Heady, intense and exhilarating, New York City offers endless contrasts and captivating diversity: from a tasty cornucopia of international cuisines to an inestimable number of fascinating museums, from live theatre and music performances of the highest calibre to browsing the latest designs in stylish shop windows. Set your expectations as high as the skyscrapers – you’ll uncover brilliant moments and unexpected delights on every street corner in the iconic city that never sleeps.
1. Central Park
London has Hyde Park. Paris has the Bois de Boulogne. And New York City has Central Park. One of the world’s most renowned green spaces, it checks in with 843 acres of rolling meadows, boulderstudded outcrops, elm-lined walkways, manicured European-style gardens, a lake and a reservoir – not to mention an outdoor theatre, a memorial to John Lennon, an idyllic waterside eatery (the Loeb Boathouse) and one very famous statue of Alice in Wonderland. The big challenge? Figuring out where to begin.
Ah, the skyscraper – New York City has plenty of ’em in every shape and size, from the iconic Empire State Building to the imposingly elegant Chrysler Building and dainty facade of the Flatiron Building. And while staring into the city’s infinite abyss of twinkling lights from atop a skyscraper ranks high on everyone’s to-do list, we often prefer those quintessential New York moments down on the street when the crown of a soaring spire winks hello amid honking taxis in the early evening.
3. Broadway shows
Only London’s West End can rival Midtown’s Theater District, a sea of premieres, revivals, smash hits and flops. Stretching from 40th St to 54th St, between Sixth and Eighth Aves, this is NYC’s ‘Dream Factory’ – a place where romance, betrayal, murder and triumph come with dazzling costumes and stirring scores. Yet, the district is more than just Chicago or The Lion King, with enough off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway drama – both new and classic – to please the highest of theatre brows.
4. Museums & galleries
A museum that is one of the largest in the world? Check. An inverted ziggurat designed by Frank Lloyd Wright? Check. This city is home to some of the planet’s most prestigious arts institutions – the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Neue Galerie, all on a convenient 25-block stretch known as ‘museum mile’. And from there it is just a hop and skip to Midtown to see quite possibly the greatest hoarder of modern masterpieces on earth, New York’s exceptional Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
5. Statue of Liberty
Since its unveiling in 1886, Lady Liberty has welcomed millions of immigrants, sailing into New York Harbor in the hope of a better life. It now welcomes millions of tourists, many of whom head up to her crown for one of New York City’s fi nest skyline and water views. Close by lies Ellis Island, the American gateway for more than 12 million new arrivals between 1892 and 1954. These days it’s home to one of the city’s most moving museums, paying tribute to these immigrants and their indelible courage.
With enough retail therapy opportunities to cure Woody Allen of his many neuroses, New York is a beacon of the material world where hundreds of creators – both local and international – descend with alacrity to display their wares. You’ll find dozens of ways to empty your coffers, but at the end of the day shopping in New York isn’t about collecting a closet full of items: it’s about accessing the city’s myriad subcultures through their art and artifacts.