We’ve been through a lot during past few months. I can’t blame you if the thought of typical New York with its packed trains and congested sidewalks makes you a little nervous right now. But while crowds are one of the city’s defining features, so is its ability to have something that suits everyone. That’s right: there are ways to experience New York City while avoiding crowds. Here are five places that’ll help you do that.
1. The Williamsburg Bridge
Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most quintessential New York experiences, but unless you do it very early or very late, you’re going to encounter a lot of traffic (foot, bike, you name it). If you’re not an early riser or a night owl, you’re better off finding a less trafficked bridge. While mostly any other bridge will do, I recommend walking across the Williamsburg Bridge. It has stellar views of the city’s skyline, connects two exciting neighborhoods, and it’s pink!
2. Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island is technically part of Manhattan, but it doesn’t feel much like it. This island-neighborhood has the vibes of a college town, with its stone lighthouse, unpretentious restaurants, and peaceful waterfront park with a stunning view of Queens. If that’s not convincing enough, you’ll also find a lawn full of geese and an abandoned 19th century hospital.
3. Elevated Acre
Who would have thought you could find peace and quiet among the suits of Wall Street? Elevated Acre is pretty self-explanatory: it’s an acre of parkland high above the chaos of the streets. But this high-up oasis is a little difficult to find. Enter at a nondescript stairwell at 55 Water Street.
4. Central Park’s Conservatory Garden
Forget the flocks of people down by Sheep Meadow and the Mall. You can experience the beauty of Central Park without the crowds up at the Conservatory Garden. When you pass through the Vanderbilt Gate at 105th Street and Fifth Avenue, you’ll step into heaven on earth. The only thing close to torture will be deciding whether the Italianate, French, or English garden is your favorite.
5. Green-Wood Cemetery
Despite our recent reckoning with mortality, I’m still going to promote visiting Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, especially if you want to avoid crowds. This huge green space is half as large as Central Park and it’s not often that you’ll run into another soul (not counting the 500,000 souls taking their eternal slumber beneath you). Grab a map at the entrance and try to find the ornate graves of New York’s former who’s who. For more information on what else you’ll find at Green-Wood, check out my guide.
Hopefully these five sites will help you enjoy New York while avoiding crowds. If you want to avoid humanity altogether, visit some of the places on my guide to NYC’s most secluded spots.
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