While everyone has their favourite in the city that never sleeps – and the best memories are often serendipitous discoveries made in this amazing metropolis – if you’ve never been before, here’s the top 10 must-sees in the Big Apple.
1. Central Park
Some points-of-interest in New York are rather obvious and impossible to miss; Central Park being one. Dominating the heart of Manhattan, the huge 843 acres of green space is always buzzing with activities of all kinds. Make sure you grab a map from one of the five visitor’s centres located around the Park to orient yourself to the main attractions which include Belvedere Castle, Loeb Boathouse on the lake, the Mall and Literary Walk and the famous carousel first opened in 1871. If you’d like to see it in style, consider a horse and carriage ride or join a TV and Movie Sites walking tour.
2. Times Square
Iconic and bustling Times Square is a hive of neon activity 24/7. It’s an urban confluence of commercial, tourist and entertainment zones and one of the world’s most photographed streetscapes. By night, the pedestrian traffic remains constant as Broadway crowds fill the surrounding theatres and diners hit the streets of Midtown. It’s noisy, busy, sometimes a little disconcerting but utterly unmissable.
3. New York City signature dishes
Food is serious business in New York City and no visit is complete without trying some of its signatures. Manhattan is a tightly packed 59 square kilometres (23 square miles), with 1.6M inhabitants so you need to create something special to survive in this highly competitive culinary landscape. While it may not be the most calorie-conscious food you’ll come across, it’s delicious. Try New York cheesecake, bagels, baked pretzels, New York pizza, pastrami on rye, Eggs Benedict and of course, a famous Waldorf Salad.
On top of the Chelsea Food Market is an elevated New York Central railway spur decommissioned in 1980 and left to the elements for over two decades. Saved by a long-time Chelsea resident who petitioned for the area to not be demolished, the High Line today is a 1.5 mile stretch of renovated, green public park space and very fashionable to boot.
Roam the elevated walkways with locals and tourists, enjoy a meal in one of the many food outlets and markets and explore the gardens and water features that contrast against the busy streets below.
5. One World Trade Centre
Colloquially known as ‘Ground Zero’, the site of the former World Trade Centre has reopened as One World Trade Centre. Nicknamed ‘Freedom Tower’, the new building rises to the same height as the original buildings with the antenna on top of the roof raising the total height of the new tower to 1,776 feet symbolising the year 1776 when the ‘United States Declaration of Independence’ was signed. Make sure you visit One World Observatory on the 100th-floor for spectacular 360-degree views of the city.
6. Carnegie Hall
A young conductor in 1887 was searching for a new home for the Oratorio Society of New York when a chance encounter on a cruise ship to Europe with prominent billionaire businessman Andrew Carnegie led to something quite remarkable.
Opened in 1891 to a 5-day music festival, with guest of honour Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, today Carnegie Hall has become a global icon of music performances and considered to have acoustics equal to any venue in the world.
You’ll find the beautiful Renaissance building at West 57th Street and 7th Avenue just a few blocks from Central Park.
7. Statue of Liberty
Standing tall on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, Lady Liberty is a symbol of freedom and long the symbol of hope for a prosperous new life for immigrants to the US. A gift from the people of France in 1886, the Statue of Liberty was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and once described as a ‘’masterpiece of the human spirit’’. You can join a dedicated tour to the monument or the cheapest way to get a good close view is take the regular Staten Island ferry.
8. Grand Central Station
This iconic New York location, is more of a destination to itself. The most visited location in America, Grand Central teems with thousands of tourists and commuters each day. Tours are offered daily covering the lesser known history of the building and covers the many architectural points of interest.
9. Yankee Stadium
There is little more quintessentially American than taking in a ball game. And arguably the most famous baseball stadium in the world, is Yankee Stadium located in The Bronx. Owned by the New York Yankees baseball team, the new and most expensive baseball stadium to ever be built, re-opened in 2009 with a modern and advanced facility.
10. Morris–Jumel Mansion
Perhaps not top of mind for many visitors, for history buffs this 18th century home is a must-see. Built in 1765 by Roger Morris, a British military officer, the building is now a museum and on the National Historic Landmark Register, located in the Manhattan borough of Washington Heights. If the walls could talk, they would tell tales of revolutionary proportion. Used as the headquarters for both sides of the American Revolution, then General George Washington, used the premises in 1776 as his temporary headquarters after his army was forced to evacuate Brooklyn Heights following the loss to the British in the Battle of Long Island.
Published under license from Well Travelled