My favourite free things to do in NYC

high IMG_1109DSC_0139 copy1. The High Line

There’s a coffee shop in Durban that sells a chilli-chocolate cappuccino, marketed by saying it’s ‘Jesus in a cup’.  The High Line is like that, only ten times better! It’s old elevated train tracks (in the Meatpacking district) that have been transformed into a pedestrian walkway with plants, benches and food stalls along the way.  So you walk between skyscrapers and look down on the streets and parkades and people below you, stopping now and then to buy a raspberry-beetroot lolly or a craft beer.  Heaven indeed.

2. 14 Street Subway Station

The Subway stations of New York are nothing special, really.  Compared to the amazing metro’s in Berlin, where each station has a specific character and colour, the NYC subways are downright depressing.  Except for the station on 14 Street.  The artist Tom Otterness created a permanent public artwork called life underground, made up of bronze sculptures of small figures and even a sewer alligator that you notice when you least expect it. Fun!

3. Central Park

I know, it’s not an original activity, but the park is so big and it’s so much fun to walk around in! I saw two wedding couples getting pictures taken (on Dirk and my anniversary!) and there’s no better place to take a nap after having a BLT bagel for lunch.  If you sit still for long enough a squirrel might sneak up on you.

4. Brooklyn Heights

It’s a promenade on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn bridge and the most amazing view you can have of the Manhattan buildings! If you go around sunset you can see the lights of the buildings become brighter and brighter.

5. The area around the Bowery

I took the subway to the Bowery station to go see the New Museum building by SANAA (architecture firm) and I got so much more!  This area is close to Little Italy and Chinatown and a fantastic place to meander around for a little window shopping.

6. Ground Zero Memorial

It’s very touristy, but worth a visit.  The footprints of the previous World Trade Centres are now impressive Memorial waterfalls.  The memorial site gives you a good view of the surrounding construction of the new buildings and of course the tower of the new World Trade Centre 1.

7. Hudson River Park

This is an awesome promenade to walk along with children playing, cyclists riding past you and lots of activity surrounding the river’s edge.  You get a great view of New Jersey across the river.


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