Best Places to See the Sunset in New York

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Gotham in its Glory: Four Great NYC Sunset Views

Whether you're planning a fun NYC day out with the kids or a romantic NYC night out without them, you deserve to spend part of it savoring the skyline at sunset. The transformation happens earlier or later in the day, depending on the season. Escape your busy life to enjoy it from any of these four places. You'll be glad you did.

The Peerless Pier View

When the crew has had enough of sidewalks and skyscrapers, cross the East River to Gantry Plaza State Park (4-09 47th Rd., Long Island City, NY). Arrive before sunset and let the kids hit the soft-surfaced playground’s spinning saucers, rope spider web and jungle gyms. Then follow the boardwalk to the Sunning Pier (Pier 3) and chill on the wooden chaises. Drink in the view from the southern tip of Manhattan north to the Queensboro Bridge, and wait for the show to begin.

The View From Above

Overlooking a 22-block stretch of Manhattan’s West Side, the High Line Park (Gansevoort St. to W. 30 St. between Washington St. and 11 Ave., Manhattan, NY) boasts reclining viewing chairs at its Diller-von Furstenberg Sundeck & Water Feature between 14th and 15th streets. During summer, shed your shoes and cool your feet on the water-splashed deck as the sinking sun reflects off the Hudson River below. Come on a Tuesday between April and October and stick around for a family stargazing session—telescopes provided—with volunteers from the Amateur Astronomer Association of New York.

Expert traveler’s tip: An elevator at 14th Street provides easy stroller access up to the sundeck, and restrooms with changing tables are just a block away on 16th Street.

The View From the Water

See Lady Liberty and Ellis Island silhouetted against the sunset from the upper deck of the Staten Island Ferry as it crosses from Lower Manhattan’s Whitehall Terminal (4 South St., Manhattan, NY) to Staten Island’s St. George Terminal (1 Bay St., Long Island City, Queens, NY). On your return, switch from the ferry's New Jersey to Manhattan side for a panorama of New York Harbor and the Brooklyn Bridge. The free round trip takes about 25 minutes each way, plus the time you’ll need for disembarking and reboarding through the waiting room at Staten Island.

Expert traveler’s tips:

  •  Bring jackets even in summer; the ferry crossing is windy.
  •  The year-round ferries run every 15 or 20 minutes during weekday rush hours and every 30 minutes the rest of the time, except major holidays when they operate every 30 minutes from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

The View Made for Two

Ready for a romantic interlude with your significant other? Call the babysitter and escape to Lower Manhattan’s South Cove Park (The Esplanade between 1st Pl. and 3rd Pl., Battery Park City, NY). Stroll arm-in-arm beneath a grove of honey locusts on the upper level, or follow the main lower walk along the cove where it winds out over the Hudson River. Benches welcome you to kick back and bask in the sunset view.

Sunset Timing: Know Before You Go

The sun sets in NYC as early as 4:28 p.m. in early December and as late as 8:31 p.m. during the last week of June. Between October and mid-April, it's likely to set during the afternoon rush hour (3:30 to 7 p.m) when traffic leaving the city peaks. If you time your excursion then, think about lingering in town until the rush subsides. Stay for a meal, bring the ice skates and practice your spirals at the Rockefeller Center Rink or book tickets for a kid's show at the New Victory Theater (229 W. 42nd St., Manhattan NY), an affordable Times Square alternative to Broadway.