New York City is a bustling metropolis that is visited by millions of travelers each year. New York is home to world-renowned landmarks, world-class shopping, museums, restaurants, fashion, nightlife and the most diverse population in the world. This 24-hour city has something for everyone; however, its best to avoid tourist traps by seeking out unique activities to experience the best New York City has to offer.
Staten Island Ferry
Staten Island is one of the overlooked boroughs in New York City. It doesn’t have the glitz and glamor of Manhattan and it contains no major attractions of note in comparison to the other boroughs. However, Staten Island provides a nice respite from the city. The ferry shuttles tourists and locals across the Upper New York Bay and provides sail by views of the Statue of Liberty that make a perfect free photo-op. The Staten Island Ferry also provides a beautiful snapshot of Lower Manhattan’s impressive skyline and views of the city’s famous bridges. Unlike guided tour boats, the 25 minute ride affords tourists the chance to immerse themselves with the locals to experience a realistic slice of city life.
New York City is home to millions of talented people. Unlike most cities, where people reserve their abilities for special occasions, the residents of New York share their talents with the world. Street performers are abundant in New York; many of them perform along sidewalks and in parks. However, one of the best experiences is watching these talented performers do their thing in subway stations and on trains. A variety of musicians, acrobats and dancers add colorful atmosphere to the city’s busy subway system.
Be sure to tip the performers before leaving to show your appreciation for their hard work.
Late Night People Watching
New York truly is the city that never sleeps. When visiting the city, you are able to feel its energy permeate through the hotel. Instead of turning in early like you would do back home, why not head out into the late night air and watch people from different walks of life going about their business. Standing along a sidewalk at 2 a.m., you'll see an interesting cast of well-dressed characters, traveling from place-to-place like it’s the middle of the afternoon. Be sure to bring your camera with you so you can show everyone back home how New York got its reputation.
Another way to experience New York is to take a walk through the city’s many neighborhoods. Harlem, Chinatown, Greenwich Village, the Upper East and West Sides; Brooklyn and the Bronx all have distinct flavors that set them apart. These areas provide a respite from the tourist traps in Times Square and give travelers a better overall perspective of why New York is the arguably the most unique city on earth.