Things to Do in New York City - page 5
Arguably the most luxurious department store in the city, Saks Fifth Avenue is the result of a partnership between two powerful New York City department store families: the Saks’ and Gimbel Brothers. In September 1924, Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel opened this famous chain’s flagship store in Midtown Manhattan, next door to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and across the street from the site that would become, in 1939, Rockefeller Center.
Saks’ flagship building occupies an entire city block and is decorated in the Art Deco style, inspired by the 1925 Paris Exposition. The store’s layout is divided into a series of high-end specialty shops, each highlighting individual designers of clothing, accessories and home wares. The 8th floor shoe department, 10022-SHOE, is a fantasy-inducing collection of the world’s greatest luxury shoe designers, and is named with the zip code of the surrounding neighborhood.
It’s no surprise that one of the most iconic restaurants on earth also calls one of the most iconic city blocks its home. Hard Rock Café Times Square exists in the heart of New York City, where sky-high buildings, flashing lights and crowded streets meet. This kinetic destination welcomes visitors from around the globe to experience the energy and excitement of the big apple.
Visitors can tuck into heaping plates of American fare—like burgers, fries and frosty milkshakes—surrounded by an impressive collection of music memorabilia. The famed white suit of Led Zeppelin, the glossy white bass used by The Who and handwritten lyrics from Jimi Hendrix make this popular restaurant feel more like a museum than mealtime (though travelers say the vibe is way more fun).
More than 500 weird and wild artifacts, plenty of interactive exhibits and 20 themed galleries make a visit to this one-of-a-kind museum a real New York experience. From a two-headed calf to a pickled tourist head and an albino giraffe, a visit to Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Times Square is guaranteed to shock and amaze.
In addition to exploring the galleries filled with everything strange, grotesque and truly unique, travelers can also catch sword swallowers and cheese carvers in regularly scheduled (and incredibly wacky) sideshow performances at this quirky museum.
The oldest public park in one of America’s oldest cities, Bowling Green offers a serene escape in the middle of New York City’s urban jungle. Situated at the heart of the financial center and beside Wall Street, it is home to the famous Charging Bull bronze statue that has become a symbol of New York. Many visit the bull, which stands for aggression and economic success, to receive good luck.
The public area dates all the way back to 1733, and you’ll notice it is still surrounded by an 18th century iron fence. The teardrop-shaped square is framed with trees and manicured greenery, with an elegant fountain at its center and many benches for people to pause and enjoy.
Historically the space did indeed house a bowling green. It has also served as a trade route, market, and even a cattle field. It has always been a central meeting point in the city. It is even thought that the sale of Manhattan lands from an Indian tribal leader took place on these grounds.
Located in the heart of lower Manhattan near the Staten Island Ferry and Wall Street, The National Museum of the American Indian is home to one of the largest collections of Native American art and artifacts in the world. Travelers who venture to this destination will find more than 800,000 unique items on display, which detail the history, culture and traditions of America’s native people. And while a majority—close to 70 percent—of the museum’s collection is from the U.S., visitors will find plenty of items from Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.
Travelers can wander the galleries, which are jam-packed with pieces that detail the unique experiences of a variety of tribes, wander past photography displays, or settle in for one of the occasional movies or audio tours that’s on offer at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York.
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Also known as the Fashion District, New York’s Garment District is located in Manhattan between Fifth and Ninth Avenues and 34th and 42nd Streets. It gets its name due to the high concentration of show rooms, fashion brands, wholesale outlets and production spaces. Along with being a mecca for fabric and apparel, the Garment District is also worthwhile as shoppers can find everything from designer pieces to budget buys and sample sales.
Start your tour of the area at the Garment District Kiosk at 39th and Seventh Avenue to pick up maps, brochures and coupons that will help you navigate the many fashionable spaces. If you can only go to one shop in the area, make it Mood Fabrics which encompasses three floors of designer textiles. Visitors also enjoy walking the Fashion Hall of Fame from 38th to 40th along Seventh Avenue.
One of Manhattan’s most vibrant neighborhoods, the East Village has a storied history of New York’s counterculture, art and literature movements, and social and political acts including riots and protests. It was here that punk rock, experimental theater, and even Andy Warhol shows took root in New York City. As such, the area is considered a large contributor the arts and culture of the United States. Museums, libraries, festivals, and theaters can still be found in great number. It is also known for its thriving bar and budget restaurant scene.
The East Village was first developed as an artistic community in the 1950s with its affordable housing costs attracting many students, musicians, and alternative lifestyles. It is known still for its artistic attitude, nightlife, and diversity, though some would argue that the gentrification of the city is changing its culture.
The Conservatory Garden, located within Central Park, is a serene escape from the fast-paced urban life of Manhattan. It takes its name from a conservatory that stood on site until 1934 but is now a collection of fountains, sculptures and pathways through landscaped lanes. Spread across six acres, the garden is divided into three distinct areas influenced by French, Italian and English styles. It is also a designated “quiet zone” that has become known as almost a secret garden to many. The area is free of runners, bicyclists and dogs, and is a popular place for weddings. The garden has two massive seasonal floral displays: tulips in the spring and chrysanthemums in the fall. Whether you’re strolling through the hedges and flower displays or relaxing on a bench with a book, the Conservatory Garden is a colorful place of calm, natural beauty meant to be savored.
This iconic whitewashed house in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood was built in 1765 and is officially the oldest home in the borough. Now a museum dedicated to the city—and the nation’ —colorful past, the Morris-Jumel Mansion once served as the headquarters for the American Revolution. In addition to exploring the galleries, which are filled with historic artifacts and photographs, travelers can enjoy the expansive gardens, which are tended by local volunteers, and even relax during warmer months with live music performances in the stunning outdoor setting.
New York City is no stranger to the everyday hustle and bustle, and Penn Station, the city’s largest intercity train station, is no exception. Constructed in the early 20th century, it was designed in a Beaux-Arts style inspired by the Gare d’Orsay in Paris. It was once considered one of the most important architectural sites in New York. Unfortunately due to low utilization it was demolished in the 1950s. It was restored and reconstructed to its current station in 1969.
Today it is operated by Amtrak and serves more than 600,000 passengers daily — that’s more than any other transit station in North America. It brings in daily commuters from the surrounding areas of Long Island and New Jersey and is well-connected with the New York City Subway system. Often crowded, the multi-level underground station is one of the busiest spots in Manhattan.
Times Square is one of New York City’s most-visited landmarks and no street encapsulates all this destination has to offer quite like 42nd Street. It represents the heart of the Big Apple and the ultimate success to actors and actresses looking to make it on stage. But this busy spot has more to offer travelers than just live entertainment.
In addition to being the center of the theater district and a Times Square thoroughfare, this iconic stretch of street that runs from east to west is also home to several of the city’s most impressive sites. First-time visitors to this east coast city can check out the stunning Grand Central Station, Bryan Park’s urban Oasis, the United Nation’s Headquarters and the New York City Public Library without ever leaving 42nd Street! Since this is the main artery of one of America’s favorite cities, travelers will find it not only easy to access, but also easy to navigate, since literally all subway lines lead to 42th Street.
Located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side at 103 Orchard Street, the Tenement Museum provides insight on immigrant history and personal experiences of these people in the neighborhood. Visitors can tour a tenement building at 97 Orchard for a first-hand glimpse at what life was like for these people including the living conditions, challenges and hardships. These dwellings usually had no running water or electricity, and often housed whole families and sometimes business offices in just 375 square feet. There are an array of tours to choose from, some of which include “Shop Life,” “Sweatshop Workers” and “Irish Outsiders.” Which apartment you explore and family you learn about will depend on the tour you choose.
In the visitor center, a film is shown to give background knowledge before exploring further. Note: To visit these tenements you must take a tour. Be aware there is much stair climbing involved.
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