A helluva town - but heavenly
No city compares with bottle-shaped Manhattan, the heart of nonstop New York City. Streets laid out on an easy-to-understand grid, it’s a city made for walking too, with neighborhoods sporting distinct personalities: doorman residences in the upper-crusty Upper East Side; Chelsea and the West Village’s gay life; the punk-rock roots of the East Village and the Lower East Side, SoHo’s warehouses-turned-designer shops, Lower Manhattan’s sobering World Trade Center site and crooked lanes (check out Wall Street) dating from the New Amsterdam days. Highlights fill a week, easy: the free Staten Island Ferry ride past the Statue of Liberty, a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to that booming borough, dim sum in Chinatown, sunning in Central Park’s Great Lawn, and a view of it all from the Empire State Building. Then there’s the museums – the Metropolitan includes Egyptian temples and baseball cards, the recently redone Museum of Modern Art has Warhols and Van Goghs, and sorely overlooked kid-friendly Queens mainstay Museum of the Moving Image, right next to Sesame Street’s studio. Events are staged year-round: Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, November’s citywide marathon, Brooklyn’s Coney Island’s hot-dog-eating contest on July 4. Yet the key is letting the city guide you – just hit the sidewalk and go.