Dear Scout – Love your site! I’ll be visiting Manhattan for the first time in a few weeks, but I’ll only be in town for a few days. Can you offer any advice on what to see/do in my short time there? Thanks! – A Frequent Reader
Every week, I receive a number of emails asking what I’d recommend covering on a visit to NYC – not the obscure, quirky, and out of the way stuff that I tend to write about, but rather, my favorite major attractions and sights. Well, here it is, for tourists and locals alike, I present you with the long overdue…
First off: DO NOT FEAR THE SUBWAY. The subway is not the gritty, dangerous underground hovel you remember from such movies as The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3. The system is now safe, cheap, extremely easy to use, and at times, a work of art. Don’t believe me? Check out this great entrance near Fifth Avenue:
Don’t want to confuse you though – Most subway entrances look like this:
Common mistake: just because a subway line is a certain color doesn’t mean its trains make identical stops. For example, while both the W and D “yellow line” trains stop at 18th Street, one is express and the other is local. Ask for a free subway map at the teller booths located at every station. Also, be sure the subway entrance actually leads somewhere.
First no brainer: Central Park. Find an entrance and just go exploring. I could write up a walking tour, but that’d take away the excitement of all the treasures there are to stumble upon on your own. Beware of numerous souvenir stands lining the walks selling every sort of cheap knick-knack imaginable, from key chains to cigarette lighters.
And sure, everyone knows Central Park, but Manhattan actually has a number of other wonderful “green spaces” worth visiting: Riverside Park, Washington Square Park, and Gramercy Park, pictured below:
Make sure to try one of the park’s funnel cakes, known among locals as the authentic New York treat!
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