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Things to Do in New York City - page 5

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Hard Rock Café New York
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It’s no surprise that one of the most iconic restaurants on earth also calls one of the most iconic city blocks its home. Hard Rock Café Times Square exists in the heart of New York City, where sky-high buildings, flashing lights and crowded streets meet. This kinetic destination welcomes visitors from around the globe to experience the energy and excitement of the big apple.

Visitors can tuck into heaping plates of American fare—like burgers, fries and frosty milkshakes—surrounded by an impressive collection of music memorabilia. The famed white suit of Led Zeppelin, the glossy white bass used by The Who and handwritten lyrics from Jimi Hendrix make this popular restaurant feel more like a museum than mealtime (though travelers say the vibe is way more fun).

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Belvedere Castle
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Designed in the late 1860s by architects Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead and as part of their “Greensward Plan” to beautify a then-young Central Park, this turret-topped castle of schist and granite stands atop Vista Rock, looking out on the woodlands of The Ramble, the Turtle Pond, and panoramic views of the Upper West Side.

Originally built in 1865 as a Victorian Folly – a structure with no intended use beyond sheer delight – it would come to be used as both a weather station and a nature center. In 1919, the National Weather Service began taking wind and rainfall readings from the top floor of Belvedere’s tower, the highest point in Central Park; this practice continues today. Over the next several decades, the largely empty structure of high ceilings and winding staircases fell into increasing disrepair, until it was renovated and re-opened in 1983 as the Henry Luce Nature Observatory.

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Chelsea Market
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Built in the former home of the National Biscuit Company (where the Oreo was born), this Chelsea landmark was opened in 1997 as a multi-purpose market and business complex. A foodie haven, the Market is home to some of the most sought-after treats in New York City (including Jacques Torres Chocolate), as well as a handful of acclaimed restaurants (like sushi hotspot Morimoto), and the studios and offices of the Food Network.

Gently redesigned by Vandeberg Architects, Chelsea Market today features a splashy shopping arcade, but still incorporates much of the vintage ductwork, tiling, and signboards of the original National Biscuit Company. The 1890s version of the structure was divided into two major buildings connected by a pedestrian walkway; that walkway, which runs through the building on its 10th Avenue side, is now a portion of the High Line, a mile-long elevated greenway that repurposes an old stretch of the New York Central Railroad.

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Meatpacking District
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New York City’s famous Meatpacking District is a 24-hour destination known for its fashion, culture, design and food. This neighborhood, located on the west side of Manhattan, spans approximately 20 square blocks and is popular for its nightlife and even its historical side. The market-filled industrial center was once solely home to meatpacking plants, lumber yards and scores of open-air meat markets, and after an unseemly period during the 1980s when the area was a hotbed for scandal, a new transformation began. In the late 1990s, high-end boutiques and restaurants began opening, and the completion of the High Line Park in 2009 really set the Meatpacking District apart. And in May 2015, one of New York’s most well-respected art institutes, the Whitney Museum, opens its doors in the neighborhood. Although the Meatpacking District has changed significantly over time, its historical past is still evident today.

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National Museum of the American Indian–New York
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Located in the heart of lower Manhattan near the Staten Island Ferry and Wall Street, The National Museum of the American Indian is home to one of the largest collections of Native American art and artifacts in the world. Travelers who venture to this destination will find more than 800,000 unique items on display, which detail the history, culture and traditions of America’s native people. And while a majority—close to 70 percent—of the museum’s collection is from the U.S., visitors will find plenty of items from Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.

Travelers can wander the galleries, which are jam-packed with pieces that detail the unique experiences of a variety of tribes, wander past photography displays, or settle in for one of the occasional movies or audio tours that’s on offer at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York.

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More Things to Do in New York City

Upper West Side

Upper West Side

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Located between Central Park and the Hudson River and West 59th Street and West 110th Street, the Upper West Side is known for being one of Manhattan’s more upscale residential neighborhoods, with beautiful brownstones and a generally safe atmosphere. For those looking to experience some of New York’s best cultural sites, the Upper West Side has plenty. For example, Lincoln Center is an important cultural institution in the neighborhood, as the center puts on an array of topnotch music, dance and theater performances. In fact, it is home to some of the world’s most elite performing arts groups like The Juilliard School, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic.

There is also the American Museum of Natural History, American Folk Art Museum, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens, The Children’s Museum, Museum of Arts & Design, Nicholas Roerich Museum and New York’s oldest museum founded in 1804, the New-York Historical Society.

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New York City Garment District

New York City Garment District

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Also known as the Fashion District, New York’s Garment District is located in Manhattan between Fifth and Ninth Avenues and 34th and 42nd Streets. It gets its name due to the high concentration of show rooms, fashion brands, wholesale outlets and production spaces. Along with being a mecca for fabric and apparel, the Garment District is also worthwhile as shoppers can find everything from designer pieces to budget buys and sample sales.

Start your tour of the area at the Garment District Kiosk at 39th and Seventh Avenue to pick up maps, brochures and coupons that will help you navigate the many fashionable spaces. If you can only go to one shop in the area, make it Mood Fabrics which encompasses three floors of designer textiles. Visitors also enjoy walking the Fashion Hall of Fame from 38th to 40th along Seventh Avenue.

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East Village

East Village

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One of Manhattan’s most vibrant neighborhoods, the East Village has a storied history of New York’s counterculture, art and literature movements, and social and political acts including riots and protests. It was here that punk rock, experimental theater, and even Andy Warhol shows took root in New York City. As such, the area is considered a large contributor the arts and culture of the United States. Museums, libraries, festivals, and theaters can still be found in great number. It is also known for its thriving bar and budget restaurant scene.

The East Village was first developed as an artistic community in the 1950s with its affordable housing costs attracting many students, musicians, and alternative lifestyles. It is known still for its artistic attitude, nightlife, and diversity, though some would argue that the gentrification of the city is changing its culture.

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Time Warner Center

Time Warner Center

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Cafe Wha?

Cafe Wha?

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Located at 115 MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, Cafe Wha? is a historic bar known for being the career birthplace of many well-known musicians and comedians. Open since the 1950s, some artists who consider Cafe Wha? a home include Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, Bill Crosby and Peter, Paul & Mary, to name a few. Although it’s gone through many changes over the years, you can expect high energy music in an informal atmosphere every night of the week. In 1987, the Cafe Wha? House Band was employed, and are now known throughout the world and regularly feature celebrity guest performers. You can hear them live Wednesday through Sunday, playing everything from Motown to Reggae to Alternative Rock and more. On Monday nights you’ll hear Brazooka, a Brazilian dance band incorporating elements of Jazz and Samba, while Tuesdays are a mix of soul, R&B and Funk with Disfunktion.
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New York Penn Station

New York Penn Station

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New York City is no stranger to the everyday hustle and bustle, and Penn Station, the city’s largest intercity train station, is no exception. Constructed in the early 20th century, it was designed in a Beaux-Arts style inspired by the Gare d’Orsay in Paris. It was once considered one of the most important architectural sites in New York. Unfortunately due to low utilization it was demolished in the 1950s. It was restored and reconstructed to its current station in 1969.

Today it is operated by Amtrak and serves more than 600,000 passengers daily — that’s more than any other transit station in North America. It brings in daily commuters from the surrounding areas of Long Island and New Jersey and is well-connected with the New York City Subway system. Often crowded, the multi-level underground station is one of the busiest spots in Manhattan.

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Morris-Jumel Mansion

Morris-Jumel Mansion

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This iconic whitewashed house in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood was built in 1765 and is officially the oldest home in the borough. Now a museum dedicated to the city—and the nation’ —colorful past, the Morris-Jumel Mansion once served as the headquarters for the American Revolution. In addition to exploring the galleries, which are filled with historic artifacts and photographs, travelers can enjoy the expansive gardens, which are tended by local volunteers, and even relax during warmer months with live music performances in the stunning outdoor setting.

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The Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum

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New York City Madison Avenue

New York City Madison Avenue

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Fans of ‘Mad Men’ and will love exploring the iconic Madison Avenue, which is recognized across the world as the premiere address for top advertising and marketing firms. Though not a part of the first city street grid, it was later introduced as a one-way thoroughfare connecting Midtown Manhattan to Harlem.

In addition to being a hub of global business, Madison Avenue sits at the heart of New York City’s premiere retail market. Visitors looking for high-end fashion can shop designers like Roberto Cavalli, Chloe, Armani, Prada and more all in one place. But green spaces like Madison Square Park cater to visitors who want to relax under the shade of a towering tree or explore a number of museums, including the Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum of Art are also just blocks away.

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Central Park Conservatory Garden

Central Park Conservatory Garden

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The Conservatory Garden, located within Central Park, is a serene escape from the fast-paced urban life of Manhattan. It takes its name from a conservatory that stood on site until 1934 but is now a collection of fountains, sculptures and pathways through landscaped lanes. Spread across six acres, the garden is divided into three distinct areas influenced by French, Italian and English styles. It is also a designated “quiet zone” that has become known as almost a secret garden to many. The area is free of runners, bicyclists and dogs, and is a popular place for weddings. The garden has two massive seasonal floral displays: tulips in the spring and chrysanthemums in the fall. Whether you’re strolling through the hedges and flower displays or relaxing on a bench with a book, the Conservatory Garden is a colorful place of calm, natural beauty meant to be savored.

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New York City Riverside Park

New York City Riverside Park

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A four-mile strip of elegant public green space between the Hudson River and Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, this designated scenic landmark was first proposed in 1865, laid out in 1910 (using designs by Frederick Law Olmstead), re-designed in the 1930s by Robert Moses (who incorporated an underground train tunnel still in use by Amtrak), and enlarged by Donald Trump in the 1990s.

In addition to purely scenic paths landscaped with trees, flowers, terraces and bridges, the park includes a wide variety of recreational options, like baseball diamonds, basketball, tennis and handball courts, skate ramps, kayak and canoe launch sites, playgrounds, and fitness paths. As part of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, the park contains car-free bike routes, and its 110-slip public marina at 79th Street is part of New York State’s Water Trail. There are several graceful monuments within the park, including Grant’s Tomb, at West 122nd Street.

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Chelsea

Chelsea

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Located on the West Side between 14th and 29th Streets and Broadway and the Hudson River, Chelsea is Manhattan’s art mecca. Renowned for having the highest concentration of art galleries in the city, visitors can easily spend the day browsing free-to-enter creative spaces, especially on 20th through 29th streets between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. Some notable galleries to check out include the Barbara Gladstone Gallery featuring contemporary pieces from big names, Zach Feuer Gallery which showcases edgier works by up-and-coming artists and Interart Gallery housing paintings from European surrealists painters.

Even beyond the galleries the neighborhood is creative. For example, you’ll find the High Line, an elevated urban park on an abandoned rail line with beautiful gardens and public art, Trapeze School New York where you can watch and learn the performance art of high wire acts and the Upright Citizens Brigade, which showcases improv, sketch and stand-up comedy.

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