A Visit to New York
New York comprises 5 boroughs sitting where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean, a densely populated borough that’s among the world’s major commercial, financial and cultural centers. It has famous sites at every turn and never enough time to see them all. The Dutch bought it from the Native Americans and called it New Amsterdam, and then the English took it over and changed the name to New York. The name Manhattan comes from the Munsi language of the Lenni Lenape meaning island of many hills. Other theories say that it comes from one of 3 Munsi words: "Manahactanienk" meaning "place of inebriation". Other possibilities are "manahatouh" meaning "a place where wood is available for making bows and arrows" and "menatay" meaning simply "the island".
It’s a huge park in the city center, a half-mile wide and 2.5 miles long, and has many attractions within its borders, including the Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields, the Central Park Zoo, and the Lake. Central Park has been a National Historic Landmark since 1962. The Creation finally began in 1857, based on the winner of a park design contest, the "Greensward Plan," of Frederick Law Olmsted, the park superintendent. It was designed by landscape architect and writer Frederick Law Olmsted and the English architect Calvert Vaux in 1858.
This is a vast entertainment and shopping complex in the middle of Manhattan, and home to NBC-TV and radio, and other media. The centerpiece of the complex is the 70-storey 30 Rockefeller Plaza, an Art Deco skyscraper that offers awesome views over Manhattan from the famous Top of the Rock Observation Deck. The "deck" includes three floors, located on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors. After Thanksgiving, a huge Christmas tree is erected in front of the rink. In 1928, area belonged to Columbia University, leased the land to John D. Rockefeller Jr., who was the main person behind the complex's construction. Originally was thought for a new Metropolitan Opera building. The current plan was approved in 1932 and the construction started in 1931, the first building opened in 1933, but was completed by 1939.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Known as just “the Met”, it was founded in 1870, and is one of the most famous museums in the United States. The permanent collection of The Met contains more than two million works of art, spanning a period of 5,000 years. Highlights: American decorative arts, arms and armor, costumes, Egyptian art, musical instruments, photographs, and much more. Exhibitions bring some of the world's most famous works to the public. The Met Cloisters, located in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan, is another extremely popular New York museum. This branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, housed in an outstanding structure, built around medieval cloisters, chapels, and halls, focuses on the medieval art and architecture of Europe.
AKA “The Great White Way", this nickname was earned because Broadway was one of the first streets in the United States to be lit with electric lights. Even though origins of Broadway begin by 1750 when Thomas Kean and Walter Murray opened a theater company on Nassau Street and the theater was large enough to hold 280 patrons and typically put on Shakespearian plays and ballad operas. Theatres did not arrive in the Times Square area until the early 1900s, and the Broadway theatres did not consolidate there until a large number of theatres were built around the square in the 1920s and 1930s. The first original theatre piece in English that includes dance and original music that helped to tell the story is The Black Crook, which premiered in New York on September 12, 1866.
Empire State Building
This is one of New York's most famous landmark buildings. The 381 m, 102 storey building was the tallest in the world until the 1 World Trade Center. Topped with a mooring mast for airships, the Empire State Building immediately became a landmark and a symbol for NYC when it opened in 1931.
Located in Chelsea, the High Line is a former rail line that has been transformed into an urban walking trail above the city streets.
Located in a former Nabisco factory, there are restaurants and unique shops.
Formerly Longacre Square, Times Square was named in 1904 after the New York Times tower. The newspaper first posted current headlines along its moving sign, the first of its kind in the world, in 1928.
The Brooklyn Bridge
With its Gothic-shaped arches and suspension cables, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks and has inspired generations of poets, songwriters, and painters. It was completed in 1883 and was the world's first steel suspension bridge. There is a wood plank walkway, only open to pedestrians and cyclists, runs above the lanes of traffic.
One of the most famous shopping streets in America is New York's premier shopping area, where many top designers have their flagship stores: Cartier, Tiffany, Bergdorf-Goodman, the famous Apple Store Fifth Avenue, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Grand Central Terminal
A fantastic Beaux Arts building that was first opened in 1871 serving as a hub for railroad lines entering Manhattan, later opened in 1913 as a terminal for the subway and train stations. Grand Central Depot brought the trains of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, the New York and Harlem Railroad, and the New York and New Haven Railroad together in one large station. The station was designed by John B. Snook and financed by Cornelius Vanderbilt.
The New York Public Library
The main branch was designed by architects, Carrere & Hastings, in the Beaux Arts style. Although colloquially known as the main branch, the proper name is actually the Stephen A. Schwarzman building. It opened in 1911 to immediate acclaim. An enormous library, the Main Reading Room alone stretches two city blocks, and the Periodicals Room holds 10,000 current magazines.
Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House
This is the oldest building in NY, located in Brooklyn and built in 1652.
Radio City Music Hall
This 1932 Art Deco Theater offers musical extravaganzas and films and is the home of the dance company, The Rockettes. The building was built and financed by the Rockefellers during the 1930s and contained the largest indoor theater in the world at the time. Today, the venue frequently hosts major events, including the Grammy Awards and Tony Awards. Its prominent marquee is hard to miss as it curves around the building and stretches down the block.
St Patrick's Cathedral
One of New York's finest examples of Gothic Revival, with its massive bronze doors, white marble facade, 330-foot spires, the Great Organ, rose window, bronze baldachin, 2,400 seating capacity, and the statue of Pieta at the side of the Lady Chapel. The building was erected in 1879 and restored in 2016.
Opened in 1891 as New York's first great concert hall. Musicians from Tchaikovsky, who conducted on opening night, to Leonard Bernstein and The Beatles have filled the hall. It is said to have some of the best acoustics in the world.
Once known as a seedy area known for crime and a hangout for undesirables, the city reclaimed it in 1989 and turned it into a beautiful urban oasis. The grounds feature monuments and gardens, and "Le Carrousel," a popular carousel. A games area makes available chess boards, checkers, and backgammon boards for a small fee. It's located adjacent to the New York Public Library.
Central Park Zoo
This is a small 6.5-acre zoo located in Central Park in New York City. It is part of an integrated system of four zoos and the New York Aquarium managed by the Wildlife Conservation.
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
An American military and maritime history museum with a collection of museum ships in New York City. It is located at Pier 86 at 46th Street in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood on the West Side of Manhattan.
Gulliver’s Gate is the largest interactive museum of miniatures in the world.
American Museum of Natural History (abbreviated as AMNH)
Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City, it’s one of the largest museums in the world. The museum complex comprises 28 interconnected buildings housing 45 permanent exhibition halls, in addition to a planetarium and a library. The museum collections contain over 33 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and human cultural artifacts, of which only a small fraction can be displayed at any given time, and occupies more than 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2). The museum has a full-time scientific staff of 225, sponsors over 120 special field expeditions each year and averages about five million visits annually.
A famous wax museum that exists in several major world cities, Madame Tussaud’s New York location opened in November 2000 with five floors of attraction space and over 200 figures. Madame Tussaud was a real person, Anna Maria Grosholtz (1761–1850). Born in Strasbourg, France, she moved to Switzerland, where she served as a housekeeper to a physician in Bern. Making a wax mask of dead person or casting a model of celebrity’s hand was at the time one of the few ways of preserving the person’s image for future generations and it has been a physician’s job. Taught by her master and skilled herself in waxworks, the young woman moved to Paris, married François Tussaud and witnessed the violence of the French Revolution of years 1789 - 1799. She made hundreds of death masks and head sculptures of executed aristocrats, often pulling more interesting heads from the pile of hundreds decapitated bodies. She lived later in London and when she died, her collection counted 400 figures. The first Tussaud’s cabinet of wax figures opened in London at Baker Street in 1835. It included the “Chamber of Horrors” showing figures of victims of the French Revolution and famous criminals, already caught and hanged. Seriously damaged by fires of 1921 and 1941, during the Blitz – WWII German bombings of London – , when many valuable figures at the Tussauds just melted, the collection has been rebuilt and today is owned by British amusement parks operator Merlin Entertainment.
Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum
Robert Ripley was the originally founder of the museum. Palace of Wax and Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum, in Grand Prairie, was called the Southwestern Historical Wax Museum and the Wax Museum of the Southwest until 1989. The institution originally opened in the Varied Industries Building at Fair Park, Dallas, in September 1963. It was founded by W. Thomas Bolton, John A. Prather, and J. C. Brown. The museum's exhibits included scenes of western gunfights and many historical figures of the southwest such as Cynthia Ann Parker and Antonio López de Santa Anna. A number of other figures included Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, John F. Kennedy, and Elvis Presley. The museum also included a collection of firearms once owned by the outlaws and heroes of the Southwest. By 1982 the museum had moved to its Grand Prairie location and was operated there until a fire destroyed it in October 1988. In January 1989 the owners of the museum, Classic Attractions, Incorporated, announced the construction of a new wax museum on the site of the old museum. They renamed it the Palace of Wax. The new structure also included a Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum. Both museums are housed in a 41,000-square-foot building fashioned after an Arabian palace. The new wax museum contains approximately 100 wax figures crafted by the museum's sculptor, Peter Carsillo.
National Geographic Encounter Ocean Odyssey
Explore the Pacific Ocean in this first of its kind immersive entertainment experience where the dives are deeper, the creatures are closer and every moment is designed to take your breath away. Developed with an Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy award–winning team, “National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey” uses groundbreaking technology to bring you face-to-face with the ocean’s greatest wonders and mightiest creatures.
National September 11 Memorial
The World Trade Center's twin 110 storey towers once dominated the Manhattan skyline, but were destroyed by suicide-piloted jetliners on September 11, 2001. Where the two towers of the World Trade Center once stood, now stand two square reflecting pools, each one acre in size. Known as the National September 11 Memorial, tribute to the almost 3,000 people killed on September 11, 2001 and also the six people killed in the bombing in February, 1993. These are the largest manmade waterfalls in North America.
The Statue of Liberty
This was France's gift to America. Built in 1886, it remains a famous world symbol of freedom and one of the greatest American icons. It is one of the world's largest statues, standing just less than 152 feet tall from the base to the torch, and weighing approximately 450,000 pounds.
Federal Hall is the first of two historic buildings located at 26 Wall Street. The original, a Greek Revival structure completed in 1703, served as New York's first City Hall. After the American Revolution, it served as meeting place for the Congress of the Confederation. In 1788, the building was remodeled and enlarged under the direction of Pierre Charles L'Enfant, becoming the first example of Federal Style architecture in the United States. It was renamed Federal Hall when it became the first Capitol of the newly created United States in 1789 and hosted the 1st United States Congress. On its steps George Washington was sworn in as the first President. It was demolished in 1812. The current structure, completed in 1842 and one of the best surviving examples of neoclassical architecture in New York, was built as the U.S. Custom House for the Port of New York. Later it served as a sub-Treasury building. Though never referred to as "Federal Hall", today it is operated by the National Park Service as a national memorial and designated the Federal Hall National Memorial to commemorate the historic events that occurred at the previous structure. Look for the bronze statue of Charging Bull at Bowling Green, on Broadway. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Financial District and a popular photo opportunity for visitors.
One World Observatory
At the top of the newly constructed One World Trade Center building there is an observation deck offering outstanding views from floors 100, 101, and 102, 1,776 feet above the city. The elevator to the top is part of the attraction. As you ascend, the surrounding panels show New York as it transformed over the years, from a rural landscape to the metropolis you see today. This glass building, which can be seen from all over the city, is a unique structure on the Manhattan skyline, with angles that give it a very distinct appearance. If stand near the base and look straight up, the tower appears pyramidal.
Stretching for eight city blocks from Broadway to South Street is the world famous Wall Street. This street and the surrounding area are home to some of the most important exchanges in the world, including the New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ, and the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Trinity Church has been significant to New York City’s history for over 300 years. In 1696, Governor Benjamin Fletcher approved the purchase of land in Lower Manhattan by the Church of England community for construction of a new church. The parish received its charter from King William III on May 6, 1697. The first Trinity Church building, a modest rectangular structure with a gambrel roof and small porch, was constructed in 1698, on Wall Street, facing the Hudson River. The land on which it was built was formerly a formal garden and then a burial ground. It was built because in 1696, members of the Church of England (Anglicans) protested to obtain a “charter granting the church legal status” in New York City. The second Trinity Church was built facing Wall Street; it was 200 feet tall, and longer and wider than its predecessor. Building a bigger church was beneficial because the population of New York City was expanding. The church was torn down after being weakened by severe snows during the winter of 1838–39. The second Trinity Church was politically significant because President Washington and members of his government often worshiped there. The third and current began construction in 1839 and was finished in 1846. In 1843, Trinity Church's expanding parish was divided due to the burgeoning cityscape and to better serve the needs of its parishioners. The newly formed parish would build Grace Church, to the north on Broadway at 10th street, while the original parish would re-build Trinity Church, the structure that stands today. Both Grace and Trinity Churches were completed and consecrated in 1846. Trinity Church held the title of tallest building in the United States until 1869. On July 9, 1976, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visited Trinity Church. Vestrymen presented the Queen with a symbolic "back rent" of 279 peppercorns. Since 1993, Trinity Church has hosted the graduation ceremonies of the High School of Economics and Finance. The school is located on Trinity Place, a few blocks away from the church. Guided tours of the church are offered daily at 2 PM.
The park and surrounding area is named for the artillery batteries that were positioned there in the city's early years to protect the settlement behind them. Battery Park is where the history of New York City began. Between 1808 and 1811, a new circular fort known as the West Battery was erected 200 feet offshore.