Visiting New York City this weekend? Our weekly visitors’ guide is here to help — filling you in on the right way to see Manhattan when you’re on a tight schedule. Check out our guide on what to see and do — and what to skip. This weekend, take some time to relax before getting back into the rush of the New Year. Start the day off slow, with a long brunch, and then explore lower Manhattan, especially some of the best and free sites in the city! By Alyson Schwartz.
On New Year’s Day the restaurant Ulysses’ offers live music and an “all you can eat” brunch, including raw bar and one drink for just $20. Located on the aptly-named Stone Street, this tavern offers outdoor seating in the summer right on the street, but is the perfect place to stay warm on a cold winter day. When you have had your fill, try for some luck in the New Year and head a few blocks north to Broadway to rub the Wall Street Bull, a New York icon. Meant to symbolize “the strength and power of the American people” this 7000 pound bronze statue has been in the Bowling Green Plaza since 1987 and has come to symbolize Wall Street.
Head south on Broadway to the National Museum of the American Indian. This free branch of the Smithsonian Institute is devoted to exhibiting and preserving the life, languages, history and art of Native Americans and is open 7 days a week, including New Year’s Day. Located in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs House, the actual building is as wonderful as the artifacts on display.
To see some of NYC’s famous sites without the lines and the cost, head south to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Board the free ferry for a 25 minute ride past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Be sure to sit on the right side of the boat to get the best photos. Boats leave every half hour on Saturdays and every hour on Sundays from the South Ferry Terminal in Manhattan and St George Terminal on Staten Island. You will have to get off the boat when you arrive on Staten Island, but you can get right back on and come back to Manhattan when you arrive. Be sure to sit on the left side this time. If it isn’t too cold, or windy, stand at the front for a wonderful view of downtown Manhattan.
Continue to enjoy the waterfront with a walk east along the water towards the South Street Seaport. Skip the mall, but make sure to enjoy the wonderful tall ships docked on the pier. To tour the ships, purchase tickets at the Seaport Museum.
After a long day of sightseeing, there is nothing like a warm meal. Located just off the main thoroughfare at the Seaport, make a right onto Front Street, and head to Il Brigante for a great Italian dinner. Everything there is wonderful, but my favorite is their pizza, especially the dessert one. It is a perfect way to start the New Year right.
The Wall Street Bull
Bowling Green Plaza intersection of Whitehall and Broadway
Staten Island Ferry
4 South Street
214 Front Street between Beekman and Peck Slip
Alyson Schwartz is the author of the blog Ribbons of Thought, which features musings on topics from fashion to NYC living including fun activities, food and unique finds.