New York City is much more than Midtown – hop on a ferry or cross a bridge or tunnel and you’ll find some of the best cultural experiences, food and views on offer. Explore the birthplace of hip-hop, eat in “The Real Little Italy”, relax in an outdoor sculpture park and even meet Kermit the Frog at these must-see gems around the five boroughs.
Image credit: Nicholas Knight. © The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York / Artists Rights Society
The Noguchi Museum, Long Island City, Queens1/16
Cross the East River to Long Island City, Queens to find a collection of modern sculptures by famed Japanese American artist and landscape designer Isamu Noguchi. If you don’t know him by name, you may well recognise his delicate paper and bamboo Akari lights, or his bold monoliths. Find calm in the museum’s sculpture garden, filled with native Japanese flora, or head to nearby Rainey Park, where in early spring (March to April) you can enjoy blooming cherry blossoms with a backdrop of city and river views.
Image credit: KMDeco Creative Solutions
Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, Queens2/16
Less than 100 metres up Vernon Boulevard from The Noguchi Museum, the free-admission Socrates Sculpture Park is where unique large-scale works meet riverside public parkland. The current headline is Water Clock – a 19.8-metre scaffolded structure covered in edible vegetation with a clock powered by East River water. It’s a part of New York-based artist Mary Mattingly’s Ebb of a Spring Tide exhibition, running until 10 September 2023. Over the past 35 years, more than 1200 artists have created and exhibited here – with many pieces designed to take advantage of the intersection of the urban skyline, water and greenery.
Image credit: Courtesy of Museum of the Moving Image
Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, Queens3/16
New York City’s only active backlot, Kaufman Astoria Studios, has set the stage for classics and blockbusters such as Sherlock Holmes, Spider-Man 3 and even Sesame Street. It is also home to the Museum of the Moving Image – an interactive and immersive space in an old studio building dedicated to all things film and television. The permanent exhibition, Behind the Screen, allows you to explore 1400 industry artefacts such as equipment from all eras, costumes, set sketches and merchandise. There’s also a long-running Jim Henson exhibition where you’ll mingle with puppet royalty: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Elmo, Big Bird and more.
Buzzing neighbourhoods, peaceful parks and the best city views: get out of Manhattan and explore the rest of New York City. Book your flights now at qantas.com.
Image credit: Shayne Wyatt
30th Avenue, Astoria, Queens4/16
Bring your appetite to Astoria – 30th Avenue, named NYC’s coolest street by a Time Out reader survey in 2021, is buzzing with locally revered restaurants and bars serving up an eclectic mix of styles and cuisines. Head to Comfortland for creative spins on your favourite classics (think: egg and burrata breakfast sandwiches or rainbow cookie crumb cake layered with apricot and raspberry jams) or Vesta for a fresh take on Italian staples and a fine selection of wines.
Image credit: Hush Tours
Hush Hip Hop Tours, Harlem, The Bronx and Brooklyn5/16
Celebrate hip-hop’s 50th birthday in 2023 on a tour that pays homage to where it all began. Walk the streets of Harlem or Brooklyn or go on a bus ride across Harlem and The Bronx to see landmarks like the Graffiti Hall of Fame, music video and filming locations as well as places where industry legends like DJ Kool Herc and Biggie made their mark.
Image credit: NYC Corners
Troutman Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn6/16
Known for its outdoor gallery of colourful murals, Troutman is the go-to street in one of the city's hippest neighbourhoods. Every weekend until the end of October 2023, the stretch between Irving and St Nicholas avenues will be closed to traffic for the Troutman Open Streets Initiative – a community gathering of local artists and businesses with laid-back activities and open-air performances. Don't stop here – keep the party going while you're in the neighbourhood. Just around the corner on Wyckoff, nightlife doesn’t get any cooler than the mix of live cabaret, circus, theatre and music you’ll find at House of Yes. You could be sipping a beer under a dangling aerialist one night, then judging a drag show the next.
Planning your trip to the city that never sleeps? New York City is ready for you. Book your flights now at qantas.com.
Image credit: Westlight at The William Vale
Westlight at The William Vale, Williamsburg, Brooklyn7/16
One of the best ways to see Manhattan is in Brooklyn – on the 22nd floor of The William Vale, at the Westlight bar. Postcard-perfect skyline views – especially magic at sunset – can be enjoyed in open air on the rooftop terrace or inside from floor-to-ceiling windows while lounging on a retro-chic sofa. Order a house-special Apricot Daydream cocktail and pinch yourself.
Image credit: Industry City
Industry City, Sunset Park, Brooklyn8/16
What was once an industrial district is now a vibrant 14-hectare creative ecosystem packed with studios, shops, designers, eateries and public art installations. At The Makers Guild in Building 5, you can both shop and watch artisans in action – get made-to-measure lingerie at Rue du Paradis or custom shoes at Francis Waplinger. The eclectic Food Hall will satisfy any craving with loaded burgers, vegan and Korean comfort foods, and freshly baked cookies and whoopie pies. Head to Building 1 on 2nd Avenue to feast your eyes on Camille Walala’s vivid and playful mural painted on the seven-storey facade.
Image credit: Ajay Suresh under Creative Commons 2.0 licence
You really shouldn’t leave Harlem without eating at Sylvia’s – take Barack Obama or Grandmaster Flash’s word for it. Original owner Sylvia Woods, a.k.a. “The Queen of Soul Food”, passed away in 2012 but the restaurant, a neighbourhood staple since 1962, is still owned and operated by the Woods family. The fried chicken (order it with waffles) and barbecued ribs are legendary.
Explore the best of New York City and all its fascinating boroughs. Book your flights now at qantas.com.
Image credit: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Bamford Wellness Spa at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn10/16
Balance exploration and culinary indulgence with a dose of rejuvenation at this serene day spa inside 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, known for its natural and organic products, holistic approach and zen, earthy atmosphere. Book in a Bamford Signature Treatment massage for a blissful 80 minutes of shiatsu, Swedish massage, reflexology and a finale of yogic breathing. If you have a little more time, take the afternoon and go for the Haybarn De-Stress package, which includes both massage and facial.
Image credit: Tagger Yancey IV / New York City Tourism + Conventions
New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Park, The Bronx11/16
Inside the sprawling, 290-hectare green space of Bronx Park, the New York Botanical Garden is a living museum filled with both local and unique and rare flora. Go inside the glass-domed Conservatory for a mix of aquatic, tropical and desert species that feels like a mini visit to Palm Springs. They’ve even curated a self-guided Forest Bathing tour with accompanying audio that tracks through a magnificent old-growth forest.
Image credit: Molly Flores / New York City Tourism + Conventions
Arthur Avenue, Belmont, The Bronx12/16
Arthur Avenue, referred to by many as “The Real Little Italy”, is a hub of Italian-American immigration, culture and commerce that dates back to the early 20th century. Locals flock to the Arthur Avenue Retail Market for authentic Italian produce, cheeses, pasta, baked goods and meats. Madonia Bakery is revered for its pane di casa (southern Italian crusty loaves) and filled-to-order cannoli, and Zero Otto Nove currently boasts a Michelin Bib Gourmand for its traditional southern Italian-style dishes such as pizzas loaded with fresh mozzarella, creamy clam linguine and fresh seafood.
Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of all New York City’s diverse neighbourhoods. Book your flights now at qantas.com.
Image credit: NYC-Arts
Staten Island Children’s Museum13/16
A perfect day out with the kids starts with a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry as you take in views of the Statue of Liberty and continues at the Staten Island Children’s Museum. Here, little ones can let loose playing with giant-sized board games, look at live creepy-crawlies from around the world, use props and lighting to put on their own skit or puppet show and get their hands dirty in the outdoor Garden Terrace.
Image credit: Alice Austen House Museum
Alice Austen House Museum, Staten Island14/16
Alice Austen, known as a pioneer both in documentary photography and LGBTQ+ rights, was not only one of the first female American photographers to work outside of a studio but also maintained a 56-year relationship with her partner Gertrude Tate during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Alice Austen House Museum, a waterfront Victorian cottage where Austen lived with Tate for 30 years, is now a space where you can view collections of her work that captured intimate and candid moments of life around Staten Island and Manhattan during her time.
Image credit: Julienne Schaer / New York City Tourism + Conventions
St George Theatre, Staten Island15/16
The ornate, Baroque style of the historic St George Theatre is a show stopper. Originally built in 1929, this historic theatre was inactive for more than 30 years before it was saved from demolition by an impassioned community group in 2004. Nowadays, you can stop here to watch a show – events include a mix of live music, dance, film and comedy. It’s also conveniently located just a short walk from the ferry terminal.