One Magazine’s Jake Tucker heads to the Big Apple in search of iconic sights, luminous cityscape views and its energetic atmosphere.
New York, New York – so good they named it twice. Arguably one of the most exciting cities in the world with its iconic sights and skyline, vibrant lights, quirky characters and more bars and restaurants than you could ever dream of. With so much to see, do and experience, a trip to the Big Apple provides you with one of the best film sets in the world and a surprisingly welcoming cast, allowing you to make your very own movie. But what should you include?
Of course, anybody visiting New York for the first time should definitely visit the city’s main attractions. You can purchase a Citypass for roughly £90 which includes admission to the top NYC experiences including The Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and three choice tickets giving you the options of either the Top of the Rock or the Guggenheim, the Statue of Liberty or a sightseeing cruise, and the 9/11 Memorial Museum or the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Visiting just four of these attractions sees you saving money over regular admission price, so it really is a must have for all new visitors to the city.
The American Museum of Natural History sitting proudly across from Central Park makes for a great start to your trip. This grand building gives you the chance to learn some background information, as well as how the city came to be New York instead of New Amsterdam. Prepare to spend a good few hours here taking in all of the exhibitions spread across the four floors. Once you’re done, take a stroll across the road into Central Park for some fresh air and explore this peaceful retreat away from the concrete jungle. Why not hire a rowing boat and enjoy some time on the lake? Or simply enjoy wandering through the beautiful paths and terraces.
An elevator ride to the top of the Rockefeller Centre and the Empire State Building will leave you in awe as you take in stunning views across Manhattan and beyond. The Citypass gives you the bonus opportunity of visiting the top of the Empire State twice in one day, morning and night, for two completely different views – the luminous skyscrapers and the glow of Times Square from above is a sight to behold. The queues can be long at peak times, so try and get there very early or late to avoid the wait.
Although the main attractions are the star of the show for first time visitors, it’s not until you dig a little deeper into the Big Apple’s core that you really start to experience New York’s creative, energetic atmosphere. The subway system is cheap, efficient and easy to use and makes for a great way to visit the very different districts of the city, although I’d certainly recommend some urban wandering to take in the inspiring street art, architecture and the general sights and sounds of the streets.
A walk along the Highline, a disused overhead railway line that has now been revitalised into an arty garden project, is a must-do and will lead you into the charming district of Chelsea with its popular indoor market and boutique eateries. Be sure to venture south off of the grid-based block layout and let yourself get lost in the heart of the financial district as you take in the oldest part of the city, including Wall Street and Federal Hall. A short walk from here is Battery Park, another of the city’s green havens this time by the waterside. Relax with a spot of people watching as you look out towards the Statue of Liberty.
No trip to New York is complete without sampling its many culinary delights. Over 20,000 to be exact! With a whole mix of cuisines and restaurant styles, there really is something to capture everyone and portion sizes certainly aren’t for the faint-hearted either. Sample a hot dog from a street seller, buy authentic pizza by the slice and treat yourself to a touch of class in one of the city’s top eateries. NYC will keep food-lovers in their element.
New York makes a great destination all year-round but the spring and autumn months make for the best visits. Summer can be very humid but winter, although very cold – particularly when you’re 102 floors up – is totally magical, especially around the Christmas period as snow falls thick and fast.
No matter when you visit, this captivating metropolis will capture your heart in a way you’ll never understand until you’ve experienced it. So what are you waiting for?