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.
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.
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.
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 massive cathedral, situated across from Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue is regarded as the largest Catholic cathedral in the United States. With its two soaring 330-foot spires, St. Patrick's Cathedral is also one of the city's most spectacular architectural sights. Construction on the neo-gothic structure had started in 1850 and completed in 1878. Inside, it boasts of numerous altars and stained glass windows, and a giant organ with over 7,300 pipes. Services are held throughout the day, and many New Yorkers stop in for a moment of serenity in their otherwise hectic lives.
This 46-story tower is the global headquarters of the Hearst Corporation. The six-story base of the building, commissioned by William Randolph Hearst, was built in 1928 as a base for a skyscraper, but the tower was not completed until 2006. The steel-and-glass skyscraper stands 597 feet (182 meters) tall, and was designated the first "green" office building in New York, using 26% less energy than standard building code. The tower features a three-story atrium, a three-story water feature, and several other sleek design elements.
This Manhattan museum is housed in a modern building with a resemblance to that of a Tetris game. All aspects of design, and every medium of art, are represented at this impressive museum. Whether it's architecture, interior design, fashion or folk crafts, the collections here encompass much of American object art. The museum also offers a wide range of workshops, programs and tours, giving anyone a chance to join in, whether you're an art student or a casual visitor.
The Alwyn Court is an iconic landmark on Manhattan's streetscape. Built in 1907, this architectural marvel is an example of the French Renaissance style. Its exterior facade displays splendid terra-cotta work and intricate decor. The interiors, however, underwent several refurbishments over the decades. This apartment building features on the National Register of Historic Places.
Located on the second floor of the legendary Carnegie Hall is the Rose Museum. The museum, opened in 1991, houses exhibits and displays about the history of the legendary Carnegie Hall. Exhibits include memorabilia like old programs, photographs, video, posters and more. If you're interested in the fascinating history of these hallowed halls, take a trip to the second floor and check out the Rose Museum.
The $1.7 billion Time Warner Center, completed in 2003, houses the Time Warner World Headquarters, the Mandarin Oriental luxury hotel, CNN's broadcast studios, Jazz at Lincoln Center and high-profile restaurants like Masa. The facility is physically imposing and architecturally significant, framing Columbus Circle and highlighting the grandeur that is Manhattan. Check website for more details.
Standing at the southwest corner of Central Park at Merchant's Gate, the park's main entrance, is the massive Maine Monument. Standing at over 44 feet (13.4 meters) tall, the monument honors the 260 American sailors who died in the explosion of the battleship Maine. The bronze figure atop the towering limestone pylon depicts Columbia Triumphant riding a chariot of three hippocampi (mythological Greek sea-horses). At the bottom of the pylon is the prow of a ship surrounded by four figures representing Fortitude & Justice, Victory, Peace, and Courage.