The City of Golden Dreams. The Front Office of American Business. The Big Apple. No matter what you call it, New York City is many things to many people. And as the most populous city in the country, that’s a lot of people!
Many Manhattanites are drawn to the city because New York possesses the largest central business district in the United States. But what keeps them here is often the unique culture, rich history and virtually limitless entertainment possibilities. That being said, it comes as no surprise that New Yorkers play as hard as they work. We wanted to know if we could keep up. So we packed our bags and jetted across the country. Join us as we explore Manhattan in a day, ENJOY style!
Shopping District Fifth Avenue
Known as one of the most expensive streets in the world, Fifth Avenue is the epitome of wealthy New York. Fendi, Versace and, of course, Saks Fifth Avenue are among the designer shops you can find dotted along the premier shopping blocks between 49th and 57th Streets.But there is more to Fifth Avenue than shopping. Fifth Avenue is also home to New York’s Museum Mile which boasts the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (aka “The Met”) among several other well known institutions. Other cool sights along Fifth Avenue include St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the New York Public Library and Trump Tower. Continuing north on your walk up Fifth Avenue, you will eventually be greeted by Manhattan’s true oasis: Central Park.
Nestled on 47th Street between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue), Manhattan’s Diamond District is the spot to find big rocks for little dough.
Diamond Do’s and Don’ts
• Know your budget and know what you are looking for.
• Always shop around and compare before making a purchase. Just because it is supposedly a discount store, it doesn’t always guarantee it’s cheaper!
• Avoid doing business with dodgy salespeople who approach you on the street.
• Inquire about any treatments or enhancements made to the diamond or stone you are purchasing.
• When purchasing platinum and/or gold, look for a quality stamp (i.e. 14K) and a manufacturer’s trademark.
• As a precaution, ask about the merchant’s refund or exchange policy. Get a receipt or written sales slip with the merchant’s name, address, date, and the amount of the sale and the amount of sales tax.
• If you are the type that gets carried away when shopping, bring a partner along to deter you from making any outlandish purchases.
For more information about the Diamond District, such as these handy tips,
Along your walk up Fifth Avenue, be sure to stop at Rockefeller Center. Located between 48th and 51st Streets, Rockefeller Center is a popular tourist stop year round. Home to NBC Studios, you can expect to see morning crowds around Studio 1A seeking a glimpse of Matt Lauer or Meredith Vieira. Starting in May, the Today Show’s Toyota-sponsored Summer Concert Series boasts big name musicians such as Justin Beiber, Lady GaGa and Katy Perry. The free concerts typically take place on Friday mornings. So get there early to stake out a spot as space is limited! In the winter months, Rockefeller Center is home to an always packed ice skating rink. But what Rockefeller Center is best noted for come the holiday season is their famous tree lighting ceremony. For more than 75 years, Rockefeller Center has been delighting crowds with larger than life trees and celebrity-studded performances. For an unbeatable view of Manhattan, the Top of the Rock Observation Deck is the place to go. After whizzing up 70 floors, you will be treated to sweeping views of the city. So get your camera ready! Tickets can be purchased at www.topoftherocknyc.com. Just across the street from Rockefeller Center is Rockette territory. As the largest indoor theatre in the world, Radio City Music Hall has seen more than 300 million people! Visitors have been coming to the Music Hall to enjoy stage shows, movies and concerts since its opening in1932. Radio City Music Hall is best known for the Christmas Spectacular, featuring the world-famous Rockettes. Check out www.radiocity.com for show listings and ticketing information.
Spanning over 800 acres in the heart of Manhattan lies Central Park. Opened in 1857, Central Park sees an estimated 35 million people each year making it the most highly visited urban park in the nation. Park activities and sight-seeing opportunities abound, but if you are time crunched, these are our Central Park musts!
- Rowboating: April through October, Loeb Boathouse offers rowboat rentals. $12 for the first hour.
- Ice skating: Open November through March, Wollman Rink makes for a great date spot. (Think Serendipity)
- Carriage Horses: If your walk up Fifth Avenue tuckered you out, soak in the scenery from a horse-drawn carriage! A romantic way to view the park, horse-drawn carriages can be found year-round lined up along Central Park South between Fifth and Sixth Avenue.
- Carousel: Open April through November, this is always a popular pick for kids.
- Central Park Zoo: Home to more than 130 species (including Polar Bears and Red Pandas), the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo is a fun pick for the whole family.
- Public Theatre: In the summer months, Shakespeare in the Park is not to be missed! Visit www.shakespeareinthepark.org for show and ticketing information.
- Model Boat Sailing: Not just for kids, model sailboat racing is a fun warm weather activity! www.sailthepark.com
- Running: As the final 3.2 miles for the New York Marathon, Central Park is famously known as the running spot in New York.
- Balto: The legendary sled dog that delivered life-saving medicine during a diphtheria epidemic in Alaska in1925 has been memorialized with a statue in Central Park.
- The Obelisk (commonly referred to as Cleopatra’s Needle): Why does New York have an ancient Egyptian Obelisk? Because London and Paris got one. And now there’s one in Central Park for your viewing pleasure.
By the time you are done exploring, you will have most definitely worked up an appetite. With zillions of peacefully quiet spots, Central Park is perfect for picnicking. If you prefer a finer dining experience, the Loeb Boathouse on the lake is a popular choice.
How many benches are there in Central Park?
Over 9,000, which would stretch 7 miles if placed end to end.
How many bridges and arches are there in Central Park?
How many trees are there in Central Park?
For more information about Central Park, including more fun facts like these and a calendar of seasonal activities and events, visit www.centralparknyc.org
Before this trendy Manhattan neighborhood received its name, the neighborhood was known as the Cast Iron District for its extensive historic cast iron architecture. Now we know it as SoHo, which is an abbreviated way of describing its location: SOuth of HOuston Street.
SoHo is an oh-so-cool shopping spot frequented by celebrities and fashionistas. With a mix of high-end designer stores, antique shops and specialty good boutiques, SoHo is a true style mecca. Bring your own plastic.
351 West Broadway
A vintage gem offering rare and unique pieces along with its own beautifully crafted line.
Think Japanese H & M. Cool, modern pieces minus the hefty price tag.
131 Mercer St
Frou frou-free basics and just-right jeans.
71 8th Ave
The name says it all.
The name is true to its history… In the early 1900s, the Meatpacking District was home to New York’s slaughterhouses and packing plants. Today, the Meatpacking District is among the trendiest neighborhoods in Manhattan boasting some of the greatest shopping, dining and art in the city. And, trust us; it’s still a meat market.
403 W. 13th Street
Asian inspired, family style dishes tantalize the taste buds at this Manhattan restaurant. For a far from boring, flavorful meal, check out specialties like Peekytoe Crab Dumplings, Char Grilled Chicken with Kumquat Lemongrass Dressing, and Red Curried Duck. The exotic, seductive décor adds to the dining experience.
You better have reservations to savor the highly reviewed cuisine at this bustling French Bistro! Steak Frites, Croque Monsieur, and Grilled Lamb Chops are among the heavenly entrees served at this hot spot. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.
75 9th Ave
A well known foodie fave, the Chelsea Market is an eclectic mix of bakeries, restaurants and shops. A must for the hungry tourist.
848 Washington St
Beautiful view, beautiful décor and, most always, a beautiful crowd. This place truly does set the Standard for lounge-y nightlife in New York.
Don’t want to shell out the dough for the Top of the Rock Observation Deck? Soak in the Manhattan skyline from the Meatpacking District’s High Line. Opened in June 2009, the High Line is surprisingly tranquil for being situated amidst a concrete jungle. Built in the 1930s, the High Line was originally used to lift freight traffic into the air, removing potentially dangerous trains from the industrial district’s streets. The High Line hasn’t been used for such purposes in nearly 30 years. But when the structure came under threat of demolition, a group called Friends of the High Line formed and essentially saved the historic landmark and gave it new life as an elevated public park. Renovations are still taking place, but once complete, the High Line will be a mile and a half long running through the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. Read more about the future plans for the High Line at www.thehighline.org
In addition to some of the best dining, drinking and dancing in Manhattan, the Meatpacking District also boasts some impressive art galleries. Some of our faves include:
420 West 14th Street
Glass art is the focal point of this gallery, featuring new works by both internationally acclaimed and emerging artists.
Phillips de Pury & Company
450 West 15h Street
This relatively new establishment (open since 2003) focuses solely on the sale of the best works of contemporary art, design, jewelry and photography.
418 West 1Fifth Street
Featuring contemporary and pop art, the Wooster Projects is a hip art hub to check out.
A trip to Manhattan would not be complete without a visit to Times Square! Where else can you find a Naked Cowboy posing happily for a family pic that might later end up framed in your living room? Home to the famous ball drop on New Year’s Eve, Times Square is an iconic part of our country, let alone New York. Encompassing more than a couple TV studios, including Times Square Studios, best known for ABC’s Good Morning America and One Astor Plaza, home of MTV studios, Times Square really is where the magic happens. After a day spent walking, resting your feet probably sounds pretty good right about now. We highly suggest you conclude your day in the big city by catching a Broadway show. Looking for last minute tickets? Check out the TKTS booth which offers discounted tickets for day-of performances. For advanced ticketing, visit www.broadway.com. It might be the end of your day, but we have good news: Manhattan doesn’t sleep. We won’t tell you to resist the urge to bar hop until 4 am…. but just remember to ENJOY! If you are looking to spend more than just a day in Manhattan, check out www.nycgo.com.