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The youngest of all the main bridges that span the East River, the Manhattan Bridge was finished in 1909 and it runs from Canal St. in Manhattan to East Flatbush in Brooklyn. It carries thousands of passengers each day, from cars and MTA train riders to cyclists and runners. The neighborhood in Brooklyn known as DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) provides amazing views of the bridge and the Manhattan skyline, a real reward after walking from the other side.
In the midst of the bustle, noise and pollution of Turtle Bay, the Tudor City Greens provide an oasis of peace and tranquility. Located on either side of East 42nd Street and under the first multi-building residential complex in the world, these not-for-profit greens are run under the auspices of Tudor City itself. Stroll down the cobblestone paths on a lazy afternoon, watching flowers bloom or enjoy an al fresco lunch break on one of the bistro-style chairs which are strategically placed all around the park. When you are done, don't forget to visit Ralph Bunche Park and take the Sharansky Steps to the United Nations across 1st Avenue.
Battery Park City is a 92-acre piece of land that was added to Lower Manhattan during the first excavation of the original World Trade Center towers in 1972. It is mostly residential, however there are a few notable attractions like the Brookfield Place shopping district, Pumphouse Park and superb views of Jersey and the Hudson. The Museum of Jewish Heritage is also located in Battery Park City as well as the Skyscraper Museum.
In Manhattan's Meatpacking District, many tourists visit the famous High Line which is an archetype of urban renewal and reuse. However, if you happen to venture to the the far northeast end of the island at 172nd St. and Amsterdam Avenue, you can visit another manmade structure that has been revived in this often forgotten part of the city. With the Harlem River flowing below, the High Bridge is a steel arch structure and stands at a height of about 140 feet. In fact the bridge is one of the oldest surviving bridges in the New York City; constructed 35-years before the Brooklyn Bridge. The original stone arch span was constructed in 1848, and renovated with steel in 1928. High Bridge fell into disuse and both entrances from the Bronx and Manhattan were shuttered in the 1970's. Nevertheless, with help from local benefactors and the city, renovations began on the bridge in order to reuse it as a pedestrian walkway. In 2015, High Bridge reopened and though it may not be as popular as the High Line, it certainly has less tourists and the views of the river and city are spectacular.
Since 1653, City Hall Park has been a center of civic activity in New York. Serving as a home for rebels during the Colonial era and housing several important government buildings, this park now provides a tranquil space amid the hustle and bustle of the city. Major institutions such as New York City Hall, New York City Department of Education and the infamous Tweed Courthouse are all nestled on this block which extends to Chambers Street. Inside the park itself, you will find monuments, fountains and statues of personalities who played an integral role in the city's history. Otherwise, this tranquil park bustles every afternoon with government employees, newlyweds who visit the courthouse nearby, and tourists who come for a short stroll. Self-proclaimed gourmets come here to shop at the farmer's market held from March to December.
New Yorkers love this small park in the heart of Midtown. With its French benches, colorful flower gardens, green lawn and numerous cultural events, Bryant Park is a peaceful place to take a moment to watch the world go by. Named after poet William Cullen Bryant, the site of this historic park has played an important role in New York City. After being officially designated a public park, the site's fortunes rose and fell with the times. A brilliant restoration in the 1990s transformed the space into the beautiful midtown oasis it is today. The park's March hours vary throughout the month, so be sure to check the website before visiting.
St. Mark's Place, named after St Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, is a storied street in New York's East Village. The place is officially an extension of 8th Street, and the adjacent street that leads to the church (Stuyvesant) is one of the oldest colonial thoroughfares in the city. Along St. Mark's, there are eclectic shops and restaurants from Third Avenue all the way to Tompkins Square Park. Try Kenka for Japanese, Xi'An for Chinese, Mamoun's for Falafel, Gem Spa for a Egg Cream, the list of establishments goes on-and-on. Since the expansion of the neighborhood in the early 19th Century, the street has seen all types of characters, from Leon Trotsky and Eliza Hamilton to James Fenimore Cooper and Bob Dylan.
New York can be a magical place, and this is one way to unlock some of that magic. Board the Roosevelt Island tram and enjoy panoramic views of New York from 250-ft. above the East River. The cost is nominal and can only be accessed with an MTA Metrocard. The ride lasts four minutes, but once you get to the island, you can walk along the shoreline and take some of the best photos of the Manhattan skyline, the Queensboro Bridge as well as play inside of FDR's Four Freedoms Park.
Conservatory Garden is a vast six-acre (2.42-hectare) garden located in the northeastern section of Central Park. It is also the only formal garden in Central Park. The garden consists of three distinct sections - English, Italian, and French. The garden is pedestrian-friendly as running and biking are prohibited. The garden contains a wide variety of flowers, trees and fountains in each of its three themed sections.
Harlem Meer is not actually a "sea" as its name in Dutch would imply, however, this little lake in the Northeastern end of the park is a delight nonetheless. Most tourists rarely travel this far up in the park (unless they are visiting the nearby conservatory gardens), so it is always filled with locals who bike, run, play and fish far from the tumult of crowds. The Charles A. Dana Discovery Center is open at the north end of the lake and it provides information about the area and activities. Additionally, the area around the park is filled with historical landmarks from the Revolutionary War, like remnants of Fort Clinton and McGowan's Pass.
The High Line is an urban oasis filled with beautifully manicured landscapes. It sits above the city on old train tracks that were installed as part of the West Side Improvement Project back in 1929. The line was primarily used to transport goods along the Lower West Side, but with the advent of vehicles in the 1950s and more accessible routes elsewhere, the last train eventually ran in 1980. Thereafter, the elevated tracks fell into disrepair, and the whole structure was nearly demolished. It was instead converted into an innovative public park, delighting locals and visitors alike. Today, the High Line is a cherished sanctuary away from the bustle of city life.
This posh area encompasses the east part of the island from 59th St. up to 96th St., and extends from the East River to Central Park. When the city's rectilinear street grid was implemented in 1811, the bigwigs of commerce and industry built their mansions along 5th and Park avenues and the area has since maintained its reputation as one of the wealthiest parts of Manhattan. The UES is also known for its magnificent, world-class museums like the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Academy of Design amongst many others. The neighborhood has many other little "enclaves" within, such as Lenox Hill, Yorkville and Carnegie Hill, however most people visit the museums along 5th Ave. and might not even know when one neighborhood turns into the next!