When one thinks of New York, the first mental image that probably springs to mind is of its skyline, which consists of huge skyscrapers like the Empire State Building (the tallest building in New York), the Statue of Liberty, Liberty and Ellis Islands and the Hudson River.
To get an idea of just how recognisable New York’s skyline is, show a picture of it to anyone and they will tell, you, “That’s New York”.
The huge scale of New York’s buildings can be felt wherever you walk, but nothing can compare to looking down on them from a height.
1. One option is to make your way to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, 320 metres up. Here you can look down on the splendour of the city below.
Alternatively, to look out over the Empire State Building as well as everything else, the Top of the Rock is where you want to be. It occupies the 67th, 69th and 70th floors of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The views of the city are even more magnificent once the sun goes down.
2. It is generally agreed that Times Square is a place of sensory overload. Huge LED billboards, street merchants, the Naked Cowboy playing the guitar in his underwear and much, much more collectively guarantee that steadying your gaze on one object is a difficult feat.
Here is where you can purchase tickets for critically acclaimed Broadway productions (if you’re on a budget head to the TKTS Discount Booth), and take in all that Midtown has to offer.
3.The expanse between West 42nd and West 47th Street is pedestrianised, so you can wander around in relative safety with your mouth agape.
The indoor Ferris wheel in Toys ‘R’ Us really has to be seen to be believed, and it would be difficult to tell the real celebrities and their wax counterparts apart in Madame Tussauds if they were standing beside each other.
All that exploration really works up an appetite, so it is fortunate that West 46th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, is fondly known as Restaurant Row.
4. Located in the centre of Manhattan, Central Park truly is a haven of tranquillity in the frenetic energy that is New York. Its 280 manmade hectares take in large green expanses such as the Great Lawn and Sheep Meadow, footpaths, ponds and small lakes.
It began life in the mid 1800s when Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted first produced the blueprints of their grand project and has since grown to become the focal point of New York’s public parks system.
There is much here to keep all members of the family happy, such as Belvedere Castle, Central Park Zoo, Wollman Rink and the Friedsam Memorial Carousel.
5. For 125 years the Statue of Liberty has stood as a symbol of all that is good about the USA.
It was the first monument seen by countless immigrants landing on its shores in order to improve their lot in life. It is known around the world, and is synonymous with New York City.
Although it can be viewed from terra firma, you will get a much better look if you take the ferry to Liberty Island. The Statue of Liberty pass is also good for the extra ferry journey and entry to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
It stands in the same US customs building that was the first point of entry for an estimated total of 12 million people.
It is possible to check the various ship manifests for names of travellers you may recognise in the American Family Immigration History Centre.
6. The Bronx Zoo is the USA’s biggest urban wildlife preserve, and is spread across just under 90 hectares of grounds.
Over 5000 animals from over 600 species, such as lions, zebras, giraffes, baboons, crocodiles, hissing cockroaches, lemurs, penguins and sea lions, live here.
They call the 2 hectare Congo Gorilla Forest, African Plains, Madagascar! Exhibition and Ethiopian highlands, to name just a few of the many habitats, home.
There is much for the kids, such as training and feeding sessions for the animals. Dora & Diego’s 4D Adventure, Bug Carousel and Children’s Zoo will ensure that they sleep during the journey home.