Top Summer Attractions in New York Outside Manhattan

by NYJ Team

This post has been written by guest travel blogger, Isabel Clift for Hostel Bookers

See a new side to New York this summer – explore the boroughs outside Manhattan. Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island have lots to offer, and those curious to get to know NYC away from the well-worn paths of Midtown will find much to enjoy.

It’s budget-friendly too, as prices are set for locals rather than hoiked up for tourists – book in to a cheap New York hotel and explore outside Manhattan and you’ve got some serious savings on your hands.

Brooklyn’s been gaining traction as a destination in its own right these days, having left its gritty roots and transformed into something of a hotbed for creative types. Choosing what to do can be the hard part here, from walks in Prospect Park to DUMBO art exhibitions. The Brooklyn Museum downtown is a good starting point: it’s the second-largest art museum in New York, and includes an extensive collection of Egyptian artefacts. For bawdier thrills, head to Coney Island to ride rickety ‘20s roller-coaters, eat hotdogs from legendary stall Nathan’s or take part in the annual Mermaid Parade (in late June).

Most NY visitors will enter the city through one of the two major airports in Queens (La Guardia and JFK), but this doesn’t have to be your only encounter with the borough. Astoria Park’s 330ft outdoor pool is free to swim in throughout summer, offering a space the size of two football pitches to get splashy in. Flushing Meadows, the city’s second-largest green space, was created as the site of New York’s two world fairs (in 1939/40 and again in 1964/65) and is also worth a stroll on a sunny day. It holds the Unisphere, a giant steel sculpture of the globe made for the second World Fair, which has featured in films Men in Black and Iron Man 2.

Sitting north of Manhattan, the Bronx has the most parkland in New York. A lovely example of this is Wave Hill, a grand estate now open to the public that has hosted many an illustrious figure, from Mark Twain to Theodore Roosevelt’s family. During the summer, enjoy art exhibitions indoors and its brace of beautiful gardens outside – pick your way through herb, alpine and flower gardens, wander through woodland or check out stunning views of Hudson River through the pergola on the main lawn. Want to up the tempo a bit? The Bronx is also the home of baseball team the New York Yankees’ Yankee Stadium, so score some tickets and spend a day enjoying hotdogs, beer and fast balls, courtside.

Staten Island
Sometimes called “the forgotten borough”, Staten Island doesn’t register very high on most NYC travellers’ radar. The most interaction visitors have with the island is through the hugely popular free Staten Island ferry, which gives great views of the lower Manhattan skyline, as well as of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as it trundles across New York Bay. Once you dock, don’t just hop on the next home, though – take time to explore. The small-but-lovely Staten Island Zoo is fantastic for families, and is home to Staten Island Chuck, who forecasts Groundhog Day for New Yorkers. For a historical fix, there’s also Historic Richmond Town, a museum complex and living period village with preserved buildings from the 17th to the early 20th century.

Four Favourite Affordable Vintage Shops in NYC

by NYJ Team

This post has been written by a guest writer – Isabel Clift.

With New York City rocketing up the World’s Most Expensive Cities list; it’s heartening to think there are still some bargains to be had in the Big Apple. If you want your dollars to go further on the ultimate NY shopping trip, book yourself into a cheap New York hotel (yep, they still exist too) and hit the city’s best affordable vintage stores – your wardrobe will thank you, as well as your wallet.

1. Buffalo Exchange, 504 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn
Right in the heart of hipster paradise Williamsburg, Buffalo Exchange works like a swap-shop for ‘modern’ vintage – eager fashionistas line up down the street to sell bags of their best cast-offs to the store, which has a strict quality control policy: if it’s not in great condition, they ain’t buying it. This leads to bang on-trend stock at bargainous prices – I picked up a pair of floral shorts for $4 and a white pure wool jumper for $1 that I’ve worn time and time again: money well spent, I’d say!

2. Everything Goes Clothing, 140 Bay St, Staten Island
This is what I call A Find. Properly cheap prices starting around $10 a dress, pile-‘em-high racks of amazing garments and a genuinely friendly vibe, all waiting to be discovered if you just make the (free) ferry trip to NYC’s often-overlooked Staten Island. A short walk from the ferry terminal, this clothes store is part of a collective of second-hand emporiums under the Everything Goes banner – after stocking up on wardrobe bargains, go for a browse and a brownie at the Everything Goes Book Cafe or kit out your home at the Everything Goes Furniture & Gallery.

3. Black Bear Vintage & Handmade, 469 16th St (at Prospect Park West) Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
A kitschy design re-imagines Yellowstone National Park’s giftshop circa 1975, but the prices at this store near Prospect Park are for serious: pick up a top or skirt for as little as $6 and, if you rummage the racks for long enough, a whole outfit for under $50. Their speciality? ‘70s moodrings (for filling that nostalgia-shaped hole in your accessories collection). Now, that’s the ‘vintage’ in the shop name taken care of – but what of the ‘handmade’? This is where owner Julia’s homespun creations come in – choose from a selection appliqué pillows with dogs on them, or browse local sellers’ wares, which include soaps modelled on guinea pigs). Very cute indeed!

4. Amarcord, 223 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn
Bargains are relative when it comes to vintage – so if you want to buy just one special garment, splash your cash on a single designer piece in Williamsburg’s Amarcord rather than piling your purchases high at the cheaper equivalents. This clean-lined, beautifully turned-out store stocks old-season and vintage bits from Italian designers Versace, Cavalli, Valentino and Prada as well as judiciously-chosen non-designer labels. The Italian owners know their stuff – chances of finding that knock-out party or interview outfit are high with this one.

About the author: Isabel Clift is a London-based travel blogger for Hostel Bookers, which specialises in budget New York travel. She went to New York purely to shop, and shop she did. With gusto.