Roya’s Travels: The “off-the-books” guide to New York

I confidently feel now that after one month in the city that never sleeps, I can wisely advise and recommend to you few lovely lot that read my column, where are the top places to visit on-and just off- the Island. Once you’ve done the typical NY shiz- from the highly overrated Times Square to my beloved Central Park, this is the list to consult. Whilst some of these you might be familiar with, others I hope will be added to your NY to-do list. Not only is this an eccentric, alternative list, but all these events and locations are primarily free!

1: The Strand Bookstore


This gem is just off Union Square- another place that is a must-do on a city break to New York. Whether the quirky magnets are what grabs your attention, or the 48¢-$1 book stall outside, there is something to please everyone at the Strand. It is one of the few places in New york in which you will find a beautiful hushed silence and I could spend hours lost in the Labyrinth of book shelves.


  1. The Highline

The highline

Running through Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, this elevated freight rail line has been transformed into a promenade park. Follow the Green path road to discover beautiful views of the Hudson River, some of the best graffiti works of the city and cute bars and restaurants which litter Chelsea.


  1. The Jewish Museum


As you pad along through Museum Mile, passing the Guggenheim and the MET, you will ultimately come across The Jewish Museum. Free on Saturdays, the museum has regular contemporary exhibitions and a vast range of artefacts dating back to the Holocaust. It is a gorgeous building both inside and out, and should be definitely on the list of museums to ponder through whilst you’re lost in the City.


  1. Smorgasburg Food Festival

smorasburg festival

Definitely one of my favourite things to do in the city- although it is in fact in Brooklyn! Situated at the bottom of the Brooklyn promenade, this food festival overlooks a stunning view of downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, with food stalls from all around the world. Wether you pick the ramen burger- where the ‘bread’ part of the burger is made of ramen noodles (amazing!), or follow your sweet tooth to the S’mores stall to devour marshmallows enveloped in cookies and chocolate, you will leave satisfied and…stuffed.


  1. Brooklyn Academy of Music

brooklyn academy of music

I found this treasure by accident- I had theatre tickets and ended up in the wrong theatre. Yet this weird and wonderful building is worth being lost for. The upstairs floor is flooded with twinkly lights so that as you ride the escalator up, you feel like you’re entering Gatsby’s world. On Fridays and Saturdays there is free live music and with the wide windows and fairy lights, you will be transformed back to 1920s Charleston America.

Header image credits to Kevin Dooley.

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