New York City a.k.a.’The Big Apple’ is more popular than ever for many reasons, I will name some of mine to convince you why you should visit this city at least once in your life! But as there are so many reasons to mention I had to divide them over 2 blog posts:
>This post will mention the stunning architecture, famous landmarks, sightseeing highlights and the best viewpoints of the city.
>The next one will name the city’s hotspots, the nicest and most diverse neighborhoods and tell you all about celebrating New Year’s Eve in NYC!
As it was my first time in this big city I had a lot of ground and landmarks to cover, as the city has so many! Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to cover all of them, but the following I can recommend per area of the city:
Upper Manhattan (in between 59th and 110th street):
I love the Upper-East and West side of New York for its chique lanes, expensive mansions and beautiful apartment buildings. But especially because one of my favourite sights is located here; Central Park, also known as ‘The lungs of New York City’.
Created in 1858 as a retreat from the city located in the center of Manhattan, it consists of 250 acres of lawns, 130 acres of woodlands, 24,000 trees, 150 acres of lakes and streams, 55 sculptures and monuments and 36 bridges. The park gets millions of visitors yearly rollerblading, boating and strolling through the park, relaxing on the greens or going for dinner at the famous Tavern on the Green.
As a nature lover I really enjoyed the fact that the park forms such a huge contrast to the big busy city. It feels like a nature oasis amidst impressive skyscrapers towering over the park, which make a stunning view!
The city has many famous museums like The Guggenheim (Upper East side) and MoMa (midtown Manhattan), but beware that the lines to get in are long! Therefore we choose only to visit one of the largest museums in the world across the street from Central Park: the American Museum of Natural History.
It has 45 exhibition halls next to a planetarium and a library, which cover 190,000 m2. The huge displays of dinosaur skeletons and fossils, especially in the main lobby are famous and very impressive in real life!
Midtown Manhattan (in between 14th and 59th street):
Around Midtown you will find architectural beauty in many buildings, for example the Chrysler building. A classic example of Art Deco architecture and considered by many architectures one of the finest buildings in the city. You will see it from many vantage points towering over the city with its 319 meters height!
Public Library, especially beautiful in winter time, we were lucky to have some snow, but not too much, which makes a pretty picture:).
St.Patrick’s Cathedral also makes an impressive sight with its decorated Neo-Gothic architectural style. A prominent landmark of the city, directly across the street from Rockefeller Center.
The most visited and famous part of Rockefeller Center is the 70 floors, 266 meter tall building at 30 Rockefeller center, called Top of the Rock. The view from here should not be missed! Unfortunately we haven’t been up there when we visited, but as it looks out over the city, as well as Central Park, it should make a very special sight.
We did however go up the Empire state building and found this view amazing as well.
With its 102 floors and top roof being 388 meters high, it is much taller than the Rockefeller Center and next to the One World Trade Center it is the highest building in the city! From the observation deck on the 86th floor you look out over Lower Manhattan, towards the Statue of Liberty, over the Hudson and East river on several sides with a 360 degree view over the city. If you don’t mind paying extra you can even visit the smaller observation deck on the 102nd floor as well.
Make sure to buy tickets in advance to shorten the wait and skip to the front of the line, as the lines are as legendary as the building itself. There are actually five lines on the way: 1 the sidewalk line, 2 the lobby elevator line, 3 the ticket purchase line, 4 the second elevator line, and 5 the line to get off the elevator and onto the observation deck, so you have to be patient to get to the top.
Architecture lovers like me won’t mind this as there is enough to see during the wait. Designed in the special Art Deco style it has been named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, and both the building as its street floor interior are important landmarks of the city.
Times Square is one of the most bright and busy pedestrian crossroads of the world. It is also one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, with about fifty million visitors a year and 330,000 people passing through the square daily. Very busy but worth a visit!
Lower Manhattan (below 14th street):
Wall street is situated in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan and makes New York City one of the most economically powerful cities and the leading financial center of the world. The New York Stock Exchange is the largest Stock Exchange in the World and makes an impressive sight!
Battery park, has great views over the harbor! This 25-acre public park is built at the southern tip of Manhattan and has been a popular promenade since the 17th century. At that time there was an artillery battery here, which served as protection to the town, hence the name:). Now the modern park is mostly surrounded by impressive skyscrapers facing the Statue of Liberty.
The Statue of Liberty was built to symbolize the USA’s ideals of freedom, opportunity and democracy and can be seen from afar on its own island.
This is called Ellis Island, and was the gateway for millions of immigrants as it has been an immigrant inspection station until 1954. After that the island was made part of the National Monument of the Statue and nowadays also has a museum of immigration for visitors. It can only be reached by boat or ferry, but the line for this boat was so long and the icy wind in December so cold, that unfortunately we had to skip this one and could only admire the statue from afar.
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is also really recommended. The bridge itself is a famous landmark and one of the oldest bridges in the USA, existing since 1883 and connecting Manhattan with Brooklyn over the East river.
It has a wide pedestrian walkway and a special lane for cyclists, in the middle of the bridge above the automobile lanes, which will give you great views over the river!
For the best views over Lower Manhattan make sure to visit the Brooklyn Bridge Park as well.
Check out my New York City’s hotspots and New Year’s Eve blog post for more about the city’s hotspots, diverse neighborhoods, vibrant city life and celebrating NYE in NYC!
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