How to do everything in the Big Apple:
Frank Sinatra wanted to be part of it, Alicia Keys referred to it as the ‘concrete jungle where dreams are made of’ and Estelle lyrically implored her ‘boy’ to take her there. Renowned as ‘The Big Apple’ and the lively City that never sleeps, New York is the cultural capital of the world and home to nearly 8.5 million people. Whether it is the memorable aperture of West Side Story, shopping exploits of the ladies from ‘Sex In the City’ or the stunning imagery from travel brochures, it’s almost certainly, the one city that most people want to visit. A city of contrasts; finance, fashion, media, art and entertainment, it is home to the prestigious Wall Street, magical Broadway, bohemian Greenwich village, not forgetting the urban Harlem or Chinatown.
An estimated 47 million tourists will visit New York this year. The perfect time to plan your visit is between the fall and winter (September to February). The staggering views of Central Park awash with red, orange and yellow fallen leaves coupled with a veneer of fresh festive-snow should be enough to make your heart skip a beat. Yet, nothing says Christmas quite like an 80ft tree, or something sparkly from Tiffany & Co and for those who wish to sample the culinary delights, don’t forget to stop by the pizzerias, or the ‘Friend’s’ inspired coffee shops.
Sparkled with bright lights, incredible history and settings from timeless classics, breathing that New Yorker way of life may be anything but stereotypical.
Things you have to see:
Unless we took a year out of our lives and moved to New York, it is impossible to understand of what makes New York special, but visiting the city’s well-loved icons will leave a lasting impression of NYC culture. If you miss any of these landmarks, it is a great excuse to come back.
Empire state building - Immortalised by Hollywood in classics such as ‘Sleeping in Seattle’ and ‘Independence’ day, the Empire State building is the beacon of NYC and once was America’s tallest structure. You may not get the same view as King Kong at the buildings pinnacle, but you are guaranteed to see the city’s abundant highlights some 1,050 feet beneath you, from the 102nd floor observatories.
Opening every day from 8am, the last elevator goes up at 1:15 a.m and tickets vary from $20 on the 86th floor and $37 for the 102nd floor. Visit the Empire State Building’s official tourist website for further details: www.esbnyc.com.
National September 11 Memorial & Museum - The former World Trade Centre complex serves as the primary tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and 1993 bombing.
The adjacent memorial pools each reflect the compassion of those lost and their names are immortally etched in bronze. Visitor Passes are required and as limited amounts of passes are distributed each month, you are advised to reserve your passes weeks in advance. For more information and how you can obtain your pass visit www.911memorial.org
One World Trade Center – Set to be the tallest building in the western hemisphere and the tallest all-office building in the world by 2013. The height is expected to reach 1,776ft in particular reference to the year of American independence. Although not a stereotypical landmark yet, 1 WTC will sure to be a recognised icon amongst New York City.
Chrysler building - A film has the potential to lose its appeal without an aesthetically pleasing skyscraper, though, an unfortunate target in films such as Armageddon and the Fantastic Four, this is a tourist must see. Recent visitors have praised the building’s unique architectural style and the Chrysler building will not disappoint you. Open Monday – Friday, it’s technically an office building, but that won’t stop you admiring this marvel structure.
Statue of Liberty - The icon of freedom and independence is a brightly shining beacon that has attracted visitors since 1886. Situated on Liberty Island, the long queues for the ferry will be worthwhile as you drift over to the Statue of Liberty from Manhattan.
Times Square - Some say that Times Square is a five-block labyrinth, bursting with colour, hubbub and life. Overpriced & congested, locals try to avoid it but after dark, this place is a neon wonderland. Settle yourself in the centre of it all and snap at some of the worlds iconic brands as they stand elevated amongst the busy streets.
If you are travelling during New Years Eve, this is the only place you should come. Watch the Waterford Crystal Ball descend 77 feet, down the One Times Square building as you shake hands with revellers, sing Auld Lang Syne and watch the colourful explosion above your heads. Expect a lengthy exit back to your hotel and feel relieved as it was all worth it.
Brooklyn Bridge -One of the oldest suspension bridges in the country, Brooklyn Bridge connects Manhattan to Brooklyn. To get a panoramic view of the city, take a walk along the bridge and add several photos for the collection.
Things you have to do:
With so much to do, NYC is a perfect capital in all seasons, whether a snowball fight in Central Park or a summer cruise over to Liberty Island, nothing says tourism without taking part in overseas cultures.
Central Park -Over 843 acres, New York’s finest buildings border Central Park, in what seems a perfect rectangle. Perhaps too big to walk around the whole park, bike hire is available, as well as horse & carriage and pedicab tours. In the warmer weather months, the Loeb Boathouse is open to hire boats and gondolas. Also, why not visit Central Park Zoo and see over 130 different animal species. For more information of what’s on and what to do, visit www.centralpark.com
American Museum of Natural History - Depending on how much time you have in the city, it is recommended to visit the American Museum of Natural History but be prepared, you could spend all day here – there are approximately 32 million artefacts inside.
The Rose Centre for Earth and Space and a visit to the dinosaur are suggested for those who are short on time. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. Admission prices: $19 for adults and $10.50 for children. There is a “suggested” admission fee and in the past, visitors have paid more than the price suggested or nothing at all.
Grand Central Station - Either appreciate the ornate Beaux-Arts neoclassical architecture from outside or enter into a world of glistening marble floors, gold and nickel-plated chandeliers, and a sky-themed ceiling. The station is free to enjoy from 5:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. either sit and admire the views or go for a bite to eat at Michael Jordan’s Steak House, or tens of other restaurants.
Broadway - A trip to New York is not complete without seeing a show on Broadway. With so many shows and theatres to choose from visit: www.broadway.com for a full listing of show schedules and ticket prices.
Rockefeller Center - Sitting between 5th & 6th avenues and spread along 4 streets, the Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 buildings that include: NBC Studios, Radio City Music, over 100 stores and tens of restaurants.
During the festive period, the Rockefeller Center becomes shadowed by an 80ft Christmas tree, sparkling with 30,000 lights and crowned with a Swarovski crystal star – a tradition that has been for several decades.
Here, you can either ice skate in the outdoor rink, watch a live taping of the Today show, ascend the Observation Deck and enjoy the views across Central Park, or catch an evening performance at Radio City Music Hall. To have a look at what’s on visit: www.rockefellercenter.com
Places where you have to shop:
The moment you land in New York at Christmas, you instantaneously become contagious to the shopping fever that rumbles the broad walks of the shopping capital.
Fifth Avenue – Dubbed the “world’s most expensive street,” Fifth Avenue is the idealistic shopping venue in New York. Luxurious boutiques like Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co, Prada and Cartier; compliment the large department stores of Barneys, Lord & Taylor and Bergdorf Goodman.
Do not forget to bring home a little ‘blue box’ souvenir from Tiffany & Co. For more shops check out www.visit5thavenue.com
SoHo - You will find a mixture of well known brands as well as lesser-known eclectic stores, as opposed to Fifth Avenue – A dollar will certainly stretch further (Notable shops, Pottery Barn, Sephora and H&M.) Visit www.sohonyc.com for more information on shopping and events in the area.
Rockefeller Center – As above, the Rockefeller has over 100 shops and plenty to do.
How to enhance your New York experience:
- Flag a famous yellow cab, but be careful not to get splashed like Jennifer Lopez in ‘Maid in Manhattan’.
- Enjoy a Homer Simpson moment by grabbing a donut.
- Sample some of the gastronomic delights, such as the infamous hotdog, or the melt in the mouth pretzel from one of the 4000 street vendors.
- Eat a New York pizza at a popular pizzeria – try Lombardi’s Pizzeria in SoHo.
- Try a Murray’s Bagel on 6th Avenue, or be more experimental with NYC’s more epic dishes, such as the notorious combination of Fried Chicken and waffles.
- Capture the NYC buzz by sampling a Latte in a busy coffee.
- With so many Hollywood movies characterising the city police, you would be mad not to snap a picture with a NYPD cop.
- If you’ve paved the streets of Fifth Avenue to the dismay of your purse, check out the Sony Wonder Technology Lab and Coney Island Boardwalk –it’s free!
In the film ‘The Naked City,’ it starts with the words: ‘There are eight million stories in this naked city.’ With so many stereotypically cataclysmic NYC experiences to embrace, maybe it is time to start writing yours.