New York has always been considered one of cruising’s ‘classic’ destinations, echoing a golden age when huge steam-powered ships would cross the Atlantic carrying eager guests to a magical land that up until then had only existed in washed-out photographs and family tales.
In the present day, New York still holds the same allure and though it’s a lot more accessible, it’s still guaranteed to be a highlight of any voyage itinerary. If you have a trip to New York coming up – by cruise or other means – then allow us to guide you through 5 things we thoroughly recommend but you might not have considered.
EAT: Breakfast at Grotta Azzurra, Little Italy
If you’re in New York City early enough for breakfast, then take a trip over to Mulberry Street in Little Italy and get your day off to the best possible start by eating at the Grotta Azzurra Ristorante. Frank Sinatra called Grotta Azzurra his favourite Italian restaurant and it’s easy to see why; the atmosphere is relaxed, the décor is classy and the food is amazing – it’s pretty much everything you would hope to find in a Little Italy eatery.
I’m not going to lie; when I ate there it was pretty empty but I put that down to two factors: 1) It was very early in the morning and 2) The lunch/dinner menus must be so good that people save up their tummy space for later in the day.
For those taking notes; I had pancakes and Egg’s Benedict which I can say with some conviction was probably the best I have ever had. I also spent a substantial amount of time pretending I was in The Godfather.
Find it: Get the subway to Broome Street and walk to the corner of Mulberry Street
SHOP: Hells Kitchen Flea Market
Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market takes place every weekend and offers tourists and locals the chance to get their hands on all manner of wonderful crafts, antiques, food stuffs and vintage clothing. A far cry from Macy’s and Bloomingdales, the Flea Market is a melting pot of cultures, trinkets and rare goodies.
Hell’s Kitchen has played an important part in American literature and pop-culture, mostly notably as the setting for West Side Story. The district has long captured the imaginations of New York’s actor and artist communities with renowned names such as Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks and David Blaine all taking residence in Hell’s Kitchen at one time or another during the past 30 years.
If you’re looking for a gift to give to friends or family then it’s more than likely you’ll find something here a lot better than an I Heart NYC t-shirt or a Statue of Liberty paperweight.
Find it: Take the subway to 59 St – Columbus Circle
SEE: Model Panorama of the City of New York, Queens Museum
For an entirely different perspective (literally) of New York, take a trip to the Queens’ Museum of Art. Painstakingly designed and constructed by Robert Moses in the 1960s, the Panorama is a highly-detailed, breathtakingly accurate scale model of New York measuring at over 9000ft in length.
For the past 40 years the model has been kept more or less up-to-date in keeping with the real-life city’s developments, though the World Trade Centre towers remain and are commemorated on a nearby plaque.
Such is the level of detail of the Panorama that you can actually buy a plot on the model for the not too unreasonable price of $50 meaning you too can have your own penthouse apartment in downtown Manhattan. The only downside being you won’t actually be able to live in it.
Find it: Head over to Flushing Meadows’ CoronaPark in the borough of Queens.
WALK: Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
If you’re looking for somewhere to spend a bit of quiet time during your port stay in New York then Central Park is the well-trodden option. However, for something a little different take a short subway ride to Brooklyn and enjoy a walk around the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Here you will find over 10,000 different types of plants, trees, and shrubbery as well as the first Japanese garden in America to be opened to the general public.
Founded in 1910, Brooklyn’s Botanical Gardens work closely with the local communities to promote sustainable living and green-thinking practices. They regularly run competitions, networking events and workshops through their Community Garden Alliance initiative.
Find it: Head towards Brooklyn’s Prospect Park district on the subway and get off at Eastern Parkway
WATCH: Performances at Jazz Standard
Everyone knows that when the rest of the world is sleeping, New York is still in full flow, offering the curious traveller plenty to see and do, from shows on Broadway to moonlit trips to the top of the EmpireStateBuilding. However, if live music is your thing then I’d fully recommend you check out the Jazz Standard club.
Serving up note-perfect jazz, RnB, and blues performances alongside mouth-watering BBQ and top-shelf beverages, Jazz Standard is rightly lauded as one of the best Jazz clubs in New York City. There’s up to 2 live performances on any given evening and the easy sight lines mean that no matter where you sit; you’re guaranteed a great view of the magic happening on stage.
Upscale and elegantly classy, Jazz Standard is the perfect venue for some late night musical entertainment and great food.
Find it: Ride the subway to 28th/Lexington.
Copyright: The Cruise Line, 2012.
If you’d like more information on cruises to New York, please call 0800 008 6677 to speak to one of our Cruise Experts.
Have you been to New York recently and would like to recommend something to do or see? Leave a comment below!