This was our 5th visit to the Big Apple. We have good friends there and like to catch up with them at every opportunity or excuse. And who wouldn’t! New York is so enthralling – you will never ever run out of new places to see, places to eat, things to do, shows to see etc. I’ve never even been to the big museums there because you need to spend at least a full day at each one to give them minimal justice. Also, it’s a great excuse to go back to NY again!
“But why do we always stay in Manhatten?” asked Geoffrey. – and always Midtown around Times Square? Geoffrey was disappointed when he first saw Times Square on the first visit. This iconic landmark was smaller than expected, congested with traffic, tourists and peddlers. A classic case of a big let-down from built-up expectations. [Hint: For your first visit to New York, see Times Square at night]
Brooklyn was its own independent city until 1898 and until relatively recently has been transformed from a poor, crime-ridden area to now being desirable, with increasingly expensive housing and very cool and hip.
We finally decided to stay Downtown Brooklyn as a base to savour the local attractions. First impressions – it is so different from Midtown Manhattan. Far, far less touristy and congested with far less chance of buying a horrible coffee.
Dumbo is a neighbourhood along the shoreline between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge. It’s trendy, with a well-manicured park and a great view of the Manhattan skyline. The old warehouse buildings have been converted to independent boutiques, high-end restaurants and trendy cafes. You can also get a great more elevated view of Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights and the Brooklyn Promenade. Our NY friends said that the houses behind the prominade are not openly marketed as they are so sought after and rarely come up for sale.
We also did a Williamsburg Street Art Tour. This was a free walking tour where you pay a gratuity at the end depending on the value you personally received. Geoffrey and I know nothing about Street Art culture and this was an education for both of us. The guide was a street artist with an obvious passion for the whole street art scene. It just gives you an additional tiny insight into this vast, fascinating and diverse city.
These Free Tours by Foot are excellent value. We did another one in Harlem a couple of days later. You are likely to have a guide who is informal, interesting and passionate. You are more likely to actually listen and learn something new compared to putting on a head-set.
Unfortunately we ran out of time to visit Prospect Park. Prospect Park was designed by the same guy that designed Central Park. Supposedly therefore he corrected all the mistakes he made in the design of Central Park. Our friends said you will notice obvious similarities in the features of both parks.
We will save this for our next visit.
If you would like more information about this destination please contact me.