New York: the big apple, the city that never sleeps, so good they named it twice…For a city of such fame, a lot of NYC sure does seem to go unexplored. Sure, the Rockefeller Centre, Lady Liberty, Central Park and Time Square are musts for every keen visitor, but what about the buzzing colours of Brooklyn Flea Market? The incredible diorama of the city skyline in the Queens Museum or the 650 species that call Bronx Zoo home? Luckily, we’re here to help with a collection of action-packed itineraries within each of the city’s four ‘other boroughs’ – discover a New York beyond Manhattan!
24 hours in Queens
A tempting mish-mash of cultural influences from Europe and Asia, Queens is both a treat for the eyes and the stomach. With such a patchwork of diverse neighbourhoods to cover, a day here is action-packed, but sure to leave you dazzled, gluttonous, and entertained.
A great starting point for Queens is Mets-Willets Metro Station, easily accessed from the subways of Manhattan, and dropping you directly at the hub of sporting buzz that is Flushing, once there set off on the ten minute walk to the Queens Museum. Often underrated and always under-explored, Queens Museum holds countless treasures that will add cultural insight and intrigue to your NYC experience. The greatest highlight by far is the 9335 square foot panorama of the city, with no building left unrepresented.
After a few hours exploring, walk for 15 mins to the nearby Flushing Meadows area. This sprawling sporting mecca features the Citi Field Stadium, as well as the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, venue for the US Open and well worth a peek. A 20 minute stroll along College Point Boulevard will bring you to Presso – an aladdin’s cave of treats, freshly produced snacks and rich roastery that will satisfy any lunch craving in minutes.[URIS id=79790]
Another 20 minute down Main Street and you’ll find yourself within Queens’ signature brand of hustle and bustle – its Botanical Gardens and their lush lawns and fragrant flower beds can easily eat up a few hours – one of the borough’s best loved attractions, and a favourite with both travellers and locals.
Dinner comes in the form of Czech inspired grills and hearty platefuls at the lively Bohemian Beer Garden. This wildly popular venue is a short taxi ride from the gardens in Astoria, but is well worth the journey – savour meats and spiced goulash whilst clanking your steins of pils in the venue’s sun-drenched verandah. This is the best way to soak in Queens’ European flavour and unique humour, whilst rounding off the day in style.
24 Hours in Brooklyn
Arguably the most famous of New York’s boroughs, Brooklyn has never lost its edge, despite the recent booming popularity of previously run-down areas like Williamsburg and Park Slope. In all honesty, whether it’s hearty soul food, high-brow culture or the hustle and bustle of one of the city’s biggest flea markets, Brooklyn will have you charmed in no time.
Of course, the best way to enter Brooklyn is across its world famous bridge, which offers incredible views of Manhattan to boot. Aim to have crossed by about 9am, and start the day in the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park. Just a ten minute stroll along the river you’ll find a vivid tangle of stalls and aromas better known as Brooklyn Flea.
It would be easy to spend all day getting lost among this warren of sellers flogging anything from cultural delicacies to vintage clothing, but when you manage to prise yourself away, head back past the bridge to Brooklyn Heights Promenade. A short walkway along the river, this is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the Heights neighbourhood. Once you reach High Street, take the A bus to Hoyt-Schermerhorn. A four minute walk from here is Mile End Delicatessen, renowned for its meat-stacked bagels and doorstop sandwiches.
From here, walk along Livingston Street to DeKalb Avenue, and take the Q bus to Parkside Avenue. Just along from here you’ll find Prospect Park – a leafy haven and the jewel in the crown of Brooklyn’s sought-after Park Slope neighbourhood. Wandering through the park will bring you into the neighbourhood itself, which is well worth exploring for its Hollywood sheen, tree-lined avenues and quirky shops.
At 7th Avenue/6th Street, hop on the B69 bus to 7th Avenue/18th Street and walk to Green Wood Cemetery. As morbid as it may seem, this cemetery is actually the final resting place of many of the city’s notable inhabitants, from government officials to musicians and sportsmen, and is full of ornate architecture. From here, hail a cab and get yourself over to Vinegar Hill House for a well-deserved meal. Influenced by the city’s Italian population, this elegant restaurant serves up fresh, locally sourced soul food that is so good, you’re sure to overorder and still want dessert.
If the fancy takes you, just a ten minute cab ride from the restaurant is The Binc, one of Brooklyn’s premier late-night cocktail lounges (the seasonal specials are a must-try).
24 Hours in Staten Island
Although many associate it only with a commuter passage, Staten Island has bagfuls of culture, history and excitement to add to any NY itinerary. From naval museums to national monuments, some of the best Latin cuisine in the city and miles of lush, sprawling parks, this little island certainly packs a punch.
Start the day by taking the Staten Island Ferry so that you dock in St George for about 9:30am. The ferry journey itself is a prime photo opportunity, what with Lady Liberty waving you by and the iconic city skyline in view. Once you’ve docked, walk for around eight minutes along Richmond Terrace to Postcards, the island’s sculptural 9/11 memorial.
From here, just a five minute walk along Hamilton Avenue brings you to the Staten Island Museum, a treasure trove of time capsules and historic exhibitions that tell tales of New York City through the ages. Around the corner from the museum is Beso, a hugely popular tapas restaurant that serves up tasty small plates and sumptuous paellas that’ll set you up for the afternoon.
Once you’re ready to hit the road again, make your way to the Bay St/Nick Laporte bus stop and catch the S51 to FR Capodanno Bl/Cromwell Avenue. Here, you are ideally positioned for a leisurely afternoon stroll along Franklin D Roosevelt Boardwalk, which runs alongside the bay and affords stunning views across the water. If you head towards Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, you’ll soon be in the vicinity of Fort Wadsworth. This haunting historical landmark is a former US military installation, and serves as a monument to a multitude of conflicts and battles.
For dinner, hop in a cab for about five minutes to Bin 5. A Michelin-starred restaurant specialising in unique flavour combinations and craft cocktails, this is a great end to any day on Staten Island.
24 Hours in The Bronx
Recognised worldwide as the birthplace of hip-hop, The Bronx has cultivated a unique brand of gritty, urban culture unlike anywhere else in the city. As well as this distinguishable, edgy charm, the borough is also home to New York’s best zoo and the Yankees’ home stadium – what’s not to love?
Start your time in The Bronx by catching the metro to the New York Botanical Gardens for around 10am. Arguably the best and most stunningly maintained of the city’s gardens, a leisurely wander through them will ease you into the day. From here, walk through the equally charming Bronx Park to The Bronx Zoo.
Home to over 650 species, this is New York’s most diverse zoo and overflowing with unique exhibits and creative events to entertain visitors of all ages – if you visit between May and October, be sure to ride the Wild Asia monorail for a bird’s-eye view.
A short walk from the zoo along East 183rd Street is Dominick’s – a traditional, family run Italian eatery serving up hearty portions of pasta, pizza and other favourites. Treat yourself to lunch here, and walk it off towards the E Fordham Rd/Hoffman St bus stop. Jump on the B12 to W Fordham Rd/Sedgwick Av, and you’ll be directly opposite the Hall of Fame for Great Americans.
An outdoor sculpture gallery featuring busts of many notable American individuals of the last few centuries, the hall of fame offers an insight into the country’s past and social history. After this, hail a cab and set off for the Bronx Alehouse, a casual bar and grill serving up some of the borough’s best craft beers and good, honest pub grub.