The City of New York is among the great cities of the world that are a pleasure to experience on foot. In fact, strolling through Manhattan without any specific destination in mind is my number one activity for the Big Apple.
On flights to New York customers ask my friend Nichole (a fellow flight attendant and native New Yorker) what they should do while they’re in her hometown. Her answer: get off any subway stop and just start walking.
I couldn’t agree more, and over the weekend we met up and did just that.
The great thing about walking through the city without any specific destination or time frame is that it frees travelers to enjoy the spontaneity of travel. It changes the experience from that of a tourist checking off sites from their list to one of an explorer.
There will be entire blocks of simply enjoying the fabric of the city: an amalgamation of small and big, old and new, local and transplant. And then when you happen upon the big blockbuster sites, and you will, it becomes an act of discovery.
Here are some more of my favorite moments:
The East Village: when I stepped inside Strand Bookstore and found thousands of books plus a weeping wall behind a bookcase in the basement.
The Garment District: when I happened upon an outdoor art exhibit of colorful animals along some pop-up urbanism on the pedestrianized portion of Broadway.
Times Square: when these street performers beguiled me with their incredible acts of breakdancing, comedy, and acrobatics and made me ten minutes late meeting Nichole.
5th Avenue, Midtown: when we stepped inside for a quiet moment in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
If you go
Here are two of my favorite subway stops to just get off and wander:
1. Union Square Station (head south for lower Manhattan sites, or north for Midtown)
2. Columbus Circle (head north for Central Park and upper Manhattan, or south for Midtown sites).
— Laura Rowley