01 June 2018
Just a seven- to eight-hour hop across the Atlantic and with direct flights available from London and several regional UK airports, New York City is quite simply one of the best city-break destinations around. Crammed with iconic sights and cultural venues, fantastic restaurants for all budgets and wonderful shops, it’s a full-throttle city that will always leave you wanting more. We’ve looked at some of our favourite ways of enjoying a weekend or short break in the city that never sleeps.
Morning: Get a relaxed overview of this hectic city and the Hudson River from the leafy High Line – an urban walkway on part of an old elevated railway line, stretching over 2km from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street south of Times Square.
Lunch at: If you start from the north, Bubby’s Highline at the southern end is the perfect place to refuel, with a menu of American comfort classics including ‘breakfast for lunch’ dishes such as pancakes with strawberry rhubarb compôte, and asparagus and ramp (wild leek) hash.
Afternoon: Take the subway to South Ferry to catch the free Staten Island Ferry over to the island of the same name. Not only is this a way of seeing the Statue of Liberty close up – it’s a great means of getting some fresh air and exercise, since Staten Island has 120km of bike paths and lanes and greenways that include the beachside Franklin D Roosevelt Boardwalk with its views towards Brooklyn.
Dinner at: Catch the ferry back to Manhattan and head up to Chinatown for authentic Asian food in any number of restaurants for all budgets. Among the longest-established and most popular is Oriental Garden on Elizabeth Street.
Evening: If you’ve got some energy in reserve, take in some live music in one of several nearby venues ranging from the Bowery Ballroom (rock) to the Basilica of St Patrick's Old Cathedral (classical concerts).
Morning: Cross the Brooklyn Bridge (pausing for the requisite selfie) and enjoy another leisurely and very scenic stroll – this time through the waterfront Brooklyn Bridge Park with its in-your-face views of the Manhattan skyline. Highlights along the way include a 1920s carousel, a summer outdoor pool, a roller rink and a converted coffee barge hosting chamber music concerts.
Lunch at: Chow down at 1 Brooklyn Bridge, a hip hotel with farm-to-table dining in several eateries including a rooftop bar. Or tucked under Brooklyn Bridge itself, Grimaldi’s is an institution for its pizzas, which are worth braving the queues for.
Afternoon: You might not associate the Big Apple with outdoor adventures, so you may be surprised to find that you can go kayaking – for free – from several piers in the Hudson River Park. The marina at Pier 25 also offers sailing lessons for all levels, kids’ sailing camps and even beach volleyball on groomed sand courts against a backdrop of the Statue of Liberty.
Dinner at: A few minutes by foot south of Pier 25, the Hudson Eats food court is a fine spot for indoor and outdoor eating from the likes of Unami Burger, Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue and Dos Toros Taqueria.
Evening: Walk it all off with a 40-minute stroll up to Greenwich Village with its legendary music venues, including Smalls Jazz Club.
Morning and brunch: Go for a walk, a jog or even a horse-and-carriage ride in Central Park. With 843 acres to explore, there’s always something new to see, whether it’s the reptilian inhabitants of Turtle Pond or the boulderers scaling the park’s giant rocks. At the park’s southern end, Sarabeth’s is a classic New York eatery with brunch offerings that include lemon and ricotta pancakes with blackberries, pumpkin waffles, and French toast with strawberries.
Afternoon: Drink in some culture in the Guggenheim Museum in its unmistakeable Frank Lloyd Wright building overlooking Central Park. Displaying works dating from the Impressionist era to today, it has a family activity kiosk and family exhibition guides for those visiting with kids. After your dose of art, head down Lexington Avenue for culture of an altogether different kind at the temple to retail therapy that is the Bloomingdale’s department store.
Dinner at: Round off your stay with a true New York style slap-up dinner at The Meatball Shop on 2nd Avenue, with pick-and-mix balls and sauces to follow up with desserts including ice-cream sandwiches or banana splits.
Evening: Spend your last evening taking in the dazzle of Times Square and the Theatre District – perhaps taking in a show such as the historical blockbuster Hamilton.
To book your short break in New York, contact your Travel Counsellor now.