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New York for the Beginner


Liberty Island.  

Day Two: Downtown and Brooklyn
To truly understand where New York’s been (and where it’s going), head below 14th Street.

8:30 a.m.: Grab some grub at the Greenmarket. Start with breakfast at Union Square’s Coffee Shop, a 23-hour-a-day joint known for its Brazilian-meets-diner fare and slightly aloof model-waiters. If you’re here on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, do a post-meal loop around the Union Square Greenmarket, where even the city’s best chefs go to load up on locally grown produce.

9:15 a.m.: Pay a visit to America’s leading lady. Take the 4 or 5 train down to Battery Park to catch the 10 a.m. Statue Cruises ferry to the Statue of Liberty. (Tickets can be purchased in advance at statuecruises.com.) You’ll dock at Liberty Island 15 minutes later. Access to the lobby, museum, and pedestal observation deck is by pass only; these can be reserved ahead of time at statuereservations.com or by calling 877-523-9849.

Noon: Pay your respects at a living memorial. Walk up Trinity Place to the former World Trade Center site to visit the 9/11 Memorial. (Be sure to reserve visitor passes ahead of time at visit.911memorial.org.) Then cross the street to Saint Paul’s Chapel. Port Authority did away with the flowers, letters, and hand-painted banners, but memorialized pews still bear the scuff marks of the 9/11 rescue workers who rested, ate, and slept there.

1 p.m.: Cross the East River for lunch. Hop on the A or C subway and take it to High Street in Brooklyn, walking west toward the river, and grab lunch at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria arguably one of New York’s best pies. (It’s cash only, though there is an ATM on site.) Afterward, amble a block toward the water to Fulton Ferry Landing, site of George Washington’s famous retreat during the Battle of Brooklyn. Indulge your sweet tooth at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, located in a red-and-white ’20s fireboat house, where the dark-chocolate hot fudge is crafted by Karen McGrath, pastry chef at top-rated River Café next door. Then double back up the street to the pedestrian entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, and walk back across the river, enjoying sweeping views of the city skyline.

4 p.m.: Blast back to the seafaring days. Back in Manhattan, it’s a five-minute walk to cobblestoned South Street Seaport, a once-thriving maritime district where the lightship Ambrose, the four-mast Peking, circa 1911, and the wrought-iron Wavertree all part of the South Street Seaport museum are still docked.

5:30 p.m.: Peruse suspiciously cheap goods. Take an uptown 6 train to Chinatown for an evening of discount browsing along Canal Street, where you can haggle for knockoff sunglasses, perfume, and leather goods (think fake Prada handbags).

8 p.m.: Gobble, then ogle at a local landmark. Dine downtown at Vic’s or a newer star, like old-world bistro Virginia’s, where the modern-eclectic menu includes chocolate-beet cake and a warm Morcilla salad. After dinner, stroll across town through winding Greenwich Village streets to the Meatpacking District. Pop into the retro-chic Maritime Hotel, then keep your eyes peeled for celebs at the ultrasceney, tropical-themed rooftop lounge, The Cabanas.


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From skyscrapers to statues to subways, how to make the most of your first visit.

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