New York City
The "Big Apple" is often called the Capital of the World, and justly so as not only is it the home of Wall Street, Broadway, 5th Avenue, the Statue of Liberty and the United Nations, but its magnitude as an immigration portal means just by walking the busy streets, you'll rub shoulders with an amazing melting pot of humanity.
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Sites and Experience Highlights in New York City... (click for more)
The sites of New York City are too numerous to list, and for many visitors, their most memorable experience might be a celebrity sighting, a hot-dog stand, or a flamboyant street performer. But below is a list of the highlights most visitors come to see.
A short ferry ride takes you to these two great symbols of America as the land of opportunity and freedom. The best views of the Statue of Liberty are front the ferry and the island itself, but reserved tickets (limited availability) allow visitors to climb up to the pedestal platform. Nearby, Ellis Island served as the primary US Immigration processing center during peak years, but is now restored as the US Immigration Museum. There’s a good chance that some of your own blood flowed through here, as an estimated 1/3 of Americans can claim ancestry through Ellis Island.
A walking tour of Lower Manhattan takes in NYC’s earliest and most recent history. This is where the first European settlers began colonizing at the mouth of the Hudson River, but it is also where some of NYC’s most modern buildings and corporate giants are located. Battery Park and Bowling Green both make for natural retreats from the surrounding hub-bub, as Trinity Church and Saint Paul’s Church offer historical and spiritual sanctuary. Stand on Wall Street in front of Federal Hall where George Washington became the first President of a struggling nation, and look upon the New York Stock Exchange where that nation now struggles with volatile prosperity. A reverent stop at the September 11th Memorial is a must, where one will be able to walk around the memorial fountain footprints of the World Trade Center towers attacked on 9/11. The underground museum takes people back to the tragic day that changed our history. The new One World Trade Center "Freedom Tower", is the tallest building in the US at appropriately 1776 feet tall, and visitors can go up to the One World Observatory.
Mid-Town Manhattan is a shopping and entertainment section with the Garment District, Macy’s famous department store, Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building all within a few blocks. The elevator trip and view from the Empire State Building’s viewing platform is justifiably romanticized and is a must see while in NYC.
Times Square. Stand in the middle of the crossing created by Broadway and 7th Ave and you’ll know this is the spot where “the city never sleeps.” This is the neon, marquis-lit Theater district filled with megastores, theme restaurants, and mostly comical street peddlers. It’s also where the nation celebrates the New Year.
Rockefeller Center is another hub of “as seen on TV” activity. One can take the NBC Studio Tour, or come early and try to snag a second of celebrity in the background shots of NBC’s Today Show. The view from Top of the Rock is perhaps the best in the city, day or night allowing you a full view of central park. Tours are also available of the nearby Radio City Music Hall.
5th Avenue is home to some of the most prestigious stores in America, but also to many other theme stores within reach of the common folk. This stretch of “shopping on steroids” is invigorating to some, but to those whom it merely overwhelms, there are peaceful retreats to be found in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest gothic Catholic cathedral in the US, and in tranquil Central Park.
Central Park: Right in the heart of Manhattan, the grid pattern of streets give way to this oasis of winding paths, rolling lawns, gardens, ponds, and playgrounds. While tourists may hire a horse carriage, pedi-cab, or rowboat, New Yorkers love this recreation retreat even more on foot. Warmer weather brings out many entertaining street musicians.
Brooklyn Bridge: a walk across the pedestrian and bike path provides great views over the East River, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Chinatown and Little Italy are overlapping neighborhoods with Chinatown’s expanding cheap shops, exotic food stands, and cafes dominating the area in recent decades, but Little Italy maintains its character along restaurant-lined Mulberry Street.
The American Museum of Natural History is the largest natural history museum in the world and is bustling with artifacts and displays on wildlife, ecology, environment and human culture.
West Point is up-river a few hours from NYC and one can tour the US Army’s elite training academy
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