“I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!”
If you have not seen it yet, you have to plan a trip as soon as possible. New York is one incredible city and it makes a trip of a lifetime.
This is the city that never sleeps, so you will be busy at night as well! The best dining, the best shopping, the best museums, all await you.
1. Planning a first trip to New York City, the Big Apple, can be daunting. A city of over 8 million inhabitants, it has everything a tourist could ever want. So where does one begin? My first choice would be Grand Central Terminal, a wonderful Beaux-Arts gem which was opened in 1913 and has been completely renovated. It is a showcase of the buzz of the city and has numerous eateries and great shopping; and free tours are on offer.
2. The Rockefeller Center in the centre of Manhattan has outdoor restaurants and colourful flowers in summer; while in winter it has its world famous Christmas tree and its plaza is converted into an ice rink. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck offers, in my opinion, far better panoramic views of the City than the iconic Empire State Building. Don’t miss the Art Deco buildings surrounding the plaza.
3. The Staten Island Ferry is a 24/7 free service from its Lower Manhattan terminal which sails across New York’s harbour, giving one a great panoramic view of the City’s skyline and exceptional views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Brooklyn Bridge.
4. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a must-see – it is one of the great museums of the world. Choose anything from its glorious collections of Impressionist paintings to ancient artefacts from around the world; or take a free (with admission) one hour guided tour.
5. Spend time exploring Central Park’s 843 acres of forests, basalt rock formations and manicured gardens as a complete contrast to the skyscrapers, crowds and noise. Choose to go on a free walking tour guided by the Central Park Conservancy if the size seems overwhelming.
6. On the west side of Central Park is the 2.5 acre Strawberry Fields which you will find the Image Memorial dedicated to John Lennon of The Beatles fame. Just across the street from the Memorial is the US National Historic Landmark, the Dakota Apartment building, where he lived with Yoko Ono and where he was shot and killed in 1980.
7. Plan to take in a Broadway play or musical at any one of the 500-seat theatres around the Theatre District, either for a matinee or evening performance.
8. Just down the road is Times Square, the iconic site of the New Year’s Eve ball drop at midnight. Packed to capacity with eateries, big name stores like Gap and the 5-floor M&Ms marvel, it is a non-stop showcase of New York buzz at its best.
9. Ground Zero should not be missed. A short walk from Times Square, one is humbled by the memory of what happened to the World Trade Center on the site, which now is a scene of building activity. Just across the road is a black skyscraper where one has to crane one’s neck to see its upper floors – and this building is exactly half the height of the World Trade Center.
10. Shopping, or even browsing, at some of the world’s most famous stores is an integral part of a visit to New York City. Pop into Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany and Co.
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