Beneath the shining lights, crowded streets, and landmark attractions that hallmark NYC is a city rich in culture, preservation, and community. Whether you want to see great works of art or the hidden gardens of the concrete labyrinth, there’s a way to do it sustainably. Here’s how:
Amidst the urban jungle that is New York City, you’ll find hidden community gardens that welcome visitors. Deep in the Bronx is Wave Hill, a 28-acre public garden and cultural center with sweeping views of the Hudson River. By connecting people with nature through education and the arts, Wave Hill blends environmental and social impact for a truly moving experience. Across town on the Lower East Side you will find the highest concentration of community gardens in the country. Visit the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, which has exhibits on the community garden movement and leads a walking tour on Saturdays. Lastly, while you’re taking your obligatory stroll through Central Park, be sure to stop at the Conservatory Garden. This 6-acre garden is just a 25-minute walk from the hostel, with the majority of your jaunt spent in the park itself.
As the US’s largest melting pot, NYC is a great place to explore other cultures and their influence on NYC and America as a whole, from the streets of Chinatown to the cobblestones of Little Italy. Learn the story of the local Latino population at the Museo Del Barrio, as well as explore Latin art. For something truly unique, pay a visit to where representatives from nearly 200 countries meet to discuss world issues: the United Nations. Its Visitors Center offers guided tours that take you behind-the-scenes of one of the most important organizations for strengthening global ties and promoting peace. After a day of exploring, cook a meal or enjoy activities at HI NYC, and get to know a diverse community of travelers from around the world.
What’s great about the arts scene in NYC is that all you need is one subway stop to access an acclaimed museum, tons of art galleries, and to shop for one-of-a-kind treasures to take back home. What’s more is that all these venues are connected by the High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. Get started by arriving at the 8th Avenue/14th Street subway stop via the A, C, E, or L, and you’re just a few blocks from The Whitney, a massive museum devoted to American art, with a focus on living artists. When you get hungry, grab a bite at the nearby Chelsea Market, featuring more than a dozen delicious eateries. Continue your artsy venture by checking out Artists & Fleas for unique collectables that embody the NYC art scene. From there, take a walk to the Chelsea gallery district, located predominately in the 20s Streets between 10th and 11th Avenues. All the galleries are free, and if you’re there on a Thursday evening, you can catch a free wine and cheese opening event.
Get a firsthand look at how NYC became the world renowned destination it is today by stepping back in time. Start by visiting the Museum of the City of New York, located at 103rd Street and 5th Avenue, a 25-minute walk from the hostel that takes you through Central Park. The museum celebrates NYC’s heritage and distinct character through diverse and engaging displays. Next, grab the 1, N, or R subway line and head all the way down to the South Ferry – Whitehall Street stop. From there, pick up a Statue Cruise and venture to Ellis Island – the place where more than 12 million immigrants entered America for the first time, with a prime view of the Statue of Liberty. The Immigration Museum will share this iconic location’s fascinating history. For a change of pace, when you return to the mainland, grab the free Staten Island ferry. With a 1950s vibe that never left, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time!
Explore all 5 boroughs in one day without a cab and without getting lost! Just join HI NYC guests for Jerry’s Grand Tour on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Led by a true New Yorker, this tour takes you everywhere, from walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to paying respect at Ground Zero to riding on the Staten Island ferry. On Sundays, discover Harlem like you’ve never seen with the Harlem Gospel Tour, featuring gospel service at a Baptist church. And it wouldn’t be a complete visit to NYC without a bagel! Check out Absolute Bagels on Broadway, just a 10-minute walk from the hostel.
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