An emerald expanse in the thriving, concrete jungle that is New York City, Central Park lies in the heartland of the Manhattan borough. It commences its labyrinthine stretch from Midtown, all the way to Harlem. It was created in 1857 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who envisioned a sprawling green space in the center of the island. The park spans 843 acres (341.15 hectares) and bustles with life throughout the day, even as the layered, multi-hued fold of the city's skyline unfolds at its hem. The park's 21 playgrounds are speckled with ornate fountains, sculptures, myriad bridges and arches, together forming an urbane respite where several come to find peace from the city's chaotic pace. Attractions within the park include the Bethesda Fountain, the Conservatory Garden, Belvedere Castle, and Central Park Zoo.
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.
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.
The Apollo Theater is a distinguished and legendary landmark in Harlem. Originally it was a burlesque hall for an all-white audience when it opened its doors in 1914, but by the 1930s it became home to legendary jazz greats like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. The theater has been restored, and every Wednesday at 7:30p the stage is opened to amateurs; when heckling is not just common, but expected. There are also musical performances held on other nights. Admission varies. Call for details.
The High Line is an urban oasis filled with beautifully manicured landscapes. It sits above the city on old train tracks that were installed as part of the West Side Improvement Project back in 1929. The line was primarily used to transport goods along the Lower West Side, but with the advent of vehicles in the 1950s and more accessible routes elsewhere, the last train eventually ran in 1980. Thereafter, the elevated tracks fell into disrepair, and the whole structure was nearly demolished. It was instead converted into an innovative public park, delighting locals and visitors alike. Today, the High Line is a cherished sanctuary away from the bustle of city life.
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.
On the opening night of this famous music house, Tchaikovsky conducted and New York's elite waited in line to enter. Carnegie Hall quickly became an international Mecca of classical music, attracting the brightest stars from Bernstein to Toscanini. Today, over 100 years later, top orchestras and modern music share this venue. The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa and Frank Sinatra have all headlined here. Many musicians claim it has the best acoustics in the world. Tours are available during the day. Practice, practice, practice isn't the only way to get to Carnegie Hall!
Since the Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage opened its doors in 1891, it has been a sought-after performing arts venue in New York. The elegant and well-planned design, with its characteristic curved plan, was the idea and effort of William Burnett Tuthill, an architect and cellist. Its interiors boast of a palatial grandeur with deep red plush seats against pale pastel walls and no matter where you are seated, an impeccable view of the stage is guaranteed. The five-layered seating can accommodate up to 2,804 patrons, thus making it an ideal venue for major concerts, lectures, seminars and much more.
Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall, the latest addition to Carnegie Hall, serves as a venue for a variety of musical performances. This elegant hall is below the main auditorium and had opened in 2003. It has become one of the premium music venues of the city and has hosted concerts spanning numerous genres from classical, chamber to contemporary such as pop, jazz and more.
54 Below lies directly beneath the infamous defunct nightclub Studio 54, offering guests a more wholesome experience in their cabaret-style dining space. With tables no further than twenty four feet from the stage, 54 Below has become a haven for Broadway's finest who come here to belt out classic show tunes to excited diners. In addition to up to three performances a night, gourmet cuisine awaits guests on the brief but focused menu. Innovative twists on American cuisine populate the menu, featuring espresso marinated hanger steak in addition to house-made mozzarella and ratatouille shepherd's pie. The dessert menu is quite lengthy considering the number of dinner offerings, allowing guests to indulge in decadent creations while being serenaded by some of New York's finest. Designed and managed by a team of multiple Tony Award winning set managers and lighting technicians, 54 Below is the best place to see the stars out to play.