New York day-by-day: Easy itineraries to maximize your visit

Today you'll be up bright and early to see the most famous of all of NYC's attractions, the Statue of Liberty. You will have reserved tickets in advance at www.statuecruises.com for 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m., which gives you access to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. (Get an early breakfast at your hotel or grab a coffee on the way; if you're really in a rush, there are concession stands on the ferries.) If you want to see both islands, you should allow about six hours; if this is your final day in the city, I recommend that you just see Liberty Island on this visit – which will still take about three hours, including time on the ferry – so that you can fit in some other New York attractions.

After returning to Manhattan at noon or 12:30pm, grab a cab up to the other must-see museum in New York, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). The MOMA also contains one of the most-lauded restaurants in the city, The Modern, where chef Gabriel Kreuther prepares inventive seasonal American cuisine. After relaxing over lunch, spend a couple of hours admiring the contemporary art on display at this justly famous museum.

From the MOMA, it's a short walk over to Rockefeller Center (between 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Seventh Aves.) and Radio City Music Hall (if you so desire, you can take a tour, or just admire these iconic New York venues from the outside). It's another short stroll or cab ride to the Empire State Building. If you arrive around sunset, you can admire the transformation of the city skyline into a twinkling mass of lights from buildings and bridges.

The area around the Empire State is somewhat of a culinary wasteland, so walk four blocks west on 34th St. to Macy's department store, which tends to be open late, for either a peek at its famous window displays or some soothing retail therapy. When you've had your fill, head two blocks south down Broadway to 32nd St., where you'll find yourself in Koreatown, home of 24-hour Korean spas and delicious Korean barbecue joints. I recommend either Kum Gang San (49 West 32nd St.) or Gahm Mi Oak (43 West 32nd St.), and it's really hard to go wrong with the small side dishes (called "banchan") that come free with the meat, seafood or veggies that you often grill right at your table.

If you have any energy left over, go hear some cabaret in one of New York's famous venues. The Oak Room at the Algonquin (59 West 44th St., 212-840-6800) has shows at 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 11:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; celebrated songstresses such as Barbara Cook and Eartha Kitt strut their stuff at Café Carlyle (35 East 76th St., 212-744-1600); and well-known performers like Rita Moreno and Bebe Neuwirth display their vocal talents at Feinstein's at Loews Regency (540 Park Ave., 212-339-4095).

If you have 3 or 4 days, you'll need to get out of the city – but just across the bridge, all the better to marvel at a magnificent view of the city skyline. And, of course, New York isn't New York without cramming in more culture and consumerism.

Day 3

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