New York Holidays
New York, the City that Never Sleeps, is one of the biggest, busiest, and undoubtedly one of the most exciting cities in the world. With so much going on, it seems there's a new adventure waiting round every corner. It's the city that most people dream about visiting at least once in their lifetime, though in truth you would actually need a lifetime to appreciate it fully.
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Capital of Culture
New York of course is the USA's cultural capital, with a music scene -- classical, rock, pop and jazz -- that is second to none, as well as the world-renowned bright lights of Broadway. Most of Broadway's 39 theatres are packed into a small area called the Great White Way, with offerings spanning the latest blockbuster shows, classic drama and edgy experimental works. And Manhattan's Carnegie Hall is one of the most prestigious classical concert venues in the world.
Not far from Carnegie Hall, in mid-town Manhattan, the Lincoln Center is the world's biggest centre for performing arts, consisting of a 16.3-acre complex of buildings set round spacious plazas. Home of many top arts organisations including the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera, it's an architecturally stunning building with a magnificent glass lobby, and even if you can't attend a performance, you can take a tour of the building. Or you can relax and have a drink, a meal or a coffee in the North Plaza, set around trees and a reflecting pool.
The city is also, of course, home to a large array of world-class museums and galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History. One of the most architecturally dramatic is the Guggenheim on Fifth Avenue, a cylindrical building, wider at the top than the bottom, with its unique ramp gallery extending from the ground floor in a long continuous spiral round the outer edges of the building. There are also famous galleries in other boroughs of the city, such as the Brooklyn Museum, and enormous numbers of small contemporary galleries scattered through the city.
You can never see everything that there is to see in New York City, but you mustn't miss Times Square, regarded as the nucleus of the city, even if you only go for the huge electronic billboards. And if you have time, New York has some of the world's best shopping, and some of the world's most exciting food as well. You will probably eat far too much, but while you enjoy walking the streets of Manhattan you will work it all off without even noticing.
New York, more correctly known as New York City or NYC, to distinguish it from New York State, is largely built on three islands -- Manhattan, Long Island and Staten Island -- and consists of five boroughs, of which Manhattan, occupying most of Manhattan Island, is the best known, and contains many of the most famous landmarks. Despite its huge population, the city is quite compact, so is easy to walk around, and the bus service, which works on a grid system, is cheap and easy to understand. It is also now possible to walk around on the High Line, a stunning 1.45-mile elevated trail built on a disused railway line from the Meatpacking District to Lower West Side Manhattan, with the dramatic newest section looping to the Hudson River, full of luxuriant vegetation inspired by the original wild plants that grew there.
Apart from walking or using the buses or cabs, NYC has a harbour and is full of rivers, so you can see many of the city's best sights by boat, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island -- a must-see attraction -- which can be viewed from the free Staten Island ferry, as well as on a special cruise. There are cruises around Manhattan, including speedboat tours, and there are also several hop-on, hop-off ferries, including the East River Ferry and the water taxis. You can even take a whale-watching tour, as in the last few years humpback whales have been returning to the waters of New York Harbor, probably because of the cleaner water.
One breathtaking alternative to seeing the city by water is to see it from a great height. Everyone knows about the Empire State Building, which of course is no longer the tallest building in the world, as it once was, but is still an iconic attraction with its classic Art Deco architecture. From the outside observatory on the 86th floor you can enjoy views of more than 80 miles.
However, there is now an even more dramatic viewpoint, as 2015 saw the opening of the viewing deck at the top of the One World Trade Centre, built to replace the Twin Towers destroyed on 9/11, and now the tallest building in the western hemisphere. The observatory spans floors 100-102, and is reached by a SkyPod elevator in less than 60 seconds, with immersive technology recreating the 500-year development of the city skyline. The observatory offers 360-degree panoramas of the city and beyond, as well as Sky Portal, the 14-foot-wide circular platform providing real-time high-definition footage of the streets below.