10 “Must See” Places in NYC For Your First Trip: A Self-Guided Tour

by: Max Vishnev, founding father of CityRover Walks NY and licensed NYC tour information

Should you’re planning your first trip NYC, the sheer variety of landmarks to visit could possibly be overwhelming.  So we boiled it right down to our Prime 10 “Must See” places, with some fascinating historical tidbits and meals and occasional suggestions near every one.

This free New York City information consists of Wall Road, the Excessive Line, Grand Central Terminal, Washington Sq., Central Park, and extra. We wrote it with first-time NYC guests in thoughts, in order that you might use it that will help you plan your trip and take advantage of your time in the town.

Our Prime 10 New York places to visit on one map

Listing of our “Must See” Places in NYC

  1. Battery Park with views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and NY Harbor
  2. Wall Road, including Federal Hall and the New York Stock Trade
  3. 9/11 Memorial and World Trade Middle
  4. Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge
  5. Washington Square and Greenwich Village
  6. Walk the Excessive Line
  7. Occasions Square
  8. Grand Central Terminal
  9. Rockefeller Middle
  10. Central Park

The listing above is organized geographically, usually south to north.

This detailed NYC information is filled with useful information, including:

  • Historical anecdotes and fascinating details to assist you recognize what you’re seeing
  • Learn how to get to every place by subway
  • Where to eat, drink, and get a superb cup of coffee close by

And for those who don’t have time to read 10,000 words in your display right now, click right here to get this as a free and printer-friendly PDF file you could take with you.

Past Occasions Sq.:

New York City welcomes roughly 60 million tourists annually.  Sadly, a whole lot of first-time visitors spend a disproportionate quantity of their limited time in New York around Occasions Square – whether or not it’s for consuming, purchasing, sightseeing, or leisure.  And, in fact, there’s nothing incorrect with visiting Occasions Sq. or seeing a Broadway show (in reality, Occasions Square makes this very record!), it’s just that New York is a lot more than that.

So, in brief, we hope you’ll use this listing to more successfully plan your trip to New York and to get a very nice overview of what our metropolis has to offer.

Remember to also take a look at our self-guided 1-Day NYC Itinerary!  And in the event you’d moderately explore NYC with a fun local information, take a look at our customized NYC personal tour choices, together with our widespread “NYC In One Day” Highlights Tour.

But before we get into our record,

5 things about this publish you must know

  1. Self-guided tour on your first NYC trip

    This free information is geared in the direction of first-time guests to New York City, although repeat visitors who didn’t enterprise too far out of Occasions Sq. the final time round ought to find it useful as properly.  It is meant that will help you discover the town on your own, type of like a mini self-guided tour.

  2. There isn’t any single “Top 10 List” for visiting New York

    This listing of famous locations is inevitably incomplete and subjective. There’s merely no strategy to cram all that is value seeing in New York right into a “Top 10” publish.  And in the event you ask a hundred New Yorkers about their “Top 10” you’ll probably get 100 totally different responses.  So don’t trust any lists about things to do and see in New York that include phrases like “definitive” or “authoritative”.

  3. Museums are usually not included

    We intentionally excluded museums from this listing, because this might have easily grow to be the “Top 10 Museums to Visit in New York City” publish. As an apart, Wikipedia’s Listing of Museums in New York City exceeds 200 entries!

  4. Targeted on Manhattan landmarks

    It’s targeted on prime points of interest in Manhattan (except for a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn). That isn’t because there’s nothing to do or see in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, or Staten Island (the other is true), however simply because of the truth that a lot of the most iconic, famous, and historic sights and landmarks in New York City are situated in Manhattan.  And provided that this publish is geared to first-timers, it is just pure that we’d keep on with (principally) Manhattan.

  5. Numerous helpful information

    It isn’t just a checklist with fairly footage (like lots of the opposite posts out there on this matter, where it’s a must to click “Next”). We provide fascinating historic tidbits and background information that will help you study a number of things about what you propose to see.  We also recommend good places to eat, drink, and get an ideal cup of espresso near these landmarks.  Lastly, we provide one of the simplest ways to get to every landmark by subway.

Talking of the subway, for those who’ve by no means used the NYC subway, take a look at our useful Subway “Beginner’s Guide”!

Now, let’s get to the “meat” of this submit:

Battery Park with views of the NY Harbor and the Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty in the NY Harbor

The place to start out your NYC exploration is all the best way Downtown, on the southern tip of the island of Manhattan, as a result of that is where all of it started.  It is right here that the Dutch first settled on the island and established New Amsterdam (1625).  It’s also right here that the English took over in the “Bloodless Surrender” of 1664.  It’s at the southern tip of the famous island that hundreds of thousands of poor European immigrants stepped onto American soil to start out a brand new life.  It’s also right here that NY developed into crucial delivery port on the East Coast, the center of American finance (Wall Road), and the 20th century skyscraper colossus.

Downtown was also traditionally residence to the most important firms in the world – delivery, oil, banking, insurance, you identify it.  On a tragic word, Downtown has additionally been the situation of the worst terrorist attacks in metropolis history – from the 1920 Wall Road bombing to the 1993 World Trade Middle bombing to the worst terrorist assault in American history on September 11, 2001.

Map of Downtown Manhattan

Stroll via Battery Park until you get to the water’s edge.  At this time’s edge is definitely man-made in the sense that Battery Park was created using landfill in the 19th century.  The natural southern fringe of Manhattan earlier than quite a few man-made extensions was Pearl Road (named for the oyster shells that washed ashore), while the western water line was approximately the place State Road cuts between Battery Park and the Downtown skyscrapers.

Now, you may be questioning, “Why am I walking through a park named after batteries?”  While that’s a official question, Battery Park is definitely named after a army fortification with cannons (as in a “cannon battery”).  So the identify has nothing to do with the batteries in your smartphone or digital camera.

Talking of batteries, the one factor that existed earlier than Battery Park was the Southwest Battery, built on some rocks simply off the tip of Manhattan island.  The Battery was later renamed Fort Clinton in honor of DeWitt Clinton – mayor then governor of New York.  This stone fort was built in preparation for the Warfare of 1812 to dissuade the British from attacking New York Metropolis once more.  They didn’t, though they did handle to burn down the White House and a lot of the different public buildings in Washington D.C. on August 24, 1814 (however, apparently, after enjoying a pleasant meal contained in the deserted White House from Presidential leftovers).

After the temporary warfare, the fort was used for a number of numerous and decidedly non-military purposes.  First, as “Castle Garden” it served as a theater and leisure area.  Then, between 1855 and 1890, Fort Backyard served as an immigrant landing depot, processing eight million immigrants in slightly below 35 years!  After the immigrant processing was relocated to Ellis Island, Citadel Backyard served as the unlikely location for the NYC Aquarium till 1941.  In the present day, it is a Nationwide Monument (restored to its unique design and identify) that additionally serves because the place to buy tickets to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, though the Citadel Clinton web site suggests that you simply purchase tickets in advance online at to keep away from ready as much as hour to purchase them in individual the day of.

For those who’re brief on time or cash (ferry tickets to Liberty and Ellis Island start at $18), you possibly can take a free 25-minute cruise throughout the NY Harbor through the use of the Staten Island Ferry.  The ferry terminal (very clearly marked with large blue letters) is in Battery Park, simply south of Citadel Clinton.  Take a look at the Staten Island Ferry schedule for detailed departure occasions, but usually, the boats depart every half hour.

Essential: Ignore all the ticket sellers making an attempt to sell you something on the best way to the ferry terminal.

On a clear day, the views are fantastic, and you get fairly close to the Statue of Liberty for nice photographs.  You also get to see a bit of Brooklyn, Governor’s Island, New Jersey, the East River bridges, and the Hudson River.  The only draw back is that whenever you get off the boat at the Staten Island terminal, you must sit around for an additional half hour earlier than taking the subsequent ferry back to Manhattan (until you make a run for it, like all the other tourists!  You’d have about Three minutes to get off the boat, run around the terminal and get on the other boat departing back to Manhattan).  Should you miss it, you’ll be able to use the time to visit the toilet or grab a small snack contained in the terminal.  All in, the round-trip excursion should take about 60 to 90 minutes (60-min should you catch the departing ferry).  And also you don’t have to fret about ready in line for tickets going via a security screening (huge bottlenecks when buying Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island tickets).

And in case you are so brief on time which you can’t spare 90 minutes for the Staten Island Ferry, then you possibly can simply enjoy the marvelous views from the water’s edge in Battery Park.  You’ll need a telephoto lens to get a close-up view of the Statue of Liberty, however she still seems to be nice from a distance, especially given her age (130+ years younger!).

Getting here:  R to Whitehall, 1 to South Ferry (be sure to are in the primary 5 subway automobiles if you wish to get off at South Ferry), or four/5 to Bowling Green.

Download the official NYC Subway Map as a PDF here.

Places close by for food & drinks:

  • Pier A Harbor House: Go to the superbly restored Pier A simply north of Fort Clinton for a pint of beer on faucet and some good bar food (there’s also an off-the-cuff café inside and a fancier restaurant upstairs). This lately opened restaurant and bar area is situated inside a landmark construction accomplished in 1886 for the NYC Dept. of Docks and Harbor Police.  Grab a table by one of the home windows overlooking the harbor.
  • Take a 10-minute stroll to Stone Road for a fantastic number of bars and restaurants on one quaint cobblestone road (the primary paved road on Manhattan), including Ulysses’ (fashionable pub), Adrienne’s (pizza), and extra.

Places close by for good espresso:

(take a look at our detailed article on the most effective espresso bars in New York City)

  • Gregorys Coffee – 42 Broadway
  • FIKA – 66 Pearl Road
  • Cafe Grumpy – 20 Stone Road

Wall Road

The term “Wall Street” needs no introduction.  Once you hear it you in all probability consider cash, stocks, trading, banking, costly suits and briefcases, inventory market bubbles and panics.  It’s been portrayed in countless films and TV exhibits, together with Oliver Stone’s 1987 basic starring Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen (when he was nonetheless comparatively normal) appropriated referred to as “Wall Street”, as well as newer hits like Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf Of Wall Street”, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, although the high-flying (and fast-crashing) occasions and characters in this movie don’t happen on Wall Road in any respect.

Hollywood stereotypes apart, Wall Road truly has very humble beginnings as a picket wall built by the Dutch in 1653 as a defensive barrier.  It marked the northern finish of the small colony of New Amsterdam on Manhattan’s southern tip.  Yes, the identify Wall Road is actually derived from that picket wall built greater than 350 years ago!  The wall proved useless and was torn down and used for lumber and firewood by the British on the end of the 17th century.

Map of Financial District NYC

When you’ve visited Battery Park, you possibly can walk north on Broadway, passing New York’s first park  — Bowling Inexperienced – and the well-known bronze Charging Bull sculpture.

In a few minutes, you’ll see the gorgeous brownstone steeple of Trinity Church (spoiler alert: that is where Nicholas Cage discovers the treasure on the end of Nationwide Treasure).  The church, built in 1846, used to tower over Wall Road for half a century.  In truth, its steeple was the tallest level in the town until the very end of the 19th century.  At this time, in fact, it’s dwarfed by 20th and 21st century skyscrapers.

Probably the most well-known resident in the church’s graveyard is Alexander Hamilton, the identical Hamilton whose life and occasions are depicted brilliantly in the award-winning Broadway musical bearing the American Founding Father’s identify.  Take a look at our Alexander Hamilton themed personal NYC walking tour, in case you are interested in American historical past and most of the individuals, events, and places depicted in the musical.

Make a right on Wall Road and head to the subsequent corner.  This is primarily the “heart of Wall Street”, with the New York Stock Change on your right, the Federal Hall Memorial in your left, and the former “House of Morgan” occupying the squat stone constructing at 23 Wall Road.

It was in entrance of this former J.P. Morgan headquarters that NY skilled the deadliest terrorist attack till 9/11 81 years later.  On September 16, 1920, a horse-drawn wagon loaded with explosives and cast-iron slugs exploded through the peak noon-time lunch rush, killing 38 individuals and injuring greater than 300 others.  Chaos ruled the day.  The NYSE closed, as did the banks.  Italian anarchists have been blamed, but since not a single arrest was made (no suspects have been discovered), this horrible crime stays unsolved almost a century later!  In case you take a look at the stone wall of the constructing on the Wall Road aspect, you’ll be able to nonetheless see the pock marks from that highly effective explosion.

On a lighter word, this constructing was prominently featured in The Darkish Knight Rises (2012), where Bane takes over the Inventory Change.

Right across is the outsized bronze statue of George Washington.  It was on this website that he was inaugurated as America’s first president on April 30, 1789, in America’s first capital – New York City!

In case you didn’t know that NYC was America’s first capital, don’t fear, most New Yorkers don’t know that reality either.  The unique constructing where he was sworn in was demolished two centuries in the past, but the present constructing (built in 1842 and modeled on the Parthenon in Greece) now serves as a museum.  Inside, you’ll be able to view a bit of the balcony Washington stood on to deal with the adoring public, in addition to the Bible he put his hand on in the course of the swearing-in ceremony.

Getting right here:  R to Rector St, or 2/Three/4/5 to Wall Road.

Places close by for food & drinks:

  • Stone Road is minutes away (talked about beforehand)
  • Leo’s Bagels – Three Hanover Square. Basic NY bagels and deli choices
  • Open Kitchen – 15 William Road. A informal lunch place with a superb number of cold and hot options at affordable prices.
  • Kuu Ramen – 20 John Road. Great hole-in-the-wall ramen noodle place.

Places close by for good espresso:

  • Bluestone Lane – 30 Broad Road
  • La Colombe – 67 Wall Road

9/11 Memorial and the World Trade Middle

The 9/11 Memorial

No journey to New York Metropolis can be complete with no go to to the 9/11 Memorial, so make sure that it’s excessive on your listing.  The Memorial, which opened to the households of the victims (then most of the people) on the 10th anniversary of the assaults, is comprised of two similar swimming pools with cascading water that mark the footprints of the Twin Towers (truly, the swimming pools are 31% smaller than the tower footprints have been).  Each pool is 30 ft deep.  The names of the almost Three,000 victims of the 1993 WTC bombing and the attacks on 9/11 are inscribed on bronze parapets surrounding the pools.

As you’ll be able to think about, the design of the memorial was a very contentious matter (as was the WTC redesign in basic).  Progress was solely made after a design competitors in 2004, which attracted 5,201 design ideas.  Of those, one was chosen.  The winner of the competition was a 34-year-old (and comparatively unknown on the time) Israeli American architect named Michael Arad.  He referred to as his design “Reflecting Absence”.

Map of WTC and surroundings

Just west of the South Pool, surrounding by a metallic railing, sits the “Survivor Tree”.  This dwelling factor is arguably one of the best metaphor for a way far we’ve come since that terrible day.  The tree was found in the rubble a month after the attacks.  It was badly burned and damaged, its roots snapped.  The tree was removed from Floor Zero and placed in the care of the NYC Parks Department.  It was nursed again to well being and brought again to the location in 2010.  In case you take a look at the bottom of the tree, you possibly can see the injury inflicted on that horrible day, however in case you lookup, you’ll be able to see wholesome new branches and leaves – final symbols of latest life.  Take a look at this excellent 2-minute video concerning the “Survivor Tree”.

When you’ve got the time, you can too visit the 9/11 Museum, which is the downward-sloping building between the 2 memorial swimming pools.  The regular tickets are $24, but there’s “Free Admission Tuesdays”, when you will get in free of charge from 5pm to 2 hours earlier than closing time.  The typical time of a museum go to is 2 hours, so be sure to give your self enough time to actually do it justice.  Last entry is at 6pm Sunday by means of Thursday and 7pm Friday and Saturday.

The Museum is a very emotional experience, thus the strategically positioned tissue dispensers inside.  You progressively descend 70 ft to the bedrock degree.  There’s a historical element, as well as a memorial element.  There’s additionally a personal part the place the unidentified remains of most of the victims have been interred.  This part is off limits to the general public, but families of victims can reserve personal time in the Reflection Room.

Surrounding the 9/11 Memorial and Museum is the redesigned World Commerce Middle complicated.  The flagship constructing is One World Commerce Middle, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere (for now).  The 400-foot spire provides it a total peak of 1,776 ft – not coincidentally, the yr People declared Independence.  Take a look at this video from NBC Nightly Information displaying the ultimate phase of the spire being put into place.

To take pleasure in breathtaking views from atop the tallest building around, you should purchase tickets for One World Trade Observatory, situated on the 100th flooring of the long-lasting skyscraper. When you have a worry of heights, don’t worry, although the views are panoramic, you’ll be surrounded by very thick glass, and there’s a rest room there in the event you simply “need a moment.”

The nearby 4 World Trade is complete and features the favored Italian meals courtroom referred to as Eataly upstairs.  Three World Trade was accomplished in 2018, while 2 World Commerce continues to be in the early levels of development.  This tower will probably be almost as tall as 1 World Trade and can function cubes of regularly smaller dimensions stacked on prime of one another.  Take a look at this Wired Magazine article concerning the building’s design and its architect, which additionally features a modern promotional video on the prime.

The last huge piece of the puzzle is the dinosaur-skeleton-like WTC Transit Hub, also called the “Oculus”, designed by Spanish movie star architect, Santiago Calatrava.  This $4 billion “boondoggle”, because the NY Occasions structure critic, Michael Kimmelman, referred to as it, value double its unique price range.  It was initially purported to seem like a fowl with its wings unfold, however a couple of compromises and redesigns later, it seems more like an armadillo with asymmetrical bone spurs.  The Hub encompasses a high-end shopping center element, a restaurant, in addition to passageways connecting numerous NYC subway strains to the PATH trains to New Jersey.

The Oculus is a type of buildings that grows on you the more time you spend inside, so make sure you peak in.  It could be one of many newest additions to the NYC architectural landscape, however it has already turn out to be a “must see” constructing when visiting New York.

Downtown Manhattan is so wealthy in historical past and well-known landmarks that you may easily spend a day exploring the world.  But if your time is restricted and also you’d slightly explore it with an area information on an intimate personal tour, take a look at our Three-hr Downtown Highlights walking tour.

Getting right here:  R to Cortlandt St, or A/C/2/Three/4/5 to Fulton St.

Places nearby for meals, coffee, and sweets:

The most effective place to get a chew to eat close to the World Trade Middle is on the upscale meals hall referred to as Hudson Eats simply throughout the street.  The area, which opened in 2014, features an excellent variety of local meals distributors in a clean trendy setting.  There are many seating options and nice views of the Hudson River.  If the climate is good, take your order to go and find a table outdoors by the costly yachts.  To get there, cross Route 9A, or what most New Yorkers still call the West Aspect Highway, at Vesey road.  Search for a constructing with a big “Brookfield Place” sign and head inside.  The meals courtroom is on the 2nd flooring, and despite its upscale appearance the costs are actually fairly affordable, at the least by New York Metropolis standards.

There’s also a well-liked French food hall referred to as Le District proper underneath Hudson Eats.  It’s a fantastic stop for those who’re craving crepes, espresso, or a glass of wine. To get here, stroll inside Brookfield Place, cross all the actually expensive stores, and search for the palm timber in the gorgeous Winter Backyard.  You’ll see Le District on the first flooring and Hudson Eats above it.

Stroll over the Brooklyn Bridge

View of Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn Bridge Park

Visiting New York and never walking over the Brooklyn Bridge is taken into account a misdemeanor.  OK, so perhaps that’s stretching the truth a bit, but at the very least, it’s a sin.  So skip a buying tour at Century 21 or the M&M retailer in Occasions Sq. and as an alternative head over one of the (if not the) most iconic bridges in America.  This marvel of engineering is magnificent – an excellent bridge and a true murals.

“What’s the big deal?” you could assume.  “It’s just a bridge.”  Sure, but what number of bridges have you learnt that have been referred to as the “8th Wonder of the World” on the time of completion?

The Brooklyn Bridge is taken into account one of many prime 3 engineering achievements of the 19th century in America, along with the Transcontinental Railroad and the telegraph cable on the underside of the Atlantic Ocean.  It was the primary bridge to connect America’s largest city, New York, with its third-largest, Brooklyn (which was an unbiased metropolis till 1898).  It was additionally the first bridge to be suspended solely utilizing steel cables.

Think about it for a second, a bridge accomplished in 1883 in the horse-and-carriage age is being used by hundreds of thousands of pedestrians and drivers annually – greater than 135 years later!  It is the solely part of the town skyline that has not modified in over a century.  The spectacular stone towers alone have been thought-about architectural and engineering marvels, particularly in the 1870s, half a century before the Jazz Age skyscrapers just like the Chrysler Constructing and Empire State.

One of many highlights of the stroll over this historic mile-long span needs to be the spectacular views.  The Downtown Manhattan skyline is revealed on one aspect, Brooklyn on the other, the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges to the north, and the NY Harbor and Statue of Liberty to the south.  And also you’re 130 ft above the East River.  On a transparent sunny day, what could possibly be better?  Just be thankful they did away with the original 1 cent toll!  As Benjamin Franklin once wrote, a “penny saved is a penny earned.”

Listed here are a number of different fascinating information concerning the Brooklyn Bridge

  • The Brooklyn Bridge was by far the longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened to the public on Might 24, 1883
  • It related two cities – New York and Brooklyn
  • A lot of the steel cables for the bridge have been provided by Roebling & Sons, the identical well-known wire manufacturing agency that provided metal wires for the George Washington Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and lots of different essential suspension bridges built between 1850 and 1970.
  • Greater than 20 individuals died through the 14-year development process. Some died from accidents, while others died from a mysterious situation often known as “the bends” or “caisson disease”, higher referred to as decompression sickness in the present day.  Tragically, the first sufferer claimed by the bridge was its unique designer and Chief Engineer, John A. Roebling.

And this is just skimming the surface.  There’s so much more to the unimaginable story of the Brooklyn Bridge.  To study more concerning the Bridge and Brooklyn, take a look at our common (and customized/personal) Brooklyn Bridge Tour.

Map of Brooklyn near Brooklyn Bridge

Greatest approach to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge

It actually doesn’t matter whether you go from Manhattan to Brooklyn or vice versa.  All of it depends upon what you propose to do earlier than and after.  In case you plan on having lunch after the stroll, then we propose walking from Manhattan to Brooklyn, since there are a couple of nice choices for lunch, drinks, espresso, and sweets in Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights (two historic neighborhoods near the bridge on the Brooklyn aspect).  We embrace some food strategies under.

The Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn provides spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline and the bridge.  On a nice day, you possibly can then take a stroll via the brand new Brooklyn Bridge Park, an unimaginable public area constructed on and round deserted delivery piers on Brooklyn’s waterfront.

In case you select this route, there are a number of subway strains close by for a quick experience back to Manhattan, or you possibly can take a scenic cruise on the NYC Ferry, which has a dock right by the Fulton Ferry Landing.  One-way tickets are $2.75 (identical to the NYC subway).

Alternatively, should you choose to start out in Brooklyn and stroll over the bridge into Manhattan, you’ll be able to take the F practice to York St, the A/C to Excessive St, or the 2/3 to Clark St, then stroll to the stairs to the bridge on Washington St, simply up the hill from York St.

When you take this route, you’ll be able to go to Saint Paul’s Chapel once you get to the Manhattan aspect.  That is the oldest surviving public building in New York (circa 1766) and served as a catastrophe recovery website after the terrorist assaults on 9/11.  This historic church could be very near the brand new World Trade Middle and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.  In order that’s something to keep in mind for those who’re making an attempt to plan your day.

Getting right here:

If you wish to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn, then take the R to Metropolis Hall or 4/5/6 line to Brooklyn Bridge/Metropolis Hall.

When you plan to stroll from Brooklyn to Manhattan, then take the F practice to York St, the A/C to High St, or the two/Three to Clark St.

Places close by for food & drinks:

You’ll get more native selection on the Brooklyn aspect of the Bridge, as far as meals, drinks, and occasional go.

  • Pizza: Grimaldi’s or Juliana’s – proper next to one another (Juliana’s is at 19 Previous Fulton St, Brooklyn). Go where the line is shorter, although we favor Juliana’s.  Read this article concerning the behind-the-scenes pizza drama.
  • Westville Dumbo: Wholesome and stylish restaurant with outside seating in the hotter months
  • AlMar: Common neighborhood Italian restaurant, bar, and cafe, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks.
  • SweetGreen Dumbo: Healthy “fast-casual” lunch spot that’s growing in reputation

Places close by for coffee and sweets:

  • Almondine Bakery – 85 Water St
  • Jacques Torres Goodies – 66 Water St
  • One Woman Cookies – 33 Important St
  • Brooklyn Ice Cream Manufacturing unit – 1 Water St
  • Brooklyn Roasting Company – 25 Jay St
  • Odd Fellows Ice Cream – 60 Water St

Washington Sq. and Greenwich Village

In a city recognized for its hustle & bustle, noisy visitors, and canyons of skyscrapers, there are shocking pockets of relative peace and quiet.  There are numerous historic districts with very well-preserved 19th century housing stock in Manhattan and Brooklyn.  One among Manhattan’s oldest and most well-known historic districts is Greenwich Village.  It is thought-about Manhattan’s first “suburb”.  Two centuries in the past it was far enough away from the gangs and slums of the Five Factors, the pigs roaming the streets scavenging for meals, and the contagious illnesses that spread like wildfire, especially in the summer time months, to make it a lovely and leafy middle-class (then upper-class) retreat.  In the present day, it’s a in style and vibrant neighborhood in “Lower” Manhattan.  To get to leafy suburbs lately, New Yorkers must drive over bridges or by means of tunnels to get off of the island of Manhattan.

Many locals would agree that the “heart” of Greenwich Village is Washington Sq., so it is best to start your exploration there.  But first, here is a few creepy background information on this well-known park.  Long before this turned a park and the encompassing area a leafy well-to-do “suburb”, the land was used as a potter’s area – a mass burial ground for poor individuals.  Between 1797 and 1826, it’s estimated that 20,000 lifeless individuals have been buried right here.  Lots of them have been the poorest of the poor and victims of varied epidemics  (especially yellow fever) ravaging the inhabitants in the densely packed slums, where dwellers lacked access to wash consuming water or correct rest room amenities.  Bathing was out of the query (one wanted a tub, soap, and clean water for that).

The logical factor to do was to dump the lifeless bodies far enough away from the town limits, however shut enough so that the poor fellow driving the horse-drawn wagon filled with decomposing corpses wouldn’t need to drive too far.  The unattractive and undeveloped land that is now Washington Sq. was the right place for this macabre process.

In November of 2015, staff placing in new water pipes found two burial vaults from the early 19th century believed to be part of a small church’s graveyard.  Inside, “human remains lay scattered around a largely empty space.”

“Jimmy, I think I’ll take my cigarette break now!”

OK, sufficient about yellow fever epidemics and burial grounds.  Washington Square turned a army parade ground named in honor of George Washington in 1826, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  This brings us to the most obvious structural aspect in Washington Sq. – the marble Washington Memorial Arch.  If it seems to be acquainted, that’s because the architect who designed the classical arch modeled it on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.  This one is definitely the permanent arch accomplished in 1895.  The original, manufactured from wooden and plaster (and designed by the identical architect) was built in time for the 1889 parade to rejoice the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as America’s first president on Wall Road.  The short-term arch was so well-received that the town commissioned a everlasting one.

By the best way, the “celebrity” architect who designed each arches was a dapper social butterfly and infamous womanizer named Stanford White, who had a critical walrus mustache.

Sadly, this well-known architect was killed by a very jealous and crazy husband of one in every of White’s ex-mistresses – the gorgeous Evelyn Nesbit.  He was killed in 1906, 11 years after the marble arch in Washington Square was accomplished.  His well-known mustache (along with the remainder of his face) was obliterated by three point-blank pistol photographs to the face.  If you need read an incredible e-book about him, Evelyn, the loopy husband, and the next “Trial of the Century”, take a look at American Eve by Paula Uruburu.

Placing aside White’s gory dying, go take a peek at what’s left of “Millionaire’s Row” – thought-about the most effective preserved and fanciest rows of 19th century houses in New York City.  In the event you step by way of the arch wanting north (in the direction of the Empire State Building), you will notice a fantastic row of matching red-brick houses with marble Greek Revival columns.  These houses have been constructed in the early 1830s to deal with wealthy retailers, bankers, legal professionals and, in fact, their sizable families and crews of home servants.  Outstanding families dwelling in these imposing houses would exhibit their newest fashions on a Sunday afternoon stroll via Washington Square — the place to see and be seen in the 1830s.  And when it was time to commute to their Wall Road workplaces or take a vacation in the “country”, their servants would decide them up out entrance in one among a number of fancy carriages conveniently stored behind the homes on Washington Mews.  You possibly can view these historic carriage homes right now by taking a stroll on what’s left of the cobblestones on this quaint slender lane simply behind the “Row”.  At the moment, a lot of the rowhouses and carriage houses are owned by New York College.

Right here is one last tidbit for all you movie buffs reading this: Will Smith’s character in I Am Legend (2007) – the scientist dwelling in post-apocalyptic New York together with his German shepherd – resides in 11 Washington Sq. North.  Here is clip from the film in which zombie’s swarm Washington Sq..

Now, get on the market and discover the gorgeous environment!  Don’t fear should you get misplaced, you’re protected here.  And there’s a nice café, restaurant or bar around every corner.

Map of Washington Square and Surroundings

Getting here:  R to eighth St or A/B/C/D/F/M to West 4th

Places nearby for meals & drinks:

This can be a exhausting one because this space is filled with great choices for food and drinks.  So listed here are just some to sate your hunger and quench your thirst.  In search of nice pizza?  Take a look at our blog publish on 5 nice places to get pizza in Greenwich Village.


  • Vol de Nuit – 148 West 4th – spectacular number of Belgian beer in a darkish and intimate setting
  • Blind Tiger – 281 Bleecker St – 30 beers on tap (and loads of wine and good bar food) in a busy, bustling, and comparatively small area
  • Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor – 26 West eighth St – This basement craft beer bar gives in impressive number of beer on faucet and beer flights for tastings
  • Malt Home – 206 Thompson — Fashionable Village pub featuring a powerful record of craft beer and spirits

Eating places:

  • Tertulia – 359 6th Avenue (or as vacationers call it, “Avenue of the Americas”) – Spanish tapas and wine
  • La Lanterna – 129 MacDougal St – Cozy Italian restaurant with a jazz bar in the basement
  • Olive Tree Café – 117 MacDougal St – Good food, Charlie Chaplin movies, chalk on your desk, reside music on weekends, and arguably the most effective stay comedy in NYC downstairs at Comedy Cellar

Places close by for good coffee:

  • Stumptown Espresso Roasters – 30 West eighth Road
  • Third Rail Espresso – 240 Sullivan Road
  • Irving Farm Roasters — 78 West 3rd Road
  • Joe Coffee – 141 Waverly Place
  • Caffe Reggio – 119 MacDougal Road.  We had to embrace this one not because the espresso is excellent – it’s not – but because this place has been around since 1927 and options an enormous shiny espresso machine from 1902 that the café’s unique proprietor, Domenico Parisi, bought together with his life savings.  Come in for some tea and dessert.

Stroll the Excessive Line

A sunny day on the High Line

“What is the High Line?”

The Excessive Line is unique public park created on prime of an deserted elevated rail line on the west aspect of Manhattan.

Who would have thought that a derelict rusty eye sore would turn into some of the in style points of interest in New York Metropolis?  In all probability no-one, not even the co-founders of the Buddies of the Excessive Line, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, who fought to reserve it from imminent destruction almost 20 years ago.  A lot has been written concerning the Excessive Line, particularly since Section 1 opened to the public in 2009.  After it first opened, it was still a bit of a well-kept secret.   Jim from accounting would ask you by the water cooler, “Hey, have you been to the High Line yet?”  You’d say: “The High Line?  No.  What’s that?”

Virtually a decade later, the Excessive Line is attracting 8 million guests a yr and is ranked as one of the prime issues to do in NYC, in accordance with TripAdvisor!

“If it’s already so busy and popular, why should I visit?”  For those who’ve by no means been, it’s a must-do.

4 massive reasons you must visit the Excessive Line

1. Superb instance of adaptive re-use

The High Line is among the greatest examples of adaptive reuse in the world. Constructed as an elevated rail line for freight trains in 1934 and successfully deserted 30 years later, the metallic structure turned a blight on the world and was ripe for demolition.  By 1999, it was in such a state of disrepair that metropolis officials and property house owners fretted that falling particles was sure to kill someone soon.  On Might 16, 1999, the NY Occasions quoted the director of Mayor’s Office of Emergency Administration on the time: “”It’s solely a matter of time before someone is killed by falling particles,” he [Jerome M. Hauer] stated. ”They will both pay for the demolition or pay the widow of the individual killed.”  Little did he (or the property house owners voicing the identical opinions) know that a decade later not solely would pedestrians strolling underneath the High Line be completely protected from falling particles (or most different dangers) but that pedestrians strolling on the Excessive Line can be even safer.  And the property house owners previously in the demolition refrain have made out like bandits, with a block in Chelsea next to the Excessive Line lately promoting for $870 million!

2. Change agent for complete West Aspect

The High Line has utterly reworked the west aspect of Manhattan. It was built alongside the economic west aspect, near the delivery piers along the Hudson and the factories and warehouses of the Meatpacking District and Chelsea.  In the present day it snakes between (or by way of) some of those self same previous factories and warehouses.  The large difference is what’s subsequent to those previous industrial buildings: Condos, condos, and extra condos (and some workplace buildings too).  A number of the most fascinating, expensive, and revolutionary new development during the last decade has taken place close to the Excessive Line.  Movie star architects are tripping over one another making an attempt to build the subsequent headline-grabbing building, like 520 West 28th st.  Strolling on the High Line is the last word research in contrasts – the previous brick and stone versus the brand new glass and metal.  Most of the previous industrial buildings have fared pretty properly too.  Two standouts value mentioning is the century-old Nabisco cookie manufacturing unit transformed to Chelsea Market in the 90s and the Cass Gilbert-designed packaged foods warehouse ten blocks north, which is now an unique Okay-12 personal faculty with annual tuition exceeding $47,000!

3. A totally different vantage level

The High Line permits you to get a brand new vantage point on New York City – 30 ft above the noisy cabs and vans, the crowded streets, and the overall hustle and bustle of the town. It’s referred to as a “Park in the Sky” for a purpose – it’s the primary elevated park in America (which has impressed numerous “park” ideas around the globe).

4. Hudson Yards views

The High Line affords one of the best views of the huge new Hudson Yards improvement, NY’s largest personal development venture since Rockefeller Middle (built in the 1930s). Go to the High Line’s northern spur (between 30th and 34th streets) for the most effective views.

To sum it all up, visit the High Line for the river and skyline views, the unimaginable number of structure, the people-watching opportunities, and the individuality of the general public area itself.  And when you like Ted Talks, take a look at this brief speak by Robert Hammond (the co-founder of the Buddies of the Excessive Line) recorded virtually 2 years after the opening of Part 1.

Getting right here:  The High Line has multiple access points (stairs or elevators) along its 1.5-mile length, from 34th road and 11th avenue right down to Gansevoort Road in the Meatpacking District.  You possibly can either start on the backside and work your means up (north), or vice-versa.  In case you are brief on time, you may also access it someplace in the middle (at 23rd road, for instance).

The closest subway stations are:

  • A/C at 14th road and 8th avenue, C/E at 23rd road and 8th avenue, or 7 to 34th road/Hudson Yards. The last one is the best choice if you wish to start on the prime and work your means down, which is right if you wish to visit the new Whitney Museum or get a chew to eat after walking the High Line.

Places close by for meals & drinks:

The road hookers and drug sellers may be gone from Manhattan’s former “Wild Wild West”, however at the very least now you can get a pleasant chew at prices that gained’t depart you feeling dirty and used.

  • Chelsea Market – takes up a whole block between 10th and ninth avenue and 15th and 16th road, constructed more than a century ago by the Nationwide Biscuit Firm. Spectacular food variety, good coffee, beer, wine, even some buying.
  • Bubby’s Excessive Line – 73 Gansevoort road – right across the road from the Excessive Line’s southern terminus and a stone’s throw from the entrance to the Whitney Museum. American-style meals and drinks in a classy setting, with a concentrate on seasonal and locally-sourced components. Additionally they serve scrumptious ice cream from Brooklyn’s Ample Hills Creamery!
  • SweetGreen MePa and Hudson Yards — well-liked, healthy, “fast-casual” lunch chain with two places close to both finish of the Excessive Line.
  • Previous Homestead – 56 9th Avenue (between 14th and 15th road) – one of the oldest steakhouses in America (circa 1868), it has served big chunks of beef at the similar location for almost a century and a half! Value a splurge if you would like a proper NY steakhouse experience.

Places nearby for good espresso:

Because the neighborhoods near the Excessive Line have skilled speedy gentrification, there isn’t any scarcity of high-end espresso bars.  Listed here are a number of nice options slightly below the elevated park (from north to south):

  • Assume Coffee – 500 West 30th road (simply before you reach the Excessive Line stairs at 30th road)
  • Intelligentsia Espresso – 180 10th avenue (between 20th and 21st road), contained in the High Line Lodge, which is situated in a converted mid-19th-century theological seminary
  • Underline Espresso – 511 West 20th road (as the identify implies, it’s underneath the High Line)
  • Blue Bottle Espresso – 450 West 15th road (simply east of the Excessive Line and across from Chelsea Market)

Occasions Square

Why is Occasions Square on our record if we moaned about how not enough vacationers venture far enough out of Occasions Sq. at first of this submit?  Nicely, it’s because Occasions Sq. continues to be a “Must Do” in case you’ve by no means visited in individual.  You’ve seen it in countless films, however there’s nothing like truly standing in the middle of it, especially at night time, and just doing a sluggish 360-degree flip making an attempt to absorb all the lights and sounds.  Occasions Square is the epitome of sensory overload.

In accordance with the Occasions Sq. Alliance, the famous public area is visited by 300,000 pedestrians every day.  This quantity consists of an eclectic collage of burdened office staff in enterprise apparel preventing previous the crowds while checking their phones, tourists blocking the sidewalk to gawk at a billboard or take a photo, ticket hawkers asking passersby in the event that they “like comedy”, superheroes and cartoon characters competing for tourist pictures (and the information they may chase you for), Naked Cowboy (who makes $150,000 a yr enjoying guitar in his underwear) and almost naked “desnudas”, plus the man with the cardboard sign that reads: “I WON’T LIE, I NEED THE MONEY FOR WEED”.

Occasions Square has been referred to as a number of things during the last century.  And we New Yorkers will not be shy about using hyperbolic phrases, so listed here are the most typical ones: The Crossroads of the World, the Middle of the Universe, the Great White Approach (not racist – has to do with the quantity of sunshine day and night time), even the “Heart of the World.”  And whereas no-one would take these nicknames at face value, they do converse volumes about how famous and recognizable this comparatively small public area is.

But regardless of its instantly-recognizable billboards and streetscape, it’s superb what number of tourists get the identify flawed!  Simply go to google and begin typing “Time Square” to see how many recommendations you’ll get based mostly on Google’s search history.  Or take a look at how many photographs are tagged with #timesquare on Instagram – over one million!

So what’s the issue here?  The problem is that the world shouldn’t be “Time” Sq. however “Times” Sq., as in the New York Occasions.  The famous newspaper moved “uptown” and constructed the Occasions Tower in 1904, the identical yr New York City agreed to vary the identify of the world from Longacre Sq. to Occasions Square.  By the best way, the second a part of the identify can also be a bit tough in that it’s not truly a sq..  It’s really a bowtie, as Broadway and 7th Avenue cross at 42nd road.   However hey, Occasions Square sounds better than Occasions Bowtie, or “Times X”.

In case you’re wondering which constructing is the Occasions Tower, it’s the one with the brilliant shiny ball on the roof that’s featured every year on New Yr’s Eve.  You’ve in all probability seen it on December 31 numerous occasions, however did you ever marvel how many individuals in the gang are literally New Yorkers?  Of the million individuals who cram into Occasions Square on New Yr’s Eve annually, we’d “guesstimate” that about 99% are tourists.  The other 1% are grumpy New Yorkers dragged there by their visiting family members.  You’d be grumpy too in case you had to freeze behind police barricades all day for a number of B-list celebrities and a 10-second countdown adopted by numerous confetti.

Briefly, don’t go to Occasions Sq. on New Yr’s Eve.  Go there at night time some other day of the yr.  Go searching, take some memorable photographs, go see a Broadway show.  But please please don’t eat at Olive Garden, Arduous Rock Café, or Bubba Gump Shrimp!  New York has its flaws, but a scarcity of eating choices isn’t certainly one of them.  So why would you spend cash going to a sequence restaurant yow will discover in your hometown?  These limitless breadsticks aren’t well worth the 45 minute wait to get in (and the costs are high too).  As an alternative, stroll 10-15 minutes west to Hell’s Kitchen in case you’re hungry.

Further reading:

Films to observe:

There are too many films to record the place Occasions Square makes an appearance.  However listed here are 3 which might be special for different reasons:

  • Taxi Driver (1976): This basic Martin Scorsese movie, starring a younger Robert De Niro, portrays a very totally different Occasions Sq. – long earlier than Disney, Elmo, and family-friendly fun.
  • Vanilla Sky (2001): The only time you’ll ever see Occasions Square utterly abandoned is in this film!
  • The Superb Spider-Man 2 (2014): Occasions Square goes darkish in this battle scene!

Getting right here:  Take the 1/2/3/N/Q/R/S/7 to Occasions Sq./42nd road.

Map of Times Square area

Places nearby for food & drinks:

This one is harder because the world is so business and the rents are so high, which suggests extra chains or tourist traps and fewer authentic native options.  So usually talking, the farther you walk away from Occasions Sq., the extra “local” your eating expertise shall be.  That stated, listed here are a number of good choices:

  • Tony’s Di Napoli – 147 West 43rd road – Family-style Italian restaurant
  • Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse – 320 West 46th road (between 8th and ninth ave) – Started as a speakeasy throughout Prohibition in the 1920s
  • Swing 46 – 349 West 46th road (between 8th and ninth ave) – Enjoyable jazz and supper membership with reside music every night time (and even occasional free swing lessons!)

Places nearby for good espresso:

Starbucks places abound in and round Occasions Sq. (there’s seemingly one on every different nook).  But when you recognize an actual macchiato from the Starbucks Caramel Macchiato, then head to considered one of these:

  • Zibetto Espresso Bar – 1221 6th Avenue (one block east of Occasions Sq., enter from 48th st)
  • For Five Coffee — 117 West 46th road (one block east of Occasions Sq.)
  • Gregorys Coffee – 58 West 44th road (one block east of Occasions Square)
  • Oren’s Every day Roast – 1440 Broadway (simply south of Occasions Square)

Grand Central Terminal

View of Grand Central Terminal from 42nd street

It’s truthful to say that Grand Central Terminal ought to make everyone’s Prime 10 listing.  In reality, it’s arduous to put in writing about it with out using lots of superlatives.  It’s an architectural marvel, an engineering masterpiece, and a spectacular dwelling monument to transportation – all rolled into one monumental railroad terminal accomplished in 1913.  It is the largest railroad terminal in the world (in terms of number of platforms).  The 10-year ingenious development course of value a whopping $80 million, or about $2 billion after adjusting for a century of inflation, all of which was privately funded!

The Beaux Arts façade alone is colossal.  Above the classical columns is a big clock, 13 ft in diameter, featuring the most important example of Tiffany glass in the world.  Atop the clock is the big limestone sculptural set referred to as “Transportation”, that includes the Roman messenger god, Mercury (recognized for his velocity), flanked by Hercules and Minerva.

In line with Wikipedia, Grand Central Terminal is among the ten most-visited tourist points of interest in the world.  No surprises there.  Just step by way of its doorways and enter the Principal Concourse to see why.  750,000 guests cross by means of the terminal each day, however lots of them are too targeted on catching the 5:46 commuter practice to the suburbs to stop and go searching.  The 125-foot vaulted ceiling alone is awe-inspiring.  It features 2,500 stars and painted depictions of zodiac constellations (March by means of October).  There is only one drawback: The constellations are painted backwards, but we gained’t dwell on that.  As an alternative, attempt to discover a dark spot close to Cancer on the ceiling.  Search for the enormous crab and you must discover a darkish rectangular patch near one of the crab’s claws.

What provides?  After greater than a decade-long restoration course of in 90s, all the terminal was restored to its unique splendor.  That included peeling off many years of grime and dust from the walls, flooring, and of course, ceiling.  But as a everlasting reminder of its sorry state in the previous, one brick on the ceiling was left unrestored.  And the most important contributor to its dark colour isn’t pollution —  it’s tobacco and nicotine residue from numerous cigarettes smoked by hundreds of thousands of commuters over greater than half a century.

Take a photo by the well-known clock in the center of the concourse, estimated to be value anyplace between $10 and $20 million by Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction homes (its 4 faces are manufactured from opal).  For a century, “under the clock” has been the most typical phrase uttered when deciding the place to satisfy in Grand Central.  By the best way, the terminal and the clock take quite a beating on the finish of this epic battle scene in the Avengers.

Before taking one of the two marble staircases right down to the Eating Concourse, take a quick take a look at one of many boards displaying the practice schedules.  One of the little secrets and techniques is that each one practice occasions are 1 minute ahead of the actual schedule.  So take your time, as a result of that 6:15 practice to Stamford gained’t truly depart until 6:16.

Once you’re downstairs, look for the well-known Oyster Bar, which is as previous as the terminal itself.  In front of the Oyster Bar is one other lovely vaulted ceiling, albeit a lot smaller and with out stars and constellations.  This tiled Guastavino ceiling gives a very fascinating acoustic function.  Should you and one other individual stand in opposite corners and face your respective corner (not each other, as some annoyed tourists do), you’ll be able to converse into the nook and the opposite individual will hear you as for those who’re talking on the telephone.  That’s why this spot is known as the “Whispering Gallery”.  It isn’t recognized if Rafael Guastavino, the famous Spanish designer behind this and lots of different vaulted ceilings in New York Metropolis, meant for this acoustic component, or if it’s only a byproduct of good symmetry and supplies used.

Here is one final little tidbit: The building we proudly name Grand Central Terminal is actually the third railroad terminal at this location.  The unique, the brainchild of “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt, opened in 1871 and brought long-distance passengers into Manhattan on steam-powered trains for the first time.  It was referred to as Grand Central Depot.  Three many years later, it was renamed Grand Central Station, after a serious renovation and the completion a new annex.  Lastly, when the previous terminal was razed and changed with at this time’s landmark construction, it turned Grand Central Terminal.  So hopefully, this clears up some identify confusion.

Take a look at this nice 3-minute video from the History Channel summarizing a few of Grand Central’s wonders.

In the event you exit Grand Central on 42nd road and make a left, you possibly can admire some of the lovely and iconic Jazz Age skyscrapers in America – the Art-Deco masterpiece that’s the Chrysler Building – the world’s tallest skyscraper when completed in 1930, but not for lengthy, because it misplaced that title on Might 1, 1931 – the opening day of the Empire State Building.

Getting right here:  Grand Central is related to the four/5/6 subway strains, as well as the Shuttle (S) practice from Occasions Square.

Map of Grand Central and surroundings

Places close by for meals & drinks:

The excellent news is you don’t even have to go away the constructing to get a superb chew to eat.  First, there’s the popular Grand Central Market where you will get recent fruit, chocolate, sushi, pastries, and different “on-the-go” food gadgets from native distributors.   Enter Grand Central Market from Lexington Avenue at 43rd road.

Second, take a look at the Great Northern Meals Corridor , adjoining to the Foremost Concourse, for Nordic-inspired breakfast, lunch, and snack choices, in addition to a terrific lunch counter and bar.

Second, the Dining Concourse on Grand Central’s decrease degree consists of many good “fast-food” choices, as well as some sit-down decisions.  Some standouts embrace:

  • Oyster Bar & Restaurant: Well-known seafood restaurant circa 1913 (up a small ramp from the Eating Concourse)
  • Shake Shack: In style burger chain (originated in NY’s Madison Sq. Park) recognized for tasty burgers and milkshakes
  • Hale & Hearty: Fashionable NYC chain for soups, sandwiches, and salads.

Third, there’s a great hidden gem referred to as The Campbell Bar contained in the Terminal.  You possibly can either enter from the road at 15 Vanderbilt Ave, or take an elevator from the ramp next to the Oyster Bar.  This fashionable cocktail bar occupies the former personal office of a 1920s business mogul named John W. Campbell.  At present, the superbly refurbished area is a flowery cocktail bar serving drinks with names like Robber Baron and Prohibition, along with cheese plates and different mild fare.  Anticipate a wait to get in the night hours.

Lastly, should you don’t mind a short stroll and are craving hearty Italian food, take a look at the Home of Lasagna at 334 Lexington Ave (at 39th st).  Lasagna is their specialty, as you could have guessed, and the costs are very affordable for Midtown.

Places nearby for good coffee:

There are a couple of nice coffee outlets inside the large Terminal.

  • Café Grumpy – Simply inside Grand Central’s Lexington Passage in the event you walk in from Lexington Ave, throughout the road from the Chrysler Building.
  • Joe Espresso – Just inside Grand Central’s Graybar Passage. Easiest to walk in from Lexington Ave as nicely.

Rockefeller Middle and Prime of the Rock

Rockefeller Middle is one other “can’t miss” place to visit in New York City.  It is super crowded from Thanksgiving Day to New Yr’s Day (78-foot tall adorned Christmas timber tend to attract giant crowds), however it is a far more hospitable place the rest of the yr.

Let’s start by debunking some widespread misspellings.  This isn’t “Rockafella” or “Rockerfellar” Middle.  It is “Rockefeller”, as is the Rockefeller oil fortune.  In the event you refill your automotive’s fuel tank in the USA at Exxon, Mobil, Chevron, or numerous other national gasoline brands, you’re buying from one of the “offspring” corporations after John D. Rockefeller’s oil monopoly, Commonplace Oil, was broken up by the U.S. authorities in 1911.  John D. Rockefeller Sr. (the patriarch that constructed the oil behemoth and lived to the ripe previous age of 97) was so wealthy a century in the past that he was the world’s richest man and the first individual to be referred to as “billionaire” (once more, this can be a hundred years ago!).  Adjusted for a century of inflation, his fortune at its peak can be value around $30 billion as we speak!

OK, enough about Sr.  Let’s speak about Jr.  John D. Rockefeller’s only son – “Junior” – is the person behind the famous middle that bears the household identify.   The big complicated (originally comprised of 14 Art Deco buildings) was the most important privately funded development venture ever undertaken at the time.  What’s even more unimaginable is when it was undertaken – after the Nice Crash of ’29!  The last decade it took to build Rockefeller Middle (1929 to 1939) was one of the worst financial durations in New York Metropolis and United States historical past.  Think about how many households have been saved from homelessness and starvation because of this gargantuan building undertaking.

The first Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Middle was a modest balsam placed in the rocky and muddy development website in 1931.  The principally Italian laborers gratefully lined up by the tree to obtain their weekly wages.

At this time, the Tree Lighting Ceremony draws hundreds of gawkers from around the globe, and hundreds of thousands extra watching on NBC.  Speaking of NBC, the At this time Present, the Tonight Present with Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night time Reside, and the Late Present with Seth Meyers are all filmed at Rockefeller Middle (30 Rockefeller Middle, particularly, for all but the At the moment Present).  The hit NBC show “30 Rock” was based mostly on what goes on in the constructing, though most of it was filmed on Long Island.

Another well-known New York sight is the ice skating rink surrounded by flags.   The rink, which was first put in in 1936, is likely one of the hottest vacationer points of interest in the colder months.  And the roughly 200 flags around the Plaza characterize nations which are members of the United Nations, as well as some U.S. Territories.  During elections, though, the flags are changed with the 50 State flags.  And in December, the flags are changed with shiny and festive vacation banners.

By the best way, there is a cause for this U.N. connection in the guts of Rockefeller Middle.  The land on the japanese edge of Manhattan occupied by the United Nations Headquarters was bought by John D. Rockefeller Jr. from a personal developer and promptly donated to the town, so that the United Nations might set up its headquarters in New York Metropolis.

Rockefeller Middle takes up several metropolis blocks in the guts of Midtown Manhattan and options the most important collection of Artwork Deco artwork in the nation, one of many largest and most opulent theaters in the world (Radio City Music Corridor), and arguably the perfect views in the town from its statement deck aptly named “Top of the Rock”.

We’ve already mentioned One World Commerce Observatory earlier in the publish in the event you’re exploring Downtown, but for those who needed to decide one remark deck in Midtown, we advise Prime of the Rock over the Empire State Constructing.  You may argue that for across the similar worth you’ll be able to go as much as the 86th flooring of the Empire State as an alternative of “just” the 70th story of 30 Rock.  And you’d be proper. But…

Prime of the Rock has two distinct advantages

You’ve unimaginable views of the Empire State Building and superb views of Central Park to the north – the same (to state the apparent) can’t be stated whenever you’re on prime of the Empire State.

Final thing, if you end up in the world, be sure you walk to Fifth Avenue and take a look at the well-known bronze sculpture of Atlas dealing with the superbly restored Saint Patrick’s Cathedral (between 50th and 51st road).

And if you want to tour Rockefeller Middle, Grand Central Terminal, Occasions Sq., and different Midtown landmarks, with knowledgeable tour information on an intimate and informative personal tour, take a look at our personal Midtown Highlights Tour.

Getting here:  B/D/F/M to 47-50th st/Rockefeller Middle, or the E line to 5th Ave and 53rd st.

Map of Rockefeller Center and surroundings

Places nearby for food & drinks:

The Dining Concourse at 30 Rockefeller Middle presents quite a few quality choices for a fast, casual chew.  This is probably the most convenient choice earlier than or after going to Prime of the Rock (since you should purchase tickets in the same Concourse).

There are additionally many different casual eateries catering to the tens of hundreds of day by day workplace staff on the blocks in and around Rockefeller Middle.

If you would like a memorable (and expensive) meal at one in every of New York’s most famous eating places & bars, take a look at the 21 Membership, which began out as a speakeasy throughout Prohibition.  Virtually each US President, corporate CEO, and superstar value his/her salt has dined there.  When you’re nice, perhaps they’ll show you the secret wine cellar.

  • 21 Membership – 21 West 52nd road (between 5th and sixth avenue)

Places close by for good espresso:

  • Blue Bottle Coffee – In the Dining Concourse of 30 Rockefeller Middle, near the ice skating rink
  • Zibetto Espresso Bar – 1221 6th Avenue (enter from 48th st)
  • For 5 Espresso — 117 West 46th road (off sixth Avenue heading in the direction of Occasions Sq.)

Central Park

Views from Central Park

Despite the fact that this record is usually arranged south to north, some may say we saved one of the best for final.  If you will go to New York City and never go to Central Park, you then may as nicely not come at all.  A lot of first-timers don’t actually know what to anticipate, apart from the snippets they’ve seen in films and TV exhibits.  Most individuals assume it’s only a massive park with plenty of timber.  And sure, it is a massive park – 843 acres to be actual – and yes, there are a number of timber – about 26,000 – but the park is a lot greater than that.  It’s an incredibly special public area in the center of a very loud crowded island filled with daunting skyscrapers.  It is a breath of recent air in a spot more recognized for automotive exhaust.

Here’s a related reality that may shock you: Central Park is among the greatest bird-watching spots in the USA, with almost 200 totally different species visiting or dwelling in the park over the course of a yr.  Who would have thought?  And proper in the middle of Manhattan!

However that’s just one of many many issues that make this park special.  Don’t simply think of it as one thing famous to examine off your NYC to-do record.  It is America’s first landscaped metropolis park (designed in 1858) and is legitimately thought-about a masterpiece of 19th century art.  If you wind your approach by means of Central Park, you aren’t just waking past meadows, woodlands, and lakes, you’re enjoying dwelling panorama paintings without realizing it.  Every “scene” was meticulously designed and sculptured a century and a half in the past to look a certain method.

This brings us to one of the crucial necessary tidbits concerning the park: It’s completely man-made!  The lakes, the woods, the meadows – all created following a design competitors of 1858.  Before the competition, this was a distant piece of principally undeveloped land distant from the inhabitants labeled “worthless rock and swamp.”  Imagine going from a mid-19th century rocky and swampy wasteland to some of the visited and recognizable city parks in the world in the present day.

The only factor concerning the park that’s not man-made is the rock.  The rocky outcroppings you discover all through the park is the native bedrock of Manhattan island, referred to as Manhattan schist.  Some of these fairly giant outcroppings are well-liked photograph and napping spots.  We marvel how most of the locals and tourists who climb the rocks each day understand they’re climbing historic bedrock scraped by a melting glacier on the end of the last Ice Age roughly 13,000 years ago!

On a special notice, some individuals enterprise in to the park for a couple of photographs, then enterprise out, lest they get misplaced.  First, it’s OK to get lost in the park at present — you gained’t get mugged (in all probability not even after darkish).  Second, you’re imagined to get misplaced.  The park is designed so that you can get lost.  As a result of in the process of getting misplaced on its winding paths (with no road indicators to guide you), you’re alleged to loosen up and disconnect from the town around it.

And Central Park isn’t only for vacationers.  Hundreds of locals visit the park every day to experience their bikes, jog, stroll their canine, learn a ebook on a favorite bench, or simply to be in nature.  So when you do get lost, simply ask an area for directions.

Or for those who’d slightly not get lost on your own, get misplaced with us as an alternative on a scenic and informative personal Three-hr walking tour of Central Park.

Getting here:  If getting into from Central Park South – N/Q/R to 5th and 59th or A/B/C/D/1 to Columbus Circle.

Map of Central Park

Places close by for food & drinks:

  • The Plaza Lodge Meals Courtroom – Enter at Central Park South simply west of Fifth Avenue: Trendy, fashionable meals courtroom with an amazing number of native food vendors and sit-down dining options (and clean loos)
  • Piccolo Café – 313 Amsterdam Ave (between 74th and 75th st): Common hole-in-the-wall Italian café serving good coffee, wine, and lightweight Italian fare, and only a 10 minute stroll from Strawberry Fields.
  • Tarallucci e Vino – 475 Amsterdam Ave (nook of 83rd): Well-liked Higher West Aspect Italian café and wine bar close to the west aspect of the park when you exist at 81st road (by the Natural History Museum). Greater than Piccolo and one other nice choice for good Italian espresso, wine, and lightweight fare.  Outside seating is accessible in the hotter months.

In fact, you don’t have to go away Central Park when you’re hungry.  Listed here are a number of spots in the park for a nice meal:

  • Lakeside Restaurant on the Loeb Boathouse – A lovely restaurant & bar with lakeside views and high-quality lunch and dinner choices (in addition to weekend brunch), for those who can truly get a table.  There’s additionally a less expensive informal café next door for “fast food” sort fare.
  • Tavern on the Green – Enter at 67th road and Central Park West: This famous restaurant in a historic building constructed in 1870 because the Sheepfold (thus the sheep in their emblem) was superbly renovated a number of years in the past. Within the warmer months, there’s additionally an incredible outside seating area.  A good lunch or dinner choice if worth isn’t a problem, or only a nice/fancy place to chill off at the bar with a beer on a scorching day.
  • Le Pain Quotidien – Simply north of Sheep Meadow, this cozy Belgian café chain serves soups, salads, tartines, espresso, and extra. There is a small outside seating area as nicely.  A nice choice for an off-the-cuff lunch and people-watching that gained’t value almost as a lot as the primary two options above.

Places close by for good espresso:

  • Zibetto Espresso Bar – 1385 Avenue of Americas – aka – sixth Avenue (at 56th road – just 5 min south of the park)
  • FIKA – 41 West 58th road (one block south of Central Park South)
  • Plaza Food Courtroom — Enter on Central Park South just west of Fifth Avenue (French bakery inside provides good espresso and pastries)

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Take pleasure in your go to to New York City!