New York City has a wild side and it has nothing to do with its honking yellow taxis, towering skyscrapers and celebrity-studded nightclub crowds.
It's about soaring bald eagles, quiet tidal salt marshes and sweet berry brambles thriving along Jamaica Bay, the only wildlife refuge in the U.S. National Park System, to Manhattan, where Central Park is a favorite birding spot, with more than 200 feathered species.
Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help you explore New York City's wild side.
6 p.m. - Check into your hotel and head for 10th Avenue at 30th Street to the High Line, a mile-long (1.6 km) park along what was once abandoned elevated train tracks on Manhattan's West Side. Leave street noise 30 feet (10 meters) below as you walk past wildflowers such as shooting stars, purple prairie clover and rattlesnake master on paths meticulously landscaped to appear untended. Head south, with the Hudson River on your right.
7 p.m. - When you reach a gathering of outdoor food vendors on the High Line at 15th Street, settle in at Terroir at the Porch, order a cocktail and watch the sun slide down beyond the river. The seasonal bar offers artisanal wines, craft beers and even root beer, all from New York State.
Move to neighboring Delaney Barbeque's Smokeline to tuck into oak-smoked brisket, pulled pork sandwiches, lamb ribs and vegetarian side dishes cooked with produce from regional farms.
9 p.m. - No walk on the wild side is complete without a memorable view of the city's lights. Depart the High Line at its southern end, and enjoy a nightcap and 360-degree views at Plunge Rooftop Bar & Lounge at Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC hotel, 18 Ninth Avenue.
9 a.m. - Walk into Central Park at 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue. Known as the jewel of Manhattan, Central Park is quite a hefty bauble, with more land mass than Monaco. America's first public park serves as a pit stop for millions of migratory birds each year and is home to some 230 bird species including the prothonotary warbler, ruby-crowned kinglet, olive-sided flycatcher and Eastern screech owl.
9:30 a.m. - Head to the copper-roofed Loeb Boathouse for brunch while watching rowboats and even a Venetian-style gondola ply the waters known simply as the Lake.
11:30 a.m. - Take a wild foods foraging tour through Central Park with Wildman Brill to find cattails along the Lake that can be cooked like corn-on-the-cob, and