Manhattan Graphics 362, 2013
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People think New York’s an expensive place to visit. And it can be.
But like many internationally oriented cities, if you’re traveling on a budget there are still a lot of places you can go and things you can see for free. New York has something for everyone, no matter where your tastes lie on the highbrow/lowbrow spectrum. A four-block walk in any direction will expose most visitors to more interesting sights than you see at home, and if you’re willing to venture a little further afield there’s so much live entertainment on the street and in the subways that you could easily wonder anyone would pay to get in anyplace.
New York’s a city of magnificent architecture. It’s ethnic enclaves offer the visitor a reminder than not everyone lives like you do. It’s also one of just a few American cities where the art of window display is still treated like a serious art form by retailers.
For outdoor views, there’s Central Park, of course. One of my favorites, though, is the Staten Island Ferry, which you can ride back and forth across New York Harbor and get tremendous views of the Statue of Liberty, Governor’s Island and lower Manhattan. I suspect the people who use the ferry to go to work take it for granted after a while. But I can’t imagine a more civilized commute than one that includes at least a boat ride each way.
One of my favorite vantage points is the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The Promenade’s a narrow park that hangs out like a balcony over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, diverting traffic noise and offering one of the best views of lower Manhattan. Off to your right are the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Directly across the East River are the canyons of Wall Street. To your left is Governor’s Island. In the distance are the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Staten Island and the soaring Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (which is as high as I ever want to be without being in an airplane). Really. You can stand in one place and see all of this and more.
Manhattan Graphics 577, 2013
The Promenade’s a most civilized place for a walk. There are gardens and fancy apartment buildings and townhouses on the east side. There’s plenty of seating if you just want to watch the passing parade on the East River.
A few weeks ago I had a chance to walk along the Promenade in the early morning. It was a wonderfully clear and crisp. I could have spent an hour taking picture just of the Promenade. But instead I used a long lens to make these pictures of some of the buildings on the Manhattan side of the river.
Brooklyn Heights Promenade 004, 2013