New York: The city that never sleeps
Let me start by saying that... New York DOES SLEEP. It's all a lie. Madrid - now that is a city that never sleeps.
But having said that, there are a ton of activities that you can find at most hours of the day in NYC, as well as different borough with different vibes that you can explore.
You can head to Brooklyn to get some grub at Smorgasburg or visit the different Flea Markets or Thrift Shops. Find a rooftop bar and catch views of sunset overlooking Manhattan.
You can visit the Bronx to see where hip hop was born and watch a Yankees game.
You can take the Staten Island Ferry to catch a great view of the Statue of Liberty and then visit a brewery or any other historical landmark (yes, I consider the Brewery a historical landmark).
You can grab the subway to Queens and explore the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. Here you can follow Anthony Bourdain's footsteps and go from Ecuatorian food, to dumplings to a Momo Restaurant hidden behind a cellphone store.
Or you can be more mainstream and stay in Manhattan, where you can... well... do anything you want - go wild! Hit up Central Park, get lost in the museums, eat at amazing restaurants, or go to Times Square.
Museums to visit:
Metropolitan Museum (MET): The largest museum in the US, it has its main space on Fifth Avenue, right by Central Park. It also has two other locations, also worth a visit.
Met Breuer: Also part of the Metropolitan, this museum is nearby the first one and has both modern and contemporary art.
The Cloisters: Located in Washington Heights (a bit of a trip, but wonderful especially in the warmer months), this museum specializes in European medieval architecture and arts.
MOMA: The Museum of Modern Art is a must-see in NY. It is usually very crowded (but so is everything, so just make sure you get tickets online).
Central Park: This park was not always a park, but it has been for more than 100 years. It has a great running/biking track, an amazing lawn to have a picnic, a zoo, and a pond for those who like to indulge in some romantic rowing. If you want to read the story of the park, click here.
Whitney Museum: Focused on 20th and 21st century American art, the Whitney was moved recently to the area of Chelsea. If you go, make sure you don't miss the High Line nearby.
Storm King: Open only during the nice-weather months (and select dates during the cold ones), this open-air museum is a place that holds large contemporary sculptures. You can come and rent bikes, to move around, exploring the large space. To get here you can take a bus, or rent a car - enjoying a day in New York, outside of the city.
DIA Beacon: A collection of art from the 1960s to today, this museum is my favorite in New York. Located in the town of Beacon, besides the Hudson River, you can get here by train, with a trip that is only over an hour long from Manhattan. The large space holds pieces by amazing artists such as Dan Flavin, Walter de Maria and Richard Serra.
Places to see:
Chelsea Market: Located in Chelsea (unexpected, right?), you must come here and enjoy the different food options (Tacos #1), as well as the Flea Market in the back. Head downstairs at night to grab a few drinks at the Tippler.
World Trade Center: The visit to this building is something you won't forget. From the first moment you enter the building, to the moment you are back down... you will be in awe. I won't spoil the details, and don't let anyone spoil them for you, just buy your tickets ahead of time and climb up the stairs for 100 floors! Joking, there's an elevator.
World Trade Center Station & Memorial: Hated by some, enjoyed by many. This station took longer than expected (and was more expensive than originally planned), but it stands as a great representation of what New York is after the events of 9/11, and the response of a resilient city. It is a place you must visit, both for the beautiful memorial, as well as the inside of the station itself. More details on its architecture here.
Brooklyn Bridge: It will be very very crowded - I can guarantee it (unless it's 5am and you're coming back from somewhere in Brooklyn). But the views of both sides of the river are great and I mean... did you even go to New York if you were not on the bridge?
Grand Central Terminal: Similar to what I said for the Brooklyn Bridge... but here at least you can buy breakfast (or a new iphone) here while you look at the number of people commuting on a daily basis. Don't forget to check the Whispering Gallery, or to check the ceiling of the main space.
The High Line: A 1.45 mile long elevated park. Sounds cool right? Well it is! And you should go stroll through it, regardless of the weather. Created over an old railroad space, it has become a great place to walk (yeah, just that).
Coney Island: Overrated by many, yes. Far away, that too. But is it something that will change your life? No. However, it is quite charming, and if you want to ride a roller coaster made out of wood that was built in 1927... come ride the Cyclone. Just don't get in the water, it's not worth it here - there are other beaches in New York.
Governor's Island: This island has had more and more visitors in the past few years. Get on a ferry, and visit what used to be an old military fortification. Ride a bike, eat some good food, enjoy the views of the city, and spend the afternoon on the great lawns that you can find here.
What to do:
Visit a Jazz Bar: There are many, and by many I mean MANY Jazz bars in NYC. You can find great ones especially in the West Village, or if you take a trip to Harlem which I recommend you do because that area of the city is on the rise. The specific bars I recommend are: Smalls, Blue Note, Village Vanguard, Bill's Place, Mezzrow, Fat Cat.
Take the Ferry to Brooklyn (Williamsburg): It's a good way to cross the river. More expensive than the metro, and definitely slower, but it is much more fun - especially considering the issues with the L-line... Take it at least once, and sit on top!
Sleep No More: Just buy tickets and go. Won't give it all out - but make sure you touch up on your Shakespeare, and bring comfy shoes. It's an immersive theatre show that you will love (and definitely not understand by the end but that does not matter). Pro tip: stay very very close to the actors.