- By Kevin
- On Apr 27, 2017
- North America
- Travel Tips
New York can be stiflingly hot and humid in the summer but the city also has the perfect remedy. After several days preparing for my New York travel, I'd like to share some tips with you. And some best things to do in New York may help your trip there.
Visit New York Public Library
There are two main attractions at the main branch of the city's library in Midtown Manhattan – well, three technically. The first is the gorgeous main reading room on the third floor of the Beaux-Arts building, where natural light bounces off long oak tables and the ceiling's chandeliers, and thousands of reference books line the 52ft (almost 16-metre) high walls. Standing in the room you can't help but feel inspired, as if you might become a little smarter simply by being in the presence of so much elegance. The other can't-miss highlights are Patience and Fortitude, two marble Lions who guard the main entrance.
In its 1940s heyday, this section of elevated railway was used to carry goods from factories on the west side of Manhattan – including the National Biscuit Company, known to generations as Nabisco, the makers of the Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers. As manufacturing companies left the city in the following decades, the tracks were abandoned and left to rot, until 1999 when an idea was hatched to build a New York version of Paris's Promenade Plantée. It took another 10 years for permits and construction to be completed, and when they finally were New Yorkers had a one-mile oasis, with flowers, fountains, benches and stupendous views of Chelsea below. The tracks that delivered Oreo cookies to millions of New Yorkers decades ago now offer a different sort of treat to visitors looking to escape the hustle of the city's streets.
Go Central Park For Fresh Air
New York; it's a jungle sometimes. And if you want to keep from going under you might want to get away from the concrete variety and head for one of the city's tranquil green spaces. The vast, infinitely filmed Central Park is of course unmissable, but there are other, smaller, "secret" gardens that also offer the chance to escape. 6BC Botanical Garden in East Village is one of New York's many community gardens and is a volunteer-run space perfect for a quiet relaxation. Meanwhile La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez, in a once-gritty corner of the Lower East Side, is not just a vibrant green space but also a venue for festivals and events. Of course, the century old, 52-acre Brookyln Botanical Garden is another beautiful oasis, and is free to visit on Tuesdays, Saturday mornings and on winter weekends.
With a thriving comedy scene encompassing everything from stand up to improv, it's almost impossible to know where to start indulging your lust for laughs in the Big Apple. Still, it's always best to go in at the cheap end – and luckily there's a host of free shows to sample that you would be happy to pay for. Weekly stand up gig Whiplash – at the cutting-edge Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre – is the best place to hear the hottest comics with an alt twist, while Sunday nights at the Knitting Factory is another long-running free gig, hosted by Hannibal Buress. Meanwhile the Alligator Lounge has a comedy night every Tuesday that comes with free pizza – so you can stuff your face when you're not laughing.
Take a brewery tour
America truly is the land of craft beer and, as the population of discerning drinkers grows, New York's breweries are becoming increasingly popular attractions for visitors. Try the Chelsea Brewing Company – Manhattan's largest microbrewery – which offers free tours with a complimentary sample beer. And if you're keen to check out a bigger brew house, head for the internationally known Brooklyn Brewery, which runs free, no-reservation tours on weekends.