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Home to the legendary dance company The Rockettes, Radio City Music Hall is one of the most spectacular and famous performance venues in the United States. Its locale in the heart of the Big Apple has made it a cultural center, particularly during the Christmas season. Originally opened in 1932 and nicknamed "The Palace for the People," Radio City was renovated in 1980. Anybody who is anybody has performed here - New York legends Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Sammy Davis, Jr. are just a few that spring to mind - and to this day, the stage remains a showcase for entertainment royalty.
The MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) is considered by enthusiasts to be one of the best modern art museums in the world, and with a major renovation completed in 2004 by Yoshio Taniguchi, it has only become better. The building was erected in 1939 under the supervision of Edward Durrell Stone and Philip Goodwin. The galleries burst with intriguing exhibits including paintings, drawings, prints, illustrations and photographs. Beloved to the museum are certain classics such as Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe and Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Should your appetite for art mirror your appetite for food, there is also a restaurant onsite and for collectibles and more, there's the museum's shop.
A National Historic Landmark, Rockefeller Center stretches over a vast area covering a massive 22 acres (8.90 hectares). At the center, engage in a plethora of activities that includes shopping at designer stores, dining at lavish restaurants and bars, attending various concerts and art shows, and in winter trying your skating skills at the Lower Plaza that transforms into the famous ice-rink. Visitors can take a tour of Radio City Music Hall on 50th Street at Sixth Avenue and the GE Building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza houses NBC, which offers guided tours of its premises. The stunning cityscape from the Top Of The Rock observation deck steals most of the visiting crowd, but come December the spectacularly lit Christmas tree is where the magic lies.
The Lincoln Center for Performing Arts is a massive venue when it comes to live entertainment. The Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors has something for everyone: internationally recognized dances, high-level performances, special events and jazz. Watch out for Live From Lincoln Center, a program that has famous orchestras and artistes performing. Lincoln Center holds about 400 live performances a year, ranging from classical to modern productions. And as if that wasn't enough, the Center also hosts many events put on by the Film Society at Lincoln Center. There are guided tours on a daily basis that explore the world-renowned Metropolitan Opera House, Avery Fisher Hall, the New York State Theater (home of the New York City Opera) and the Vivian Beaumont Theater. During the tour, your guides will entertain you with fascinating stories and give you a glimpse of a rehearsal in progress.
The American Museum of Natural History is a popular attraction and one of the largest natural history museums in the world. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts, displays and exhibits, all geared to reveal secrets of the beautiful natural world. The visit begins with skeletons and live-size replicas of elephants, dinosaurs and other extinct creatures, which welcome you as you enter the main hall. Other points of interest include the Hall of Human Biology and Evolution, the Hall of Meteorites, a vast collection of gemstones, an IMAX theater and the Rose Center for Earth and Space planetarium shows (at extra cost), as well as a research library. The museum offers a number of specially customized public and group tours as well as educational programs and trips, enabling visitors to explore the exhibits in detail. Please note, there are separate entry fees for certain exhibitions and programs, the IMAX theater and shows at the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Please check the website for more details.
The majestic Empire State Building was completed in 1931, becoming the world's tallest building at the time. While no longer the tallest, it remains as impressive and iconic as ever. At night the building is lit up, often with special colors marking important dates and holidays. The main highlights here are the two observatories perched on the 86th and 102nd floors, where a bird's eye view of this magnificent city is a sight to behold. The observation decks are regularly open until 2a, so visitors can experience incredible nighttime views of the city that never sleeps.
Any visitor to the Big Apple should spend at least a couple of hours at this The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, it has more than 1.5 million square feet (139,355 square meters) of exhibition space. European paintings on display include works by Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Titian and Vermeer. The Egyptian gallery is unparalleled, while Asian art, sculpture, armory, and photography galleries also vie for your attention. During warm weather, the open-air roof garden displays contemporary sculptures. Apart from being a treasure trove for art lovers, this museum provides a fun-filled and educational experience for all ages.
Right in the heart of Manhattan stands this oasis of rolling pastures and gardens, stretching from Midtown to Harlem. It was created in 1857 by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, and sprawls over a wonderful 843 acres (341.15 hectares). Bustling with activity, walkers, rollerbladers, bikers and joggers hurriedly compete for space while lovers meet at the Bethesda Fountain on Bethesda Terrace. To the north, visitors wonder at the architecture of Belvedere Castle, and found nearby is the Delacorte Theater where plays are staged during summer. Over time, Central Park has blended so seamlessly with Manhattan that it is hard to disassociate the two. Also within its folds are other delights, including the Central Park Wildlife Conservation Center and the Central Park Zoo, as well as the wonderfully-restored Carousel.
Designed by celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is admired for its unique architecture as much as it is for its globe-spanning art collection. The modern structure with its rotunda shape beautifully punctuates the concrete jungle of the Big Apple. It houses a comprehensive selection belonging to numerous collectors, curators and art aficionados from across the world. Visit thought-provoking exhibitions of modern and contemporary art as well as a host of cultural events and presentations. Some of the most attractive displays are Picasso's monochromatic work and Thannhauser's still life.
The High Line is an urban oasis filled with beautifully manicured landscapes situated upon the old elevated train tracks that were installed as part of the West Side Improvement Project back in 1929. The elevated train tracks originally ran 13 miles (20.92 kilometers) from 34th Street to Spring Street, however the southern end of the tracks were demolished in the 1960s to make room for developers. The line was primarily used to transport goods along the Lower West Side (Meatpacking District), but with the advent of vehicles in the 1950s and more accessible routes on the west side, the last train ran in 1980. Thereafter, the elevated tracks fell into disrepair and the whole structure was nearly demolished. However, all was not lost, as some wise benefactors and brilliant city planners called the Friends of the High Line saved the tracks with the purpose of renovating the entire structure as a public park. Today, in its most recent incarnation, the park stretches from Gansevoort Street to the rail yards at 30th Street.
Tucked away in Queens is an old-fashioned testament to film and television. The actual studios of the one-time Paramount East Coast production house are closed, but the museum provides tours about film making where you can see makeup, costumes and well-known movie sets. There are several theaters for film screenings and a gift shop for souvenir hunters.
This small but beautiful botanic garden features a Japanese garden, as well as the Cranford Rose Garden, herb garden, the Children's Garden, and the Steinhard Conservatory of indoor flowers and plants. In all, there are 52 acres and 12,000 varieties of botanicals, ranging from the tiny bonsai to the towering oak. Self-guided tours, individual classes and certificate programs are all available. Students come with your valid id cards, if you want to avail of a discount.