Iconic New York
Attractions with an indelible impact on the city’s identity
New York, new worlds
The inner workings of America from the artistic soul to the interplanetary travel, and the human body itself
Doing New York right
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Not just America’s signature city, New York is the world’s city. When people think of a gleaming, dynamic metropolis New York is usually what they imagine. From downtown grit to uptown glamour, almost everything you could possibly want out of a city can be found here. New York has everything. Broadway smash hits and sky-rise cocktail bars. Basement improv comedy clubs and dive-bars (yes, they still exist here!). And of course: the mighty Central Park! Anything you want out of a city, the Big Apple has more (and more varieties) of it than you can imagine. As Alicia Keys said: There's nothin' you can't do/ Now you're in New York.
The subway and the cab are your two best options for getting around New York. There's also an extensive bus network but navigating it isn’t quite as intuitive as reading a subway map. Plus there’s a certain gritty pleasure in mastering subway lingo directions like: “Take the Uptown 1, 2 or 3 trains to the cross-town Q.” Figure out a few routes and you’ll feel like a real New Yoikah. A single ride on either subway or bus costs $3 - or if you plan on riding the subway a lot buy an unlimited week-long pass for $31.50. The famous yellow cab needs no prep: just master a two-finger whistle, or yell "TAXI!"
There's a global love of food truck and stalls with hipster-inflected flourishes. New York is no exception; except it probably has the best of the trend. Like lobster rolls, langos (essentially Hungarian pizza) and fish-tempura burritos. You should definitely try these fancy versions, but don't forget: NYC was doing street food before it became cool. So while in the Big Apple make sure to try the two originals: the hot dog and the halal carts. Grab a dog to go, or a styrofoam container loaded up with rice and chicken, shwarma or falafel, and park yourself on a bench. You're no longer visiting, you've arrived!
Started in 1931 by philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, the eponymous museum is still going strong. It's got paintings, sculptures, drawings, videos, photography and new media. Andy Warhol is probably the most well-known of the artists featured, but the collection includes other 20th century titans. It holds American flags by Jasper Johns, enlarged flowers by Georgia O’Keefe and paintings of everyday minutiae by Edward Hopper. These works, and indeed the whole collection, offer insights into the American psyche. In 2015 The Whitney moved into a new Downtown building designed by famed architect Renzo Piano. It now not only has more space than ever to showcase its massive art collection, it also offers fantastic views out onto New York, the city where American dreams are made (and dashed).
It's like New York City’s backyard - except in the heart of the city. Based on your experience watching movies like Hannah And Her Sisters, Breakfast At Tiffany's and Wall Street, you might think you know it. But do you have any idea just how big it is? It's 51 city blocks long, and many avenues wide. And within this expanse there are many worlds. You can come here on successive days and do completely different things. Sunbathe on its grassy lawns, go jogging or roller-blading, or visit a zoo. There’s a forest here that's great for bird-watching (some feathery residents refuse to visit other parts of NYC). There are also numerous ponds, Belvedere Castle, a summer theater famous for its Shakespeare and… much more. In short, Central Park is as diverse as the city itself, so give yourself some time to explore.
It’s somewhat of a stretch to describe Lower Manhattan as off-the-beaten-track but in a city that is seemingly ubiquitous in pop culture, this part of Manhattan has perhaps the most nuance to it. The streets here aren’t laid out in a grid, but have the angled and curving nature of an older European city, and the buildings tend to be of an older vintage too. You also get views of the harbor; the only thing that rivals the might of this city is the scope of the ocean. The area is home to the ethnic neighborhoods of Little Italy and Chinatown and also hosts that most American of institutions: Wall Street. It’s a great area to explore, especially without an agenda. But don't miss what awaits you at the very tip of the island: Lady Liberty herself. Grab a bench, sit yourself down and gaze out on this symbol of freedom. It’s quite a way to spend a New York minute.
The MET is a titan of world art. It’s the largest art museum in the US and every bit the equal of world institutions such as Madrid's Prado, the Louvre in Paris and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Within these hallowed walls are two million works of art (no, that's not a typo). The art here is divided into 17 curatorial areas that cover most of human history. You’ll find art from most of the world’s cultures (Egyptian, Islamic, European, to name just a few) and exhibits on arms and armor, photographs, musical instruments and costumes. You’ll never 'conquer' The Met in a single day, so don't even try. Either focus on the areas that really float your boat or perhaps adopt a Zen-like approach to The Met: simply explore it (and therefore, the world) by wandering through it in a state of child-like wonder, and follow whatever catches your eye.