Top 10 reasons to visit New York
My first visit to New York was in the summer of 1977. I loved it but felt that slightly menacing element it was famous for at the time. Now NYC, is just a great place to visit. It’s tempting to extend any trip there longer and longer to become fully immersed in the buzz that ensures it really is, as Frank Sinatra sang, ‘the city that never sleeps’.
Recently I was part of a group of Australians who had been to New York over many decades. While reluctant to agree on any other topic we were all united that New York just keeps getting better and better.
10 must do’s in NYC
1. Central Park
Perhaps the most famous park in the world lies at the heart of the city with highlights in all directions. Always wanted to take a horse drawn carriage tour? This is the perfect place to do it. The park is vast with all sorts of nooks, ponds, gardens, a zoo and ice rink and Strawberry Fields, a memorial to John Lennon opposite the Dakota Building at the intersection of W72nd St and Central Park West.
2. Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met is one of the world’s great art centres and has about 6,000 visitors each year. It hosts many exhibitions and shows so check out what will be on when you are in town. Or explore more than 400,000 of the amazing pieces of art housed at the Met today just by clicking here.
3. Harlem church
A visit to a Harlem church is a remarkable experience but it is a church service not entertainment. There are some gospel tours or you can go on your own but be prepared for a long service that it is not considered polite to leave. The Abyssinian Baptist Church are two of the most popular. A secular option is the Sunday Harlem Gospel Choir experience at BB King’s.
4. The Rockefeller Center
This is a whole Art Deco complex of shops, office and restaurants – even an ice rink around Christmas – and is easily recognised by the statue of Atlas at the front. Take the time to go to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, visit Radio City Music Hall and gaze up at the tower simply known as 30 Rock made famous by comedian Tina Fey in the tv show of the same name.
New York truly is the world’s shopping centre. Whatever you want is somewhere in Manhattan. Of course there’s the iconic Saks Fifth Ave (who are now shipping to Australia for online shopping fans), Macys and Bloomingdale’s. Photographers often end up at B&H and discount seekers brave the crowds at Century 21.
6. Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is an icon of NYC - standing at 102 storeys or 443 metres high. It opened in 1931 and it is a wonderful Art Deco building so even the lobby is worth a visit. The lobby itself is a designated historic landmark and has been restored to the original 1930 design. This impressive building is best viewed from the street (from a few blocks away) or perhaps best enjoyed in the ground floor bar. There is a great view from the observation deck but there can be a long queue to get there. Down towards Grand Central Station the Chrysler Building is another architectural marvel from a more elegant age.
7. Broadway shows
Taking in a Broadway show is a rite of passage in NYC. It’s best if you research and book well before you arrive in town, If not, talk to your hotel concierge. This option won’t be cheap but it’s often effective. Like a bargain? You can buy day-of-show tickets for Broadway shows and other events for 20% to 50% off at the TKTS booth in Times Square.
8. Live concerts
The chances are that one of your favourite singers, actors or musicians will be performing in New York during you visit. Time Out is a good place to start planning a fun night out.
9. One World Trade Center
This is the first of five iconic office towers to open around the site of the original World Trade Center. It spreads over 6.5 hectares with lots of shopping and dining options. Within a fortnight of the One World Trade Center Observatory opening on May 29, 2015 it had attracted 100,000 visitors. The views from the floors 100, 101 and 102 are excellent and extend across the city and the neighbouring boroughs.
10. 9/11 Memorial and Museum
Downtown, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum is very moving. You may also wish to visit the Ground Zero Museum Workshop, the Ground Zero Catholic Memorial and the 9/11 Tribute Center.
News flash: upgrades at JFK airport
The Ark is a private animal terminal due to open in 2016 at a cost of $45M. The exciting 16,500 square metre facility will be the world's only privately owned animal terminal and USDA-approved, full-service, 24-hour, airport quarantine facility for import and export of horses, pets, birds and livestock. Cats will be able to enjoy custom-made climbing trees with a view of the aquarium at the Cat Adventure Jungle, while horses and cows will be housed in climate-controlled stalls, with tilted floors to facilitate waste disposal. Dogs will be offered a 20,000 square foot ‘luxury resort’ run by the company Paradise 4 Paws, with splashing pools, massage therapists and ‘pawdicure’ services.
Hot tip: To get into town you can take a cab or limousine. Travelling solo? Take the AirTrain as it will be cheaper and faster. Consider buying a combined AirTrain/subway ticket which is a good way to get between terminals.
Want to contribute to WYZA?
Watch out for a follow-up article soon to continue the spotlight on NYC. Tell us what have been your favourite highlights of this exciting city? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below and we will take it into account when compiling our next list.
What are you favourite memories of New York? Join our conversation below….