All About New York City ~ Guide on things to do and places to visit

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Travel Features >> All About New York City ~ Guide on things to do and places to visit

All About New York City ~ Guide on things to do and places to visit

April 19, 2011

If anyone were ever to name a capital city for the world there would really be only one logical option – New York City, unquestionably the urban destination typifying the idea of a city and all that it stands for. While there are a number of other options like London, Paris possibly even Hong Kong there will never be anything akin to or even similar to New York. It is a city that is truly alive at every corner, down every street – the canyons of the city positively pulsate with life. It is also a city made up of a number of distinct neighborhoods. They exist as worlds within New York City each with its own particular characteristics.

Area wise
The various ghettos of New York all cater to the different publics that populate this metropolis. While living in the East or even now the West side of Manhattan remains the preserve of the up and coming, those that have already arrived live along the boundaries of Central Park or alternatively in the new chic areas such as Tribeca (the triangle below Canal Street) or SoHo (South of Houston Street) which used to be an artists preserve. The art culture now centers itself primarily in the Greenwich Village Area, a fact that is proudly displayed by its inhabitants. The areas of Brooklyn and Harlem have their own distinct flavor, the former being representative of a number of different ethnicities while the latter effectively captures the African American culture of the city. There are sites all over the city be it Liberty and Ellis Island, the Empire State building, Times Square, the Brooklyn Pier and Bridge, Central Park, the innocuous Wall Street or even the United Nations.

Different Strokes for Different Folks
While exploring the various sections of the city is adventure enough for any traveler there are a number of different activities and things to do that will suit a number of different tastes as well as a whole range of budgets. There is no shortage of entertainment in New York – be it street artists or an Opera at the Lincoln Center or “Fosse” on Broadway. The other beauty of New York is that it is truly a city that never sleeps with a number of different activities that are available to you almost 24 hours a day. Stand-up comics are a dime a dozen and there are some fantastic clubs at which you can find some of the more famous performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Dennis O’Leary, Ted Alexandro and the like alongside upcoming talent. Another favorite is to attend a taping of shows hosted by the likes of David Letterman, Rosie O’Donnell, the famous Saturday Night Live or maybe even MTV’s own Total Request Live. However, be warned that for any of these shows, lines start rather early in the morning and for MTV’s show its quite likely that you will have to fight off hordes of pubescent teenagers shrieking outside of the MTV Studio in Times Square.

Culture Vultures
For lovers of art and culture, New York is home to some of the finest collections situated in some of the most fantastic museums all on and around the magnificent “Museum Mile” which runs down the East side of Central Park. The names are synonymous with some of the best art and culture exhibits on public display and are most definitely must visits– the Whitney Museum, MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), the Guggenheim, and even the Museum of the city of New York. For aviation and military enthusiasts a visit to the West side of town is essential to visit the Chelsea Pier where you can board a Nimitz class aircraft carrier that is also host to some of the best military hardware on display. Tours are available across the city from the informational to the obscure, a trip around Harlem or Brooklyn – even the famous Hell’s Kitchen area; to a tour profiling various destinations captured in the TV series Seinfeld.

Calling Shopaholics
Shoppers of the world unite! New York is a shopper’s delight covering as always a wide spectrum of budgets without the compromise on quality. From gadgets to clothes to home appliances, furniture or toys New York is home to all the big names. A walk down Fifth or Madison Avenue is sure to get that credit card going. However, places like Greenwich Village, SoHo and the Fashion District are full of cheap, if hard to find merchandise.

Sports Enthusiasts
If you are tired of all the shopping, New York is home to the Knicks – basketball, the Rangers – hockey, the Jets and Giants – football and of course the Yankees – baseball. With almost some sport likely to be in season at the time of your visit this is an experience that is well worth the expense and the effort. A trip to Yankee stadium for a baseball game is a chance to watch one of the greatest sports teams in its element. Yankee stadium in of itself is a shrine and well worth the visit.

Entertainingly yours
Times Square is a magnificent monument of the change that has epitomized New York’s conversion from a dangerous destination to a tourist friendly destination likely to be found on almost every travel itinerary. What was once a seedy area has become a focal point for the entertainment, pomp and glitz that typify New York. Neon signs abound with ad companies fighting tooth and nail for some of the most expensive hoarding space in the world. From the latest in entertainment and news to live financial news supplied by the Nasdaq exchange on the North West of the Square. Catch a glimpse of the building from which every year the crystal ball drops signifying the beginning of a new year anchored by Dick Clark. This is also the place to come early in the morning to get cheap tickets to Broadway shows at the corner just outside of the Doubletree Hotel. The lines are immensely long by about 10 o’clock so come early and there is a good chance of getting great seats for some of the best theatre available.

Food, Glorious Food!
New York is a “foodie’s” delight. Whether you want sushi or tacos, cannelloni or kebabs, bagels or bratwurst its all available within the boundaries of Manhattan. Fantastic eating-places are located up and down the island, spread out over New York’s entire grid like landscape. There are restaurants to suit every budget be it French food at Le Cirque or maybe a grilled chicken dosa from the Hampton Chutney Co. Restaurants abound in the up-market Tribeca area, Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Grill and Nobu, a great place to people watch, movie stars and American royalty. It is essential to try at least once the enormous variety of cuisine that is available up and down the canyons of New York – the perennial favorite – the hot dog with mustard and relish all the way to jerk chicken from the Caribbean. Ideal for a spring and fall day when the entire office population seems to empty their skyscrapers to populate the streets and parks around lunchtime. For true foodies an essential visit is one made to the grocer’s that dot the Manhattan area, even if you don’t buy anything its an amazing opportunity to sample foods, marvel at presentation or just inhale the aromas of hundreds of different foods. This also presents a great opportunity to see some of the more famous people in the world – be it celebrities from the entertainment, political or business empires. Some of the better places to do this are Balducci’s in midtown, Zabar’s, which is further uptown, or the celebrity hotspot better known as Dean & Deluca.

Navigating through the City
New York is extremely easy to navigate around and despite all that has been said New Yorkers are a lot friendlier than they are often made out to be. The entire city is laid out in a block structure with Central Park forming the Central node of the grid. Transport is extremely tourist friendly with one pass applicable for both the bus and subway systems There are three different airports that service the Greater Manhattan area and though none of them are close to one another this means that NYC is one of the best connected cities in the world with flights to everywhere in America and the rest of the World. In a bid to maintain its popularity with tourists as well as provide facilitation there is tourist information available all across the city with special charges for tourists on almost all activities and events.

If you are looking for a relaxed vacation with absolutely no itinerary, no plans and each day catered to on a one off basis there is absolutely no place like New York. With a multitude of activities, food galore, sights uncountable, unbelievable shopping and an energy that you will never experience elsewhere, it gives you the ability to do exactly what you want, when you want and on your terms. However, be warned the energy of the city is infectious and a New York vacation will always leave you wanting to come back for more.

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