New York is the most populous city in the United States and one of the major commercial and financial centres of the country. The city has also some of the nation’s most iconic cultural landmarks and institutions. American author Saul Bellow once said,”I think New York is not the cultural center of America, but the business and administrative center of American culture”.It is also the headquarters of many of the world’s primary international organizations making it an important stop for foreign immigrants. New York has one of the largest expatriate population in the world which attests to the city’s multi-ethnic culture.
In this article I’ll elucidate on the different things a visitor can do in a day on a trip to the marvellous city.
First, let us take a look into New York City’s political divisions.
The Five Boroughs
New York consists of five boroughs- Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island with Manhattan and The Bronx being situated in the north, Brooklyn and Queens in the south and Staten Island far south west.
Manhattan is said to be the city’s most densely populated borough and is home to most of its cultural establishments. Brooklyn, which is comparatively more residential in nature is located just across the East river that separates the two.
The Bronx is New York’s northern most borough and Queens the eastern most. Queens is the largest county among all the boroughs.
Staten Island is an island borough and New York’s least populated region. It is connected to Manhattan by means of the Staten Island ferry service.
New York, a bird’s eye-view
How else to start the day than to catch a glimpse of the elaborate city! The Empire State Building located in midtown Manhattan is a 442 metre high skyscraper and one of the first high-rises in the country. Hailed as an architectural wonder, this commercial building is home to thousands of domestic and foreign investors. But visitors will find interest in going to the observatory located on the 86th floor of the building from where one can get a good aerial view of the city.
The Cultural Ziggurats
If you crave paintings and sculpture, then look no more and visit the Museum of Modern Art located in midtown Manhattan, a place where the past communicates with us through the present. With an astonishing collection of contemporary modern arts, this is a must see for all art enthusiasts. The American Museum of Natural History is another favoured destination. Said to be one of the most distinguished museums in the world and the quintessence in the display of the history of the ages, this museum has appealed to people of all age groups. It has 42 exhibits inside as of now, showcasing kit and caboodle of history, artifacts and science dating from the prehistoric times to the current day. The new Rose Centre for Earth and Space is a treat for astronomy savants. It’s shaped similar to a glass cube alongside a spherical theatre adorned with miniature universal entities from the ceiling. Besides displaying the history of the universe from an astronomical point of view, it has an ecosystem and models of other celestial bodies to its credit.
Raring to tap your feet and swing to the mood? The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is a renowned dance company spearheaded by some of the most eminent dancers. Their unmatched zeal and the ageless music that accompanies their performance will strike a chord with any dance aficionado. The institute’s collections worldwide are a testament to their rapidly growing popularity. There are theatrical performances by theatres in Broadway, which is also referred to as the Theatre district. Besides this there are also Off Broadway and Off off Broadway shows which are similar to the Broadway shows but with subsequently smaller theatres. Broadway is a wide street in Manhattan that extends from the Bowling Green park to the Inwood neighbourhood and the Bronx.
Your walk to the Broadway theatre will incidentally take you along the famed Times Square which is a major commercial intersection at the junction. One of the busiest crossroads, the Times Square has been coined as ‘The Crossroads of the World’ and is a celebrated tourist attraction.
The performances on Broadway are regarded to be unrivalled by many. Each year, the best Broadway shows are handed Tony Awards (the equivalent of the academy awards in the field of theatrical shows) to honour the best performances.
Shop till you drop
New York, also nicknamed ‘The Shopping Capital’ has scores of stores and shopping centres distributed throughout the city. From boutiques and flash retail shops to malls and exclusive showrooms, New York is regarded as one of the best one- stop shopping destination in the world.
Barney’s has been the preferred choice of clothing critiques and buffs alike ever since its inception in the early 20′s .It houses some of the rarest brands in the fashion industry. Bergdorf Goodman has also been frequented by shoppers. This nine storeyed goods store is well known for their luxurious offerings and top notch service with items ranging from decorative home collections to designer boutiques put up for sale. They even have a state-of -the-art salon and an all American cuisine restaurant to top it all. Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Uniqlo, Topshop and H&M are some of the other prominent stores to name a few that are essential visits on anyone’s New York City shopping schedule.
New York boasts of having some of the finest household names for anything be it Hammacher Schlemmer for the tech savvy’s or Book Culture for the book worms both being situated in Manhattan.
From microchips to vintage dresses to hummers, the fact is that no matter what you desire, it’s there somewhere in this city.
The Spirit of New York
The game that has had an emotional binding with the country ever since its debut, Baseball is the most popular sport of the United Sates with The Bronx being home to the New York Yankee stadium, the ballpark of the New York Yankees team. The New Yankee Stadium is an ultra-modern ballpark fitted with major amenities and other facilities to enhance the spectator’s experience of the game. Every year tens of thousands of fans rush to this historic venue to watch some of the best baseball being played by one of the top teams in the world. This place is definitely worth a visit for those who want to know more about the game and the team. Mentioned along with the Yankees are the New York Mets, their cross town rivals from Queens.
Food for thought
New York being an ethnically diverse city has a variety of exotic cuisine apart from their native one.
The Le Bernedin and the Nomad are some of the culinary delights that must be cited. Noted for their authentic and mesmerizing seafood, a night at Le Bernedin or the Nomad will never leave you with second thoughts. You can also munch on some of the finest native American cuisine at the Eleven Madison Park in Madison Avenue with its collection of award winning wine collections or the Gramercy Tavern near Broadway which has been a favourite pick among the residents over the years.
The only downside to dining at these places is the price tag that comes along with every meal. But when it’s a once in a lifetime experience, money won’t be a hassle.
Whether its seafood, Mexican, Italian or Asian there are restaurants representing almost every cuisine on the planet in New York City.
A Walk in the park
Ever thought of sitting down to enjoy the beauty of the bustling city in a serene environment? Where else than the famous Central Park! Known to be a great place for a stroll, the 780 acre man-made park with 50 fountains, 36 bridges and 21 playgrounds is a recreational spectacle. But this oasis of peace is not just limited to strollers. Everyday thousands of people visit the park to skate, climb, run, row or engage in various other activities. At times we can also see marriages being held here. The park also has a zoo, a Diary with vintage souvenirs and information materials, a skate rink and a carousel. The horse-drawn carriage rides gives us an exclusive tour of the park where one can reminisce the forgotten times. You could also sit for a bit along the mall and have a quiet tête-à-tête.
They say New York is the ‘city that never sleeps’. There is always something happening, something going on and something to do in this ever so vibrant city. The account given above has only given us a peek to the everyday life in a truly multifarious and flamboyant metropolis.