So there are a number of great sights you should try to check out while you are in NYC.
NYC is a walking city and the best sights require a bit of hoofing it... so, my first recommendation is for people who don't want to/can't do a lot of walking.
Bus and Boat Tours
City Sights offers a number of different tours and their tours are all hop on hop off, so you can take your time.
Gray Line also offers a variety of bus and walking tours.
Circle Line - Take in the views of NYC from the water.
Classic Harbor Line offers a variety of boat tours, including a statue tour, bridge tour and an architecture tour that is done in collaboration with the American Institute of Architecture.
For those of you who want to do it yourself, here are our recommendations:
The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. Not only is the park beautiful, but the High Line takes you through some of the city's most interesting neighborhoods (Chelsea and the Meat Packing District).
Here is a walking tour from the northern portion of the High Line that takes you south through the Chelsea and the Meat Packing District where you can do some shopping or grab a beer at the Standard Hotel's Beer Garden. It will then take you through the historic West Village, where you can eat a cubano at the Spotted Pig, grab a cupcake at Magnolia Bakery, some cheese at Murray's or some pizza at either John's of Bleeker or Arturo's. Finally the tour will drop you off in the heart of Soho where there is plenty of shopping to be done.
The Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. With a main span of 1,595.5 feet (486.3 m), it was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening until 1903, and the first steel-wire suspension bridge.
There are a number of great ways to see the Brooklyn Bridge - you can walk the bridge either starting at on the Manhattan side (the 4/5/6 City Hall Station is at the foot of the bridge) or the Brooklyn side, or you can just take in the views from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade or Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Here is a suggested walking tour for those who want to take in the view from the Brooklyn side.
View Brooklyn Heights/Brooklyn Bridge Park/DUMBO Walking Tour in a larger map
A national tribute of remembrance and honor to the men, women and children killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. The memorial is free, but you do have to reserve a visitors pass in advance of your visit. You can reserve a free pass here.
The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue has become an icon of freedom and of the United States.
There are tours that take you to Liberty Island and from there you can climb within the statue and take in beautiful views of the NYC skyline.
A cheaper way to do the tour is to take the Staten Island Ferry from Lower Manhattan to Staten Island and back. The trip is free and takes you right by Liberty Island.
From 1892 to 1954, over twelve million immigrants entered the United States through the portal of Ellis Island (Including Dave's paternal grandparents), a small island in New York Harbor. Ellis Island is located in the upper bay just off the New Jersey coast, within the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. Through the years, this gateway to the new world was enlarged from its original 3.3 acres to 27.5 acres mostly by landfill obtained from ship ballast and possibly excess earth from the construction of the New York City subway system.
David's paternal grandparents came through Ellis Island after the end of WWII and their names are two of the 700,000 names engraved on the Wall of Honor, memorializing the families who came to America through Ellis Island.
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story skyscraper located in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet (381 meters), and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft (443.2 m) high.
Its name is derived from the nickname for New York, the Empire State. It stood as the world's tallest building for 40 years, from its completion in 1931 until construction of the World Trade Center's North Tower was completed in 1972.
Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Empire State Building was again the tallest building in New York (although it was no longer the tallest in the world). The Empire State Building was once again demoted to second tallest building in New York on April 30, 2012, when the new One World Trade Center reached a greater height. The Empire State Building is currently the third tallest completed skyscraper in the United States (after the Willis Tower and Trump International Hotel and Tower, both in Chicago), and the 15th tallest in the world. It is also the fourth-tallest freestanding structure in the Americas.
You can buy tickets to go to the top of the Empire State Building here which will give you spectacular views of NYC.
Another way to get a beautiful view of the Empire State Building is to go grab a drink at 230 Fifth Ave - a beautiful roof top bar. The drinks are not cheap, but they are cheaper than a ticket to the top of the Empire State Building, the views are comparable, their drinks are stronger and they have robes if it is chilly on the roof. We highly recommend it.
There are a number of great parks in NYC. Two of Catee and Dave's favorites and probably the two of the more popular parks in NYC are Central Park and Prospect Park. Both are great for jogs, biking, strolling and wandering.
As we are sure you are all aware there is tons of great shopping to be done in NYC, from high end chain stores to small boutiques. There is of course the shops in Soho, but we wanted to highlight a few more local options.
The Flea features hundreds of top vendors of antique and repurposed furniture, vintage clothing, collectibles and antiques, as well as a tightly curated selection of jewelry, art, and crafts by local artisans and designers, plus delicious fresh food.
Founded in April 2008, Brooklyn Flea has grown into one of New York City's top attractions, operating flea markets every weekend of the year that feature hundreds of top vendors of antique and repurposed furniture, vintage clothing, collectibles and antiques, as well as a tightly curated selection of jewelry, art, and crafts by local artisans and designers, plus delicious fresh food. The New York Times called the Flea "One of the great urban experiences in New York"; Travel + Leisure, Country Living, Budget Travel, and Fodor's have ranked the Flea one of the best markets or antiques shows in the U.S. and the world; and Time Out NY named the Flea one of New York's Essential Pick-Up Spots.
On March 1st, 2012, Artists & Fleas returned to Chelsea Market in Manhattan for a Spring season residence through the end of May.
Artists & Fleas at Chelsea Market is a curated marketplace of designers, artists and vintage dealers. Part designer showcase, part maker’s market, this pop-up hosts over 30 independent creators and sellers of jewelry, art, design, home accessories, vintage clothing, and all things indie, funky, Brooklyn and bespoke from both Artists & Fleas’ 9 years in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the larger creative community. In addition, the market will play host to an eclectic mix of weekly programming led by independent designers and artists open to the public.
Open 7 days a week from 10:30AM-7PM (open until 8PM Thursday-Saturday) and located at 88 Tenth Avenue (Tenth Avenue & 15th Street).
Founded in 1929 as an educational institution, The Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to being the foremost museum of modern art in the world.
MoMA PS1 is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the United States. An exhibition space rather than a collecting institution, MoMA PS1 devotes its energy and resources to displaying the most experimental art in the world.
The mission of The Metropolitan Museum of Art is to collect, preserve, study, exhibit, and stimulate appreciation for and advance knowledge of works of art that collectively represent the broadest spectrum of human achievement at the highest level of quality, all in the service of the public and in accordance with the highest professional standards.
As the preeminent institution devoted to the art of the United States, the Whitney Museum of American Art presents the full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists.
An internationally renowned art museum and one of the most significant architectural icons of the 20th century, the Guggenheim Museum is at once a vital cultural center, an educational institution, and the heart of an international network of museums.
Museum of the Moving Image advances the public understanding and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media. It does so by collecting, preserving, and providing access to moving-image related artifacts, screening significant films and other moving-image works, presenting exhibitions of artifacts, artworks, and interactive experiences, and offering educational and interpretive programs to students, teachers, and the general public.
Founded in 1977, the New Museum is a leading destination for new art and new ideas. It is Manhattan's only dedicated contemporary art museum and is respected internationally for the adventurousness and global scope of its curatorial program.
Dinosaurs, butterflys, and "Highway of An Empire: The Great Inca Road" – An exhibition of more than 50 striking photographs featuring the 25,000 miles of roads and trails that the Incas built six centuries ago in South America.
Probably Dave's favorite museum - They have a cool exhibit, "The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011" that celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, the foundational document that established Manhattan’s famous street grid. Featuring an original hand-drawn map of New York's planned streets and avenues prepared by the Commission in 1811, as well as other rare historic maps, photographs and prints of the evolution of the city's streets, and original manuscripts and publications that document the city’s physical growth, the exhibition examines the grid’s initial design, implementation, and evolution.
Okay, well it may not be cool for everyone, but Dave thinks that's pretty cool.
The Tenement Museum preserves and interprets the history of immigration through the personal experiences of the generations of newcomers who settled in and built lives on Manhattan's Lower East Side, America's iconic immigrant neighborhood; forges emotional connections between visitors and immigrants past and present; and enhances appreciation for the profound role immigration has played and continues to play in shaping America's evolving national identity.
Go see NYC's old subways and buses