New York12 things to do and see in New York and 3 not to do
Despite the many historical, cultural and social changes that occurred in the twentieth and in this first part of the twenty-first century, New York still embodies the "American myth". Maybe not so much as a possibility of redemption from a previous disadvantage; certainly, however, from a tourist point of view. In other words, the equation "United States equals New York" still holds for many. More than New York, Manhattan, since the main attractions of the city are almost all in this district, one of the five (the other 4 are: The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island) that make up the "Big Apple". A reduction that makes many turn up their noses, but towards which one can also be indulgent. Seeing the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, Fifth Avenue etc. up close continues to represent a lifelong dream for many, especially if you come from infinitely smaller urban and architectural contexts. Below is our special list of top things to do and see in New York. Happy reading.
1 Central Park
At the beginning we mentioned the "greatness" of New York as one of the factors that most contributes to its tourist appeal. Everything is gigantic, or in any case significantly larger than most other metropolises around the world. Central Park is no exception. We are talking about a park of over 300 hectares that attracts about 40 million visitors a year. The arrival and well-deserved fame, however, obscures the enormous effort it took to transform what was a gigantic swamp into the “green lung” of New York in the XNUMXth century. In fact, thousands of workers under the orders of the two architects, the landscape architect, took part in the reclamation Frederick Law Olmsted and the architect Calvert Vaux. Thanks to these two men, New York bridged the gap with the great European cities - let's think of Paris and London - by providing a public green space available to the entire city, regardless of the economic and social status of the individual inhabitants. And even today, over a century later, this remains the essence of the park. Lots of things to see. En passant we point out the Strawberry Fields Memorial, dedicated to John Lennon and the Conservatory Water, an artificial lake particularly loved by New York families. Near the lake there is a statue of Alice in Wonderland, around which dozens of children roam free, especially in the spring and summer months. More information at: centralpark.org.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York is about 600 meters from Central Park. A few minutes walk to go from one of the most beautiful public parks in the world to one of the most beautiful modern art museums in the world. Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Warhol, Pollock, Cattelan and an infinity of other artists are present in the 4 floors that house the permanent collection of the museum. The most famous names are on the top two floors, so it is worth visiting MoMA from top to bottom. In all 200.000 works of which 79.000 are also visible online. Moreover, with a single ticket it is also possible to visit the MoMA PS1, an avant-garde museum set up inside a former school. It is therefore advisable to rely on the official site of the museum (www.moma.org) to plan the visit and be updated on the many activities of the "Olympus of art lovers" as this museum space is defined by many. Get warned.
3 Top of the Rock
The "30 Rock", as New Yorkers call it, is one of the 19 skyscrapers that make up the Rockefeller Center. Its popularity is due to the fact that on the 70th floor there are three internal and external panoramic terraces that allow the view of the wonderful sky line of the city. A landscape so beautiful, and with different points of view that, according to many, it would even be preferable to the Empire State Building. The reason, in addition to the greater breadth of the view (see photo), would be its (relative) lesser fame. The climb to the top of the "Top of the Rock" is just one of the attractions of the Rockefeller Center (lighting the Christmas tree is another very heartfelt moment in the city). This real estate complex in the heart of Manhattan, in fact, is one of the most shining symbols of the "Big Apple". Made in the 30s, it is rightly considered "a city within a city" (transl. "A city within a city") in the words of its first financier John D. Rockefeller Jr. In over 80 years of history, this group of art deco commercial buildings has passed through several hands. It is currently owned by the Tishman Speyer real estate fund. More information at place: www.rockefellercenter.com.
4 Times Square
The "square par excellence"; a "cascade of sparkling lights"; the "beating heart" of New York: this is only a very small part of the ways in which this is toldcorner intersection of Broadway and Seventh Street. So forget the comparisons with the gigantic squares of Moscow, St. Petersburg, or any other European capital. In Times Square, to be truly "gigantic" is only the crowd of tourists, residents and onlookers (almost) hypnotized by advertising LEDs. The main symbols of the "Big Apple" turn around the square: taxis, fast food, street performers, without forgetting the billboards announcing the theatrical performances of nearby Broadway. Yet it wasn't always like that. A first moment of splendor, in fact, was followed by a particularly long period of decline, during which the fame of the square was more often associated with crime. Then the rebirth in the 90s with the syndication of Rudolph "Rudy" Giuliani. Over the years of his mandate, the former "iron prosecutor" managed to combine security and urban redevelopment, becoming a virtuous example for many other mayors struggling with similar problems. In conclusion, Times Square cannot miss the appeal on a trip to the "Big Apple", even if only to take a selfie. Nearby, less than a mile away, the iconic Flatiron Building and St. Patrick's Cathedral, the city's main place of worship, are also worth a visit.
5 Empire State Building
It is not the tallest building (it is the One World Trade Center) nor, probably, the one with the best view (see Top of the Rock). That said, it is definitely New York's most famous skyscraper, a must for any visit to the city, be it for a day or a week. There are two panoramic terraces: one outdoors on the 86th floor; another closed at the 102nd. The view sweeps across Central Park, the Hudson River, the Brooklin Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, embracing the entire 5 "burroughs" into which the city is administratively divided. The last 30 floors of the building also light up every evening with different LEDs depending on the seasons and the celebrations that take place in New York: from the traditional St. Patrick's Day to the irreverent caravan of Gay Pride. Considering the monstrous numbers of the turnout, steadily on 3 million annual visitors, it is preferable to book the visit in advance. Alternatively, show up at the entrance early in the morning or late in the evening hoping for a lower turnout than the rest of the day. More information at: www.esbnyc.com (Spanish version available).
In the photo, the view fromEmpire State Building
6 The Metropolitan Museum of Art
With around 6 million visitors a year, the "MET" is by far the most visited place in New York. A gigantic museum in which testimonies from all over the world relating to the last 5000 years of history are exhibited. An enormous encyclopedic effort, all the more meritorious if we consider that at the time of its foundation, in 1870, there was almost nothing compared to the current collection. Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Islamic art, without forgetting the best of European, African, Oceanic and American painting: in this museum space, organized in three different buildings (The Met Fifth Avenue; The Met Breuer; The Met Cloisters), there is really something to enjoy. Obviously it is impossible to see everything at once. It is therefore necessary to plan in advance the visit by consulting the official website of the museum (www.metmuseum.org), to which we refer also for the in-depth information on opening hours, exhibitions and temporary exhibitions.
7 Guggenheim Museum
Less than 5 minutes' walk from the MET is another beautiful museum worth visiting. We are talking about the Guggenheim Museum, located at 1071 Fifth Avenue. Inside of hundreds of works of art with the best of abstractionism, surrealism, impressionism and European and American expressionism. From Van Gogh to Pollock, without forgetting Monet, Magritte, Picasso, Chagall and many others. But if the inside leaves the visitor speechless, the outside of the museum is no exception. The building was in fact designed by the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright, although neither the author nor the advocate, Solomon R. Guggenheim, were able to see the finished work (the museum was inaugurated in 1959, after the departure of both) . So, in case you can't get in, it's okay to just take a look from the outside at what is rightly considered a work of art in itself. Finally, a curiosity: the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice is also part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. For more information: www.guggenheim.org.
8 Brooklyn Bridge
As mentioned at the beginning, the charm of New York is inextricably linked to the evocative nature of its symbols. Great engineering works that not only made history (just think of the Empire State Building or the Rockefeller Center) but on which the present depends and the future of the city will depend. The Brooklyn Bridge, from this point of view, is one of the most powerful icons, if not the most powerful, of New York. Crossing it on foot (there is a pedestrian crossing also reserved for cyclists) is a kind of "Rite of passage", one of those things, that is, destined to remain forever etched in the memory. It is not over, because at the bottom of the bridge, there is a beautiful park that extends for over 30 hectares divided between green areas and playgrounds. Do not miss the meadows ofEmpire Fulton Ferry and the paths of Pier I. In the latter space there is also a small hill from which some of the most evocative shots of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan were taken. So if you like photography, this is one of the must-see places in New York. More information at place: www.brooklynbridgepark.org.
9 Wall Street
Wall Street is one of the symbols of New York. In truth, not just New York, since some of the most decisive events in history have passed from the American stock exchange. Just to name two: the Great Depression of 1929 and the failure of Lehman Brothers of 2008. Among other things, the world's economies are still paying the price of this last event, despite the acute phase of the crisis that ensued seem to be behind them. Two examples that demonstrate, if need be, the importance of the Financial District of New York. Obviously it is not possible to enter the stock exchange or the headquarters of the Federal Reserve (the American Central Bank). But just walking through these streets, observing the behavior of the people who frequent and work there every day, gives an idea of the importance of places.. For the historical background, however, we refer to the Museum of American Finance (www.moaf.org). If open it is worth a visit, as it is certainly worth stopping for a photo in front of the “Charging Bull” (see photo), a sculpture depicting a giant bull made by the Italian-American artist Arturo Di Modica. To do!
10 National September 11 Memorial & Museum
September 11, 2001 is a date destined to remain etched in the memory not only of those who, that day, could not help but watch helplessly at the shocking images of the attack on the Twin Towers; but also of the new generations, the so-called "millennials", who will find traces of the most serious terrorist episode in the history of humanity in school books. The deaths due to the plane hijacking organized by Al Qaeda were 2996. The history of the victims is fully documented through images, photographs, testimonies and other artifacts in the 11/XNUMX Museum. An unmissable step, therefore, not to forget what happened, and to make each person grow the necessary "antibodies" so that such episodes do not happen again.. Do not miss the outside "Reflecting Absence", the two waterfalls built exactly on the perimeter of the Twin Towers destroyed in the attack. Unlike the museum, for which a ticket must be purchased, these two waterfalls are visible for free. A message of hope and renewal evoked by the incessant flow of water that it would be a real shame not to grasp during a visit to New York. For more information see the place: www.911memorial.org.
11 High Line
New York is not only huge skyscrapers that stand out in the air for hundreds of meters but it is also one avant-garde city in terms of urban transformation and requalification. The most virtuous example is that of High Line, an old elevated railway line even transformed into a hanging garden. A green oasis in West Side Manhattan where thousands of tourists and residents flock every day. The High Line is also an outdoor exhibition space for the city's artistic avant-garde, as well as a temple of street food. For more information see the place: www.thehighline.org.
12 Statue of Liberty
Last but not least "Lady Liberty" or, wanting to call the statue in full, "Liberty Enlightening The World" (trad. "The Freedom that illuminates the world"). From the late nineteenth century to the mid-50s, this statue greeted millions of immigrants arriving in New York Harbor. A'universal icon, therefore, that it is possible to visit in combination with Immigration Museum located on nearby Ellis Island. Among other things, by booking in advance (up to six months in advance) it is possible to climb up to the crown of the statue, at the end of 345 steps. Alternatively, you have to be satisfied (so to speak) to visit the pedestal which also offers a magnificent view of the city. For more information, see the official website of the Serrvice National Park: www.nps.gov.
1 Watch out for tourist traps
That of the "Tourist traps" it is a hot topic in almost every big city. New York is no exception, so the advice is to pay proper attention to the choice of restaurant. The advice also applies to street food. Unless you have some particular "tips", it is better to avoid buying hot dogs from the first street vendor that happens. The situation is slightly different for McDonald's, Burger King and the other big American fast food brands. Nothing prevents you from going there, but since they are found almost everywhere in the world (while being in New York is not an everyday thing) consider well if it's worth it. However, today it is not difficult to take measures in these aspects: just read the reviews or, if there is a way, seek advice from someone who has previously visited the city. Better still ask for advice from someone from the place provided, of course, it is not an interested party.
2 Don't stay too long in Times Square
We have included Times Square among the things to see in New York because it is one of the main icons of the city. Said this, just stop as long as necessary. The crowd is considerable and even choosing to eat something or go shopping is not very convenient.
3 Better (if possible) not to visit New York in the summer
July and August are the hottest months and temperatures can get scorching. Therefore, if you have the choice, it is best to avoid the summer period. The autumn foliage, the snow in winter and the crisp air of spring, on the other hand, outline a New York that is always different, but equally welcoming.