NYC: Been There, Done That

New York Travel Blog

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There’s a magic that permeates the air in the Big Apple that just can’t be put into words. (And no, it’s not just that stench from yesterday’s leftover garbage on the corner of 52nd and 8th wafting through your nostrils.)  Frank Sinatra crooned about it, scores of famed movie producers have made it the setting for their films, countless painters and photographers have depicted it in their work. New York City is America’s thriving epicenter for many reasons: nowhere else on Earth will you find a city that literally knows not the concept of sleep, a place that is The Melting Pot of nationalities and races from all over the globe, a municipality where you can order a cocktail any one of the 24 hours of the day, a metropolis that possesses the glitz and glamour of Fifth Avenue/Upper East Side/Park Avenue in juxtaposition to the grungy, artsy-fartsy vibe of the East Village, less than five miles down the road. Need more convincing to hop on the next plane to JFK? We’ve compiled our own version of New York’s Most Wanted.

Rockefeller Center
30 Rock fans watch Liz Lemon (played by funny girl Tina Fey) and her posse make utter fools of themselves every Thursday night in this (accurate?) depiction of what goes on behind closed doors in the widely recognized building that is 30 Rockefeller Center. But even if you’re not a fan of the sitcom, you can still enjoy the plaza’s enormity and all its goings-on. A visit during the holiday season will give you a glimpse of one of the world’s largest Christmas trees, a Norwegian spruce that ranges in height from 75 to 90 feet tall and dons 30,000 tinkling lights, or a chance to show off your triple axel on the outdoor skating rink (only open during winter months �" obviously). At any time of year, you can get in on the popular NBC Studio Tour guiding you through the sets of Saturday Night Live and The Today Show and led by NBC pages (think: 30 Rock’s Kenneth, with more wit and less accent), exercise your plastic at any of the center’s numerous shops (Anthropologie! J. Crew! Banana Republic!), or skip the Empire State Building entirely and hop an elevator to Top of the Rock, which offers a bird’s eye view of Midtown Manhattan and Central Park (acrophobes, stay at home).

The Restaurant Scene
Is gastronomy not a word in your lexicon? Prefer mac and cheese to foie gras? Does just the thought of raw fish dressed up with rice and other fancy accoutrements and rolled into a bite-sized little ball (some may call it sushi) scare the bejesus out of you? Not a problem in America’s culinary capital. With more than 30,000 restaurants to boast, you’ll be hard pressed to not find something that suits your fancy (even if you’re as picky as a three-year-old with a peanut allergy). True foodies should pay a visit to the city during Restaurant Week in June/July when, for a two-week period, the majority of the city’s finest eateries offer three-course prix fixe menus for reduced prices.

Can’t afford that real Louis Vuitton or Coach bag you’ve been eyeing? Don’t worry, you’re not alone (unless of course you’re married to a hedgefunder or, perhaps, occupy the “coveted” role of Hef’s Girl Next Door). Stop by one of the pervasive bodegas along Canal Street and pick up a believable knock-off that will make you the envy of every woman in the room at your next Junior League meeting �" just don’t leave your bargaining skills behind and never, we repeat, NEVER, go with the first offer.

Museum MileMake Mom proud by seeing more of New York City than the inside of Bungalow 8 (if you can, in fact, make it passed the persnickety bouncers). Museums galore �" the Met, Guggenheim, Jewish Museum �" line the east side of Central Park, making a daylong culture crawl completely feasible. (You’ll have to cross the park if you want to take in the Museum of Natural History, too, or wander one avenue east to Madison for the Whitney.) One evening in June every year, admittance to nine museums along 5th Avenue is free of charge in the music-and-art-saturated Museum Mile Festival. If your eyes can’t bear the sight of another Monet or you don’t get why Jackson Pollock’s paint-drizzled canvases constitute art, maybe the Museum of Sex (233 Fifth Ave.) is more your forte.

Coney Island
You’ve heard about it in songs, you’ve seen it in movies, now check Coney Island off of the list of places to see before you die as you witness your first live freak show, ride the rickety wooden Cyclone and devour one of Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs (or witness the famed hot dog-eating contest on the Fourth of July). New York’s trashiest, er most interesting, crawl out of the woodworks and make Coney Island their nest during summer months �" it truly is a spectacle to behold. A bonus if you’re stopping through in June: don your best aquatic attire and join in on the fun of the annual Mermaid Parade.

Theater junkies and those just looking for a night of musical fun can drop in this Times Square booth and take advantage of cheap tickets (up to 50 percent off) on both Broadway and off-Broadway shows. Just show up early: lines form long before the booth opens (hours vary by day and preferred show). A second, less crowded location exists down at the South Street Seaport. If you don’t want to wait in line, you can try your luck and stop by the box office of your show of choice an hour or two prior to showtime �" oftentimes, theaters sell any remaining tickets for as low as $25 on a lottery basis just before the curtain rises.

Tax-free Shopping
Hit up Fifth Avenue or SoHo for a major spending spree and forego sales tax on all clothing and footwear items under $110, thanks to New York’s tax-free shopping policy that went into effect in 2005 (accessories do not apply). Splurge with the money you saved on a more worthwhile endeavor like, say, buying a cosmo for that girl you’ve been eyeing at the other end of the bar.

A haven for the hip, young and fashionable, many of New York’s twenty and thirtysomething inhabitants are flocking to this nearby ‘burb for its eclectic offering of art, music and culture, as well as its quaint, tree-lined cobblestone ways chock-full of elegant brownstones. For those who don’t live by the motto “shopping is my cardio,” a stroll from the Financial District over the Brooklyn Bridge into the blossoming borough does a pleasant Sunday afternoon make.

The Yankees
A New York institution, how better to spend a warm summer night than beer and baseball with the boys? If the Yankees aren’t at home while you’re passing through (or they’re having a particularly bad year and you don’t want to deal with the fuss of screaming, peanut-throwing enthusiasts who don’t like to see their team going under), head out to Shea Stadium in Flushing and soak up some Mets action, the Yankees’ uncontested arch-nemesis.

Century 21
Located directly across the way from Ground Zero, this Mecca for fashionistas and budget shoppers alike houses all sorts of design labels like Diane von Furstenberg and BCBG at heavily discounted prices (from 40 to 70 percent off!). Check your modesty at the door: the dressing room is one large, open, mirror-adorned room with no curtains  or doors protecting you from wandering eyes.

milfordplaza says:
here the information about new york city. i love this city i hope you also love it..
NYC Hotels
Posted on: Mar 26, 2011
clarity25 says:
Great entry! You're making me miss my home city!:)
Posted on: Oct 15, 2007
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photo by: herman_munster