Start at the Battery (SI Ferry - # 1 or 9 on the IRT subway line). It's the best view of the Statue of Liberty w/o wasting half the day.
Head due north through the park, leaning toward the river. Five blocks out of the park you'll hit GZ.
After the right amount of time there (you'll know how long) head east to Broadway (one block), stroll a bit to get the down town feel of Trinity Church, the Bull and Wall Street.
Back to Broadway and north for a few blocks for a look at City Hall and the world's first skyscraper (Woolworth Bldg) and the Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Bridge (a walk across and back kills 40 minutes but you might like the views).
Directly NE of City Hall are the Courts and One Police Plaza - where they shoot Law and Order. Walk on the north side of the courts to behind them which is Chinatown.
Meander through there a bit working north to Canal Street. Stop in Little Italy (surrounded by Chinatown a bit north of Canal) and eat.
Head north again, keeping toward the east through a cool little nabe called NoLiTa (North of Little Italy). It's quiet, a bit classier than the surroundings and has the original St. Patrick's Cathedral.
About three block up from the Cathedral cut west toward SOHO (South of Houston Street - pronounced How-sten). Meander. Here's a good place to look for celebs.
After ten minutes or so cross north over Houston toward the west and you're in The Village. Cruise around there heading north toward NYU and Washington Square.
Head east again into the East Village, up to 14th street, then along 14th back west to Fifth Ave, passing Union Square.
From there it is a 2.25 mile straight shot up Fifth to Central Park passing the Empire State Building, the new St. Patrick's, Trump Tower and Tiffany's on the way.
You will now be at the SE corner of Central Park, across from the Plaza Hotel.
Enter the park, staying on the wide footpath. It will take you through the zoo. Keep heading north toward the bandshell and the Central Park lake where you will find the oft-photographed Bethesda Fountain (note all the Chinese wedding parties).
If you've got anything left over head over to the west-side and find a spot along Columbus Ave to eat.
There is no place on this route where you will be in the slightest danger (that's a different tour). You don't need a tour bus or guide, just water, good shoes and for God's sake no effin fanny pack.
Follow this route and you will see more of real Manhattan than most folks who live here have.
Nice. I am saving your post and a few others for my next trip. Thanx.
Any idea what the total mileage is for that?
I may do that, weather permitting.
I should have the “official” NYC city map arriving in the mail soon. I will plot this on my map.