Spots to Visit
10 minutes from King’s: The 9/11 Memorial and Museum now stands at the original site of the Twin Towers. Two man-made waterfalls mirror the towers’ footprints in the outdoor plaza. Steps from the museum is the newly-built World Trade Center Transportation Hub, featuring dramatic architecture and dozens of retail stores. (Walk north on Broadway and you can’t miss it.)
15 minutes from King’s: The mall at South Street Seaport is a beautiful destination to eat, shop, and stroll both indoors and out. (Take the J line from Broad Street to Fulton Street. This is also within walking distance.)
15 minutes from King’s: The Strand Bookstore at Union Square is home to 18 miles of books. Their selection is enormous, and they have discounted book carts outside for the sale-seeker. (Take the 4 line from Wall Street to 14th Street-Union Square.)
30 minutes from King’s: The High Line Park on the west side of Manhattan is made up of an old elevated train track that has been converted into a walkway and park. It features lovely miniature landscapes, train-track-inspired benches, and sculptural displays. It also connects to Chelsea Market, a collection of eateries and shops in a refurbished factory building. Free. (Take the 1 line from Rector Street to 23rd Street.)
30 minutes from King’s: The Steven Schwarzman building is the flagship location of the New York Public Library, built in the Beaux Arts style and guarded by two giant stone lions. There are regular free exhibitions and author talks to enjoy: just remember that the library closes at 5:45 p.m. most days. Free. (Take the 4 line from Wall Street to Grand Central, then walk to 41st Street and 5th Ave.)
45 minutes from King’s: The David Rubenstein Atrium is an enclosed public area near Lincoln Center that hosts free music performances more than once a week. The concerts range from classical and jazz to American Songbook classics, and feature world-class musicians who normally play a block away in the NY Philharmonic. The Atrium is located at the junction of Broadway and 62nd Street, and the sandwich bar inside serves food and drinks all day. Admittance to the concerts is on a first-come, first-served basis. Free. (Take the 1 line from Rector Street to Columbus Circle.)
45 minutes from King’s: Central Park is the famous home of world-class museums, miles of walking paths, a lake, and broad boulevards full of New Yorkers enjoying the fresh air. Grab a hot dog and go for a stroll, or stop at one of the sites below. Free. (Take the R line from Rector Street to 5th Ave. This gets you to the southeast corner of the park.)
Central Park Lake: Rent a rowboat at the Loeb Boathouse on the east side of the park and take a turn around this iconic lake! Boats are available from 10am to sundown, weather permitting. $15/hour. (Take the 4/5 uptown to 59th St, transfer to the local 6 train and get off at 77th St. The best entrance to Central Park is at 76th St and 5th Ave.)
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Located on the east side of the park, the Met Fifth Ave is one of the largest art museums in the world, housing art from an incredible range of historical periods, cultures, and civilizations. Open 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The ticket price includes the Met Fifth Ave, the Met Cloisters (see below), and the Met Breuer if you visit on three consecutive days. Non-New York residents: $25/person OR $12/student with ID. New York residents: suggested donation.
American Museum of Natural History: Located on the west side of the park, this is one of the world’s leading natural history museums. Open 10:00 a.m.-5:45 p.m. $23/person OR $18/student with ID.
1 hour from King’s: The MET Cloisters Museum is well worth the 40-minute train ride time from campus. The museum is located along the Hudson River and the hilltop views from are spectacular. The museum was built from portions of four medieval European monasteries, and features a unique collection of medieval and Renaissance artwork. The Cloisters is included in the MET Museum ticket price if you go to both museums within a three-day period. Non-New York residents: $25/person OR $12/student with ID. New York residents: suggested donation. (Take the A train from Fulton Street to 190 Street.)
Free Hours for Museums
If you’re making a longer visit to New York and don’t mind the crowds, you can enjoy the city’s fine museums, zoos, and gardens for free during select times.
Brooklyn Museum: 5:00-11:00 p.m. first Saturdays of every month
Museum of Modern Art: 4:00-8:00 p.m. Friday
Whitney Museum of Art: 7:00-10:00 p.m. Friday
Morgan Library: 7:00-9:00 p.m. Friday
Bronx Zoo: all day Wednesdays
Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Tuesday-Friday during winter months (December-February), and Friday before noon year-round
NY Botanical Garden in the Bronx: all day Wednesday, and Saturday 9:00-10:00 a.m.
Scenic Neighborhood Strolls
For a day-long New York adventure, experience the city like a local with a stroll through one of these neighborhoods, including lunch or dinner at a popular eatery. Make sure to wear your walking shoes!
On the Manhattan side, take the 4/5/6 to the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall stop or the R to the City Hall stop. Then head east through City Hall Park to the Brooklyn Bridge entrance. While in Brooklyn, check out Vineapple Cafe on Pineapple and Henry St., walk along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and traipse through two scenic parks, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Main Street Park, along the edge of the water. If you haven’t had a chance to grab some NYC pizza, Grimaldi’s on Front Street (just at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge) will not disappoint. To return to the King’s campus by subway, take the A/C from High Street back to Fulton, the 2/3 from Clark St. to Wall St., or the 2/3/4/5 from Borough Hall to Wall St.
You can keep yourself occupied all day wandering through Central Park. One suggested route is to start at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Ave. Then head into the park to visit Belvedere Castle, skirt the scenic lake, and explore the Ramble. Finish the day on the west side with a burger and milkshake at the Shake Shack located around the corner from the American Museum of Natural History. For a sit-down restaurant with easy access to the park, try Jacob’s Pickles on the Upper West Side—just watch out for the enormous brunch lines! And if you’re craving an upscale New York experience, stop by Knave Cafe on 57th Street (south of the park) for a coffee; the decor alone is worth the visit.
Prospect Heights and Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Prospect Heights is an up-and-coming neighborhood in central Brooklyn, directly north of Prospect Park. To get here, take the 2/3 line from Wall Street to Grand Army Plaza; it’s a short walk up Vanderbilt Avenue to the Prospect Heights downtown area. Stop in at Joyce Bakery for baked goods served with a smile; visit Unnameable, a top-notch independent bookstore; and sample one of the unique ice cream flavors at the original Ample Hills Creamery. From there, ice-cream in hand, head down to Prospect Park and enjoy the zoo or ice-skating in the winter!
Of all the ethnic gathering places in New York, Chinatown may be the most famous. To get to this iconic spot from campus, take the J/Z from Wall Street/Broad Street to Canal St. If you’re feeling up for a longer walk of a little more than a mile, head north up Broadway to Worth Street, then turn right—you’ll know when you get to Chinatown. In this historic neighborhood, grab some delicious (and affordable!) Chinese food at Great New York Noodletown or Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles. Bubble tea, a local favorite, is a must-try, and you’ll find plenty of places to shop for souvenirs. From Chinatown, head west into Soho for more shopping. Make sure to stop in at Muji, a Japanese clothing and lifestyle brand popular with King’s students.