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New York City Trip Itineraries

Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Highlights

Destination(s): New York City

This trip takes you through my early years in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, with an eye towards architecture, open spaces, local libations and nibbles, a gorgeous botanical garden and lots more to gape at and photograph. Be a local for a few days! Comfy shoes are a must, as is public transportation and your best New Yorker impersonation. Hint: They're actually some of the nicest, most helpful and friendliest people in the world!

Photo: Brooklyn Bridge
by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML read more about Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Highlights

Hotel 17

Hotel 17

  • 225 E 17th St
  • tel:+1 212 475 2845
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10003

Hotel 17, located just blocks from Union Square, the East Village and Gramercy Park, is a quirky spot perfectly suited to hipsters on a budget. A unique combination of cheap and chic, the hotel also has an interesting history, once housing a pre-fame Madonna and several other up-and-coming New York City notables. Rooms are available with either shared and private bathrooms, and are equipped with amenities such as television with basic cable, toiletries and limited wi-fi.
read more about Hotel 17

Almondine Bakery

Almondine Bakery

  • 85 Water Street
  • tel:1 718 797 5026
  • Visit website
  • New York, 11201
Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

  • 900 Washington Ave
  • At Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn
  • tel:+1 718 623 7200
  • Visit website
  • New York, 11238
Zucker's Bagels and Smoked Fish

Zucker's Bagels and Smoked Fish

  • 146 Chambers Street
  • tel:+1 212 608 5844
  • New York, 10007
A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour

A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour

  • 4th Avenue
  • (between 13th and 14th Streets)
  • tel:+1 212 209 3370
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10003
Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Brooklyn Heights Promenade

  • Brooklyn Heights
  • Between Montague Street and Middagh Street
  • tel:+1 718 965 8900
  • Visit website
  • New York, 11201
The Lower East Side Conservancy

The Lower East Side Conservancy

  • 235 East Broadway
  • tel:+1 212 374 4100
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10002
Coney Island

Coney Island

  • 1208 Surf Avenue (Post)
  • (Along Long Island Sound)
  • tel:+1 718 372 7099
  • Visit website
  • New York, 11224

This peninsula in southernmost Brooklyn boasts a diverse community of 60,000 people and a broad, sandy beach with a historic boardwalk. Its selection of amusement parks and attractions may have seen better days, but they can still provide a rich slice of Americana and a day of family fun during a spring or summer visit. As a major resort and amusement destination, Coney Island reached its peak in the early 20th century. Its popularity declined after World War II and for many years it was sorely neglected, but in recent years the area has been revitalized with the opening of KeySpan Park, home of the minor league baseball team the Brooklyn Cyclones. In addition to the Cyclones fans that swarm the area in spring and summer, Coney Island attracts thousands to its annual Mermaid Parade, which takes place on Surf Avenue every summer and features an array of floats and performers in crazy costumes. Another star attraction is the original Nathan's Famous hot dog stand, which opened in 1916 and quickly became a landmark. Its annual hot dog eating contest, held every July 4th since Nathan's opened, has recently attracted widespread attention, including international television coverage.

Those coming to Coney Island shouldn't miss the Astroland Amusement Park, with its selection of rides including the historic Cyclone, built in 1927 and one of the oldest roller coasters still operating in the United States. Wonderwheel Amusement Park provides an even bigger selection of thrill rides, while the Coney Island Aquarium houses dolphins and sea lions. The Riegelmann boardwalk, another landmark, stretches continuously along the beach from West 37th Street in the community of Seagate through Coney Island proper and Brighton Beach to the beginning of the community of Manhattan Beach, a distance of approximately two-and-a-half miles. read more about Coney Island

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

  • Off South Street Viaduct
  • Park Row, near Municipal Building
  • tel:212 484 1200 (Tourist information)
  • Visit website
  • New York, 11201

Opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. It stretches 5,989 feet (1825 meters) across the East River and connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. At the time of its construction, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world and the first steel-wire suspension bridge. The bridge was designed by the New Jersey architect John Augustus Roebling, who died before construction began after he contracted tetanus from a wound sustained in a ferry accident during surveys for the bridge project. Built from limestone, granite, and cement, the Brooklyn Bridge is an example of Gothic-style architecture, with its characteristic pointed arches topping twin passageways through huge stone towers. Because Roebling designed a bridge and truss system six times stronger than he thought it needed to be, the Brooklyn Bridge is still standing, while many other bridges built around the same time have had to be replaced.

In the past, the inside lanes of traffic on the bridge carried the elevated trains of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transport (BMT) Corporation from stations in Brooklyn to a terminal at Manhattan's Park Row. Streetcars shared the other lanes with other traffic until the elevated trains stopped using the bridge in 1944 and the streetcars moved to the center lanes. Six years later, the streetcars also stopped running, and the bridge was rebuilt to its present configuration, with six lanes of automobile traffic. A separate walkway runs along the centerline for pedestrians and bicyclists, and boasts some of the best views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines. read more about Brooklyn Bridge

Lower East Side Tenement Museum

Lower East Side Tenement Museum

  • 90 Orchard Street
  • (at Delancey Street)
  • tel:+1 212 431 0233 / +1 212 431 0714
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10002
Astroland Amusement Park

Astroland Amusement Park

  • 1000 Surf Avenue
  • (Corner of West 10th Street)
  • tel:+1 718 372 0275 / +1 718 265 2100
  • Visit website
  • New York, 11224
Second Avenue Deli

Second Avenue Deli

  • 162 East 33rd Street
  • Between Lexington & 3rd Avenue
  • tel:+1 212 689 9000
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10016
Tribute WTC Visitor Center

Tribute WTC Visitor Center

  • 120 Liberty Street
  • tel:+1 212 393 9160 x138 / +1 866 737 1184
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10006

Located within the Standard Oil Building, just south of the World Trade Center, the Tribute WTC Visitor Center was created in the wake of September 11, 2001. Tribute offers visitors to the World Trade Center site a place where they can connect with people from the September 11th community. Through walking tours, exhibits and programs, the Tribute WTC Visitor Center offers "Person to Person History," linking visitors who want to understand and appreciate these historic events with those who experienced them.

The space features interactive exhibits and five galleries that deal with different aspects of the 9/11 tragedy. All walking tours make five stops while traveling around the site. Most of the tour takes place indoors, traveling along the windows of the World Financial Center and looking out onto Ground Zero. Guides share key facts and reveal specific events of the day while weaving their personal experiences of survival, loss, and healing throughout the tour, giving visitors an unparalleled opportunity to connect with history first-hand. read more about Tribute WTC Visitor Center

The Strand

The Strand

  • 828 Broadway
  • At 12th St
  • tel:212/473-1452
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10003
Nathan's Famous

Nathan's Famous

  • 1310 Surf Avenue
  • Coney Island
  • tel:1 718 946 2202
  • Visit website
  • Brooklyn, 11224
South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport

  • 12 Fulton St
  • Fulton & South Streets
  • tel:+1 212 732 7678
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10038

This historic trading port, which dates back to the 1600s, is located on the edge of the Financial District, where Fulton Street meets the East River. It was restored and revitalized for tourist use in the late 1960s, and now boasts more than 120 shops, restaurants, and bars, as well as the South Street Seaport Museum, the Pier 17 Pavilion, and the New York City Police Museum. Visitors to the Seaport will also find some of the oldest architecture in downtown Manhattan, including renovated original mercantile buildings from the early 19th century, renovated sailing ships, and the former Fulton Fish Market.

With its cobblestone streets and broad piers, South Street Seaport offers a welcome escape from the congested, skyscraper-lined streets of downtown. There are usually free outdoor performances going on - check out a number of prominent and up-and-coming acts at the outdoor stage set up in the summertime - and the cool breezes, fun people-watching, and beautiful views of the Brooklyn Bridge can all be enjoyed for free. read more about South Street Seaport

il laboratorio del gelato

il laboratorio del gelato

  • 95 Orchard Street
  • (near Broome St)
  • tel:1 212 343 9922
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10002

This small ice cream caf on the Lower East Side offers a changing selection of as many as 200 gelatos and sorbets, all freshly handmade on the premises from locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Regularly available flavors include hazelnut, dark chocolate, banana, as well as more unusual offerings such as olive oil, black mission fig, and Mexican cinnamon basil. read more about il laboratorio del gelato

Celebrate Brooklyn

Celebrate Brooklyn

  • 647 Fulton Street
  • tel:+1 718 855 7882
  • Visit website
  • Brooklyn, 11217
Staten Island Ferry

Staten Island Ferry

  • 1 Bay Street
  • Departs from the Whitehall Ferry Terminal at the southern tip of Manhattan
  • tel:+1 718 390 5253
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10301
Flatiron Building

Flatiron Building

  • 175 Fifth Ave
  • (at 23rd Street)
  • tel:+1 212 484 1200
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10010
Jeremy's Ale House

Jeremy's Ale House

  • 228 Front Street
  • tel:1 212 964 3537
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10038
Veniero's Pasticceria and Caffe

Veniero's Pasticceria and Caffe

  • 342 East 11th Street & 1st Avenue
  • tel:1 212 674 7070
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10003
Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art

Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art

  • 594 Broadway
  • Suite 401 between Houston and Prince
  • tel:+1 212 254 3511
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10012
Little Italy

Little Italy

  • Mulberry Street
  • (between Canal and Spring streets)
  • tel:+1 212 484 1222 (Tourist Information)
  • Visit website
  • New York, 10013
Son Cubano

Son Cubano

Terroir

Terroir

  • 413 East 12th Street
  • Between 1st Ave & Avenue A
  • tel:+1 212 625 9463
  • Visit website
  • New York City, 10009