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Things to do in New York
Stretching almost 2km across the East River, Brooklyn Bridge connects Manhattan with Brooklyn, with cars crossing on the lower level, and pedestrians, cyclists and runners on the upper wooden part. Buy a bag of chilli mango chunks from a street vendor, put on your favourite podcast and make your way across, stopping to get that perfect Instagram shot en route. When you get to Brooklyn, stroll down to the new 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge on the waterfront, which has a roof terrace offering panoramic views of the skyscrapers of Downtown and the Statue of Liberty in the bay.
Hidden behind a discreet door in the West Village (look out for the glowing ‘Psychic’ sign), Employees Only is a classy New York speakeasy where you can come for Mad Men-style cocktails and eclectic bar food (bone marrow poppers and Reuben croquettes) in an amber-lit Art Deco setting. Order a Manhattan, made with Rittenhouse rye stirred with Italian vermouth, Grand Marnier and a dash of Angostura Bitters.
To get a sense of New York’s immigrant history, visit the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side, which offers guided tours of a preserved apartment building dating back to 1863. Over the decades it has been home to almost 7,000 working-class immigrants, who came to the US by boat all the way from Europe to build a new life for themselves. Depending on the tour you choose, you can learn about how the Germans made their living (and preserved their cultural identity) by setting up ‘Lager Beer’ houses, how people survived the Great Depression and the ways in which Irish families coped with prejudice.
Nothing beats a juicy slice of New York pizza, but insiders seek out Pomodoro Pizza on Spring Street in Little Italy. It’s a divey joint with neon signs in the windows and brick interiors, but its secret vodka sauce recipe helps its pies stand out from the crowd. You can order fancy slices with artichoke and alfredo sauce, or ground beef and ricotta, but the ‘house special’ margarita with vodka tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and a crisp yet chewy base is unbeatable.
The High Line is one of New York’s most-visited attractions – by both tourists and locals alike. An elevated park and outdoor art gallery, it takes the form of a repurposed freight railway line that runs along Manhattan’s West side, from the new Whitney Museum at one end to the forthcoming Hudson Yards development at the other. On your way you’ll find al fresco sculptures, wild grasses growing between the rusty train tracks, food carts, viewing platforms, the 23rd Street Lawn and the Chelsea Thicket, where a path takes you through a miniature forest.