Make the Manhattan transfer

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City Slicker - New York: Beat the summer sun to the streets of New York. Kate Simon offers ideas for new and returning visitors



Why go now?


Grab the last chance for a short break in Manhattan before the city swelters in the summer sun. And with the pound strong against the dollar, our favourite transatlantic pastime, shopping, is much more profitable just now.

Don't miss...

Taking in the views from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Step on to the bridge's pedestrian walkway in Brooklyn so that you can approach the iconic New York skyline.

Seeing the Statue of Liberty

You can sail round it, even fly over it, but to do it like the New Yorkers, join the commuters on the Staten Island Ferry (siferry.com). Plus, it's free.

The Empire State Building (esbnyc.com)

It ain't cheap to take in the views from the top of this tower, but at least you'll be able to say you've done it. Most folk will tell you to go up neighbouring "Top of the Rock" (topoftherocknyc.com) instead, so you can have a snap with the pinnacle of the Empire State as your backdrop.

Going shopping

Make the most of the strong pound in Bloomingdales (Bloomingdales.com), Macy's (macys.com), Bergdorf Goodman (bergdorfgoodman.com) and Barneys (barneys.com). But don't miss out on the cheaper treats at CVS (cvs.com) and Walgreens (walgreens.com), too.

A walk through Central Park (centralpark.com)

It will take you numerous visits to explore all that this astonishing green space in traffic-choked Manhattan has to offer – from the famous zoo to its less well known open-air theatre.

A Broadway show (broadway.com)

From Chicago, starring Christie Brinkley, to The Book of Mormon, by the creators of South Park, catch a performance in New York's theatreland.

Museum Mile

A strip of fine museums line Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 82nd to the Museum for African Art on 105th. This Tuesday, they will all open free from 6pm-9pm (museummilefestival.org).

The outer boroughs

If you've got the time, there's plenty more going on in this city than Manhattan. Check out NYC & Co (nycgo.com) for ideas and itineraries beyond the island.

What's new

Lower Manhattan

According to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the next hot 'hood is Lower Manhattan. Or, rather, the city has launched a campaign to encourage rediscovery of the area post-9/11 – which includes the Financial District, Battery Park City and the waterfront. From the visitors' point of view, this initiative, which began on 1 June, won't just mean you'll see a lot of posters about the area from the moment you step off the plane (though you will); there will also be hotel offers and discounts in shops, restaurants, and local attractions, as well as ongoing cultural events. City Hall Park has just unveiled an exhibition of the sculptures of Sol LeWitt. New York's tourist office, NYC & Company, has put leisure recommendations, listings and maps on its mobile site (m.nycgo.com), so you can explore the area more efficiently while you're on the move. But the big news here will be in September when the 9/11 Memorial (911memorial.org) opens. Tickets go on sale from July for the timed reservation system, which will funnel visitors to a contemplative space at the heart of the World Trade Center construction site. Meanwhile, the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site near Ground Zero has a small exhibition of how the place will be reconstructed, told through models, films and real-time images.

Phase Two of The High Line

The High Line, a linear park that follows the route of an old elevated railway, opened to general acclaim in 2009 as a crucial part of the regeneration of the shores of the Hudson on Manhattan's West Side. Last week saw the opening of Section Two, which weaves its way through 10 more blocks of old manufacturing warehouses up to West 30th Street, taking forward the innovative design of the first phase, which echoes the former use of the space as a railway track and incorporates wide-scale planting, water features and relaxation areas as well as art installations.

Above 6 at 6 Columbus

Thompson Hotels has opened a terrace lounge, Above 6 (thompsonhotels.com), on top of its 6 Columbus hotel in Midtown. The sharply styled rooftop bar has a Sixties feel, and features works by fashion photographer Guy Bourdin, while food and drink is provided by the hotel's Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grille.

Peninsula Hotel Mini Coopers

Book a suite at the Peninsula Fifth Avenue (peninsula.com/newyork) and you'll get three hours access each day to one of the hotel's two Mini Cooper S Clubman cars, with driver. Arranged on a first-come-first-served basis, these little vehicles and their amiable chauffeurs will whizz you about the island for sightseeing or shopping. The head chauffeur has even created a three-hour tour of the city sights, downloaded on to your choice of the hotel's iPhones or iPads.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

The late Alexander McQueen receives a worthy retrospective of his art through fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen) this summer, until 7 August. The exhibition, in the Cantor Galleries, features around 100 pieces of his work, from his own company and the Givenchy Archive in Paris, including favourites such as the three-point "origami" frock coat.

Scream Zone at Coney Island

Coney Island (coneyisland.com) just got its first major roller coasters since 1927. "Soarin' Eagle" suspends thrillseekers in a horizontal position as it dives and twirls; "Steeplechase" launches riders around a track on horseback; "Sling Shot" propels its audience more than 150ft into the air at speeds of 90mph plus; and "Zenobio", which is 100ft tall, takes people through the air at speeds of more than 60mph. They're all part of Scream Zone, a new amusement park at America's top playground.

Insider Secret

Diana Zhou, Consultant, IBM

Looking for a hidden gem in West Village? Head to Hudson Clearwater and keep your eyes peeled for an unmarked green door that leads to its cosy outdoor garden at 447 Hudson Street.

Compact Facts

How To Get There

British Airways (0844 493 0758; ba.com/newyork) offers a three-night package at The Peninsula New York from £1,165 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights from Heathrow, one free night, a free room upgrade and breakfasts.

Further Information

NYC & Co (nycgo.com).

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