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The Hiker/Walker

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Although New York City earned the reputation of never sleeping, it is also appropriate to think of NYC as the city that walks—everywhere. So when visitors come with an eye towards good walks and great hikes, they've picked the right place. We've got a number of walking tours all planned out for you, including:
Central Park and the major museums
Highlights of Brooklyn
Canal Street and Chinatown
• A chocolate lover's tour that combines walking and eating chocolate
Historic Harlem
Fifth Avenue
• And a Tour of New Architecture in Manhattan

If you're really a walking enthusiast, you can take our exhilarating and ambitious one-day tour of Manhattan, which will take you around the island to some of the most timeless places in New York in one long day.

Central Park by itself is a great place for a walk (or several). Bounded by 59th Street and 110th Street and spanning three avenue blocks, the park offers 840 acres of beautiful landscapes to walk through, with plenty of places to stop off for a rest: there's the stone-built Belvedere Castle, the Central Park Zoo, the Mall (or Literary Walk; not a shopping destination), the Loeb Boathouse, and the legendary Tavern On The Green.

Even larger than Central Park is the scenic stretch of walkways and bike paths that stretch from the Hudson River Park up north to Grant's Tomb adjacent to Riverside Park, both near Columbia University. Devoted walkers and hikers might take the N, R, or W train to Cortlandt Street or the 1, 2, 3, A or C train to Chambers Street, or the E to the World Trade Center station, for a quick walk west to the Nelson Rockefeller Park at Vesey Street and North End Avenue to check out the Irish Hunger Memorial, which is a beautifully landscaped area that recreates of Ireland's rolling hillsides, using soil, stones, and plants brought from Ireland. The memorial commemorates the Great Irish Famine that brought so many to seek a better life in New York and the United States. Along your walk north there are plenty of smaller parks to rest in or hop on a swing set, and when you reach as well as Chelsea Piers, where you can swat at some golf balls, climb one of two artificial rock-faces, or bowl a few frames before continuing your trip up the island.

Aside from the west-side view of Manhattan as you walk north—and a great view of the Empire State Building—this jaunt will give you varied views of the Hudson River, countless cruise ships and military vessels, and, up near Riverside, a view of the Palisades, the majestic and steep cliffs forming a 200 million year old buttress around the western shore of the Hudson River and one of the contributing factors that make New York Harbor one of the world's safest natural harbors. Along with that view, these seven-and-change miles from the start of your walk, you can visit the General Grant National Memorial, dedicated to the decorated Civil War general and 18th President of the United States. Visitors can watch a musket-firing demonstration, take guided tours three times a day, and, during the summer, open-air concerts.

About sixty blocks north from Riverside Park is Fort Tryon Park—but don't worry, no one is expecting you to make that extra trip after walking all the way from lower Manhattan. Fort Tryon Park is notable for the branch of the Metropolitan Museum Of Art it houses: the Cloisters. Dedicated to art from the Middle Ages, as well as architecture, the Cloisters itself is a grand work of art, composed using elements from medieval cathedral design and deriving its name from the parts of cathedrals known as "cloisters." The museum is home to thousands of works of European art from roughly the twelfth to fifteenth centuries, including tapestries, sculptures, illuminated texts, and manuscripts. The grandiose nature of the museum's scope and collection were created by the likewise grandiose John D. Rockefeller, Jr., whose person collection was donated to the museum.

Far from the beaten path are places like Prospect Park in Brooklyn, which, like Central Park—and not surprisingly, since both were designed by the same team—features a zoo, endless sports fields, and historic landmarks. The same F train that will take you from Manhattan to Prospect Park will take you all the way to Coney Island, which, although no longer an actual island, has plenty of great places to walk with breezy views of the Atlantic Ocean. You can stop at the nearly-a-century-old Cyclone roller coaster and experience the thrill and turbulence of riding one of the country's oldest wooden roller coasters. Or how about the 150-foot tall Wonder Wheel, the carnival attraction that opened seven years before the Cyclone? Coney Island is also home to the New York Aquarium and the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones, a farm team for the New York Mets that plays in the new Keyspan Park Stadium.