Photo: Grand Central bar

Commuters unwind in Grand Central Terminal’s little known hideaway, the Campbell Apartment bar.

Photograph by Susan Seubert

Ferry to Governors Island
172 acres (70  hectares) of quiet in the center of New York Harbor. "Part of the island is a national monument, with astonishing views of the skyline and Statue of Liberty."—Daisann McLane, former New York Times "Frugal Traveler" writer. Ferry leaves from the Battery Maritime Building, at the corner of South and Whitehall Streets in Lower Manhattan. Fee. www.govisland.com

Museum of Chinese in the Americas
In Chinatown, upstairs in a converted school building. Historical photographs, ephemera like old Chinese restaurant menus, and, sometimes, "the local senior citizens group practicing Chinese opera music next door."—Daisann McLane. 70 Mulberry St., 2nd floor; tel. +1 212 619 4785. Fee. www.mocanyc.org

Rubin Museum of Art
One could spend months—years—at great art's New York bastions (the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, the Frick, Guggenheim, Whitney), but this relatively new kid on the block is an exciting trove of works from the Himalayas and surrounding regions. Fee. 150 W. 17th St.; tel. +1 212 620 5000. www.rmanyc.org

Empire State Building Observatory
Arrive at dusk; get your ticket at the second-floor box office. Head up to the 102nd floor to "witness magic as the lights of the city come on."—Brian Silverman, Frommer's New York author. Fee. 350 Fifth Ave. www.esbnyc.com

Take the Train to a Yankees Game
There's something unforgettable about "being crammed into a subway car packed with rabid Yankee fans on their way to [Yankee Stadium]."—Brian Silverman. Fee. http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com

Central Park
Jog or walk the path around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. "Take in the beauty of the park, Central Park West, Fifth Avenue, the skyline."—Brian Silverman. 85th to 96th Sts. www.centralparknyc.org

Brooklyn Bridge
Stroll across this National Historic Landmark for harbor vistas and up-close looks at what was the longest suspension bridge in the world when completed in 1883. "The soul and spirit of New York."—Daisann McLane. www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bridges/bridges.shtml

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden
An 18th-century carriage house erected on the banks of the East River "when it was farmland; became a hotel in 1826."—Arthur Marks, who has led New York walking tours for decades. Fee. 421 E. 61st St.; tel. + 1 212 838 6878. www.mvhm.org

Paley Park
One of Manhattan's first "pocket parks"—"a tiny, elegant space, an oasis tucked between tall buildings, with trees, plantings, and a waterfall. Also food and moveable chairs, both important elements in a successful public place."—Lynden B. Miller, New York City public garden designer. 53rd St. between Fifth and Madison Aves. www.pps.org/great_public_spaces/one?public_place_id=69

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