The tip I always like to tell people who are going to New York is skip the ferry out to Liberty and Ellis Islands and just take the free ferry to and from Staten Island. You get the same great sea-based view of the Statue of Liberty. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum just doesn’t seem as interesting to me as other New York-based museums, and the photo ops on Liberty Island itself are limited. And the crowds!
When we visited the Statue of Liberty one August, we stood in line for what felt like hours to board the ferry, and by the time we’d wandered about Liberty Island a bit, we just went straight back to Manhattan rather than battle the crowds on Ellis Island.
Now, timing is everything, and so maybe other times of year it isn’t so bad. But I found myself wishing for the simple (free) Staten Island Ferry ride my husband and I took on a prior trip (we’d actually parked there; I can’t remember why). Give yourself an hour roundtrip to go to Staten Island and back, find a good bench, get out your camera and happily snap away at the sights as you cruise by.
Bonus New York tip: High Line Park – this park opened in 2009 and is built on an abandoned elevated rail line on Manhattan’s West Side. It is very well done, with trees and grasses and wonderful places to sit in the sun or shade. In the summer, it is lined with popsicle carts selling delicious frozen treats, and has great public art throughout.
Bonus tip from Chad – Barcade, but only if you are already out in Brooklyn; it wouldn’t be worth the trek out there just for a bar. That said, Barcade very cool, with a great selection of beers and old arcade games. (Actually, Chad’s first thought when I asked him for a tip was The Ramble in Central Park, but I thought that seemed too obvious. Including it anyway.)