Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn
City Break Travel Ideas USA

USA: Even more alternative New York City

I’ve previously written about the perfect New York City break, exploring Greenwich Village, enjoying the vibrant 9th Avenue Food Festival, and wandering through alternative New York City. Now I’ve come up with some more travel tips for getting off the beaten path as a visitor to NYC:

Sunset Park

This beautiful park in south Brooklyn is the perfect alternative spot to take in the world’s most famous city skyline. It’s a real NYC hidden treasure, and from its highest hill, as well as the Manhattan skyline, you can see across Brooklyn to New Jersey, Staten Island, and even the Statue of Liberty. Sunset Park is especially fun in summer, with a swimming pool, beach volleyball, plenty of green space, and also an interesting 9/11 memorial.

The Cloisters

If you’ve been to New York before and have already done the major museums, why not check out this lesser-known culture spot? It’s actually an annex of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it is in Fort Tryon Park and focuses on medieval art and architecture. The grounds are lovely, and the building was actually constructed out of parts of European monasteries transported to the US!

New York City

The Unisphere

This huge, steep globe is a legacy of the 1964-65 World’s Fair, and it sparkles in the sun in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. It’s quite the iconic symbol of the Queens borough, and you might also recognise it from the climactic battle from the Men in Black film. I love the message the Unisphere represents: a shrinking globe in an expanding universe, reflecting global interdependence and the “peace through understanding” theme of the Fair.

The Graffiti Wall, Bowery

On the corner of East Houston St and Bowery in the East Village, this photogenic urban canvas is one of my favorites. Artist Keith Haring made it famous in the early 1980s, and ever since, the Bowery wall has been an artistic showcase as well as a street scene. Things got more official since 2008 when the developer made this a place to present contemporary art. New murals appear each season, and other artists who have worked here include Martha Cooper and Maya Hayuk. The whole Bowery area is also fun to explore with its Bohemian history.

New York City street art

The New York Public Library

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is a fabulous 19th-century Beaux Arts building set in Bryant Park, and it is well worth spending a morning here both for the collections and the architecture, even it you are not a bibliophile. It is the fourth largest library in the world with 53 million items in its collection. Take a free tour to get the most out of your visit and see the Rose Main Reading Room and the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room. There are always special exhibitions, which are often of very high quality.

New York City has architectural beauty, 24-hour energy, and an incredible cultural and gastronomic offering. So leave the well-worn tourist trail behind and wander through alternative New York City.

By Natasha von Geldern

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One Comment

  1. Great tips Natasha! I’ve been to NYC a couple of times but absolutely love it there so I still want to go back, time and again but have only really done the touristy things so far so keen to go a bit more offbeat next time! Great tip on sunset park – that sounds like an excellent hidden viewpoint!

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