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Digital Subscriptions > Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) > March 2015 > 15 FUN THINGS TO DO IN NEW YORK

15 FUN THINGS TO DO IN NEW YORK

Each block brings new adventures in America’s standout city – from a hidden diner to a hip-hop dance class, a waterside picnic to a street art bike tour, make your next bite of the Big Apple your sweetest yet

PHOTOGRAPHS SIVAN ASKAYO

1 RIDE THE ROOSEVELT ISLAND TRAM

Sailing over five lanes of rush-hour traffic, the Roosevelt Island Tram begins its steady ascent. As the gondola follows the giant, cantilever curves of the Queensboro Bridge, commuters peek past billboard ads for views over Midtown and the Upper East Side: block after block of towering rectangles gridded with windows, portholes into 1.6 million Manhattan lives. Halfway through the four-minute journey the tram reaches its 70m pinnacle above the East River, and collective attention turns to its destination, Roosevelt Island. Technically part of Manhattan, this narrow sliver of land once housed a lunatic asylum and a prison, and still feels outcast – with more green spaces than most of New York, and an endless waterfront promenade. As the tram judders to a halt, some passengers are visibly torn– disembark to explore, or ride again?

Fare £1.70, payable only by MTA MetroCard; rioc.ny.gov/tramtransportation.htm

2 PICK UP A SOUVENIR AT A BROOKLYN FLEA MARKET

In every corner of Fort Greene’s Saturday flea market, people rummage through boxes and rife through rails. A blonde twenty-something sets aside a bright pink cup of watermelon juice to try on a pair of stonewash dungarees, while on the other side of this Brooklyn school yard, a man sifts through antique maps of New York.

A stand under a hand-painted banner, ‘Dan’s Parents’ House’, draws the biggest crowds. ‘It started as kind of a joke,’ says stallholder Dan Treiber (above left), flanked by boxes of WrestleMania and Star Wars action figures. ‘I bought the house I grew up in and sold the contents of the attic. Mom and Dad kept everything, so there was a lot of stuff!’ Beside him, a teenage boy searching through a box of toy Chevrolet cars lights up when he finds the right one. ‘This is my business now, but I want everyone to be able to afford something they’re excited about,’ says Dan, as he takes payment for someone else’s treasured discovery – four giant metal letters, spelling out ‘love’.

Apr–Nov; brooklynflea.com/markets/fort-greene

3 TAKE A HIP-HOP DANCE CLASS

Pharrell Williams’ Happy is playing loud over the stereo, and it’s impossible not to wiggle a little bit. The studio is filling up with people stretching, bending, adjusting sweatbands, and checking themselves out in the studio’s mirror wall. It is a scene that echoes one from the hit New York-set movie Fame, but these dancers aren’t fresh from the stage – most are here after a busy day in the office. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, as well as training professional dancers, offers beginner’s classes in every genre from ballet to hip-hop.

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