Amidst all the skyscrapers and asphalt, it’s easy to forget that Manhattan is an island. A breezy cruise along its banks will soon remind you of this unassailable truth. Board the historic 82-foot Shearwater schooner and float around Manhattan’s harbor, taking in magnificent views of the Statue of Liberty, the forest of skyscrapers clustered at Manhattan’s tip, including the under construction One World Trade Center and the regal arch of the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance.
The Top of the Rock offers one distinct advantage over the Empire State Building: views of the Empire State Building. Thanks to this — and its three tiers of spacious 360-degree decks — the Top of the Rock Observation Deck has what many consider the finest panoramic vistas in all of New York City. The Top of the Rock crowns the famous GE Building, a 1933 art deco skyscraper that rises an impressive 850 feet, making it the 10th highest in New York City.
From Manhattan, the view of the Statue of Liberty is at an angle. On Governors Island, it’s face-on. In fact, park officials say that the island is the closest point on land to the face of Lady Liberty (barring actually going there). A former Coast Guard base in the middle of New York harbor, Governors Island features a two-mile promenade and peaceful shoreline parks. Pedal the perimeter on the island’s for-rent bikes for sweeping vistas of lower Manhattan and New York Harbor as the occasional boat zips across the water, leaving a white froth in its wake.