Play & Shop: The 9/11 Memorial is both emotional and awe-inspiring. The reflecting pools and waterfalls, surrounded by bronze panels inscribed with the names of those who perished, are a moving remembrance of that fateful day in 2001. The pools were built where the twin towers once stood. There is also a museum that literally brings you to the depths of the tragedy.
Don’t miss walking the High Line, stretching from West 34th Street south to Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. The park is 1.45 miles long and built above street level on an abandoned portion of the West Side Railroad Line. Along the way, get great views of the Hudson River and the West Side. The High Line is filled with plants and interspersed with seating areas and funky art exhibits.
Another great walking excursion is across the Brooklyn Bridge, truly a New York icon. Built in 1883, it is an official New York Landmark as well as a National Historic Landmark. Less than one-half mile long, it stretches from the south side of Manhattan to Brooklyn over the East River. In addition to the many cars that cross the bridge every day, there are some 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists.
The markets in New York are vibrant meccas for eating, socializing as well as a feast for the eyes. We began at the Chelsea Market, former home to the National Biscuit Company. With its more than 35 vendors and six million visitors annually, it’s considered by some to be one of the greatest food halls in the world. Find anything and everything from soup to nuts – either ready to eat, or to buy and prepare yourself. Every inch of the block-wide market with its exposed brick walls is full of people taking pleasure in the moment. Also find a bookstore, women’s clothing and a wine shop.
The Grand Central Market stretches from its entrance on Lexington Avenue to the main portion of Grand Central Terminal. Filled with baked goods, salumis, cheeses, spices, prepared foods and salad, there is also plenty of meat, fish and other goodies to cook at home.
Right across from Central Park at 59th Street is the Plaza Food Hall. Located in the lower level of the Plaza Hotel, the market is similar to Chelsea, but smaller in terms of interior space, vendors (strictly food) and visitors. It’s worth a visit, especially for the chocolates.
After all of the walking, sightseeing and eating, there’s nothing better than a massage. I slipped into the Oasis Day Spa for some much needed pampering. The tranquil atmosphere and soothing music put me in relax-mode. The deep tissue massage was the perfect antidote for sore muscles and neck tension.
There’s no better way to get around New York than with the New York Pass. Pay one price then gain free entry (sometimes without waiting in line) to over 80 tourist attractions including museums, parks, boats tours and more. You can also get discounts at participating restaurants, shops and Broadway shows.
New York is full of museums, galleries, boutiques – in every neighborhood and around every corner. They weren’t the focus of this trip, but there’s always next time.
ESSENTIALS: New York City Tourism: www.nyc.gov; www.nycgo.com
PATTY BURNESS can be found on Twitter at @pattygb