OWU alumni share their must-visit attractions, restaurants, and activities in New York City.

What to Do

Bhavna Murali on the Brooklyn Bridge

The perfect introduction to New York City is walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, which celebrates its 140th birthday this year. It's the best place to "admire the beauty of the city at sunset and watch the lights come up over the skyline," says Bhavna Murali.

Times Square and 42nd Street top travelers' itineraries on their first trip to the Big Apple. These attractions are notoriously crowded, but you can practically have the place to yourself if you visit very early in the morning, says Sophia Bogues.

Tom Jolly appreciates the city most when looking at it from behind a camera lens. He likes taking photos at the South Street Seaport, a historic waterfront neighborhood known for its cobblestone streets and row houses, and at the 9/11 Memorial. It lists the names of the victims on bronze parapets that surround two twin waterfall reflecting pools.

Tom Jolly shot this photo while on a hard-hat tour of buildings on Ellis Island.

It's impossible to see all of Central Park's 843 acres on a single visit, but you can experience a lot by hopping on a Citi Bike and riding its six-mile bike loop, says Gargi Pal Chaudhuri. "It's a great way to see unexplored parts of the park and also get some exercise in," she adds.

Once you've hit all the other major tourist attractions, including the Empire State Building and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, spend some time getting off the beaten path in the city. Peter Reveles particularly loves going to Red Hook in Brooklyn for its local neighborhood feel. "There was a blues band playing on the street last time I was there, and you can get really close views of the Statue of Liberty," he says.

Central Park

Where to Dine

For quintessential New York cuisine—pizza—Tom Goodman directs visitors to Inatteso in Battery Park, which has offered Sicilian-style pies since opening in 2008. "It's the best pizza in New York," he says.

For another taste of New York, head to the 135-year-old Katz's Delicatessen (the setting of the famous "I'll have what she's having" scene in When Harry Met Sally) for one of its legendary pastrami sandwiches. "Grab a knish to share, a couple of hot dogs, and, of course, a Dr. Brown's cream soda to wash it all down with," says Paul Asencio.

Inatteso Pizzabar, which Tom Goodman says has the best pizza in town.

Looking for an artsy dining experience? Debra Force offers a couple of recommendations. Dig into southern Italian fare at The Leopard at des Artistes on the Upper West Side, which has murals of nude nymphs by Howard Chandler Christy lining the walls. Or, make a reservation at The Modern, which overlooks the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art. "It has a formal dining room that's very sophisticated," she says. "You can also sample tapas in the bar area."

Want to sample a bit of everything? Eat your way through one of the city's food halls or bazaars. Matthew Levy likes Smorgasburg, an openair food market that pops up in Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as the Queens Night Market, which features up to 100 independent vendors on Saturday nights in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Both seasonal markets run from April through October and draw thousands of visitors. "They have food from all over the world," says Levy.