New York, New York, the city that never sleeps, has appeared in so many movies that even if you haven’t been there, you’d know it when you see it. Times Square, the site of the annual ball drop on New Year’s Eve, the Empire State Building, Wall Street, Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, the Statue of Liberty, and the Metropolitan Museum – these are some of the famous icons found throughout the city. New York is one amazing destination that one should visit at least once in his or her lifetime. No other place exudes a more energizing vibe.
New York City is a shopper’s paradise. Any which way you turn, someone is peddling something, from food to watches to bags. Fifth Avenue, the epitome of upscale shopping, is lined with exclusive stores like Cartier, Prada, Tiffany & Company, and unique department stores like Bergdorf-Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. If your travels coincide with the holiday season, you will be treated to a festive decor and spectacular displays of lights everywhere. At Rockefeller Center, the ice-skating rink opens in October, and the lighting of the Christmas tree typically begins the last week of November. All the department stores will be decked out with their ostentatious holiday window displays with a variety of themes. As you make your way north, you will pass by beautiful St Patrick’s Cathedral, Trump Tower and The Plaza Hotel. Even if you are not traveling with kids, it is a treat to stop at FAO Schwarz and marvel at what is available to kids nowadays.
Just past the The Plaza Hotel is Central Park, the perfect place to stop and rest your weary feet. Home to many movies and concerts, this oasis covers 843 acres of greenery, complete with restaurants, ponds, ice skating rink, playground, a zoo, and a castle even. Wander north on West Dr to check out Belvedere Castle, which is now a nature museum. Imagine a castle in the middle of Central Park! Continue your way east to the Obelisk, a 71-foot monument that was brought in from Egypt in 1879. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, on the other side of the obelisk, awaits you with wonder and excitement.
Anyone who loves to eat will be delighted with New York’s wealth of dining options. From street vendors selling hotdogs and pretzel (be sure to try them too!) and various ethnic foods to fancy restaurants, this city has got them all. There are even food tours that you can join. If wandering at your own pace is more your style, take the time to explore Chinatown. The kaleidoscope of tastes will dazzle your senses. Try dim sum (a tapas-like meal usually served at lunch time), roast pork, roast duck, wonton noodle soup, steamed buns, dumplings and bakeries. The adventurous might like the more exotic stuff like pig’s ears, blood, feet and intestines, to name a few. Chinatown also has plenty of shops and boutiques for that unique gift to bring home. Little Italy is next door, so you can cover both neighborhoods in one trip.
Thanks to the popularity of the HBO show and now movies “Sex and the City”, there is a tour that will take you to all the hotspots that the women made famous on the show. But if you are not into funky clothing and high heel shoes, you can skip the tour and visit one of the stops yourself. Magnolia’s Bakery (for their lovely cupcakes) is located in the Bohemian neighborhood called Greenwich Village. There are plenty of sidewalk cafes and trendy boutiques to make your day a truly unique New York experience. Relax at nearby Washington Square Park, a Manhattan landmark and home to New York University, to watch street artists and musicians perform.
There are so many other famous sights to visit and things to do in New York City – the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, Grand Central Station, Ground Zero, and broadway shows. Stay tuned for the next article on New York City, part 2.