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Out and about in New York

1 December 2017

Do you want to be part of it? Do you want to want to wake up in the city that never sleeps? Of course you do, because it's New York, New York: the city so nice, they named it twice. Sorry about all the clichés there, but honestly, New York is a pretty clichéd city. If you're wanting to avoid them however, have a look at this list for the lesser known places to enjoy in New York.

Top of the Rock at sunset

That's right, not the Empire State Building. The Empire State Building is iconic. With a long and distinguished history, that building is where (according to sitcoms and films) every New Yorker must, at some point, declare their love for someone in a dramatic fashion. It is, after all, an icon of the New York City skyline, so why view the sunset over the skyline without it? This is where the Rockefeller Center comes in.

Buy a platform ticket that will take you up to the 'Top of the Rock' viewing platform for around half an hour before sunset, and watch the sky change colours  over the full New York skyline, the Empire State Building included. In fact, the only landmark not included as you face south towards downtown Manhattan is Central Park, which is behind you. From here you can see the Chrysler Building, Times Square, the One World Trade Centre, and far into the distance, the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge.

High Line Park

It's hard to describe the High Line Park. It's not as overtly impressive as Central Park, neither is it in a particularly well known place, but it's incredible to be on. It's built on a disused subway line, so it runs a fair length down the West Side of Manhattan. There are little stairways that bring you up to it dotted about its route, but the best place to get on it is outside the Chelsea Market in the Chelsea Area - from this entrance, you can take a 30 second walk to the very end of the park, and see the Statue of Liberty.

The entire park feels like an enormous art installation with trees, and scattered throughout are numerous viewpoints of the streets of New York, some even framed as if you're looking at the streets through a cinema screen. The sculptures along the way get a bit surreal, but it truly fits with the vibe of the place - after all, the High Line is a fairly surreal place to be! Even though it was opened in 2009 in one of the busiest cities on the planet, it remains clean and well kept, and almost a floating oasis over the bustling streets and buildings.

Birdland Jazz Club

Not just for Jazz aficionados, Birdland Jazz Club is also a place for people who simply appreciate live music. The club is famous for its Jazz, opened in 1949 (then closed in 1965 and reopened in 1986), the club has played host to jazz giants, including Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie, and regulars at the club have included Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, and Ol' Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. It also has a jazz song written and named for it, a tune that encapsulates all the glamour and liveliness of New York with the smooth atmosphere of the club itself.

With two shows at 7:30pm and 11pm every night, this is the type of place to while away an evening. It is everything you want a jazz club to be - clusters of intimate tables, a bar serving delicious martinis, the walls covered in jazz players of ages past, and lit with a sultry red glow. If you go after seeing a Broadway show, be sure to reserve your ticket - it'll get you $10 the entry price, as well as a free drink.

Chelsea Market

Come one, come all to a festival of food in the incredible Chelsea Market. Located close to the High Line Park in the Chelsea district in downtown Manhattan, this outwardly unimpressive building is a delight for the senses when you get inside. The building blends into the surrounding architecture - fairly standard for New York but overall, the eye will be forgiven for just sliding past it- and it's only heralded by a basic 'Chelsea Market' sign. Inside, you are met with an unbelievable range of restaurants, cafés, and food stalls, as well as enthralling décor.

Its style is industrial warehouse crossed with a secret garden. Dotted about everywhere are quirky signs pointing you to the most delectable places to go throughout - most of which are little indie shops that you can't find anywhere else in New York. Being unable to resist sweet treats, my favourite place was the 'Doughnuttery', where you can create a masterpiece on your freshly made mini-doughnuts. If sweets aren't your thing, however, there is literally something for everyone, from international cuisine, to vegan food, to a mouth-watering steak.