Standing majestically over New York’s East River, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest bridges in the US, opened in 1883 to link Manhattan with Brooklyn. With its Gothic towers and spider web of steel cables it is one of the most iconic structures in the city. Enjoy the historic architecture and magnificent skyline with a 30-minute walk between the two districts – for the best views, start in Brooklyn and wander back towards the island. The pedestrian entrance starts at the intersection of Tillary Street and Adams Street, accessible via Clark Street station.
Giant twin pools make a stunning tribute to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack, with the names of every person who lost their life poignantly inscribed around the edges. To delve further into the impact and implications of the tragic event, the 9/11 Memorial Museum offers a mixture of permanent and rotating exhibitions, artwork and seminar talks. Also on site is the striking new wing-shaped Westfield World Trade Center mall, with the Italian gourmet paradise Eataly inside. Access via Fulton Street station.
The sensory overload of Times Square may be some people’s idea of hell, but the crowds are worth battling to access one of the area’s lauded Broadway performances. The latest smash hit is Hamilton: An American Musical – a theatrical interpretation of the country’s formative years and one of its founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. Tickets are officially sold out for 2017 – but you can still try your luck on the daily ticket lottery, splash out on re-sales, or enlist the help of the unofficial “line waiters” who will queue for you to nab daily cancellations. Access via Times Square–42nd Street station.
Museum of Modern Art
For maximum impact in a short space of time, MoMA is the ideal choice for modern art-lovers. Packed with famous pieces from the last century, the museum is a treasure trove of creative works from the likes of Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock. An exhibition dedicated to renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright will run until October. Private group or individual tours with an art historian are available from US$95-360. Access via 34th Street–Penn station.
New York is one of the best cities in the world for comedy, with plenty of choices and world-class comedians. One of its institutions is the Comedy Cellar – a cosy underground club with a big reputation in the heart of bohemian Greenwich Village. Multiple performances happen every night, and if you drop in on a quieter midweek show, you might catch a surprise set from guest stars like Louis CK or Chris Rock. Access via West Fourth Street station.
The High Line
An exemplary case of how a city can repurpose its abandoned industrial spaces, the High Line is a 2.3km-long elevated parkway created on a disused freight line. Located on the west side of Manhattan, it runs from the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street. Enjoy “insider” views of the city while meandering through the suburbs and catching public performances, exhibitions and artwork. Start your tour at the south entrance by Gansevoort
St. Access via 14th Street station.
Grand Central Terminal
Colloquially – though inaccurately – known as Grand Central Station, the cavernous, bustling terminus first opened in 1871 and is filled with breathtaking designs that draw crowds of tourists amid a stream of commuters filing from the 48 train platforms. From the spectacular façade and astronomy-inspired fresco to the four-faced brass clock and mesmerising flip panel display boards in the Main Concourse, there’s plenty to see. If you’re hungry, head to the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant housed under a vaulted, tiled ceiling. Access via Grand Central–42nd Street station.
Madison Square Garden
From the Arthur Ashe Stadium to the Yankee Stadium, New York’s boroughs are home to a number of hallowed sporting grounds. For any sports lover, a trip to “The Garden” – home of basketball legends The Knicks – is surely unmissable. The 2017-18 NBA season kicks off on October 17 – but even when hoops aren’t being sunk, there’s a packed itinerary from musical greats. Upcoming performances in September include Eric Clapton, Depeche Mode, Paul McCartney and Billy Joel. Access via 34th Street–Penn station.