.
.
.
.

Got 24 hours in New York? Delight in cronuts, coffee and culture

If you have only a day in the Big Apple, concentrate on Manhattan mainly and a touch of Brooklyn

Georgina Wilson-Powell

Published: Updated:

New York – truly the city that never sleeps. Even taking into the account you still need sleep, you can pack a lot into a day here.

If you have only a day in the Big Apple, concentrate on just two of the five boroughs – Manhattan mainly and a touch of Brooklyn. New Yorkers love their breakfast or brunch, this is the city of the rainbow bagel, the cronut and of course the cupcake (more on those later), and also a city where walking works wonders, so fill up early to keep you going all day.

Start over in Brooklyn – one of the original hipster neighborhoods, home to microbreweries, slow drip coffee and artisanal bakeries.

Colonie in Brooklyn Heights is a great choice and a step above the pancakes and bacon crowd. Try the duck hash (poached egg – pasture raised from New Jersey, over red potatoes and roasted onion puree – from farms in New York).

This is the city of the rainbow bagel, the cronut (pictured) and of course the cupcake. (Shutterstock)
This is the city of the rainbow bagel, the cronut (pictured) and of course the cupcake. (Shutterstock)



You’re also now in the right place to walk the Brooklyn Bridge, which is just under half a kilometer long. Walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan gives you the iconic New York skyline views through the girders as you cross the East River.

Once in Manhattan you can work your way through Wall St. to Battery Park to get a closer glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. Given as a gift by the French in 1886, she has welcomed millions of people to new lives in America. Ignore the tourist trap cruises and hop on the free ferry to Staten Island – it sails right past Liberty Island and takes around 30 minutes each way. Once there, simply stay on board and come back.

Manhattan Skyline with Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, New York City. (Shutterstock)
Manhattan Skyline with Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, New York City. (Shutterstock)

From the skyline at a distance to having it beneath you, the best view of Manhattan isn’t from the Empire State Building but the Rockefeller Center. Take the R from Whitehall St to 49th St. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck gives you the city from the 70th floor (open until midnight, $32 per adult). After scoping out Central Park from up high, it’s only a short walk up 5th Avenue to access the east side of the park, by the famous zoo. Follow East Drive to the park’s boathouse restaurant for the ultimate NYC lunch spot. From appearing in “Sex and the City” to “When Harry Met Sally,” it’s a movie star in its own right.

You can’t be in New York and not visit a museum. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is nearby, so leave Central Park from the south and wander down Avenue of the Americas and onto West 53rd St. MoMA has over 200,000 works of modern art including Monet’s Water Lilies and Van Gogh’s Starry Night. From modern art to modern life, jump on the E to 23rd St for a visit to the High Line.

MoMA has over 200,000 works of modern art including Monet’s Water Lilies and Van Gogh’s Starry Night. (Shutterstock)
MoMA has over 200,000 works of modern art including Monet’s Water Lilies and Van Gogh’s Starry Night. (Shutterstock)

New York was the first city in the world to turn an old elevated railway line into public gardens and it’s a fantastic insight into what makes this city so special. Cafes and galleries have sprung up around it and it passes by Chelsea Market. Foodies will love this street food come boutique store market where you can buy artisan ice cream. Wander through the brownstone streets into Greenwich Village and either pop in for a classic cupcake at Magnolia Bakery on West 11th Street or keep strolling east over to the Lower East Side. This whole area, along with East Village, is one of the hippest neighborhoods in town, and you never know what you’ll discover – from cool cafes to quirky designers.

Grab a bite to eat in the evening at Momofuku Noodle Bar – the famous American-Asian casual crossover restaurant that made ramen cool again. While it's informal, and you’ll often sit at the bar overlooking the kitchen, the food is fabulous.

Washington Square Park is a 9.75-acre public park in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, New York City. (Shutterstock)
Washington Square Park is a 9.75-acre public park in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, New York City. (Shutterstock)