Although New York is a comparatively young city in global terms, it abounds with landmarks, museums, historic buildings and must-sees, all closely linked with the development of America over a brief 400 year period into the world’s most powerful country. Huge heritage buildings reflect the equally lofty aspirations of its former presidents and powerful men, and the contrast between the simple lives of the original immigrants and today’s magnificent mega-city is immeasurable. All attractions are easily accessible by public transportation, taxi or boat.
Statue of Liberty
One of the world’s most iconic landmarks, the Statue of Liberty sits on a tiny island just offshore from New York’s Harbor. A symbol of freedom and a new life for the huddled masses fleeing poverty and persecution in their homelands, Lady Liberty was gifted to the USA by France. The massive bronze staue was dedicated in 1886 and represents the Roman goddess of freedom, Libertas, with a broken chain at her feet.
Address: New York Harbor
Metropolitan Museum of Art
One of the world’s greatest museums, the Met holds more than two million artifacts from Ancient Egypt, Africa, the Byzantine era, the great European period, and Oriental cultural. Everything from classics to Islamic, early American and modern art can be enjoyed. Encyclopedia collections of antique arms and armor from across the world, costumes and musical instruments can also be seen.
Address: Central Park, New York
Empire State Building
A classic New York landmark since 1931, the Empire State Building gives visitors the chance to gaze across all of the city's massive skyscrapers with breathtaking views across the entire megalopolis from its 102nd floor observation deck.
Address: 34th Street/Fifth Avenue, New York
Grand Central Station
A triumph of Beaux-Arts architecture, this massive rail hub date back to 1913 and is a famous location in many movies. Redolent of the romance of train travel across America’s vast land, and a famous meeting point for travelers, the terminal boasts a magnificent blue-green cathedral ceiling complete with planets and constellations, as well as regular art exhibitions in Vanderbilt Hall.
Address: 42nd Street, New York
Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Ellis Island was the first US soil touched by the millions of immigrants who arrived by sea. The museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the hardships and difficulties endured by the new residents through interactive movies and displays. The boat trip across the harbor is fun, and the cityscape views are spectacular.
Address: New York Harbor, New York
Another favorite visitor destination, Rockefeller Center is most famous for its ice-skating rink and Christmas tree, but is also home to the Radio City Music Hall and the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, giving yet another stunning view of the city. Built during the Great Depression, it’s an Art Deco masterpiece incorporating murals, bas-reliefs and sculptures by famous 20th century American artists including the giant Atlas statue.
Address: 47th/50th Street, New York
September 11th marked the day the world changed as 2,983 people lost their lives in the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. The first signs of America's vulnerability, two huge, reflective pools with cascading waterfalls are set in surrounded by white oak trees where the names of the victims are engraved on bronze panels.
Address: Albany Street, Manhattan, New York
The High Line
This recently completed city park displays the arty, creative use of an abandoned, elevated railroad track transformed into a New York treasure. The green expanse gives great views of the Hudson River from 30 ft in the air, and has lounge chairs for sunbathing, native-inspired mini-forests, urban art exhibitions and a luxury boutique hotel. The most romantic time to visit is at night, when the city sparkles with neon and the breeze cools the air.
Address: Gansevoort Street, New York
Brooklyn Museum and Botanic Gardens
Adjacent to each other, the museum is set in a lovely Beaux-Arts building and displays the largest Egyptian collection in the US, as well as a myriad of other items. The highlight of the Botanic Gardens is an authentic Japanese garden with a forest of flowering cherry trees. During spring’s Cherry Blossom viewing, a festival featuring staged samurai legends and Japanese Taiko drummers is held.
Address: Washington Avenue, New York