In a previous article I listed alternative NYC sites for Ground Zero, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Times Square and Soho. Here are some more alternative sights and things to do instead of Central Park, horse carriage rides, hop-on hop-off bus tours and shopping at Macy’s.
Central Park: It’s Manhattan’s grand dame of parks that’s been featured in movies, television and magazines as the quintessential backdrop to the city that never sleeps. It is also notoriously crowded, especially in the southern end.
Alternative park: Fort Tryon Park
Located in Upper Manhattan, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the gorgeous landscaping, history and Met museum branch. First off there are the beautiful views of the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge. This is offset with the tiered Heather garden and winding concrete walkways. Further into the park you’ll find remnants of the Revolutionary War. And the pinnacle is the Cloisters medieval museum housed in what looks like a stone castle.
Location: West 192nd St. between Broadway and Riverside Dr. Take the A subway train to 190th.
Horse carriage ride:
Another thing that seems to be a big tourist attraction are the “romantic” carriage rides through Central Park. Not only are they expensive (upwards of $60 for a 20 minute ride), the rides encourage the sad practice of carriage horses (abuse, neglect, and a life of drudgery) as well as contaminate the park with horse excrement.
Alternative park tour: pedicabs
You’ll find the pedicab cheaper, non-smelly and run by an enthusiastic young man’s physical stamina.
Location: popular entrances of Central Park: 59th St and CPW, W 72nd St, W 77th St near the Museum of Natural History.
Hop-on Hop-off bus tours:
These tours on double-decker buses are expensive, will effectively isolate you from real New Yorkers and should be avoided because of the pollution-emitting buses that are used.
Alternative bus tour:Take the regular city bus
At $2.25 per ride it’s a bargain, plus you’ll get a free transfer to another bus line if you use your MetroCard within 2 hours of when you first used it. The MTA buses go all over the place so you can map out where you want to go and get on the right bus line. Or if you just want to see the city, get on one line and stay on for the entire loop. For instance take the M20 from lower Manhattan up through the Financial District, Tribeca, Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Midtown, Central Park and Upper West Side to 66th street and back down again. For a bus map check out the MTA website: mta.info. More info on MetroCards click here.
Macy’s department store:
A famous, old department store with wooden escalators, huge crowds and high prices. If you shop here you could be shopping anywhere
Alternative shopping: West Village Bleeker Street
Stroll along Bleeker St. between Christopher St. and W. 11th St. in the West Village. It’s a nice quaint stroll along tree-lined brownstone blocks. You’ll find several Marc Jacobs stores, Cynthia Rowley, Seven for All Mankind, Intermix and you can finish off your shopping with a cupcake at Magnolia Bakery.
Other NYC info:
Ice-skating rinks in NYC click here
How to get free tickets to NYC television talk shows click here
How to get to and from the airports JFK, Newark, LaGuardia click here