Manhattan By Neighborhoods

Getting around New York City is somewhat intimidating especially when it’s more difficult for us to use stairs to ride subways, walking and weaving long city blocks and generally navigating in a city of 8+ million inhabitants.

Even though the southern tip of Manhattan to the southern edge of Central Park is less than 7 miles, dashing from Battery Park to the Columbus Circle at 59th Street is quite a hassle. Now when we visit The Big Apple we shrink it down into neighborhoods and concentrate our time and interests into a specific area.  Here are a few of our favorite spots.

Times Square

You can spend 2-3 days in the Times Square sector and not come close to seeing it all.  It is in the heart of what is called midtown Manhattan which stretches from the Hudson to the East River and 14th Street north to Central Park.  In the middle of midtown is Times Square; a section which embraces the Broadway theatre district, the major network studios, Radio City Music Hall and many places to shop.

There are renowned restaurants on almost every street from Sardis to the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center.  But one of our favorites is Ellen’s Stardust Café (51st @ Broadway) where the young servers trying to get a break in the theatres surrounding the area get up on walkways between tables and sing well-known Broadway musical songs. It’s a hoot.

There are many wonderful hotels in the neighborhood called Times Square and if you do your homework a good deal is often offered at most of them.  The last time we stayed in that section was at the Novatel; a hotel which generally costs around $240 per night and we found a deal for less than $150 per night.  In the evenings we walked to Broadway shows, had lunch at the ice rink at Rockefeller Center and watched Good Morning America in the gathering of folks outside the ABC studios.

For more information on Times Square, click here.

Central Park

The park represents more than 6% of the island of Manhattan.  It encompasses 1.3 square miles of some of the most beautiful landscape in any American urban setting.  It contains four lakes, a zoo, restaurants and food trucks, and is the most frequented park in the U.S. with an estimated 37-38 million visitors per year.

Even though ritzy hotels like The Plaza and Essex border the park, there are plenty of nice hotels within easy walking distance at very reasonable prices, especially for seniors.  And there is so much to do from museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Frisk Collection and The Guggenheim to outdoor musicals at the Naumburg Bandshell or listening to street musicians on the Great Lawn.

A carriage ride is a must.  It is worth the price for a 40-45 minutes tour.  The cost for two people is around $135, however, that is reasonable when you see all the places in the park to revisit which are free to the public.  It is an amazing experience to be surrounded by a lush landscape, see skyscrapers above the tree line and know you are in a paradise amongst millions of people within one of the world’s great cities.

For more information about Central Park, click here.

West Houston at West Broadway

There is so much to do in this area of Manhattan that it would be difficult to see it all in a week’s time.  West Houston Street is a demarcation line running from the Hudson to the East River.  Broadway runs from the southern tip of Manhattan to Columbus Circle and Central Park.  Right around where these two renowned streets intersect is a grouping of memorable neighborhoods.

SoHo (which is a acronym for South of Houston) features a wide collection of boutique shops, cafes, bistros, delis, specialty shops and parks.  Two of the best restaurants we visit every time we travel to NYC are located in SoHo:  Les Amis, a neighborhood French bistro and Cipriani Downtown, an artsy Italian café which is superb.

Speaking of restaurants, Little Italy and Chinatown are nearby with row after row of unique eateries along with specialty shops and a real authentic cultural flair.  The aromas wafting along the streets, the music streaming from corner cafes and colorful storefronts treat all your senses like you were in the heart of Florence or Tokyo.

Nearby are areas ranging from Tribeca, the artsy new, hip section of lower Manhattan and Greenwich Village, the folklore, hippie section of the Washington Square section.  You’re a short Uber ride to the new World Trade Tower and 9/11 Memorial or from sitting on the Hudson looking a short way downriver and the Statue of Liberty.

Again, doing a little bit of searching for hotel bargains is generally rewarding.  For more information on the Houston/Broadway area and many other neighborhoods in Manhattan, click here.

What are your favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan? Tell us your experiences in the Big Apple!


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