Take to the water and discover an alternative view of New York
Life & Style

Take to the water and discover an alternative view of New York

"ONE belongs to New York instantly, as much in five minutes as in five years.”

So proclaimed the novelist Tom Wolfe and with an estimated 59.7million people expected to visit New York City this year, there is no denying the city is one that exudes an intoxicating appeal.

With around one-in-eight people in the Big Apple claiming ancestry in Ireland, it’s perhaps little wonder that the city has long been a destination of choice for the Irish.

From those who journeyed to Ellis Island in decades past under the shadow of emigration to a newer generation of visitors, New York has an affinity with the Emerald Isle that’s hard to ignore.

Wandering the city’s impressive sky-scraper filled streets is the perfect way to fall in love with the city, but if you fancy an alternative slice of the Big Apple head for the Hudson.

We spent an evening on board Bateaux New York’s dinner cruise boat and discovered a whole new side to the city that never sleeps.

New York, USA - January 3, 2015: Chelsea Market on 9th avenue. The market has a number of eateries and food outlets. Chelsea Market is the place to go for foodies. Picture: iStock


Bateaux New York sets sail from Pier 61 at Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers. Originally built as a passenger ship terminal and completed in 1910, this is where the ill-fated Titanic would have docked had it not stuck ice on its maiden voyage.

Having been rescued from disrepair the piers are now used for sports and entertainment as well as the docking point for many of the city’s river cruises.

If you’ve time to explore the neighbourhood, head for Chelsea Market – a magnificent indoor shopping and food court. Beeline for The Lobster Place where you can devour the most amazing selection of seafood – whole lobster, sushi, fresh oysters and more.

If takeaway is your thing grab it to go and head outside to the High Line, a meandering public park built on a disused rail line that’s elevated above Manhattan’s streets.

For an evening cocktail and somewhere to watch the sun set head to the nearby Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District.

What’s new: Department store Barneys has this year opened a flagship store in Chelsea, located on the corner of 7th Avenue and 17th Street.

Aerial view of the New York skyline on a sunny afternoon New York's Empire State Building on a sunny afternoon. Picture: iStock

Empire State Building

At 102-stories high, I first fell in love with this Art Deco tower while watching Sleepless in Seattle’s Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan fall for the building’s charms and each other.

Located on Fifth Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets, it stood as the world’s tallest building for 30 years.

Work began on this American landmark on St Patrick’s Day 1930 rising four-and-a-half stories per week before being officially opened on May 1, 1931.

What’s new: Summertime show New York Spectacular at the nearby Radio City Music Hall celebrates the best of the Big Apple and features iconic scenery like Central Park, the Empire State Building, Times Square and Wall Street. Runs until August 7.

World Trade Centre Site

The World Trade Centre site is a poignant reminder of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

This national memorial centre is set within the footprint of the World Trade Centre’s twin towers and commemorates the 3,000 people who died on 9/11.

What’s new: The One World Observatory, which opened last May, is a three-storey observatory from levels 100 to 102 of One World Trade Centre. Take a speedy skypod elevator to the 102nd floor and enjoy the sights.

Battery Park

While Central Park may be more familiar to New York City visitors, lower Manhattan’s Battery Park, or The Battery if you’re local, is a 25-acre park on the island’s southern tip.

As one of the city’s oldest parks it was first settled by the Dutch who established New Amsterdam here around 1623.

Battery Park is just stone’s throw from the financial district where you’ll find The Dead Rabbit – set up by Belfast pair Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry. You’ll find grog and groceries here.

The bar stocks traditional fare from Ireland that you can either take out or eat in the Taproom with a drink.

Named by Time Out as one of the top 50 bars in New York, this place won’t be a best-kept secret for much longer.

Try a vintage cocktail like the Mack Daddy (D’ussé Cognac, Power’s John’s Lane Irish Whiskey, Port Wine, Aperol, Cranberry Liqueur, Lemon, Orange, Amargo Vallet Bitters) for around $16.

What’s new: The Battery’s SeaGlass Carousel will mark its first anniversary this August. This aquatic-themed ride mimics an underwater experience.

BROOKLYN_saorsie ronan Saorise Ronan in the film Brooklyn, which is a reminder of the long-standing history the Irish have with New York


Saoirse Ronan had us all reaching for the hankies when she starred in the 2015 film Brooklyn.

New York Bateaux’s cruise takes you right to the Brooklyn Bridge, the gateway to a neighbourhood that became home for many Irish immigrants down the decades.

Built between 1869 and 1883, this John Augustus Roebling-designed bridge is an architectural delight – see it at night for some added sparkle.

What’s new: Coffee shop Fair Weather Bushwick became a fully-fledged restuarant in March with chef John Creger offering a 10-course tasting menu.

And from August A Slice of Brooklyn Tours is adding some of the district’s best chocolate makers to its tour through some of Brooklyn’s most famous neighbourhoods such as DUMBO, Cobble Hill and Rad Hook

New York City, NY, United States of America. Aerial view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge as seen from the World Trade Center. October 2015. An aerial view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Picture: istock

Manhattan Bridge

Manhattan Bridge was the last of three suspension bridges built over the lower East River.

From here you’re not far from Soho where you’ll find plenty of quirky shops (Spring Street) as well as a variety of options for brunch, lunch and people watching.

Try the coconut tiramisu with cinnamon meringue and mango brulee in Delicatessan (Lafayette/Prince), brunch at The Butcher’s Daughter (Elizabeth/Kenmare) or head to Ed’s Lobster Bar (Spring/Lafayette) for drool-inducing lobster rolls and fries.


As you tuck into your three-course meal abroad Bateaux New York (think Beet & Goat Cheese Salad, Corn & Crab Chowder followed by Miso Glazed Cod with Pea & Wasbi Mash) you’ll pass the Williamsburg Bridge.

Post cruise head for Bedford Avenue for a culture explosion of charming dive bars, mouth-watering restaurants and more.

What’s new: The Llama Inn opened in November. This modern Peruvian restaurant offers a seasonal menu including fluke ceviche with plantains and stir-fried beef with scallion pancakes.

New York, New York, United States - October 13, 2009: An aerial view from a helicopter of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan New York. New York, New York, United States - October 13, 2009: An aerial view from a helicopter of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan New York.

Statue of Liberty

No trip to New York would be complete without a glimpse of the iconic Statue of Liberty and taking in the city’s most famous site on the river after sunset is truly special.

Even the most die hard tourist cynics would be hard-pushed fighting the urge to get a quick selfie with Lady Liberty, who stands 300 feet proud above New York’s harbour.

We travelled courtesy of Bateaux New York. You can catch the boat year round from Pier 61 at Chelsea Piers, Manhattan. Choose from a variety of cruise options - lunch, brunch or dinner - and enjoy 180-degree skyline views of New York on the Hudson River. See here for more details.

For the latest tourist information about New York click here.