5 things you didn’t know existed in New York

5 things you didn’t know existed in New York

Songs have been written, movies made, and books written about this great city, so safe to say, you probably know heaps about New York City already. But the big apple has more to offer travellers than just a trip to the Statue of Liberty or the view from the Empire State building, and with China Airlines flying there three times a week from Singapore at a good price, with a convenient connection at Taipei, getting there is taken care of. Unleash your inner hipster and discover the paths less travelled with this quick guide to places you don’t know in New York City.

5. Feast your eyes (and stomach) at the Brooklyn flea markets

Brooklyn Flea Market in Williamsburg.
(Photo credit: wikimedia)

If the picture of New York you have is of grand streets lit with the billboards of top brands, you wouldn’t be wrong. But let’s be honest now, this is 2015 and the same top brands can be found in every major city – including Singapore. Why not hunt out a one-of-a-kind treasure at the Brooklyn Flea markets, filled with vendors selling vintage goods, crafts, and tonnes of mouth-watering food and drink?

Started in 2008, the Brooklyn Flea markets are open every weekend of the year, and have different locations depending when you go and what you’re looking for.

Brooklyn Flea incorporates the Brooklyn Flea Market and the Smorgasburg Market. The Brooklyn Flea Market has a mix of vintage shops and local artisanal craft vendors, along with a few food vendors. On Saturdays, The Brooklyn Flea Market can be found in Fort Greene, and on Sundays in Williamsburg. In the winter, it moves to an indoor location on 1000 Dean St., Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Like any world-wise bargain hunter, head to the market early to avoid the crowds.

Before heading to the Smorgasburg market, you may want to spent a couple of hours at the hotel gym first, because you’ll find the best of Brooklyn food served up by a hundred local and regional vendors. It can be found in Williamsburg on Saturdays and in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Sundays. Sadly, the Smorgasburg market is only open in the summer.


4.  See medieval Europe at Fort Tryon Park

After a few days in the city, you may be dying for some fresh air and greenery. But Central park can get crowded, and let’s face it, a bit cliché. So why not try a lesser known emerald patch of the city to get your fix of nature.

The Cloisters in Fort Tryon park. Some of the Cloisters was made from imported medieval structures from Europe.

The Cloisters in Fort Tryon park. Some of the Cloisters was made from imported medieval structures from Europe.

Fort Tryon Park was created by John D. Rockefeller Jr., who was a little nutty about the medieval era of history. Fortunately, he was also insanely rich, and could afford to not only support his obsession, but make it available for the rest of New York to enjoy. First, he bought an entire medieval art collection from the sculptor George Gray Barnard, which is now housed in the Cloisters in the park, an extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And because a whole museum wasn’t enough, he also had several European medieval structures shipped over from Europe, and reassembled stone by stone for the park.

Further up from Broadway and Washington Heights, Fort Tryon is a little out of the way from the city. About a half hour train right from the centre of Manhattan, just hop on the A train and stop at 190th street, and you’ll find yourself right at the Park’s perimeter.


3. Grab lunch at Stone Street

In the middle of New York’s financial district is the little treasure Stone Street. Sure, it’s streets are paved in cobblestones and not diamonds, but the street is no less picturesque, and with old-timey restaurants and pubs lining it on both sides.


Stone Street was the first in its municipality to be paved with cobble stones.

Stone Street was the first in its municipality to be paved with cobble stones. (Photo Credit Sean Pavone)

Stone Street has been known by many names over the years. First dubbed Hoogh Straet (high street), it then became Brewer Street, and then Duke Street after the Duke of York when the British took control of New York. Finally in 1794, it was renamed Stone Street, as being one of the first in the municipality paved in cobblestone, and the name stuck ever since. In 1996, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated Stone Street a historical district.

Stone Street is along Williams street, near Hanover Square. Head there for a meal, and take your pick from any of the restaurants, pubs, or pizzerias along its stretch. Try to get there when there’s still daylight, so your cameras can capture the street in it’s full glory.


2. Talk a stroll on the High Line

The Singapore-Malaysia railway was a beautiful walk while it lasted, but it has nothing on the New York City High Line. From it’s name, you might be thinking of a terrifying zip line, or a tightrope through the city, and you couldn’t be more wrong. The High Line is actually a luscious modern park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.

High Line. Urban public park on an historic freight rail line,

The New York City High Line Park

The last freight train ran on the High Line track in the 1980s. Though property owners were looking to demolish it to make space for new constructions, activist Peter Oblet championed the cause, and eventually, section 1 of the High Line park finished construction in 2009. In 2014, the third and final section of the High Line park was completed.

The park is open from 7am every day, but depending on the season, closes at 7pm in winter, to 11pm in summer. Head down in time to catch the sunset and you will not be disappointed, as the rays of golden sun filter through the apartment blocks around you, washing the park in a soft, magical light.


1. Find out what’s happening at Koreatown

New York is known for its diversity, so really a little Seoul in the middle of Manhattan shouldn’t be too surprising. Walk down W. 32nd Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, and you’ll start to see the store fronts changing, and their signs transforming from English to Korean. Nicknamed Korea Way, this is the heart of the Korean district in New York.

Korea Way by night (Photo credits: wikimedia)

Just a block from Madison Square Garden and Penn station, many walk through Korea Town during the day and miss the secret life of the lane. Because walk down Korean Way at night, and it won’t look too much different from the Gangnam district in Korea, with its colourful neon signs in Korean, and bustling streets of locals and tourists alike. Listen to the kpop seeping onto the road from the stores that line the street, and the wafting smells of kimchi and korean barbeque. It may not be a big section of 32nd street, but don’t worry because Korean stores and restaurants stack up along Korean Way so that most of the shophouses have something to see all the way up to the third or fourth floor. And don’t fret about being late, because around 14 restaurants there operate 24/7.


Getting to New York

So there are five lesser know secrets of New York City to get you started discovering your own! China Airlines is a great choice to get there. They fly to New York three times a week, with a stopover in Taipei. You can search your flight and book directly at www.china-airlines.com.


Because you need more comfort, especially on the longer Taipei – New York flight, China Airlines is using brand new Boeing 777 aircraft, equipped with Premium Economy seats (longer leg room and recline!) and the Family Couch (three economy class seats converted in a wide flat bed – great for kids!).

China Airlines Premium Economy Seats on the Boeing 777

China Airlines Premium Economy Seats on the Boeing 777

China Airlines Family Couch on the Boeing 777. Wider and flat, perfect for kids.

China Airlines Family Couch on the Boeing 777. Wider and flat, perfect for kids.

This article is supported by China Airlines

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