As the old song says, East Side, West Side, all around the town, the sidewalks of New York are a great place to trip the light fantastic – and to watch New Yorkers, some of the most fascinating specimens of life on the planet. Some especially rewarding stretches of pavement are Union Square, just west of Gramercy Park and animated around the clock – on many days with shoppers poking through the stalls of the city’s largest greenmarket.
On weekends, the streets of Soho teem with style-hunters – both locals and the Bridge and Tunnel crowd (named for out of towners’ means of egress into Manhattan), checking out high-end boutiques and each other New York goes to the dogs in enclosed runs in parks like Washington Square and Tompkins Square Park, great places to observe the antics of two- and four-legged New Yorkers. To see hipsters in their natural environment, make the trek to Williamsburg.
On a walk down 125th Street, Harlem’s main thoroughfare, you can step into such iconic bastions of black culture as the Apollo Theater and the Studio Museum in Harlem (no.44), then sample the local culinary scene on nearby Malcolm X Boulevard.