Is New York An Island? (Explained)

New York City with skyscrapers at sunset


With its famous skyscrapers, theatrical productions, and reputation for being a city that never sleeps, New York City is one of the most famous cities in America.

It’s so famous that it’s easy to forget that New York City isn’t the capital of New York state.

With approximately 8,930,000 people who call the city home, you may wonder how it manages to hold that large of a population.

If you’ve ever wondered if New York City is an island or about the different boroughs, then here’s a helpful guide to get you started.


Is New York An Island?

The Statue of Liberty over the Scene of New york cityscape river side which location is lower manhattan


Yes, certain parts of New York City are islands.

Manhattan and Staten Island are both islands.

The other two boroughs that are technically islands are Brooklyn and Queens.

These two boroughs are on Long Island which is an island just off the mainland.

The only borough of New York City that is part of the mainland is the Bronx.

You can get to each island through a network of different tunnels and bridges.

You can also take ferries from one island to the next.


What Can You Do In The Bronx?

Aerial view of the Bronx, New York City


If you’re visiting the Bronx, then you may wonder what activities there are to do.

The Bronx is the only borough that’s part of the mainland.

As such, it’s one of the easiest parts of New York City to get to if you’re taking a road trip.

The Bronx has a reputation for being tough, but it holds some of the best of New York City’s history.

Here are some things you can do in the Bronx.


1. Head To City Island

Portrait of cheerful senior man fishing


One of the best places to go to in the Bronx is City Island.

This is an area off the coast of the Bronx that features a fishing village.

You’ll find yachts and fishing boats parked at the various piers.

One fun place to try is Captain Mike’s Diving Services.

Captain Mike’s offers both recreational and professional diving services.

If you’re visiting New York for the first time, then you might want to try your hand at diving.

It’s a bit different than diving in the Caribbean, however.

The water is going to be significantly colder, for one.

Due to boat traffic, you’ll also need to heed Captain Mike’s directions and not stray from his boundaries.

Instead of coral reefs, you’ll see some of New York’s history and learn a thing or two about the waterways in the process.

If you’re looking to start diving professionally or need to become certified, then Captain Mike’s also offers certification courses.

You can learn how to dive with the best of them.

He can even teach you how to rescue someone in icy water.

Whether you want to take a plunge in the water on a hot day or learn something that could save someone’s life, visiting Captain Mike’s is a must on your trip to the Bronx.


2. Lickety Split

City Island blue land ferry bus next to green Lickety Split ice Cream house


After swimming in the water, you might need a snack to regain your energy.

One place you should try is Lickety Split.

It’s an ice cream shop and a coffeehouse.

You can get gelato and traditional ice cream cones as well as fresh-brewed coffee.

The restaurant has indoor seating as well as a patio that overlooks the water.

It’s not hard to find the ice cream shop either.

It has a unique wooden appearance that makes it look more like a cottage from a storybook than a modern ice cream store in the Bronx.

Lickety Split is a great place to go when you’re spending time on the coast of the Bronx.

If you plan on visiting one of the islands, then you can always grab an ice cream cone on the way.


3. Artie’s Steak & Seafood

Prepared surf and turf well done steak and lobster meal with side dishes of crab cakes, shrimp and mayonnaise dip on blue wooden table


If you need something more substantial than ice cream, then you should head to Artie’s Steak & Seafood.

It’s also located in the City Island neighborhood of the Bronx.

One of the great things about Artie’s Steak & Seafood is that it mixes the best of seafood and steak with an Italian twist.

You can find some Italian staples at the restaurant like pasta, but the real kicker is that they infuse some of their other dishes with Italian spices and flavors.

You can enjoy a good surf-and-turf steak while sampling some of the best Italian cuisines.

Artie’s Steak & Seafood offers classics like Alaskan king crab legs, scallops, and fried Little Neck clams.

If you’re feeling hungry, then this is a place where you can fill up fast.


What Can You Do In Brooklyn?

Famous Skyline of downtown New York


Once you’re finished visiting the Bronx, it’s time to cross the bridge or jump on a ferry to get to Brooklyn.

Brooklyn has the highest population of all the New York City boroughs.

That’s for good reason, too.

Its downtown area has some of the best nightlife in the area.

Here are some things you can do in Brooklyn.


1. Prospect Park

Aerial photo of Prospect park in Brooklyn during autumn


If you’re itching for some greenery after spending so much time walking through the city, then you need to head to Prospect Park.

It’s Brooklyn’s primary greenspace.

It’s a 585-acre park that has everything from trails to fields where you can play sports.

People commonly have picnics in the park.

There are also several spots in the park that offer a glimpse into New York’s history.

For example, you can find a few plaques throughout the park that provide information about important areas from the American Revolution.

There are also places where children can play such as playgrounds and an area that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

The fallen and abandoned logs now serve to entertain children with large imaginations.

The park is a beautiful place where you and your family can relax and take in the scenery before heading back into the city for more fun.


2. Coney Island

The beach and the amusement park at Coney Island in New York City


If you’re going to Brooklyn, then no visit is complete without going to Coney Island.

One of the most famous parts of Coney Island is its boardwalk.

The boardwalk is 2.7 miles long and runs along Brooklyn’s coast.

On the boardwalk, you’re transported back to the 1920s—around the time the park first opened.

You’ll find no shortage of snacks, finger foods, games, and rides on the boardwalk.

You can spend hours on Coney Island and still feel like you haven’t seen it all.

One of the staples of Coney Island is the Coney Island Circus Sideshow.

You’ll witness magic tricks and other entertaining acts that honor a tradition that dates to the 1800s.

If you get a little tired, then you can find a place to sit down and take in the incredible views.

Whether it’s the water, the people, or the skyline of New York City, there’s no shortage of things to look at and admire.


3. Barclays Center

Newest sport arena Barclays center


Sports fans will definitely find something to do in Brooklyn.

All you need to do is take a trip to the Barclays Center.

It’s an arena where the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Liberty play.

Even if there isn’t a game when you’re visiting, there’s usually something going on at the Barclays Center.

You’ll find circus acts, family shows, and college games regularly going on.

Although it’s primarily used for basketball, it’s not uncommon for boxing or other sports to have matches there, too.

At the very least, you can admire its architecture and stop at the gift shop to buy the necessary swag for your favorite New York team.


What Can You Do In Manhattan?

Down under Manhattan Bridge


Often famously captured in movies, Manhattan tends to be the place that people think of the most when talking about New York City.

If you love drama, theatre, and music, then this is the borough to visit.

Since Manhattan is its own island, you’ll need to take one of the many bridges, tunnels, or ferries to get there.

Once you arrive, here are some of the things you should definitely add to your itinerary.


1. Joe Allen

New York Strip Top Loin Steak Medium Rare


If most of your time is going to be spent around the Times Square area, then you need to head to Joe Allen for food.

It’s a restaurant where performers and actors tend to hang out after their performances are over, and it also features Times Square’s history.

In particular, it pays tribute to all the productions that flopped.

If a show didn’t quite hit its mark or become the sensation that some thought it might be, you can find its poster and other memorabilia at Joe Allen.

Along with being a unique type of museum, you can also get great food and drinks there.

That makes Joe Allen a great restaurant to stop at either before or after watching a performance on Broadway.

They have staples like sandwiches and salads, but you can also get a great New York strip steak that they cook in a red wine reduction.

Your time in Manhattan should either begin or end with a visit to Joe Allen.


2. Midnight Moment In Times Square

Times Square


Another great thing to see if you’re spending time in Times Square is the midnight moment.

Every night, the usual advertisements plastered on the digital screens of Times Square go blank.

In place of the advertisements, you’re privy to a collection of digital art.

It only lasts for a short amount of time, however, so you need to be there before it happens.

The digital art display begins at 11:57 PM and ends at midnight.

It’s a little secret that only New Yorkers and night owl tourists tend to know.


3. Broadway Shows

Models and Broadway performers


No visit to Manhattan is complete without seeing one of the many shows running on Broadway.

There’s no shortage of musicals and plays that can delight you.

Whether you need something family-friendly or you’re in the mood for something that speaks to the heart, you’re sure to find it.

You can expect top-tier performances and high budgets on Broadway.

You haven’t seen a stage show until you’ve seen one on Broadway.


What Can You Do In Queens?

New York City skyline from Queens, United States


While there are great places to eat in the other boroughs, it doesn’t quite compare to Queens.

This borough has a diverse population which means you can find food from all types of cultures and countries there.

Here are some of the things you can do in Queens.


1. US Open Tennis

Arthur Ashe Stadium at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during night session at US Open 2017 in New York.


Sports fans with a love for tennis need to head to Queens to check out the US Open.

You can head to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to watch famous tennis players duke it out during the US Open.

The Open lasts for some time, and you can even watch the qualifying round for free.

If your kids have an interest in tennis, then you can also take them to Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day at the court where they can learn to play like professionals.

There are also concerts and events that take place during the US Open which can be fun for the whole family.


2. Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates Sculpture Park and Manhattan skyline


When you’re ready to stretch your legs, you should head to the Socrates Sculpture Park.

This area used to be a landfill.

However, the city eventually got rid of it and cleaned it up and turned it into a studio and exhibition area for artists instead.

You can walk through the park and find all sorts of different sculptures and works of art.

It’s technically a museum, so you can get your fill of culture.

It’s also free to walk through, although some of the events held there may require tickets.


3. The Gutter Bar

a person holding a glass filled with beer celebrating at a bowling alley


If you like to mix entertainment with food, then you should head to the Gutter Bar.

There, you can bowl and enjoy drinks on tap.

The bar also has some video games if you want to give your arm a break from all that bowling.

The Gutter Bar has another location in Brooklyn, so if the one in Queens is full, then you can always hop to the island next door.



New York City has five different boroughs that are spread across different islands.

The only exception is the Bronx, which is part of the mainland.

No matter which island or borough you’re visiting, there’s no shortage of things to do.

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