A Local’s Guide to New York City


Walk the streets of New York today and it’s difficult to imagine just three years ago this massive city fell silent. With the pandemic behind us, New York City once again bustles with tourists and locals enjoying all the Big Apple has to offer. Despite being a 15-year resident of New York City, I’m always discovering something new. Whether you’ve traveled to New York numerous times or have never experienced the city that never sleeps, here are a few things to add to your itinerary in Manhattan and other boroughs. Note: Pack your walking shoes we’re covering some miles. But, don’t worry, epic views and a delicious dinner conclude the itinerary!

Explore NYC’s Westside on the Hudson River Greenway

A hidden treasure, the Little Red Lighthouse stands beneath the George Washington Bridge in Upper Manhattan and the Hudson River Greenway will lead you to it. Stretching 11 miles, the greenway spans the entire length of Manhattan’s west side. Besides finding the Little Red Lighthouse, along the route are sculptures, benches, railroad memorabilia, midtown piers and plenty of riverside cafes. The trail passes through Fort Washington Park, Riverbank Park, Riverside Park and Hudson River Park before finishing at Battery Park at the southernmost tip of Manhattan.

Malcolm Cochran’s Private Passage is an eye-catching sculpture along the trail. It’s a 30’x 8’6” giant wine bottle resting on its side. Inside is a representation of an interior statement from the ocean liner, Queen Mary. Doing the full greenway will take most of the day but there are plenty of green spaces for picnicking and riverside cafes along the trail to help you recharge when needed.

Discover Little Island

As you explore the Hudson River Greenway, you’ll discover a new addition to Manhattan’s west side, Little Island. Rising from the remnants of Pier 54, Little Island sits on a site that has played a pivotal role in the story of the Hudson River and its surrounding communities. The former pier now serves as a park with two acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. Little Island opened on May 21, 2021, as an oasis for New Yorkers and visitors with dazzling views and an abundance of free education programs and performances. Interesting works of art are also interspersed throughout the park.

Hudson River Park continues south from Little Island featuring tennis courts, miniature golf, basketball courts and bike trails along the way with more art woven into the landscape.

Continue past the Hudson River Park in lower Manhattan to Battery Park and look for the Seaglass Carousel. Riders sit inside iridescent fish in an aquatic setting for this uniquely magical carousel ride.

Experience the High Line

Built on a historic freight rail line, the High Line stretches from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street along Manhattan’s west side. This elevated walkway has become one of New York’s top attractions.

Highlights along the way including the Chelsea Thicket—a two-block section of the pathway that meanders through a miniature forest of dogwoods, bottlebrush buckeye, roses and various other trees and shrubs. Original railroad tracks are embedded into the walkway as a nod to the path’s original identity.
Between 14th and 15th Streets the walkway is lined with lounge chairs filled with sunbathers during the day and those looking for the best seat in town to catch a sunset over the Hudson River. Train lovers will appreciate the area around 34th Street that overlooks the train yard outside of Penn Station.

Explore the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

As one of the first neighborhoods of commuting New Yorkers in the early 1800s, Brooklyn Heights earning the title of “America’s First Suburb.” The historic neighborhood retains much of its 19th-century charm with quaint tree-lined streets flanked by stately mansions and lovely brownstones.

The Brooklyn Heights promenade runs alongside the East River where stunning unobstructed views of Lower Manhattan are the main attraction. It’s one of the most romantic spots in New York City. Lined with flower beds, trees, playgrounds and benches, the promenade stretches one-third mile. Highlights include views of the Statue of Liberty, the historic Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.

Take a Sunset Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge

One of the country’s oldest suspension bridges, the Brooklyn Bridge is a New York City icon. Completed in 1883, the bridge spans nearly 1600 feet across the East River. A stunning structure with Neo-Gothic towers, the Brooklyn Bridge connects New York City’s past with its present. And it’s one of New York’s most popular walks.

It’s an easy 1.2-mile walk each way on the pedestrian walkway which is situated above the bustling traffic lanes. You can walk it from Manhattan to the Bronx or vice versa. Personally, I prefer to take the subway to Brooklyn and walk back to Manhattan. Take the A or C subway train downtown in Manhattan to High Street in Brooklyn. Then take a short walk to the bridge entrance.
The Manhattan skyline unfolds before you and Lady Liberty is in view in New York harbor. There’s nothing quite like walking the Brooklyn Bridge. A walk just before sunset yields views of the city’s lights coming alive as the sun disappears. It has always been one of my favorite New York experiences.

A Walk in the Bronx on High Bridge

Built in 1848, the High Bridge (originally known as the Aqueduct Bridge) is the oldest bridge in New York City. After being closed for over 40 years, the bridge reopened as a pedestrian walkway in 2015. The steel arch bridge rises to a height of 140 feet over the Harlem River connecting Manhattan with the Bronx. Historical markers along the walkway provide a glimpse into New York City’s history.

The eastern end of the bridge sits in the Highbridge section of the Bronx near the western end of West 170th Street. The western end exists in Highbridge Park in Manhattan where the 200-foot octagonal High Bridge Water Tower stands watch. Sculptures throughout the park provide an artistic touch to this historic section of the city.

Experience Epic Views and Dining at the Empire State Building

One of NYC’s most iconic landmarks, the Empire State Building showcases views of the city’s skyline from its 82nd-floor observatory and even more incredible views from the 102nd floor. Even if you’ve been previously, new exhibits within the Empire State Building provide insights into this art deco masterpiece. Besides, the views never get old!
Given the attraction’s appeal, the best way to visit the Empire State Building is with a VIP experience. Observatory packages can now be purchased in tandem with the Empire State Building’s art deco-styled restaurant, STATE Grill and Bar. The package provides a skip-the-line VIP pass for the observatories. And, the pass is paired with a two-course lunch or three-course dinner on the ground floor. Packages are available at the Empire State Building Observatory and online via esbnyc.com.