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.
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.
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.
This Arte Primitivo gallery specializes in pre-Columbian art, as well as Classical, Egyptian and Asian antiques. It has been in existence since 1961. The current owner, Howard S. Rose, acquired the space in 1996. He has auctioned over rare pieces of pre-Columbian art since that time. Information on ongoing auctions can be obtained online at the gallery's website, or by calling for a printed catalog. Admission to the gallery is free.
Joyce Gold, an author and instructor of New York City history, leads vivid and detailed walking tours of the city that go above and beyond the usual. Tours include interesting subjects such as The Vital Heart Of Harlem: Its Spirit And Substance, Macabre Greenwich Village, East Village Culture And Counter-Culture and More Teeming Than Bombay: The Old Jewish Lower East Side. Check the Web site for current tours, timing and the places. Private tours are also available. Call for more details.
Built in 1924 for the American Radiator Company, this building was the first major design in New York by Rockefeller Center architect, Raymond Hood. Its stepped-back pyramidal roof was one of the first of its kind, and the stark black brickwork helps it stand out as a familiar landmark of the New York skyline. At 21 stories, the tower is topped by gold terra-cotta trim. When originally lit in honor of the heating company, the stories were supposed to resemble fired coals.
Offering custom guided tours of New York's top restaurants and food neighborhoods, Savory Sojourns promises a different experience altogether. Covering every inch of Manhattan, from Chinatown to Union Square, from ethnic neighborhoods to 4-star restaurants, you will get a taste of New York from the insider's perspective. The tours feature tastings, cooking demonstrations and behind-the-scenes tours. Rates are expensive, but it's worth every penny. Corporate group rates available. Check website for more details.
An offshoot of the Longwood Art Project, this gallery at Hostos Community College hosts exhibitions throughout the year. Drop in to check out their varied exhibits and satisfy your artistic appetite. Check their website to find out what grabs your interest. The gallery was set up so as to provide an inherent boost to the work of budding artists from various groups that not represented too well on the basis of race and ethnicity.
This gallery features works of art from various artists in the fields of painting and photography. But that's not all, their focus is also on mixed media and sound installation. Artists who were otherwise ignored are now being recognized and appreciated. These spellbinding creations are sure to lure every eye. So here's calling all you art enthusiasts, do make a trip and enjoy yourselves.