Three Days in New York

You've done Broadway, Central Park and Fifth Avenue—now try something different


Photo by Marley White/NYC & Company 

What better way to discover the new New York City than by exploring the neighbourhoods that are most rapidly in transition? More than 10 years after the area was devastated in the 9/11 attacks, Lower Manhattan has built itself up again—some would say stronger than ever. Today, it’s a mixed-use area blending residences, parks, restaurants, shopping and, of course, commerce. Meanwhile, Queens is sprouting high-rise condos and intriguing galleries, and the trendy Meatpacking District has unveiled a stunning new art museum.

From the freshly constructed One World Trade Center observatory in Lower Manhattan to the great views from the boardwalk in Queens, here’s how to enjoy a quick New York escape.

Day One 

Morning Begin your day with a trip to the rebuilt World Trade Center area, where the main draw is the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Give yourself enough time to really explore this powerful place built on the foundation slabs of the original Twin Towers. Stunning exhibits include memorial walls with bios of every victim and fire trucks that were found crushed in the rubble. 

Afternoon The counterpoint to going eight storeys underground at the museum is to head 100 storeys up, to the observatory of One World Trade Center. It’s a memorial as well, but rather than looking back on the tragedy of 9/11, this is all about looking forward—and out. From here, you can see all five boroughs of New York City. After you’re back at street level, visit the hot dog cart outside Chase Bank on South End Avenue for an authentic, grilled Sabrett hot dog, then head over to the Staten Island Ferry for some free sightseeing. The trip takes 25 minutes each way and affords a great view of the Statue of Liberty. 

Evening The best way to cap off a day with this amount of reflection just may be with drinks at Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar at the Conrad New York hotel. Gaze out at the fantastic view of the Hudson River while enjoying a cocktail and some sunset ambiance. Then head downstairs to ATRIO, the hotel’s modern-Mediterranean restaurant, for incomparable couscous paella.

Day Two 

Morning Grab a coffee and light breakfast at Pick a Bagel on Murray Street, then head over to the beautiful new Whitney Museum of American Art in the nearby Meatpacking District. The inaugural exhibition in this brand-new building, America Is Hard to See, is open until the end of September. Art lovers will appreciate the massive collection; architecture lovers will appreciate the light and airy building itself.

Afternoon Check out the new, high-end shopping hub Brookfield Place: 375,000 square feet of retail, restaurants and art, right across from the World Trade Center site. The space, previously known as the World Financial Center, now features DVF, Burberry and Michael Kors, served up with a soaring atrium and public art installations. Grab lunch at Hudson Eats, the sprawling food court on the second floor where the focus is on fresh, healthy options. Try an open-faced grilled sandwich (like pear and blue cheese) at Tartinery. 

Evening It’s the perfect time for a stroll along The Battery’s famous walking paths. Make a stop at the trendy Pier A pub inside the historic Pier A Harbor House building for craft beers, fresh oysters and a soft pretzel big enough to share. 

Day Three 

Morning If you’re going to appreciate the rejuvenation of new areas, you have to hop on the subway and check out Queens, specifically the area known as Long Island City (LIC). For visitors, the jaw-dropping views back toward Lower Manhattan’s skyline are best appreciated from the all-new Boardwalk Park, which stretches along the river. Take a stroll and snap some pictures—and, yes, you can buy ice cream here.

Afternoon Make a stop at Manducatis Rustica, where Mamma Gianna herself will likely be serving your meatball parmigiana, followed by house-made gelato. Then, it’s on to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria to celebrate the art of producing film and television. Soak up the history of film at the Behind the Screen exhibit; watch for the new Jim Henson permanent exhibition later this year. 

Evening Dine at MP Taverna, in the heart of Astoria. The popular spot offers a modern spin on Greek food, from creamy dips to gently spiced lamb shank. Grab a seat near the large, street-facing windows and order some shared plates to celebrate the end of your trip.

Getting There: WestJet flies to New York City 48 times a week from Toronto to LaGuardia and once a day from Calgary to JFK.

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