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Things to Do in New York City - page 3

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Battery Park
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Located on the southern tip of Manhattan, Battery Park is a 25-acre public park sitting right on the New York Harbor. The attraction is named after the artillery batteries that were once positioned there for protection. When visiting, it’s enjoyable to explore the many gardens, as well as admire the views of the Statue of Liberty and relax on a bench and listen to the water. While Battery Park gives visitors a chance to enjoy the outdoors, it also provides a glimpse into the past. For example, in 1855 the park’s Castle Garden became the world’s first immigrant depot. Additionally, the park also served as the gateway for European newcomers long before Ellis Island existed. Littered around the grounds you’ll also find memorials like the East Coast Memorial that honors the U.S. 4,601 missing servicemen who died during combat in the Atlantic Ocean during WWII and the New York Korean War Veterans Memorial, commemorating military personal who served during the Korean Conflict.

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Castle Clinton National Monument
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Before Ellis Island there was Castle Clinton. This historic Lower Manhattan destination once served as the first immigration stop for foreigners moving to the U.S., with some 8 million people passing through its doors between 1855 and 1890. And while the iconic brick building has had many lives—as a beer garden, theater and even an aquarium—today it serves as a national monument and museum.

Visitors tend to agree that while Castle Clinton holds a historic place in the story of New York City and is certainly worth checking out, the interior offers only a couple of displays that showcases stories of the Big Apple. Travelers heading to the Statue of Liberty can purchase tickets inside and make Castle Clinton part of the Battery Park experience.

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Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
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The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is one of the oldest buildings in Morningside Heights (a neighborhood in Manhattan’s Upper West Side) and is the home of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The historic cathedral is not only one of the oldest buildings in the area – it’s one of the most secretive. A tour through the cathedral yields the perceptive visitor many visual treasures, from a rare gold triptych by Keith Haring (his last work before his death) to an unusual sculpture of the Archangel Michael, the decapitated head of Satan, and nine giraffes (!).

The cathedral is home the largest rose window in the United States (the fifth-largest in the world), constructed from 10,000 stained-glass pieces. Other stained-glass windows depict historic, religious, and modern scenes. The cathedral is also one of the few buildings in Manhattan that allows visitors to access its roof, which provides a fantastic view of the New York City skyline.

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Governors Island
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Although a completely separate island that needs to be reached by way of ferry, Governors Island is technically part of the borough of Manhattan. To reach the destination -- which is open from late May through the end of September and is less than a half mile away from Lower Manhattan -- you can take a free ferry from the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street. Originally a military outpost, Governors Island began allowing warm-weather visitors in 2006. The island features 172 acres of history and tranquility through heritage sites, biking, picnicking, art and culture. Two remaining 19th-century forts, Fort Jay and Castle Williams, take visitors back to when the island was used for inner harbor defense. Additionally, because there are no cars or motorized vehicles allowed on the island, visitors enjoy renting bikes and cycling along the island’s 2.2-mile Great Promenade or to Picnic Point for some lunch and a direct view of the Statue of Liberty.

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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
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The world's premier modern art gallery, MoMA provides visitors with a master class in modernist and contemporary art. The collection numbers more than 150,000 works of art, along with a sizable film and photography collection. Familiar standouts include Monet's water lilies and works by van Gogh, Rousseau, Picasso, Dali, Warhol, Pollock, Andrew Wyeth, and Frida Kahlo.

Exhibitions are held from time to time, along with performance art and exhibits of architecture, prints, and illustrated books. The building was recently renovated to vastly expand the museum's exhibition space.

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Radio City Music Hall
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Radio City Music Hall is one of New York's leading music and entertainment venues - in fact, its vertical neon sign is a New York icon. Radio City Music Hall is also the largest indoor theater in the world, with the world's biggest stage curtains to match.

Part of the 1930s Rockefeller Center, the legendary 6,000-seat theater hosts the annual Christmas Spectacular as well as a stunning line-up of singers, bands, comedians and performers throughout the year. Take a Stage Door tour to learn about the Radio City Rockettes, explore the glorious Art Deco interior and see the Great Stage.

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Bryant Park
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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.

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Apollo Theater
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The Apollo Theater in the heart of Harlem is one of the world’s most famous live music venues. Some of the biggest names in contemporary music have played the Apollo, including Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and the master of soul, James Brown.

Hear jazz, blues or R&B, or come along on a Wednesday evening for the long-running Amateur Night. Stars who first flexed their talents as amateurs on the Apollo’s legendary stage include Michael Jackson and Lauryn Hill.

Informative and entertaining daily tours highlight the history of the Apollo and the performers who've played there.

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Seaport District NYC
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Located next to the Financial District where Fulton Street meets the East River, South Street Seaport is a historic neighborhood known for its attractions, shopping, restaurants, nightlife and harbor views. In the summer, locals flock to the area to have beers and frozen margaritas on the pier as well as catch the water taxis and ferries to sites like the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and Governors Island from Pier 16. Browse the many shops like Victoria’s Secret, Britches of New York, The Body Shop and Filmline Gallery. You can also get to know the area’s rich sea commerce history through the Seaport Museum, as well as ships docked at Pier 17 that act as living museums. For dinner and drinks, simply hop along the many venues on Pier 17 or head to Beekman Beer Garden, which offers a full menu, refreshing beers and close-up views of the Brooklyn Bridge.

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More Things to Do in New York City

Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden

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Madison Square Garden is one of the world’s most famous sports and entertainment stadiums. Dubbed the Garden, the 1960s-era indoor arena stands on the site of the much-lamented Beaux Arts Pennsylvania Station.

The Garden hosts around 320 events a year, and is the home of the New York Rangers hockey, New York Knicks basketball, and New York Liberty women’s basketball teams. You can also catch circus acts, athletics meets, dog shows, conventions, lacrosse, wrestling, boxing, or a rock concert.

There are several other venues within the complex, including the WaMu Theater, an expo center, restaurants, and retail outlets.

All-access daily tours go behind the scenes, and a series of plaques commemorate the achievements of athletes and performers on the Walk of Fame.

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Whitney Museum of American Art (The Whitney)

Whitney Museum of American Art (The Whitney)

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The Whitney (as it’s locally known) was established in 1931 by sculptor and arts patron Getrude Vanderbilt Whitney when the Metropolitan Museum of Art rejected her personal collection of 600 avant-garde works of art. Originally arranged amongst a trio of Greenwich Village townhouses, the present Upper East Side incarnation of the Whitney is a granite cube with upside-down windows, designed by famed Modernist architect Marcel Breuer. The museum houses over 19,000 unique, modern and sometimes controversial works from the 20th and 21st centuries, many by still-living artists.

Especially renowned for its Whitney Biennial exhibition, which highlights the work of young and emerging artists, the museum is devoted to connecting under-the-radar artists with New York’s wealthiest and most influential art collectors. Held every two years in the spring, the Biennial often features huge sculpture displays that are mounted in nearby Central Park.

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Madame Tussauds New York

Madame Tussauds New York

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New York City is home to some of the biggest celebrities and most famous faces—but a walk through Midtown doesn’t always result in getting star struck. Luckily the quirky Madame Tussauds—an iconic wax museum in the heart of Times Square—offers travelers the chance to check getting up close and personal with big names in music, movies and television off their list.

From world leaders to Hollywood stars, the halls of Madame Tussauds are filled to the brim with faces recognized across the globe. Travelers can saddle up for photo ops that will have friends back home believing that lunch with Leonardo DiCaprio really did happen on a visit to the Big Apple.

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Broadway

Broadway

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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).

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TriBeCa

TriBeCa

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Located in lower Manhattan, TriBeCa, or “Triangle Below Canal,” is known for its cobblestone streets, low crime rate, trendy restaurants and high-quality boutiques. Enjoy sashimi tacos, lobster ceviche and tuna tataki at Nobu, an upscale Japanese restaurant, or for something more budget-friendly, Tamarind Tribeca, which offers delicious chicken tikka masala, punjabi mutton and lobster masala. If you’re sightseeing, visit the Hudson River Park, featuring 550 acres of green along the Hudson River, or the Skyscaper Museum, which offers a look into the history of New York City skyscrapers and introduces visitors to important industry people. If you’re visiting in the spring, check out the Tribeca Film Festival to see inspiring independent and family-friendly films.

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Museum of Sex

Museum of Sex

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Come learn about the history, the evolution, and the cultural significance of human sexuality. The Museum of Sex (MoSex) collects and preserves art and artifacts, and has had more than 25 exhibitions and 6 virtual installations since it first opened in 2002. The museum’s mission is to advocate open discourse around sexuality while presenting top-notch current scholarship in an unhindered and uncensored way. The museum showcases material and artifacts from many different cultures, continents, and time periods in many different media. The permanent collection has more than 15,000 objects including art, photography, clothing, technology, and historical artifacts (think Japanese Shunga prints and vintage condoms). The research library maintains a collection of works that ranges from the historically significant to current art to fiction.

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New York City West Village

New York City West Village

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Spyscape

Spyscape

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Belvedere Castle

Belvedere Castle

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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.

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Ground Zero Museum Workshop

Ground Zero Museum Workshop

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Ground Zero is the 16-acre site on Lower Manhattan that, until the tragic events of September 11, 2001, was home to the twin towers of the World Trade Center. America's most sacred ground is now a construction site, as the frames of the Libeskind Memory Foundation take shape.

The planned redevelopment includes several World Center tower buildings, a memorial museum, and landscaped plaza. The original footprints of the two former World Trade Center towers will be preserved as reflecting pools.

Whether you take a walking tour, drop into the nearby Ground Zero Museum Workshop or view the tributes on nearby Church Street, a visit to Ground Zero is an emotional, numbing experience that's not soon forgotten. It's a site for reflection and respect rather than snapping photographs.

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Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

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Built in the former home of the National Biscuit Company (where the Oreo was born), this Chelsea landmark was opened in 1997 as a multi-purpose market and business complex. A foodie haven, the Market is home to some of the most sought-after treats in New York City (including Jacques Torres Chocolate), as well as a handful of acclaimed restaurants (like sushi hotspot Morimoto), and the studios and offices of the Food Network.

Gently redesigned by Vandeberg Architects, Chelsea Market today features a splashy shopping arcade, but still incorporates much of the vintage ductwork, tiling, and signboards of the original National Biscuit Company. The 1890s version of the structure was divided into two major buildings connected by a pedestrian walkway; that walkway, which runs through the building on its 10th Avenue side, is now a portion of the High Line, a mile-long elevated greenway that repurposes an old stretch of the New York Central Railroad.

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Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

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Located between West 62nd and 65th and Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a cultural hub focused on music, dance and theater. Each year, the center puts on hundreds of performances throughout 26 venues. The center is composed of 12 elite performing arts organizations, some of which include The Juilliard School, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic. Along with taking in a performance, visitors can opt for a guided tour of Lincoln Center to see what goes on behind the scenes and to get more in-depth knowledge on the performances and venues. Tours are available in English, as well as Spanish, Japanese, French, Italian, German, and American Sign Language upon request. Throughout the year, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts puts on various major events, some of which include Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the New York Film Festival and the Mostly Mozart Festival.
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Bowling Green

Bowling Green

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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.

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Hudson River

Hudson River

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The Hudson River winds its way through 315-miles of scenic eastern New York State landscape, past some of the region’s best hiking trails, outdoor attractions and historical landmarks. The famous river, which runs between the shores of New Jersey and New York, is a touchstone to Native American traditions, early colonial roots and classic American artistry.

Travelers looking to explore the natural beauty of this iconic east coast river can rent bikes and cruise along the newly renovated Hudson River Greenway in Manhattan. Full-day boat cruises narrated by real-life history buffs are another fun way to experience the famous river. Intrepid travelers who want to experience old-world New York can venture to Bear Mountain, where quaint camp grounds and a shallow swimming pond offer plenty of family fun, and scenic hiking trails lead to uninterrupted views of the rambling Hudson River.

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