How to see Manhattan in 72 hours – Day 1 bus/ferry

 

Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is part of Museum Row on 5th Avenue.  At the time, it was hosting an Andy Warhol exhibit.  Yes, it was a strange as you'd imagine it would be.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is part of Museum Row on 5th Avenue. At the time, it was hosting an Andy Warhol exhibit. Yes, it was a strange as you’d imagine it would be.

I started planning my trip to the Big Apple in January 2012.  I got there in November, a week after Superstorm Sandy swept through town.  Okay, I need to work on my timing.  But those New Yorkers are awesome; so much of Manhattan was up and running, I didn’t have a second to be bored in the three days I was there.

Manhattan skyline from the water.  The tall blue building under construction on the left is World Trade Center Tower 1.  The shorter one to the right, also under construction, is Tower 4, in the footprint of the original building.

Manhattan skyline from the water. The tall blue building under construction on the left is World Trade Center Tower 1. The shorter one to the right, also under construction, is Tower 4, in the footprint of the original building.

If you only have a limited time to see everything, I recommend a bus tour. You may drive by all the important landmarks but you’ve at least laid eyes on them.  You can go back and hit the ones you want to visit later.  I was very lucky; the tour I went on included lunch in Little Italy (so very tasty!) and a harbour cruise.

The statue of Liberty.  It seems she was closed for months for renovations and reopend on the Tuesday.  Sandy struck Wednesday.  The launch docks for tourist boats were blown away in the storm but she looks fine.  In the immortal words of Peter Venkman, "She's tough. She's a harbor chick." (Ghostbusters 2)

The Statue of Liberty. It seems she was closed for months for renovations and reopened on the Tuesday. Sandy struck Wednesday. The launch docks for tourist boats were blown away in the storm but she looks fine. In the immortal words of Peter Venkmann, “She’s tough. She’s a harbor chick.” (Ghostbusters 2)

I think it says something about me in that a lot of the sites I recognized from the movies.  Look, it’s the Natural History Museum from “A Night at the Museum”!  Hey, the New York Public Library from “The Day After Tomorrow”!  If I had been a “Sex and the City” fan I would have been in perpetual OMG-mode.

The New York Public Library. It looks pretty good after being shovelled out after "The Day After Tomorrow", doesn't it?

The New York Public Library. It looks pretty good after being buried by a natural disaster.  No, not by Sandy. By Hollywood.

In six hours we saw everything from Harlem to the Upper East Side, Central Park, Wall Street, the Brooklyn Bridge and the shops of 5th Avenue.  If you decide to take a bus tour, try not to do it after a near-hurricane.  The tunnels were still flooded and the subway lines downtown still weren’t running.

Pier 17, downtown Manhattan.  Sandy damage.  All the shops were flooded out and boarded up for about two blocks in from the water's edge.  Battery Park was still flooded; the 9/11 memorial had just reopened the day before this photo was taken.

Pier 17, downtown Manhattan. Sandy damage. All the shops were flooded out and boarded up for about two blocks in from the water’s edge. Battery Park was still flooded; the 9/11 memorial had just reopened the day before this photo was taken.

Downtown Manhattan is not actually that big.  Wear your walking shoes and you can see a lot of it by foot.  Little Italy is only blocks from China Town.  Wall Street to Battery Park is almost spitting distance.  And it’s all well-laid out.  Good job, city planners.

The Bowery, famous for its drunks during Prohibition. Also, note the Houston Street signg.  Pronounced "House-ton", not like the city in Texas, this is the border for a famous Manhattan area - SoHo, standing for SOuth of HOuston St.  You may have also heard of Tribeca - TRIangle BElow CAnal St.  I had no idea those places told you how to find them.

The Bowery, famous for its drunks during Prohibition. Also, note the Houston Street sign. Pronounced “House-ton”, not like the city in Texas, this is the border for a famous Manhattan area – SoHo, standing for SOuth of HOuston St. You may have also heard of Tribeca – TRIangle BElow CAnal St. I had no idea those places told you how to find them.

And when it’s all over, go see the night life.

The Empire States Building by night.

The Empire States Building by night.