>>>New York beyond the skyscrapers

New York beyond the skyscrapers

Far from the bustle of Manhattan, the state of New York has much to offer. Discover its lesser known side.
T
hough the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge and the other ‘inhabitants’ of the Big Apple may get all the attention, Manhattan covers less than 1% of the total surface area of New York State. Its 114,300 square kilometres hide real treasures, not all of them eclipsed by glass and steel giants. The skyscrapers cast a long shadow, but far from Wall Street there’s a landscape untouched by the lights of Times Square.
The Gorge Trail, in Watkins Glen State Park, passes the area’s best-known natural sights like the Cavern Cascade and Rainbow Falls

The most natural ‘High Line’

The famous urban walkway now has a rival. Wild Walk is situated at the same height as the High Line in New York City, but instead of the streets of Chelsea under the visitors’ feet, there is a leafy forest. The attraction is found at the Wild Center, in Franklin County.

Alicia Keys was mistaken when she sang that New York was a ‘concrete jungle’. Nature is to be found all over the state, starting with the iconic Niagara Falls. Every second, 3,160 tonnes of water cascade over the falls, which mark the boundary between the US and Canada. And while this natural landmark attracts 30 million tourists each year, it’s still possible to escape the crowds and witness the awesome power of nature at the same time. You only need to drive for a couple of hours to reach Letchworth State Park from where you can take a ride in a hot-air balloon.
The area is known as the Grand Canyon of the East and is home to as many as 50 waterfalls. The largest, Middle Falls, is 32 metres high. The native Seneca tribe used to believe that the waterfall was responsible for making the sun stop at midday. Around this, cliffs and forests complete a landscape where the star is the River Genesee. You can paddle down the river on a raft, passing through a gorge with walls up to 182 metres high. If, however, you prefer your adventures on dry land, head out on a hiking trail, with over 100 km of routes to choose from, or wait until winter to go cross country skiing or enjoy excursions with snowmobiles.
The Wild Walk includes hanging bridges, tunnels that cut through tree trunks and even a giant eagle’s nest.
Other waterfalls worth seeing, whatever the season, are those found in Watkins Glen State Park, lying to the west of New York. There are nearly 20 on a trail just over 3 km long. The park is the best known in the Finger Lakes region, a series of crystalline lakes, so-called due to the fact they are all long and thin. But the most magical spot is a narrow stone crossing over the river called the Rainbow Falls Bridge. The water flows underneath in tiers, but it also falls next to it, in a thin, transparent curtain.
More than 650 weddings have been held in Howe Caverns.
Here in the Cosmopolitan Finger Lakes region, wine is the drink of choice. The McGregor Vineyard is one of the oldest wineries in the area and its vineyards offer the best views of Kekua Lake. It is a family business led by Marge and Bob, an adorable married couple. They have a tasting room that opens every day where visitors can try the harvested fruit accompanied by plates of cheese and chocolate. In July and August there’s live music, though events are held all year long. And then they say that New York is the city that never sleeps…

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