm landing areas for kayaks and canoes.
In between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges lies DUMBO, a former industrial area, now studded with loft dwellings, shops and eateries. Hop the train a few stops to Williamsburg, where hipsters roost. Take in the atmosphere on a weekend when Smorgasburg, an eclectic and top notch food festival, feeds the hungry crowds next to the East river.
Take the subways! They’re the fastest, safest way around. The eight million stories of the city start down there!
In Manhattan, stroll the colorful back streets of Chinatown. It can be like the alleys of Shanghai. You need only bring your appetite for the dumpling and noodle joints that serve a terrific meal for the cost of a hamburger.
See Ground Zero, a dramatically designed and moving memorial. Plan ahead and get free passes online.
Take the free Staten Island ferry, cruising by the Statue of Liberty, returning to see the classic water view of Manhattan.
The High Line, the reborn elevated railroad track snaking through west Chelsea, shows how innovative urban park design has transformed an environment and the entire neighborhood.
See the NY Public Library at 42nd street and Grand Central Station a few blocks east. These are two of the finest Beaux Art masterpieces in the country.
Take in the Union Square Farmer’s Market, the best of its kind in the city, on the way to the East Village, which is always hopping, especially in the evening. Have a beer on 7th street at McSorley’s, the oldest and coziest alehouse in the city.
Believe it or not, these ideas are only a start, but they are all iconic New York experiences. Look at my tours and feel free to email any questions or suggestions to me through my ToursByLocals guide profile.
Thanks Rob! These ideas have me wishing I had a trip to New York planned this fall! If any travelers are headed to Robert’s hometown, consider getting in touch with him to help guide you through the city’s streets, galleries, parks and pubs. Along with the tour offerings on his page, he can design custom itineraries to help you experience New York in your own unique way.