Cross the Brooklyn Bridge
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Walking in open air across the iconic suspension bridge that connects Manhattan to Brooklyn is one of the best New York City initiation rituals. Explore the cobbled streets of Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) before enjoying a coal-fired slice from Grimaldi’s pizzeria on the Brooklyn side.
Comic relief at the Comedy Cellar
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Laugh ’til you cry at this West Village mainstay, which has hosted some of comedy’s biggest names – including Chris Rock, Louis C.K. and Ray Romano. Image: "Comedy Cellar stage, New York NY" by Texaswebscout.
The great High Line escape
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Running from the Meatpacking District to 34th Street, this elevated park – built on a historic freight-rail line – offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle below.
Bargains at Brooklyn Flea
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This weekend market takes up residence at Industry City throughout winter and in Williamsburg (Saturdays) and Prospect Park (Sundays) during the summer months. Trawl through homewares, antiques and vintage clothing then take your pick from 40 Smorgasburg stalls serving food from New York’s finest purveyors. Image: "Brooklyn Flea Fort Greene" by Evanscott7.
Smalls’ live shows
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This basement jazz club was founded in 1994 to support emerging musicians who claimed it as their home base. Now Smalls is one of the West Village’s most popular late-night haunts. Image: Zhang Yu Flickr
Dim sum in Chinatown
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Manhattan’s Golden Unicorn Restaurant is home to some of NYC’s tastiest dim sum. While you’re there, check out Chinatown’s other exotic foods and cheap wares.
Top of the Rock sightseeing
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For 360-degree views over the Manhattan skyline, ditch the queues at the Empire State Building and head to the Rockefeller Center’s Observation Deck – 70 floors above ground. Your Instagram will thank you later.
Exploring SoHo and NoLIta
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A mix of cult fashion houses and curated boutiques can be found in the streets of SoHo, including Opening Ceremony, A.P.C. and Acne Studios. Sample the original cronut at Dominique Ansel Bakery then spend the afternoon browsing books at McNally Jackson.
The Frick Collection
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Works by Vermeer, Van Dyck and Rembrandt are housed in the former Upper East Side mansion of Henry Clay Frick, whose private collection was converted into a museum after his death. It’s a great way to avoid the crowds at MoMA and The Met. Image: By Gryffindor
Gorge at Eataly
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This Italian food emporium offers aisle upon aisle of meats, cheeses and gifts, as well as several restaurants, an in-house espresso bar, wine bar and rooftop beer garden. It’s a must for any foodie.
Boating in Central Park
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From April to November a fleet of rowboats and Venetian gondolas are available to hire from The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, and offer a unique way to take in the scenery.
Take in Times Square
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With its bright neon lights, street performers and hordes of people, Times Square is a total sensory overload. Most locals haven't been here in years, but there's no shame in getting your quintessential New York holiday selfie here. If you want to see a show, head to the red TKTS booth for same-day discounted Broadway and Off-Broadway tickets.
Up Next: Amazing NYC Buildings You May Not Know About
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The Empire State, Flatiron and Chrysler buildings are New York icons. But the legendary city’s skyline is hiding other architectural gems worth visiting – without the queues.