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.
With a permanent collection numbering over two million individual works of art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or simply the Met, is not only a New York City landmark, it is the United States' largest art museum and the fifth-most visited museum of any kind in the world. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, the museum encompasses more than 1.5 million square feet (139,355 square meters) of exhibition space. European paintings on display include those by world-renown masters like Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Titian, and Vermeer. The vast collection has been split between several galleries, arranged by geographic origin and other thematic schemes. The Egyptian art gallery is especially enticing, as are the Met's repositories of Asian, African and Medieval art. Others include Islamic, Roman, and Greek art, the Arms and Armory section, the Costume Institute, and European Decorative arts. When weather permits, contemporary sculptures are displayed at the open-air roof garden. Apart from being a treasure trove for art lovers, The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a fun-filled and educational experience for all ages.
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.
Skyline Mini-Golf opened to a grand reception in 2012. It is located in the Woodbridge Community Center in the company of a host of entertainment alternatives including an ice skating rink. The synthetic turf winding through artificial waterfalls and manicured lawns boasts a 18-hole golf course and provides panoramic views of New York City. The establishment is family-oriented and plays host to private parties and corporate events. A sanctuary away from the city hustle, this is a great place to spend a day with your family or to finalize that impending business deal.
This is a great place to go with younger children. It is a small zoo with a large variety of animals and one of the largest reptile collections around. It also has a petting zoo that young children will love. The Staten Island Zoo is cash only.
A shining beacon of freedom, Lady Liberty dominates the eponymous Liberty Island in New York, her copper-wrought form towering over the city's harbor in all its glory. French activist Édouard René de Laboulaye expressed solidarity with the United States on behalf of his nation, if and when the US decided to build a monument that would be emblematic of their independence. The Statue of Liberty thus was the creative culmination of French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and Gustave Eiffel and came to be an honorable offering from the nation of France to the United States. Designed to represent Libertas, a Roman goddess, Lady Liberty gazes proudly into the distance, her right torch-bearing arm outstretched toward the skies, while her left-hand holds a tablet inscribed with the date of United States' Declaration of independence. Over the years, the statue has not only instilled a sense of pride among hordes of Americans but has also been an uplifting sight for tens of thousands of immigrants who charted foreign seas in a bid to start life anew.
Ellis Island is the second island in New York Bay, Liberty Island is the most famous one, where you can see the majestic Statue of Liberty. Between 1892 and 1954, over 12-million immigrants disembarked upon Ellis, thus pioneering the immigration movement that is of significant importance to the country's history. The Main Building has architecture reminiscent of the Beaux Arts style, and though the establishment fell into decay in the mid-20th Century, most of the buildings were restored to their original splendor. Spanning over three floors, it is home to a well-preserved collection of photographs, videos, artifacts and interactive exhibits that reflect American heritage. Explore the Wall of Honor that is engraved with a partial list of names of processed immigrants.
Thousands sailed past the Statue of Liberty, weary from the long and arduous journey across the ocean, to Ellis Island where their fate would be decided by the guardians of the gateway to the land of opportunity. From 1892 to 1954 Ellis Island was the nation's busiest point of entry for the thousands of immigrants making their way to America in search of a better life than the one they had left behind. Over the 60 plus years as an immigration inspection point, over 2 million hopefuls passed through the gates of Ellis Island while many others were denied their dreams. It is said that nearly half of the nation's citizens can trace their ancestry back to at least one person who passed through Ellis Island, and many come here in search of documentation of this precious link. Today, Ellis Island is best known as the site of the Ellis Island Museum where visitors are taken through the site's long and eventful history. Individual stories are showcased while the echoes of countless others reverberate through the halls. Those who visit cannot help but be touched by this monument to the resilience of the human spirit and stories of the extraordinary lengths people are willing to go to for the ones they love.
This aquarium has all the bases covered; shark tanks and feedings, dolphin and sea lion shows, whales, walruses, touch tanks with skates and horse-shoe crabs, and interactive exhibits in the Discovery Cove building. The aquarium includes parking, a cafeteria and plenty of concession stands for those in need of a quick drink and snack. The beach and Coney Island are only a few yards away.