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Adventures in New York City: A Two-Day Guide of Explorations Via Subway

September 17, 2015

When visiting the bustling metropolis that is New York City, the question may not be where to go, but how to fit it all in. Neighborhoods are entwined with the arts, historical monuments, and the most sought-after dining scenes, and the options are limitless. Check out this curated guide for two-day adventures in New York City, including how to travel from destination to destination with ease and maximize time spent taking in the wondrous sights.

Day 1

① Brooklyn Bridge / Williamsburg

Beginning at the Chambers Street - Brooklyn Bridge station, traverse the bridge at your leisure. To get to Williamsburg, take Prospect Street to Adams, to York, boarding the F Train towards Jamaica - 179th Street and stop at the Delancey Street station. Connected to this is the Essex Street station: Take the M Train towards Middle Village - Metropolitan Avenue and stop at the Marcy Avenue station, arriving in Williamsburg.

Among New York’s most visited boroughs, just over the Brooklyn Bridge awaits a haven for the arts, notable dining, and charming shops known as Brooklyn. The neighborhood not to miss is trendy Williamsburg, dotted with old warehouses converted into lofts that offer unique views of the city from its rooftops and art galleries. The bursting creative scene combines coveted music venues, a myriad of vintage shops, and an abundance of brunch and cozy cocktail spots.
② Bushwick

From Willamsburg, travel from the Marcy Avenue station, taking the J Train towards Jamaica Center - Parsons/Archer, stopping at Gates Avenue. With an eight minute walk, head northwest on Broadway toward Linden Street, turning right, then left onto Bushwick Avenue and right on Menahan Street to arrive in Bushwick.

Touting the title of New York City’s most up-and-coming neighborhood, Bushwick is situated in Brooklyn and contains a unique ambience that is all its own. The charm resides in the neighborhood’s grittier reputation, where a creative atmosphere and industrial structures are juxtaposed. Burgeoning artists have camped out here, converting lofted space into personal galleries. Become immersed in vibrant street art, dive bars, quaint cafes, and much more.
③ The Statue of Liberty

From Bushwick, take the J Train from Gates Avenue to the Broad Street stop in the direction of Broad Street. Head south and turn onto Water Street, right at Peter Minuit Plaza, arriving at Battery Park, the starting point for a journey to the Statue of Liberty.

A beacon of American pride within New York City and beyond, the Statue of Liberty is perched upon Liberty Island with a view overlooking New York Harbor. You can view Libertas holding a torch and parchment inscribed with the date of the Declaration of Independence, a monument representative of liberty for all. Take a short ferry ride to view the monument, which also stops by Ellis Island. Climb the stairs to the height of the statue’s crown and enjoy a snack at the on-site cafe during your visit.
④ Greenwich Village

Upon arriving back at Battery Park, take the 1 Train from the South Ferry Loop stop, just steps away from the Park. In the direction of Cortlandt Park - 242 Street, take the train to Christopher Street - Sheridan Square and arrive in Greenwich Village.

Situated in Manhattan, Greenwich Village has seen influential moments of change throughout its history: It is well-known as both a pioneer of the LGBT movement and as the birthplace of 1960s counterculture. Picturesque Washington Square is located here, offering peaceful spots to sit and people watch with the majestic arch in the background. New York University’s campus sprawls through the area, bringing to the Village artsy cafes, shops, and dining establishments. Finish your stroll by The Cherry Lane Theatre, the oldest off-Broadway theatre in New York City, dating back to 1924.
⑤ Herald Square

Beginning at the West 4th Street station, take the F Train towards Jamaica - 179th Street to 34 Street - Herald Square.

Joined at Broadway, Sixth Avenue, and 34th Street in Manhattan, Herald Square boasts many of New York City’s must-dos. Ascend the Empire State Building to take in the panoramic views from the observatory, then walk over to Rockefeller Center and the historic Macy’s building. Though primarily a business district, the Square is also host to a bustling restaurant and nightlife scene as well as impressive monuments. Nearby Hotels: The Kitano New York
⑥ Times Square / Bryant Park

From 34th Street - Herald Square, take the R Train towards Forest Hills - 71st Avenue to 49th Street. Head southwest on 7th Avenue in the direction of West 47th Street, with a left onto Broadway and a left onto West 43rd Street.

One of the most highly traversed intersections in the world, Times Square welcomes fifty million visitors annually to gaze up at the mesmerizing electric splendor before them. A short stroll away is Bryant Park, boasting nearly 10 acres of lush greenery overlooking the New York Public Library and cityscape. The park’s little-known treasures include a rows of trees emulating the variety from the heralded Garden des Tuileries in Paris, and acclaimed sculptures are situated throughout the greens. Nearby Hotels: The Time and The Michelangelo

Day 2

① Harlem

Begin at the Harlem - 125th Street subway stop.

Harlem is intertwined with history, with many of the city’s most esteemed theatres and jazz clubs dispersed throughout its limits. Known for the arts revolution of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, the neighborhood is a living celebration of African-American heritage. It was here that Langston Hughes, James Brown, and other revered artists made their marks on their craft. Visit the Apollo Theater, which has hosted notable musicians throughout its 80-year reign, or stop by monumental churches including Abyssinian Baptist Church. Along with the storied structures, Harlem is also home to vibrant restaurants including The Cecil and Red Rooster Harlem, as well as eclectic music halls.
② Central Park / The Met

Start the trip to Central Park and The Met from the 5th Avenue/West 130th Street station on the M1 Train, towards East Village via 5th Avenue. Stop at the 5th Avenue/East 81 Street station, ending at Central Park and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A part of the 1858 Greensward Plan, Central Park was meticulously designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux. It was opened to the public in 1873 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1962. An entire day could be devoted to exploring the wonders of the 778 acres of greenery, but the notable stops include The Pond, Hallett Nature Sanctuary, and the Strawberry Fields Memorial. Just outside of Central Park, one of the world's finest museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, boasts more than two million works of art. Nearby Hotels: The Mark
③ The High Line

Head from The Met to the East 79th Street/5th Avenue station, taking the M79 Train towards West Side-Riverside Dr Crosstown, and ending at West 81st Street, Central Park West. With a two minute walk, depart from the 81st Street - Museum of Natural History stop on the C Train towards Euclid Avenue, ending at the 23rd Street stop. Begin walking west on West 24th Street towards Ninth Avenue, turning right onto 10th Avenue and left onto West 30th Street, with The High Line on the left.

Take in a unique view of Manhattan with a 1.5-mile walk above the city on the High Line’s elevated pathway. You’ll traverse from the Meatpacking District all the way through to Chelsea, marvelling at hundreds of varieties of flora complemented by temporary artwork and sculpture installations. The park is open to the public from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the winter months, until 10 p.m. in the spring and fall seasons, and until 11 p.m. in the summer.
④ SoHo

From The High Line, begin on West 30th Street and turn right onto 10th Avenue, and then left onto West 24th Street. Board the 23 Street station and take the East Train towards World Trade Center, ending at the Spring Street station in SoHo.

Chic fashions and trendy destinations are cornerstones of SoHo, a name derived from “South of Houston Street,” with haute-couture boutiques and spots with innovative cocktails abounding. A historic ambience is reflected within the neighborhood’s architecture, with numerous art galleries peppered throughout the district. Nearby Hotels: NoMo SoHo.
⑤ Tribeca

From SoHo to Tribeca, start out at the Varick Street/Watts Street station and board the M20 Train towards South Ferry, ending at the W Broadway/Duane Street station in Tribeca.

Tribeca, or “Triangle Below Canal Street,” is host to a variety of famous events including the Tribeca Film Festival. Notable for its esteemed residents, visitors will frequently spot a celebrity while passing through the neighborhood. Formerly an industrial outpost, today Tribeca features longstanding structures boasting the facets of 19th-century archiecture. The neighborhood also became an artist’s haven during the 1960s and 1970s, offering a range of trendy residences and spaces for galleries.
⑥ Chinatown

Begin at the Warren Street/Church Street station, taking the M9 Train towards Kips Bay 1st Avenue - 26th Street, ending at the East Broadway/Catherine Street station. From here, walk north toward East Broadway, turning left onto Bayard Street and right onto Elizabeth Street.

Host to the largest population of Chinese individuals within the U.S. with approximately 95,000 residents, New York City’s Chinatown neighborhood offers an historic outpost for Chinese culture. The first known immigrant to this neighborhood, Ah Ken, opened a cigar store here in 1858 and began the migration of Chinese immigrants to this district of the city. Today, purveyors of authentic Chinese markets, fishmongers, jewelers, and more operate their businesses for residents and visitors alike. Chinatown is bordered by Little Italy, Tribeca, and the Lower East Side, allowing easy access to continue exploring the city.

Photo credits: 1. ©NYC & Company and Julienne Schaer; 2. ©NYC & Company and Marley White; 3. ©NYC & Company and Marley White