The home of hip-hop, the New York Yankees and great home-cooked food, the Bronx is recognized for its energy, attitude and cross-cultural influences. A great place to get familiar with the borough's deep Italian roots is Arthur Avenue, where food shops and restaurants pride themselves on following the old-school ways. Try bocconcini (bite-size mozzarella balls) at Casa Della Mozzarella or sample cookies and cannolis at Sicilian pastry shop Madonia Brothers Bakery. Walk off the calories in the nearby Fordham neighborhood, which features cultural institutions like the Bronx Zoo (one of the country's largest), the New York Botanical Garden and Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, where the tortured writer spent the last years of his life penning “Annabel Lee,” “The Bells” and other canonical poems.
Farther north in Riverdale is Wave Hill, an estate with 28 acres of gardens and woodlands that surround a pair of historic houses. Enjoy the educational programming, walk around to admire what's in bloom and take in the sweeping views of the Hudson River.
While in the Bronx see the New York Yankees, 27-time World Series champions, at their deluxe stadium, or go further afield to take advantage of the borough's green spaces. Situated on 1,146 acres, Van Cortlandt Park contains playgrounds, picnic areas and hiking trails as well as the country's oldest public golf course and one of the largest freshwater lakes in the City. Full of similar amenities is Pelham Bay Park, which at 2,766 acres is three times the size of Central Park. Its man-made attractions include the Bronx Equestrian Center and Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, a former residence that dates back to the 1840s.
Dynamic Harlem, rich in African-American history and culture and full of inventive restaurants and sizzling nightlife, is a quick subway ride from the Bronx. Those interested in music and history should catch a performance at the Apollo Theater (tours are also worthwhile and take place earlier in the day). Jazz lovers can check out a session at Minton's, where some say bebop was born. Get sustenance for your night out (or grab a post-show bite) at Red Rooster Harlem, which serves a diverse menu of reinterpreted comfort-food classics and hosts live music in its downstairs lounge, Ginny's Supper Club. If you'd rather sample traditional Southern fare like fried chicken and waffles, consider Harlem's famed soul-food spot Sylvia's Restaurant.
Next: Day Seven—Relaxation