Things to Do in New York - page 4
Housed in a former New York City deli, the 9/11 Tribute Center has been paying homage to the lost lives of September 11 victims through photography and artifact displays, as well as the art of storytelling since 2006. Visitors can explore the halls of this memorial founded by The September 11th Families’ Association, and learn about one of the most notorious days in the city’s history. Travelers can take a five-point tour with one of 200 trained guides who will share their sobering stories, experiences and memories of this tragic day. Audio tours featuring a more in-depth look at the narratives of more than 20 guides are also available to help tourist navigate the galleries filled with iconic images, family photos and other items from the World Trade Center attacks. A unique oral history collection of more than 400 unique retellings of the day is one of the major highlights of this unique memorial center that is not to be missed.
Broadway, one of New York's most famous streets, runs the full length of Manhattan. However for most visitors to New York the name Broadway is synonymous with theater, musicals and first-run shows. Broadway more than any other street in America stands for entertainment. The heart of Broadway is the few blocks surrounding Times Square. Book Broadway tickets in advance for guaranteed seats and pricing. Local sellers also offer last-minute deals (if not always great seats).
Located in Brooklyn, Dumbo, or “Down Under The Manhattan Bridge,” is a small, artsy neighborhood offering clear views of Manhattan, the New York Harbor and Statue of Liberty, as well as creative galleries and quirky shops. For the best views from Dumbo, stroll down Front Street to snap memorable photos from different perspectives, or walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. To experience the neighborhood’s creative side, take in an innovative performance at St. Ann's Warehouse or walk down Front Street and browse the many art museums and galleries like the Dumbo Arts Center, the Nelson Hancock Gallery and 5+5 Gallery. For artsy eats, ReBar is an indie movie theater with an extensive food and drink menu, while the Archway Cafe is like an eatery and gallery in one.
To get to Dumbo there are various options. One scenic way, as mentioned above, is to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and follow the pedestrian path to Dumbo. Another option is to take the subway.
New York City’s famous Meatpacking District is a 24-hour destination known for its fashion, culture, design and food. This neighborhood, located on the west side of Manhattan, spans approximately 20 square blocks and is popular for its nightlife and even its historical side. The market-filled industrial center was once solely home to meatpacking plants, lumber yards and scores of open-air meat markets, and after an unseemly period during the 1980s when the area was a hotbed for scandal, a new transformation began. In the late 1990s, high-end boutiques and restaurants began opening, and the completion of the High Line Park in 2009 really set the Meatpacking District apart. And in May 2015, one of New York’s most well-respected art institutes, the Whitney Museum, opens its doors in the neighborhood. Although the Meatpacking District has changed significantly over time, its historical past is still evident today.
Paying tribute to Civil War hero and former president General Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia, the General Grant Memorial is the largest tomb in North America. General Grant is commended for his role in ending the bloodiest war in American history, with his words “let us have peace” immortalized in the structure.
The large granite and marble mausoleum is surrounded by seventeen intricate, Gaudi-inspired benches designed by Chilean artist Pedro Silva. The structure itself takes after classical inspiration with Doric columns and an Ionic colonnade. It bears resemblance to some of the ancient monuments of Rome. The interior, however, was inspired by the Tomb of Napoleon at Les Invalides in Paris.
Located at 151 West 34th Street, Macy’s Herald Square is the department brand’s flagship store. Since its opening in 1902 the flagship store in particular is advertised as the world’s largest department store, although according to the “Guinness Book of World Records” the title now belongs to Shinsegae’s store in South Korea’s Centum City, which is 5,487,595 square feet and over twice the size of Macy’s Herald Square. Even so, it is almost impossible not to find what you’re looking for in the department store, which showcases over 1 million square feet of merchandise over 10-and-a-half levels. Browse everything from cosmetics to apparel to housewares and beyond. In fact, the space is so expansive they have a Visitor Center on the 34th Street Balcony Level and restaurant located throughout.
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A welcome patch of green in Downtown Manhattan, Union Square is one of New Yorkers’ favorite city squares. It’s the place for public gatherings, yoga and exercise classes, and for people from all walks of life to take a break and catch some sunshine, eat lunch, or read a book.
Stock up on fresh produce at the wonderful Greenmarket held here Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays, and Saturdays, and if you’re here in November/December you can pick up gifts at the holiday market. Some striking architecture surrounds the square, and you’ll find statues of famous figures dotted throughout, including Washington, Lincoln, Lafayette, and Mahatma Gandhi. Big-name stores and fine restaurants are nearby, and Chelsea, Greenwich Village, and the Flatiron District are just a stroll away.
Set in a converted brick warehouse in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood, this chocolate wonderland is the flagship of Jacques Torres’ mini-empire of treats. An Algerian-born French pâtissier whose resume includes New York’s famed Le Cirque, Torres not only makes his own dark- and milk-chocolates, he bakes his own croissants – which you can enjoy here at one of two highly coveted café tables.
Often referred to as “Mr. Chocolate,” Torres was of the first chocolatiers to use graphic prints on his confections, as well as unique flavors and ingredients like ancho chile and passion fruit. He creates Champagne-filled chocolate corks, menageries of chocolate animals, and his own signature chocolate lollipops, in addition to ice cream, cookies, and an enormous chocolate bar called the Big Daddy. His popularity has allowed him to open five other locations in Manhattan, including an outpost in Chelsea Market.
Fraunces Tavern is a national historic landmark, museum, and restaurant in New York City, famous for being the place where George Washington bid farewell to his troops at the end of the American Revolution. Since 1904, the building has been owned by the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York Inc., who claim it is Manhattan’s oldest surviving building. It is part of the New York Freedom Trail and the American Whiskey Trail. The museum’s mission is to create appreciation for New York City history as it relates to Colonial America, the Revolutionary War, and the Early Republic.
Through the varied exhibitions of art and artifacts relating to the museum’s historic site, the museum aims to create this appreciation through educating the public. Different exhibits include the ‘Long Room,’ the site of General George Washington’s farewell to his officers at the end of the Revolution. The room is a recreation of an 18th century public dining room.
Designed in the late 1860s by architects Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead and as part of their “Greensward Plan” to beautify a then-young Central Park, this turret-topped castle of schist and granite stands atop Vista Rock, looking out on the woodlands of The Ramble, the Turtle Pond, and panoramic views of the Upper West Side.
Originally built in 1865 as a Victorian Folly – a structure with no intended use beyond sheer delight – it would come to be used as both a weather station and a nature center. In 1919, the National Weather Service began taking wind and rainfall readings from the top floor of Belvedere’s tower, the highest point in Central Park; this practice continues today. Over the next several decades, the largely empty structure of high ceilings and winding staircases fell into increasing disrepair, until it was renovated and re-opened in 1983 as the Henry Luce Nature Observatory.
In the lobby of the American Express headquarters at the World Financial Center in New York City, the company has created a memorial honoring the eleven American Express employees who were killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The memorial was designed by lower Manhattan artist Ken Smith. The foundation of the memorial is composed around a black granite reflecting pool with eleven sides. A 600-lb piece of Brazilian quartz is shaped like a tear and carved with eleven sides. The quartz is suspended over the granite reflecting pool by eleven thin cables. Inscribed in the sides of the granite pool are the names of the victims who died in the attack, along with five words or phrases describing each person. “Tear drops” of water fall gently from the ceiling into the pool below, and a nearby plaque offers more personal details on each of the victims.
Located in Manhattan at 175 Fifth Avenue and Broadway, the Flatiron Building is a groundbreaking skyscraper. Built in 1902, it encompasses 22 stories and 307 feet. While not the tallest skyscaper in New York, it’s dramatic Beaux-Arts facade makes it a popular attraction, especially with photographers. What also makes it unusual is, unlike other early skyscrapers in New York that looked like rising towers, the Flatiron building showcases a concept from the Chicago school that divides the facade into a base, shaft and capital, which makes sense as it was designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. The name of building stems from its resemblance to a cast-iron clothing iron. Interestingly, back then the building’s unique shape was thought to create intense updrafts that would lift women’s skirts passing on 23rd Street. If a man tried to sneak a peak, police should shout “Hey! 23 skidoo!” This is thought to be where the phrase comes from.
Located between 40th and 42nd Street and Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Bryant Park encompasses 9.6 acres of public green space and recreation. For those looking for a respite from the bustling city, Bryant Park provides a relaxed atmosphere with historical monuments, colorful flower beds, London plane trees, the 300-foot lawn and the Southwest Porch lounge where you can relax on rockers and swings and enjoy free wireless. Play games like chess, backgammon and ping pong or get a free petanque lesson Monday through Friday from 11am to 6pm. For something whimsical, Bryant Park also features a timeless carousel. In the winter, the park is full of festive cheer with an ice skating rink as well as a makeshift village of “streets” lined with artisanal holiday shops. And no matter what time of year it is, visitors can enjoy quality food and drinks in the park. While Bryant Park Grill features American cuisine and a rooftop for aerial city views, Bryant Park Cafe is an informal outdoor cafe.
This bank in the heart of Lower Manhattan is one of 12 Federal Reserves in America. Visitors can go behind the scenes of trading rooms, museum and the famous vault—which holds some 900 tons of gold—on a guided small group tour of this iconic finance destination. Informative guides share stories about the banking system, American currency, global trade and importance of gold to the national economy.
Although tours are free, space is limited and most visitors will need to book at least 30 days in advance. Tours of this high-security landmark are ideal for families and visitors receive packets of shredded out-of-circulation cash as they leave the premise. It’s unlikely non-ticketed travelers will be able to enter the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, but the building’s exterior is impressive and still worth wandering past while in Lower Manhattan.
Things to do near New York
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