Times Square – iconified as “The Crossroads of the World” , “The Center of the Universe”, and “The Great White Way” – is the hub of the BroadwayTheater District, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections. Times Square is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, hosting over 39 million visitors annually.
With massive digital billboards whose bright lights make midnight look like midafternoon; star-studded Broadway and Off-Broadway shows , people peddling art and jewelry on the street; and, of course, the Naked Cowboy—who plays guitar in his tighty-whities—the expansive stretch of Midtown is a feast for all five senses. Visitors can shop in flagship locations of such stores as Toys “R” Us, take pictures with wax celebrities at Madame Tussauds, watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve or grab a pre- or post-theater meal along Restaurant, where many eateries offer prix-fixe deals. And with Broadway closed to cars from West 42nd to West 47th Streets, Times Square is now more pedestrian friendly than ever.
Spanning 843 acres in the heart of Manhattan, Central Park is one of the world’s greatest urban oases, encompassing a diverse landscape of rolling fields, walking trails and tranquil bodies of water—all sculpted by human hands.
Among its attractions are the Central Park Zoo,Belvedere Castle and the Friedsam Memorial Carousel (which, weather permitting, operates seven days a week from April through October and intermittently the rest of the year). Central Park is the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors. The park, which receives approximately 35 million visitors annually, is the most visited urban park in the United States.
Central Park is considered as one of the most famous sightseeing spots in New York.
New York City Museums
No trip to New York City is complete without experiencing some of its world-class cultural institutions, and Museum Mile is a good place to start. This stretch of Fifth Avenue measuring a little longer than a mile, represents one of the world’s densest concentrations of culture. Museums along the “Mile” include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Neue Galerie, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the National Academy Museum & School,Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (closed for renovation through the fall of 2014), the Jewish Museum, the Museum of the City of New York and El Museo del Barrio.
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
The Statue of Liberty is New York City’s most recognizable landmark, a gleaming beacon for generations of immigrants seeking a better life in America. No charge is made for entrance to Statue of Liberty National Monument, but there is a cost for the ferry service that all visitors must use, as private boats may not dock at the island. Visitors intending to enter the statue’s base and pedestal must obtain a complimentary museum/pedestal ticket along with their ferry ticket. Those wishing to climb the staircase within the statue to the crown purchase a special ticket, which may be reserved up to a year in advance.
The nearby Ellis Island Immigration Museum provides a fascinating view of a historic crossroads. At this site, visitors can explore the building that served as the first port of entry in the United States for approximately 12 million immigrants, as well as search ship manifests for passenger names in the American Family Immigration History Center.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Though best known as the location of the US Open, Flushing Meadows–Corona Park—which, at 1,255 acres, is the City’s fourth-largest park—boasts a range of worthy attractions. It was the site of two world’s fairs (1939–1940 and 1964–1965). The Unisphere, a 140-foot-tall stainless-steel globe built for the 1964–1965 World’s Fair, and the observatory towers, site of the final alien fight scene in Men in Black, serve as reminders of the event. Nearby, the New York City Building, built for the New York City Pavilion at the 1939–1940 World’s Fair and home of the General Assembly of the United Nations from 1946 to 1950, houses the recently expanded Queens Museum (formerly the Queens Museum of Art). Inside is the not-to-be-missed Panorama of the City of New York, an impressively detailed 9,335-square-foot scale model of the City featuring every building constructed before 1992 as well as Citi Field (which in 2009 replaced Shea Stadium as the home of baseball’s Mets). Other Flushing Meadows–Corona Park attractions include the Queens Zoo, the hands-on New York Hall of Science, Queens Botanical Garden,Queens Theatre and the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, a weekend-long sporting and cultural event held in August.
The Bronx Zoo
Spanning 265 lush acres, the Bronx Zoo is the largest urban wildlife preserve in the United States, home to several authentically re-created habitats that house more than 5,000 animals representing more than 600 species (including an ever-changing cast of “awww”-worthy newborns). See zebras, giraffes and lions roam the African Plains; take a safari through the 6.5-acre Congo Gorilla Forest; watch baboons play in Ethiopian highlands; and meet lemurs, crocodiles and cockroaches in the permanent Madagascar! exhibition—all before lunch. The zoo’s new Komodo dragons have also already become a popular attraction. Daily activities, including sea lion and penguin feedings, keep visitors busy all day long, while the Bug Carousel, the 4-D Theater’s Ice-Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and the Children’s Zoo are perfect for kids (the latter is undergoing renovations and will reopen at the end of summer 2014). The Bronx Zoo is open seven days a week and offers pay-what-you-wish admission every Wednesday
The Staten Island Ferry
More than a means of transportation, the Staten Island Ferry is an attraction unto itself. For no charge, visitors can enjoy the 25-minute voyage by water from Lower Manhattan to Staten Island and take in theStatue of Liberty and amazing views of New York Harbor and the Manhattan skyline. The ferry—which runs 24 hours a day and serves beer until midnight—drops off visitors at the St. George Ferry Terminal, close to the Staten Island Museum and the St. George Theatre, and just a short bus ride from the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden. The latter is an educational and entertaining destination (a former retirement home for sailors) encompassing numerous institutions whose diverse offerings should appeal to all interests and ages.
Art, Culture and Entertainment
While it’s true that New York City is home to exceptional visual and performing arts year-round, fall is a special time to visit the City. As the days of summer wind down and give way to more temperate autumn weather, a plethora of festivals, concerts, theater performances and exhibitions pop up all around the City. Enjoy a meld of both the classic and new, whether you’re in town to catch the American Ballet Theatre’s 75th anniversary season, celebrate the Bronx’s Centennial or attend the opening of the new Costume Institute exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Beside that, You can’t leave New York without having visited the famous Broadway and off-Broadway. Broadway are theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatreswith 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in the New York City borough of Manhattan.Along with London‘s West End theatres, Broadway theatres are widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in theEnglish-speaking world. Off-Broadway is a professional venue in New York City with a seating capacity between 100 and 499. These theatres are smaller than Broadway theatres.
When it comes to shopping in NYC, your options are all but limitless. Are you ready to shop like it’s your job? In New York, you’ll find many of the best department stores in the world, including Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s NYC, and countless Fifth Avenue boutique shops, such as the quality leather goods storeA. Testoni. You’ll also find iconic NYC specialty shops like Saks Fifth Avenue, fun open air markets like the Green Flea Market, and famous NYC toy stores like FAO Schwarz.
Here’s a rundown of New York’s most interesting shopping scenes, with highlights of each to give you a feel for the neighborhood.
Downtown – Lower Manhattan & the Financial District
Century 21 : New inventory flows in literally all day, as do throngs of customers. Despite its often elbow-to-elbow aisles, the store is worth a visit—just aim to go on a weekday morning to take advantage of its bargains before the crowds appear.
Pier 17 : one of the biggest indoor malls in Manhattan. But don’t let the word “mall” discourage you. Though it’s filled with largely nondescript shops and a forgettable food court, this retail-laden locale is worth the trip for the historic ambience and stunning harbor vistas.
On Wall Street, check out designer retailers like Tiffany & Co., True Religion Brand Jeans , Thomas Pink and Tumi , as well as Hermès on Broad Street. And if you’re sick of the subway, there’s also a BMW of Manhattan salesroom at 67 Wall St.—apparently there for stockbrokers who get lucky.
Perhaps the best matrix of Chinatown shops are the side streets tucked south of Canal, between Mott Street and the Bowery. The sidewalks are jammed, the stores are cramped, and vendors sell $1 eggrolls from carts—it’s enough to make you question what country you’re in. If it’s Chinese housewares, spices, and delectables you’re after, try wandering Centre Street and Grand Street, where you’ll surely enjoy the photo opps if not the merchandise.
SoHo’s shopping grid runs from Broadway west to Sixth Avenue, and Houston Street south to Canal Street. Broadway is the most commercial strip, with big names like Levi’s, Hilfiger, Guess, Club Monaco, Bebe, and H&M, the economical Swedish department store with cutting-edge fashions. Bloomingdale’s has a downtown branch on Broadway, while nearby, Prada’s flagship store is worth visiting for its spacious, almost soothing design alone
Here is another suggestion of shops really appreciated by travelers
Kings Plaza Shopping Center & Marina
Sport Events and Sport activities
The subway will get you directly to the stadiums of both New York–area major-league teams: the New York Mets play at Citi Field, at the next-to-last stop on the 7 train in Queens, while the Yankees defend their turf at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, accessible via the B, D, or 4 trains. Affiliated with the Mets, the minor-league Brooklyn Cyclones are named for Coney Island’s famous wooden roller coaster. They play 38 home games at KeySpan Park, next to the boardwalk, with views of the Atlantic over the right-field wall and views of historic Astroland over the left-field wall. Most people make a day of it, with time at the beach and amusement rides before an evening game. Take the D, F, or Q subway to the end of the line, and walk one block to the right of the original Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand.
The New York Knicks arouse intense hometown passions, which means tickets for home games at Madison Square Garden are hard to come by. Try StubHub to score tickets. The Brooklyn Nets are across the river, in the swanky Barclays Center. The stadium is easily reachable by nine different subway lines. The men’s basketball season runs from late October through April. The New York Liberty, a member of the Women’s NBA, had its first season in 1997. The season runs from mid-May through August, with home games played once again at Madison Square Garden after several years of being in New Jersey.
If the professional games are sold out, try to attend a college game, where New York stalwarts Fordham, Hofstra, and St. John’s compete against national top 25 teams during invitational tournaments.
Boating and Kayaking
Central Park has rowboats (plus one Venetian gondola for glides in the moonlight) on the 22-acre Central Park Lake. Rent your rowboat, which holds up to four people, at Loeb Boathouse, near East 74th Street, from April through November ($12 an hour); gondola rides are available only in summer and can be reserved ($30 per half hour); they hold up to six people.
In summer at the Pier 96 Boathouse in Midtown West, you can take a sturdy kayak out for a paddle for free on weekends and weekday evenings from mid-May through mid-October.
The football season runs from September through December. The enormously popular New York Giants play at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Most seats for Giants games are sold on a season-ticket basis—and there’s a long waiting list for those. However, single tickets are occasionally available at the stadium box office or on ticket resale sites like StubHub. The New York Jets also play at MetLife Stadium. Although Jets tickets are not as scarce as those for the Giants, most are snapped up by fans before the season opener.
In Manhattan, Central Park is the busiest spot, specifically along the 1.6-mile path circling the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, where you jog in a counterclockwise direction. A runners’ lane has been designated along the park roads; the entire loop road is a hilly 6 miles. A good 1.75-mile route starts at the Tavern on the Green along the West Drive, heads south around the bottom of the park to the East Drive, and circles back west on the 72nd Street park road to your starting point. Riverside Park, along the Hudson River bank in Manhattan, is glorious at sunset. You can cover 4.5 miles by running from West 72nd to 116th Street and back, and the Greenbelt trail extends 4 more miles north to the George Washington Bridge at 181st Street. Other favorite Manhattan circuits are the Battery Park City esplanade (about 2 miles), which connects to the Hudson River Park (about 1.5 miles), and the East River Esplanade (just over 3 miles from East 63rd to East 125th streets).
It can be hard to believe that Rockaway Beach, where the only soundtrack is the squawk of seagulls and the crash of waves, is even a part of busy New York City. New York Surf School offers surf lessons out in Rockaway Beach—and has seen a new crop of New Yorkers and visitors embrace the possibilities of their coastal city.