The city has also heavily invested in itself. And by that I mean many of the once dodgy pubic spaces have now been transformed. Whole areas have been cleaned up, regenerated, and improved for civic living. Nicer, the place is nicer, is basically what I'm trying to say. Nicer and safe.
The first part of our epic walk was to one of those regenerated places - Williamsburg in the borough of Brooklyn. Williamsburg like many places near the East River had a great industrial past. The towering brick factory fronts that once lined the riverfront used to proudly display their mighty pasts with huge letters visible across the river in Manhattan; signs like VINEGAR HILL SUGAR or FLUSHING FRUIT CANNING. Now these cathedrals of commerce are nothing but towering brown and orange rusty shells.
But in front of this aging row of orange elders something young, green and youthful has recently emerged. A beautiful city park. Domino Park. The area down to the waterfront has been utterly transformed. Now there is green space, flowers, paths, beaches, art, skateboarding, fountains, bikes, walkers, joggers, families, ice creams, and laughter. Oh and the views. The views of the city are amazing.
We stopped off to soak up all this atmosphere, marvel at the accomplishment of the place, and share a bite to eat (yes, we had finally worked out that the portion sizes here are for sharing.)
Next on our travels was further down river past Manhatten Bridge to the area known as DUMBO. DUMBO is short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.
Trendy DUMBO's cobblestone streets and converted Brooklyn warehouse buildings are the backdrop for independent boutiques, high-end restaurants and trendy cafes. Near the waterfront, St. Ann's Warehouse, in a former tobacco factory, is the heart of a thriving performance and gallery scene.
Think Shoreditch by the sea. With everything that entails; hipsters, tipsters, and tourists. A magnet for Sunday afternoon strollers. The place was packed. Great views of Brooklyn Bridge and the skyscapers across the river but boy was it busy.
We decided to move off, to continue our journey on - and start going up.
Opening in 1883 the Brooklyn Bridge is as distinctive as it is iconic. It is a New York City landmark, ranking among the city's most popular tourist attractions.
The hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, spanning the East River.
Over the years, the Brooklyn Bridge has undergone several reconfigurations; it formerly carried horse-drawn vehicles and elevated railway lines, but now carries vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic. Commercial vehicles are banned from the bridge.
As we started our climb across it we soon realised just how popular it was. The place was heaving. But everyone was in high spirits - taking pictures of the beautiful bridge, each other, and the commanding views of Manhattan. We could even see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.
Once across we decided we'd done enough walking for one day and headed first downtown (my bad, got on wrong train) and then uptown back to our hotel.
We had dinner reservations at Virgil's famous BBQ restaurant in Times Square and didn't want to be late.
The food was epic and shared(!), our feet tired, so we were soon heading back for a night cap in our hotel.
A tiring but lovely day.
The Big Apple had showed us her best - and her busiest!