New York City has tons of brilliant attractions and landmarks, but one of the best things to do in NYC is the High Line, which offers dizzying heights and epic views
Image: Getty Images)
Dizzy people, look away now. My tour through new York needed a head for heights, plus a wool hat and gloves.
But this is a city on another level, as I quickly realized while walking along the High Line. This gorgeous 1.5-mile park began in the 1930s as an elevated railroad, built to allow trains to travel through Manhattan without hitting pedestrians.
And they met them – around 540 people were killed by trains, a stretch of which was known as Death Avenue.
The West Side Elevated Line became obsolete when trucks took over hauling goods, but the community stepped in to save it, and now it’s home to hundreds of plants and trees 30 feet up.
And what views you get.
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To my right lay the shimmering Hudson River and the muscular expanse of Hoboken. On the left is trendy Chelsea, where former factories and tenement houses are now home to some of the city’s coolest bars, restaurants and big-name tech brands.
My hands were freezing from the cold, so I warmed up at Chelsea Market – a former biscuit factory that’s now home to cafes, delis and independent shops. It’s ideal for defrosting fingers over a coffee and muffin.
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The next stop was DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a gentrified neighborhood in old Brooklyn lined with more restaurants, delis, and bars.
I walked Washington Street with its famous view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the 80’s gangster movie Once Upon a Time in America.
The sprawling Manhattan skyline creates a dizzying atmosphere among tourists on the bridge.
This is the city you know from the movies, and you half expect Al Pacino to hop around the corner and eat a hot dog.
The view from my table at trendy Italian Cecconi’s was equally breathtaking as the sun reflected off the East River and hit the skyscrapers beyond.
After wood-fired pizza and coffee, we headed high to Summit One Vanderbilt, which offers dizzying experiences atop Manhattan’s fourth-tallest building, all 1,400 feet and 93 stories. Dubbed New York’s most exciting view, you actually look down on skyscrapers like the Empire State and the Chrysler.
It’s a popular place to show off and pop the question on first dates. You can even stand in transparent glass skyboxes that protrude from the building above Madison Avenue. It was enough to almost make me regret the pizza.
If Brooklyn reminded me of a Robert De Niro film, Buddakan NY felt like a Bond film.
This massive, lavish Asian-fusion eatery in the Meatpacking District serves up serious glamour.
After being greeted by a 7-foot bouncer, I was escorted to a table in the back row of a sunken banquet hall to enjoy shrimp dim sum, sticky sizzling short ribs served with mushrooms and Asian pears on a bed of fried vegetable rice.
After dinner, I lined up at the bar at East Village Social, a live music venue on St. Mark’s Place near Tompkins Square Park, and chatted with locals who shared stories about famous bands that used to hang out here . The next day I woke up to snow flurries and WhatsApp messages about impending flight cancellations.
I had to fly back early due to an upcoming big snowstorm.
So I had one last chance at NYC, and it had to be Central Park, and the hotel doorman gave me directions, “Turn right and you’ll go straight in.”
It came into view as I walked past Carnegie Hall. Central Park in the snow was everything you would imagine – dreamy and grand.
(Getty Images/Robert Harding World)
Although my trip was cut short, I ended up on another high – an Aer Lingus ‘throne seat’ at the front of Business Class, which made me feel more like a co-pilot than a passenger.
And one last look down at New York, a place that makes your head spin.
Where to sleep
Wrapped in a white bathrobe in my suite at the Conrad New York Midtown, I sipped tea while gazing out the window at West 54th Street. It felt like being a shipping tycoon.
Conrad is an upscale Hilton group brand and my suite was a reasonable high-end affair with a large lounge area and two plasma TVs.
Dinner had been canceled due to Covid but there was still an extensive breakfast menu including classic American pancakes with syrup and berries which was the perfect start to an exciting day of sightseeing.
And the Conrad is perfect for that too: turn right out the door, then left for seven minutes and you’re in Times Square for a fairy tale of New York…
Book it: Rooms at the Conrad Midtown Hotel in Manhattan, New York City start at around £411 per night. Learn more at conradnewyorkmidtown.com.
Arrive: Aer Lingus flies Manchester to New York JFK from £179 each way; Business Class from £1,550 return. Learn more at aerlingus.com.
More info: Go to nycgo.com.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/travel/usa-canada/new-yorks-high-line-offers-26595817 New York's High Line is a must-do, with its epic views of the Big Apple