New York City… the concrete jungle. From the moment you step into the bright lights and bustling crowds of Times Square you will feel as though you have stepped straight into a scene from the movies. Exciting and interesting as it is, the experience to be had in New York is surreal and far from the reality we have been accustomed to in the UK. Here are five of a large variety of great places to visit when visiting the Big Apple.
“Street lights big dreams all looking pretty, no place in the world that can compare”- Alicia Keys laments the wonder of the Big Apple and hits the nail on the head first time. Stepping onto the sidewalk of Times Square for the first time will undoubtedly leave you speechless and taken aback with awe. It doesn’t matter what your interests are, Times Square is certainly home to something that will tickle your fancy. You can eat at some quintessential New York establishments, enjoy impromptu street performances, shop till you drop and snap pictures in front of the big screen that light up the square.
2. The Statue of Liberty
Like me, I’m sure that many of you are wondering why a statue is such a New York tourist staple. Despite my low expectations of this attraction, visiting the Statue of Liberty was amongst the highlights of the trip. From a distance, you cannot fully appreciate the majesty of Lady Liberty. It’s when you get up close and personal with the green giant that you will understand the wonder and significance of this famous landmark. The ferry ride to and from Liberty Island is just as enjoyable as the statue and provides you with plentiful photo ops of the city from all different angles. And, once you’re on the island there is always the shop and cafe where you can buy your loved ones a souvenir or have a cup of coffee whilst enjoying the views.
3. Central Park
Central Park is a hotspot for movie magic. Round every corner and behind every tree is another spot that can be pinpointed to a moment from one of your favourite films or TV shows. For example, you can walk under the bridge that Kevin McAllister ran through in “Home Alone 2” or you can visit the Bethesda fountain that Santa crashed into in “Elf” and where Chuck and Blair tied the knot in “Gossip Girl”. You could easily spend a full day wandering around the park and enjoying the scenery and attractions that it has to offer such as Central Park Zoo, boating lakes, adventure playgrounds for the kids and large variety of iconic statues dotted around.
Central Park has a rich history, and New York is not short of tour guides who will jump at the chance to show you the best of what Central Park has to offer with interesting facts to boot.
4. Ground Zero
The terror attack on the twin towers on September 9th 2001 devastated the world and changed the landscape of New York City forever. Ground Zero marks this tragedy in a beautiful and respectful manner and immortalises the memory of the lives that were claimed on this day. The pools of the memorial represent “absence made visible” and remind visitors that some voids simply can not be filled. The pools feature North America’s largest manmade waterfalls and create an atmosphere of tranquility; perfect for commemoration. Take some time to visit this memorial during your trip to acknowledge and reflect on the true past of this great city and educate yourself further in the museum located at the site. Even though 9/11 is associated with such horror and pain, the museum is definitely worth visiting if only to learn about how New York City rose up and survived the explosion.
Of course I wasn’t going to leave out Broadway, the home of some of the world’s most enormous talents and breathtaking entertainment. As a massive musical theatre geek, watching a Broadway show was a bucket list item I couldn’t wait to check off. In Times Square you can see some of the hottest running and up-coming shows proudly displayed all around you and you will definitely be spoiled for choice. You can watch Disney magic be brought to life on the stage in ‘The Lion King”, “Frozen” or Aladdin”, or catch a Tony award winning Broadway hit such as “Wicked” or “Dear Evan Hansen”. You’ve also got the option to catch a musical biopic like “The Cher Show” or “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”. Whatever your taste, Broadway will undoubtedly have something that you will love from beginning to end.