There’s nothing better than a stroll down an avenue in New York, one of America’s most memorable cities. With all those boroughs and skyscrapers and historic architecture, it’s also one of the world’s most photogenic cities. But where are the best places to get a good view? Here are my top ten recommendations – some you may have heard of, but I suspect there are a few surprises.
Of all the boroughs who have great skyline views, I think it is Brooklyn. They have the Brooklyn bridge, for one, but there’s just something wonderfully iconic about the skyline from here, especially at night.
I’ve been up in many of the observation decks in New York, including the former World Trade Center platform before the terrorist attacks. For me, the Empire State always takes top honours. It’s a bit away from any other skyscrapers so you get wonderful views, plus there is lots of room to peek in all directions.
Not many tourist find their way into Fort Tryon park, but it’s very close to the famous Cloisters, which are here at the very north of Manhattan, near the end of the subway line. The park has some spectacular views and on a clear day you can even see the skyscrapers in the distance.
There are lots of boat tours and various ways to ferry yourself around the tip of Manhattan, but as many locals will tell you, a ride on the free Staten Island Ferry is the best, both day or night. Plus it’s an excuse to check out Staten Island, which has its own unique charm and things to see.
In the northwest part of Queens, on the shore of the East River, is Astoria Park, a popular place for locals who live in this area to visit. Astoria has some great restaurants and shops, and the park has some terrific views of several bridges.
An often overlooked spot, this island sits in between Manhattan and Queens. It’s a nice place to walk around, and the ride here on the aerial tram has a great view – though you can also arrive via subway.
Grand Central station is a tourist favourite, especially on days when the sun comes streaming in though the massive windows in the central atrium. It’s an architectural wonder, so be sure to stop by.
New York has many iconic churches, but this gorgeous (and still technically un-finished) church is my personal fave. It’s just Northwest of Central Park and is imposing from afar, and very still and inspiring from within.
I would be remiss without mentioning a rooftop bar, one of Manhattan’s most popular features – you gotta use those roof spaces for something! There are many choices, but one knock out for me is the Hotel Metro rooftop bar – the drinks are priced ok and their ambiance is quite nice. There’s also a superb view of the Empire State building, which is just two blocks away.
This now disused subway station is a tourist favourite and is on a lot of the “forgotten NY” tours. It has some ornate tiling and despite being in the grimy underbelly of the city, it is just beautiful.
Posted : Monday, May 16th, 2011 at 11:00
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.