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Best Free Sites in New York

By: Cityseeker
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New York City Hall

Still home to the office of the Mayor and the Chambers of New York City, New York City Hall is the oldest functioning city hall in the United States. Located in Lower Manhattan in City Hall Park (Civic Center), the city hall was finished in 1812 and is registered as a National Historic Landmark. Today, the building is still one of the most visited structures in the city due to its French Renaissance architecture and its Georgian-style construction on the interior of the building. The city hall is surrounded by beautiful gardens and adjacent government buildings and you can always find politicians and government workers milling around during lunch hour. The building is also a popular landmark often seen in movies and television shows filmed in New York City like Ghostbusters and Spin City.

New York, NY, United States
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African Burial Ground National Monument

This national monument in Lower Manhattan is the excavation site of over 400 African-Americans buried in the 17th and 18th Centuries during the era of slavery in the settlement of New Amsterdam. The bodies were discovered in 1991 during construction of a federal office building at 290 Broadway, which is now home to the monument's visitor center. There are an estimated 200 bodies still buried under the monument. The African Burial Ground Monument also functions as a memorial site, which was built in 2007. The memorial itself is located at the burial ground on the corner of Duane and Elk Streets.

New York, NY, United States
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Federal Reserve Bank of New York

A share of the world's gold reserves are housed here, in one of the 12 regional Reserve Banks that make up the Federal Reserve System. Started in 1913 by Congress, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was originally meant to serve as the central bank of the United States. The underground vaults are open weekdays for tours. Tours begin at various times a day and last around an hour.

New York, NY, United States
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National September 11 Memorial (9/11 Memorial)

This stunning memorial was created to honor the people killed on September 11, 2001. Almost 3,000 people lost their lives on September 11, 2001 when terrorists flew planes into the Twin Towers, causing them to collapse. The memorial consists of two pools set in the original site as well as a beautiful plaza. The names of the victims are engraved on paneling along the pools. Visitors can also explore the 9/11 Memorial Museum that features artifacts and stories about the events.

New York, NY, United States
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Federal Hall National Memorial

A bronze statue of George Washington welcomes visitors to historic Federal Hall Memorial. It is located on the site of the original city hall where George gave the country's first inauguration as the President of the United States. The original building was demolished in 1812 and the present building was erected between 1834-1842 as the United States Customs House and in 2004 the edifice received an extensive renovation. It is one of the finest examples of classical architecture that survives in the city. Inside visitors will find historical exhibits and a copy of the Bill of Rights is also on display. Admission is free.

New York, NY, United States
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Chinatown

New York's Chinatown is a cultural haven full of ancient and exotic traditions, and a huge amount of restaurants. This bustling and crowded neighborhood is home to over half of the city's Chinese population. In the grocery stores and fruit stands, you will find many food items available nowhere else in the city - from exotic fruit and vegetables to live snails and dried shrimp. Excellent Thai, Vietnamese and Korean restaurants have also joined the mix in more recent times. Every lunar new year, the street are filled with the hubbub of the Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade.

New York, NY, United States
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Winter Garden Atrium

The Winter Garden Atrium at the north end of Battery Park City is probably one of the only places in NYC where you can see palm trees. In this massive glass edifice originally constructed by César Pelli in 1985, the majestic palms of the species Washingtonia stand tall. On September 11th, the structure was demolished from the debris and detritus, however it was reconstructed a year thereafter (with new trees) in 2002. Nowadays, the atrium hosts summer concerts, shops, art exhibits and it serves as a great entryway to explore the WTC and Battery Park City.

New York, NY, United States
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Brooklyn Bridge

Stretching across the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge is an architectural wonder. Connecting the island of Manhattan to Brooklyn, the suspension bridge with its Gothic towers and steel cables adds a unique silhouette to the city's iconic skyline. Completed in 1883, the bridge was the longest of its kind, measuring almost 1600 feet (487.68 meters). One of the city's most enduringly popular attractions, Brooklyn Bridge offers visitors some of the best views of the cityscape above the river's shimmering waters.

Brooklyn, NY, United States
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Manhattan Bridge

The youngest of all the main bridges that span the East River, the Manhattan Bridge was finished in 1909 and it runs from Canal St. in Manhattan to East Flatbush in Brooklyn. It carries thousands of passengers each day, from cars and MTA train riders to cyclists and runners. The neighborhood in Brooklyn known as DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) provides amazing views of the bridge and the Manhattan skyline, a real reward after walking from the other side.

New York, NY, United States
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New York Earth Room

The New York Earth Room is an art installation of the interior of the earth rendered by Water De Maria. The first of these sculptures was made in 1968 and installed in Munich, which has since been dismantled. Installed in 1977, this was a sculpture commissioned by the Dia Art Foundation initially intended to only be there for three months, but has lasted over 30 years! This sculptures holds 250 cubic yards of earth, covers 3,600 sq feet of space, is 22 inches deep and weighs 280,000 lbs.

New York, NY, United States
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Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Take a pleasant trip to admire this awesome sight. Tagged by many citizens as one of the best views of the city, the promenade in Brooklyn Heights is known for exactly this reason. A stroll in the early morning or late evening can end up being very romantic. Go ahead and have a look at one of the best spots in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn, NY, United States
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Washington Square Park

This cozy Greenwich Village park is always filled with students, residents and tourists alike. It is one of the few green spots in the area and has undergone many incarnations since it was the site of Minetta Creek in the 1600's. In that century it was farmland, then a burial ground in the next one, thereafter the city acquired the land and created the park in 1826. At the northern end stands the famous arch, built in 1889 to commemorate the centennial of Washington's inauguration when New York was the nation's first capital under the constitution. The arch was designed by the iconic Stanford White and throughout the park you can find many interesting historical features and facets, some are hidden and others are in plain sight. The area was also the neighborhood for many famous artists and writers, including Henry James, Edith Wharton and Edward Hopper; many lived in the Greek Revival style row houses at the northern end of the park. Today, most of the buildings in the neighborhood are owned by New York University.

New York, NY, United States
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