What to Do and See While in the Big City - New York

The Magic of the Big Apple


ONE OF THE GREAT pleasures of boating is that you can explore the myriad destinations that line our nation's coasts - from tiny little time-forgotten hamlets to the booming metropolises that were shaped by their presence along harbors, rivers, and oceans. For centuries, New York city has drawn adventure seekers from across the globe - merchants looking for new outlets for their wares, financiers eager to tap into one of the most robust markets in the world, tourists hoping to experience the urban jungle's inimitable energy, if only for a few days. For contemporary cruisers, Manhattan has as many treasures and surprises to share as ever, and its lower west side is a fascinating mix of historic neighborhoods and vibrant, newly emerging districts. In this article we'll explore two downtown westside areas ripe for exploration. Dive in, and you will not be disappointed.

Financial District

The tragedy of 911 and the destruction of the two towers that comprised the World Trade Center rocked New York City's Financial District - the World Trade Center was the defining architectural presence that anchored that neighborhood for decades, and its obliteration left the area bereft, physically as well as emotionally. There was confusion and uncertainty as a plan for moving forward was painstakingly mapped out, with many false starts. Finally enough decisions were made and enough building happened, and the area has now come roaring back to life.

One don't-miss site in this district is, of course, the haunting and deeply moving 9/11 Memorial Museum. There is an actual museum building, with exhibitions about the before, during, and after status of the site. It is a poetic, thought-provoking tribute to perhaps the most singularly harrowing event in contemporary American history. Most visitors move through it slowly, taking their time, lingering, reflecting. But save time and energy for visiting the outdoor space designed to commemorate the events of 9/11 in a more poetic, abstract way. Much like Maya Lin's extraordinary Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the two flowing pools that echo the original footprints of the Twin Towers - designed by acclaimed Israeli-American architect Michael Arad - invite visitors to go deeper, and without the prescriptive narratives of a conventional museum exhibition, this outdoor portion of the memorial site is a beautiful invitation to connect with the resonant emotions of the event that the site honors and evokes.

The best indicator that, despite the tragedy of 9/11, America in general and New York in particular have come roaring back to life, is everything else that has sprung up in the Financial District in that day's wake. One World Trade Center is the building that now defines the neighborhood's rejuvenation. The faceted, column-like building, designed by the legendary firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is now the tallest building in the western hemisphere and stands as a beacon of rejuvenation in this neighborhood that not too long ago was utterly devastated. Hop on an elevator and in 60 seconds shoot to the observation deck at the top of the building for unprecedented views of New York Harbor and beyond.

But wait, there's more. Brookfield Place is a just-opened shopping and dining complex featuring outposts of leaders in world luxury such as Burberry, Gucci, and Tory Burch. The food offerings highlight some of the best, most authentic dining experiences currently available in Manhattan, plus Le District, a French-style food hall that is the provisioning destination of your dreams.

And if you're a boat lover who has already visited New York City, chances are you've checked out South Street Seaport, the historic district that contains some of Manhattan's oldest buildings and is an ode to the city's seafaring past. The destination bears repeat visits, as it is now being helmed by a visionary board bent on retaining that historic spirit while making the location fully alive and vibrant for today.

Chelsea/ Meatpacking District

For New Yorkers, there's some confusion these days about what defines the two adjacent districts of the Meatpacking District and Chelsea, as both these neighborhoods continue to explode and their boundaries continue to merge.

This fuzziness has perhaps in part been fostered by the construction of the High Line, a dreamy, mind-blowing new park that has transformed a derelict and forsaken stretch of elevated industrial rail line into a game-changing new urban space. Stretching from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street and created by an all-star roster of designers that includes the architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Dutch gardener Piet Oudolf, the park opened in stages and spurred exuberant development all along the way in its wake.

The High Line can be accessed by a number of staircases along its path and is open from sunrise to sunset. There is no bad time for a stroll, but the most magical moments are perhaps right when the park opens and right before it closes - the crowds haven't gathered yet and you'll have the space to yourself as you wander along this magical old rail line, much of the track still visible, surrounded by native grasses and wildflowers, and with the river and city flowing around you on every side. It is a completely unique experience, as if you are floating above an urban wonderland.

Another huge draw for the area is the just-opened new facility for the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Whitney is a beloved New York City institution, with a stellar collection, and for decades it was housed on the Upper East Side. Its new quarters are gleaming, designed by the world-renowned starchitect Renzo Piano. No matter where the museum decided to site itself, it would be a draw. The fact that it now occupies a stretch near the High Line makes this part of the city a must-visit destination.

These two neighborhoods represent just the tiniest, tiniest tip of the Manhattan iceberg. Which is great news. Because it means you can make New York City one of your regular cruising destinations. It will always have new secrets and treasures to share.

Where to Dine

  • Fraunces Tavern (54 Pearl Street, 212-968-1776) George Washington ate here. For real. He even used it as a site for peace negotiations with the British. The 1762-era eatery is a National Landmark and has been welcoming hungry diners for centuries, and is as warm and captivating as ever. The menu is full of fresh takes on tavern fare, and the beer, wine, and liquor lists are deep and enticing. There is a fascinating museum upstairs.
  • L'Appart (255 Liberty Street, 212-981-8577) This brand new space has been getting tons of accolades from New York City press and diners. It echoes the experience of eating in someone's home, and has a French-driven menu that changes constantly depending on what is in season.
  • Txikito (332 W. 29th Street, 212-242-4730) Alex Raij and Eder Montero are a wife-husband team who are among the city's most lauded chefs. They are dedicated to Spanish cuisine, and to interpreting it in smart, authentic, accessible ways. Txikito is their ode to Basque cuisine.
  • Cookshop (156 Tenth Avenue, 212-924-4440) A warm, welcoming space with excellent seasonal menus that feature American fare cooked with a rustic yet refined approach. This place is unbeatable any time of the day, whether you're looking for the best Bloody Marys at brunch or a sophisticated, hip spot for dinner.

Where to Dock

  • Liberty Landing Marina - located on the lower Hudson River in Jersey City, the full service, 520 slips marina offers two onsite restaurants, 24-hour fueling, and marine store.
  • MarineMax at Chelsea Pier -located in the Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex, the marina can accommodate vessels up to 300 feet with an onsite state-of-the-art fitness center, driving range, and day spa.
  • Newport Yacht Club & Marina - situated on New York Harbor in Jersey City, the modern marina offers 154 slips for vessels up to 200 feet with service facilities onsite.
  • North Cove Marina - officially opened as of May 2016, the 32 slip marina can accommodate vessels and 24/hour security.
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Beyond Disney: 10 Cool Family-Friendly Places to Visit on Florida's Coasts


These experiences are all part of a dream vacation to one of Florida’s famous theme parks. But the cool thing is that the Sunshine State offers these same topics as real, hands-on, family-friendly adventures. Here’s a Top 10 to try.

1. St. Augustine Alligator Farm & Zoological Park

Kids who love dinosaurs will love this park. Founded in 1893, some of the oldest and largest alligators are in captivity here. Plus, the Land of Crocodiles exhibit features 24 global species including the African dwarf, rare Nile and familiar North American crocodile.

Beyond crocodiles, “Some visitors like the colorful parrots, others prefer our python cave, the nesting wading birds in our rookery, or our wildlife shows,” says John Brueggen, director.“The more adventurous enjoy zip lining over the animals.”

Where to Dock: Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor

2 .Daytona International Speedway

race cars on the Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway | Credit DIS

The NASCAR season kicks off on February 19, 2023, with The Great American Race – the Daytona 500. However, any day is perfect for a speedway tour. The hour-long tram ride hits the highlights from an infield stop at the start/finish line to a view from high atop the tower seating. At a stop at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, kids can enjoy a wow moment looking at Michael McDowell’s 2021 Daytona 500 victory car.

“The Magic of Lights returns to the Speedway’s World Center of Racing in November through Jan. 1. It’s a dazzling display of more than 1 million sparkling lights and magical scenes, all viewed from the comfort of the guest’s vehicles,” says Russell Branham, Southeast Region director of track communications.

Where to Dock: Daytona Beach Marina

3. Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex

Chat with a real astronaut. Train on high-tech simulators inside the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Go behind the gates of a working spaceflight facility. Experience microgravity like inside the International Space Station. The 42-acre complex on Merritt Island brings to life the U.S. space program’s epic story in an up-close, hands-on way.

“Kennedy Space Center is best known for rocket launches like the historic Apollo and Space Shuttle programs. Now, it’s known for the commercial companies with rocket launches happening almost every other week,” says Rebecca Burgman, senior manager for public relations and communications. The Visitors Complex offers some of the closest public launch viewing locations in the area.  

Where to Dock: Titusville Marina

4. Mel Fisher Treasure Museum

Lift a real gold bar at the famed treasure hunter’s museum in Sebastian, on the Indian River waterfront. “Kids especially like to look, touch and feel the weight of a solid gold bar from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, the most famous and valuable shipwreck to ever be recovered,” says Nichole Johanson, the museum’s director and Fisher’s granddaughter.

“The bar weighs about five pounds, and you can still see the markings that tell its story like ownership, tax, purity, assayer and weight.” Kids get a fun and educational treasure hunt game to do while exploring the exhibits, with scavenger hunt items and riddles.  

Where to Dock: Sebastian Inlet Marina

5. Countryside Citrus

Children jumping on a "jumping pillow" on a bright sunny day
Courtesy of Countryside Citrus

Oranges are Florida’s top agricultural product, and its freshly squeezed orange juice, soft-serve orange ice cream and orange slushies are some of the kid-friendly draws at this Vero Beach farm. Another is the Fall Festival and Corn Maze in October.

“There are activities such as a jumping pillow, kiddie zip line and air cannon, not to mention the maze and great food offerings,” says Cheryl Roseland, owner-manager. Kids and parents can U-Pick strawberries from the farm’s patch from December to February. Countryside operates its El Sid Taqueria on Ocean Drive in Vero Beach, a more convenient location to marinas for fresh citrus ice cream and slushies.

Where to Dock: Loggerhead Vero Beach Marina

6. Everglades Safari Park

To ride on the wild side, travel less than an hour west of downtown Miami on Route 41, the Tamiami Trail. The chance to take an airboat tour through the Everglades National Park is well worth the time!

An airboat is a flat-bottomed open-air boat with an aircraft-like propeller in the back and a car engine for power that can glide over the waterways and sawgrass of the glades at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. On a half-hour tour, see wildlife, alligators and anhinga birds. Guides make stops to talk about natural and human history, such as how Native Americans used cat tails to make natural gauze.

Where to Dock: Black Point Park & Marina

7. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

The words “under the sea” have a whole new meaning when sight-seeing America’s first undersea park in Key Largo. At 70 nautical miles, it’s a huge natural water park. You can go canoeing and kayaking, fishing and swimming, or choose a glass bottom boat tour, or a scuba and snorkel tour.

“The snorkel tour is an excellent way for families to experience the Park,” says Tim Linafelt, communications manager for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Recreation and Parks. “After a 10-minute coaching session, swimmers can get up close and personal with coral reefs and marine wildlife.” Plan ahead by checking out the park’s new 360-degree coral cam that streams a live feed. Lemon sharks, parrotfish and angelfish have made on-camera appearances.

Where to Dock: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Marina

children snorkeling the shoreline at the Dry Tortugas with crystal clear blue watersu
Dry Tortugas | Credit Yankee Freedom III

8. Dry Tortugas National Park

Play in a 19th century fort in this seven-island park located in the Gulf of Mexico. To get there, book a ride on the Yankee Freedom III, a high-speed catamaran that departs from Key West for the two-hour, one-way trip. Then, have kids watch for Fort Jefferson on approach.

“The enormity of the fort is indescribable. It’s the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere – made with 16 million bricks. It’s fun to explore with its endless halls,” says Piper Smith, VP of marketing for Historic Tours of America. Beside exploring the fort, it’s fun to swim or snorkel around the outside of the moat. The waters are filled with tropical fish, lobster, turtles and game fish.

Where to Dock: Dry Tortugas National Park

9. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Sharks, sea turtles and manatees, oh my! These sea creatures star in exhibits at this marine research organization’s aquarium in Sarasota. “Our resident turtles and manatees are much loved, each with its own personality, and they also provide valuable educational opportunities.

For example, green sea turtle, Hang Tough, resides in a specialty rounded exhibit after being blinded in a boat strike. Families can see and understand how Mote biologists care for her while also highlighting the negative impacts of unsafe boating,” says Sean Stover, communications coordinator. Make the visit extra special with an Adopt an Animal Program, which includes everything from sea turtles to sea horses plus jellyfish and octopus.

Where to Dock: Longboat Key Club Moorings

10. Air Force Armament Museum

Florida’s northwest panhandle is a national center for military aviation. Pensacola is called the “Cradle of Naval Aviation” and is the official home of the Blue Angels. One hour east, this museum sits across from Elgin Air Force Base.

Kids whose favorite toys are airplanes will light up at the number of crafts on display during the drive into the grounds. Look for World War II, Korean, Vietnam and Gulf War aircraft, as well as the fastest plane ever built, the SR-71 Blackbird. Inside, please- touch displays include a fighter cockpit simulator.

Where to Dock: Two Georges Marina


palm trees on a minigolf course surrounded by turquoise waters
Courtesy of Fiesta Falls Mini Golf

Playing putt-putt Mini Golf is a ‘must- do’ shore thing on a Florida vacation. Best of all, many courses are near the beach. Lighthouse Cove Mini Golf in Jupiter is one block from the white sands. The two 18-hole courses weave around sea life, waterfalls and boats in a tropical fishing village theme. Play both! A new app lets golfers order drinks without leaving the greens.

Likewise, you can nearly see the sea from Fiesta Falls Mini Golf in St. Augustine. A 60-foot ship is a focal point, plus eight waterfalls make for cool fun. On the west coast near St. Petersburg, the Smugglers Cove Adventure Park in Madeira Beach is 18-holes around a pirate theme. That’s not all. Golf with gators! Win or lose, afterward you can stop to feed live alligators in an educational exhibit.

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Fun at Florida's Boat Shows

Whether You're Buying a Yacht or Not

Two dark grey mega-yachts docked on the water at the boat show
Credit Informa Markets

The twin sets of upward sloping on the superyacht, Thunder, looked to me like stairways to heaven. To say these were only a small part of the eye-candy features of this 164-foot Oceanfast, one of the largest yachts for sale on display at this year’s Miami International Boat Show, says a lot.

Inside, the master suite boasted a ceiling retractable Smart LG TV, chandeliers in the main salon were part of the $8.8 million asking price, and a 22-foot-long crystal blue pool surrounded by sun loungers on the foredeck proved irresistibly inviting on this warm February day.

Best of all to me was the upper deck dining salon and its floor-to-ceiling windows. I could imagine cruising the world and looking out at breathtaking ports from this perch. And it afforded an incredible view of the enormity of the Miami International Boat Show, which is spread out over six downtown locations. Last year, nearly 100,000 attendees walked the docks, and sales were just shy of $1 billion.

I wasn’t in the market for a new boat. Window shop yes; buy no. Still, I wouldn’t miss visiting the Miami Show and many others held in the Sunshine State each year. That’s because these marine events offer so much more.

“Like a festival for boaters, hundreds of exhibits display a variety of vessels, from kayaks to luxury yachts. Food vendors and entertainment attract audiences of all ages. Several large boat manufacturers or brokers host hospitality events on board luxury yachts or in air-conditioned tents, catering to clientele who love to talk about boats,” says Andrew Doole, president of the U.S. Boat Shows division of UK-headquartered Informa Markets, a leading global exhibitions organizer that owns and operates five major Florida shows. “The shows present a way to see the latest in marine products and how to enjoy life on the water.”

Shows Aplenty

Visitors walking the docks at the boat show surrounded by multiple mega-yachts
Credit Informa Markets

Second to Alaska, Florida boasts the most coastline of any U.S. state at 1,350 miles. Add a year-round climate conducive to boating, and it’s easy to see why the marine scene is big here. Each year, the state hosts close to two dozen boat shows. The calendar runs from September to April, corresponding to the top tourism months for visitors from the north.

In September, there’s the three-day Daytona Beach Boat Show, and the Suncoast Boat Show closes out the season in April. In between, Informa hosts its shows: Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October, St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show and Jacksonville Boat Show in January, the Miami show in February, and Palm Beach International Boat Show in March.

“Record-setting attendance at the St. Petersburg and Sarasota shows in the past year now rivals the big shows in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Miami. In fact, the annual boat show held in downtown St. Petersburg’s waterfront is the second largest event in the city, behind the Firestone Grand Prix in terms of attendance, revenue and logistics,” says Cindy Dobyns, president and owner of AboveWater Public Relations & Marketing, who handles press for the show.

What’s Happening under the Tents?

Exhibitor for "Electrosea" discussing the product with a customer

Beyond boats for sale, you can discover so many things to see, do, eat and drink, toe-tap and clap for at Florida’s boat shows.

One of the most fun sights at the Miami Boat Show was watching a professional flyboarder in action at Pride Park in AquaZone. Standing on a skateboard-size board attached by a hose to a jet ski below that powered the water toy, dual jet streams of water propelled the rider some 15 feet in the air above the 40,000-gallon freshwater pool.

Pros also gave the public a wakeboard experience via a simulator. Crystal Kayaks, Seabobs and Hobie Cats were brands featured for a demo at the Fort Lauderdale Show. In Palm Beach, the intercoastal waterway served as the natural aqua zone. eFoil electric surfboards were an especially big hit.

New last year, the St. Petersburg Boat Show partnered with the Annapolis School of Seamanship to offer one-hour on-water training sessions held multiple times daily. Topics included Women at the Wheel, Basic Boat Operator and a Junior Captains Program. All were free. The only catch is buying tickets ahead of time and pre-registering for the sessions.

Seminars are a sought-out reason to attend boat shows. Every show offers them, and many shows invite local celebrity speakers. A good example is the Jacksonville Show, where last year Captain Tim Altman of HooDoo Sportfishing Charters and founder of the Wahoo Junkies brand gave two talks on wahoo trolling with bait and high-speed trolling.

One of the best-known seminar presenters on Florida’s boat show circuit is Captain Don Dingman, star of the Hook the Future TV show. Dingman hosts interactive fishing clinics full of demos for kids ages four to 16. At the Fort Lauderdale Show, each kid received a free Hook the Future/Carolina Skiff custom rod and reel combo. It shows how boat show seminars can hook the whole family.

Fred’s Shed is worth the cost of admission if you’re a DIY fan. Launched over a decade ago by the Chicago- headquartered National Marine Manufacturers Association, this up close and personal educational experience is held at NMMA events like the Miami Boat Show. Topics range from installing marine electronics to detailing and service and maintenance tips.

Food and entertainment make shows extra festive. There’s no need to leave the fun. On-site at the St. Petersburg show, for example, you can gobble up everything from stone crab claws to Greek gyros, street tacos and wood-fired picanha steak.

The Windward VIP Experience at several shows includes an open bar, wine and spirit tastings, gourmet food such as oysters on the half shell, as well as early access to the show and a shady air-conditioned oasis to sit and relax. Most shows feature live bands with oldies, classic rock and top 40 hits on tap.

View the Boats

A center console passing by a big yacht in front of a house on a canal in Florida

Of course, it’s the boats that float these shows. “All types of watercraft are featured, including fishing boats, cruisers, ski boats, pontoons, inflatables, personal watercraft, and more,” says Erin Johnson, administrative director of the North Florida Marine Association that puts on the annual Jacksonville Show.

Vendors, from national brands to local shops, exhibit and sell all the boating go-withs. There are nearly 100 of these at the Suncoast Boat Show, and more than 1,000 at shows such as in Fort Lauderdale.

Mega and superyachts are here too, just like Thunder. You’ll find the bulk of the 100- to 200-foot-plus vessels at the Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami shows. All it takes is the price of a show ticket to walk the docks and dream.

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Florida's Amazing Creatures Challenge
Sea turtle swimming through coral reef in clear blue waters
Sea Turtle | Credit Matt Botha

“WHAT’S THE DEAL with a flamingo wearing a top hat and puffing on a Cuban cigar or a mustached manatee strumming a guitar at a tiki party?” That’s what many travelers wonder when they come to the Sunshine State.

The answer is rather simple. From beaches and coral reefs to everglades and tropical islands, Florida is home to a diverse array of ecosystems. Toss in a balmy year-round climate, and it’s got habitats that spawn a dazzling display of marine life.

These amazing creatures are so beloved by Floridians that they’ve been integrated into the local pop culture in celebration of the state’s indigenous beasts. Native aquatic creatures are elevated into iconic symbols, reflecting the region’s diversity, unique groove and reverence for the water.


close up view of a flamingo
Flamingo | Credit Pixabay

While you roam around Florida this season, you’ll likely visit the state’s many marine sanctuaries, research centers and protected habitats. But Marinalife also challenges you to join the local fun by finding caricatures, logos and iconic symbols that playfully incorporate these unique creatures into images directed at everyday life.

You’ll discover many of them on sports teams’ logos or mascots, bar napkins, restaurant menus, clothing (shirt, hat, etc.), pool floaties, ads for products, road signs, products in stores, souvenir shop merchandise, glassware, food and beverage labels, boats, flags and more.

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