Empire State Building, 86th-Floor Observatory Arrive at 9:30 a.m., when doors open—there’s barely a line, and you get a clear morning view. If only a sunset will do, buy tickets online (esbnyc.com), skip the queue, and head straight for the elevators.
Statue of Liberty Closed since 9/11, the statue is scheduled to open “sometime” this summer. So hop on the Staten Island Ferry for a 25-minute cruise, and view Lady Liberty for free. Runs round the clock.
Times Square They want to see Times Square. Let them! But escape the heat by descending into the cool, never-crowded Loews State Theatre 4 beneath the Virgin Megastore. Tickets $5.
Broadway Try the TKTS booth at the South Street Seaport (lines are shorter than at Times Square). If the show is sold out, check talkinbroadway.com for standing-room-only tickets at $15 to $20.
Grand Central Terminal Steak, cheesecake, and it’s easy to get to. Book a table at Michael Jordan’s The Steak House NYC for prime (and pricey) meat and potatoes. Then head to one of Junior’s two terminal locations and savor dessert.