Depending on where you happen to be standing / walking / eating / sleeping, New York is either the most overwhelming and chaotic city in America or the warmest, most romantic town on earth. For all the bright-lights-big-city grandeur (Midtown’s twinkling canyons, Wall Street’s warp-speed intensity), one can always find a charmingly quiet neighborhood where the world feels no wider than a sidewalk stoop—and all these lie within mere blocks of one another. The trick is balancing the city’s outsize spectacle with the intimate experiences that New York so improbably sustains.
Exploring on foot. New York is one of the world's great walking cities—venture into its great open spaces (Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge promenade), or just poke around neighborhood cafes, shops, and galleries.
Indulging in some art appreciation. The city's major museums are legendary; but also make sure to gallery-hop in the Chelsea Arts district, or catch a live-music performance at a downtown lounge (or a street corner).