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Insider's Guide - Personal Favorites: NY, NY

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Here are some highlights, options, and "not to be missed" offerings based on my own life as a New Yorker. Knowing this to be a magnet for travelers from nearby suburbs to virtually every nation on earth, clearly I can hope to do more than share some personal favorites. Perhaps some of my reviews and photos will add some options to think about. It's all here, A to Z, from academia to zoos, with Broadway, Chinatown, downtown, embassies, food heaven, and all the letters in between. My own focus these days is mostly Manhattan and surroundings, and I'll try to add what I can to the tour-books and proprietor self-descriptions.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Foodie
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

24 Places

1 City Tip

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Map

24 Places

Chelsea Market

Flea & Street Markets

Fine & Schapiro

Restaurants

Broadway Theatre

Theatres

Chelsea

Neighbourhoods

Rare Bar & Grill

Restaurants

Central Park Zoo

Zoos

The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum

Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, Speciality Museums, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Chinatown

Neighbourhoods

Times Square

Neighbourhoods, Points of Interest & Landmarks

The Metropolitan Opera

Performances, Operas

Ethos Meze

Restaurants

Upper West Side

Neighbourhoods, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Lower Manhattan

Neighbourhoods

Harlem

Neighbourhoods

Wall Street

Neighbourhoods, Points of Interest & Landmarks

American Museum of Natural History

Natural History Museums

Hayden Planetarium

Observatories & Planetariums

Washington Square Park

Neighbourhoods, Parks, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Greenwich Village

Neighbourhoods

Strawberry Fields, John Lennon Memorial

Monuments & Statues, Parks

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Churches & Cathedrals

Sapphire Indian Cuisine

Restaurants

Manhattan Skyline

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Statue of Liberty

Monuments & Statues, Points of Interest & Landmarks

drmikenyc's City Tips

  • Public transportation is usually excellent (barring extreme weather) throughout the 5 boros of the city. You can get unlimited or multi-day "Metro Cards" (with a discount). If you've never been to New York City (NYC) you may enjoy a double-deck bus tour (they tend to emphasize Manhattan - Harlem, Dakota/Strawberry Fields, Theater District, UN) or, depending on weather, a walk in a zoo or botanical gardens, extraordinary museums and galleries, shows, or a short cruise around the city on a Circle Line Boat. Options are near infinite, and the city is always awake, for people of any lifestyle.
  • Save
    Chelsea Market
    Flea & Street Markets
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    This landmark is a bit off the beaten path, in Chelsea (far West Manhattan, 16th St). This was at one time a rather desolate industrial area with freight rail tracks behind, and the Hudson River. This "market" was once the home of the National Biscuit Co. (then Nabisco), birthplace of Oreo cookies. Some remnants of the original factory are still on the exposed red brick walls, in some sections. The main promenade, as the images show, is a long hall with restaurants and stores (including wines, spices, bakeries, and more). If you walk out the back and turn right you'll be right near the entrance to the elevated Highline park, on what was the old elevated rail line, now lined with flowers and art, and some cooling water areas (in the warm weather) and many places to just relax, or sketch, or take photos of Chelsea rooftops and streets below.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Can get crowded around mid-day lunch time. There is a lot of choice in both sit-down restaurants (from lobster to Thai) and take-out (good for taking up above to the Highline if so inclined).
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #36 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Another do not miss place on your NYC tour 18/09/2017
    • Unique indoor market of NYC 17/09/2017
    • Chelsea Market
    Address:
    75 9th Ave
    New York City, NY 10011-7006
    Phone:
    +1 212-989-3868
    Other:
  • Save
    Fine & Schapiro
    Restaurants (American, Soups, Delicatessen)
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    My favorite local deli for over 20 years, and it's not changed much. (The prices were somewhat high even years ago.) Serious Kosher deli, as in tongue, pastrami, stuffed cabbage, etc.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    Tips
    • Sandwiches, authentic deli atmosphere, timeless. For the strictly kosher, there is also a long-time kosher meats and prepared dishes place on the next block, and across the street a newer Glatt Kosher restaurant. Fine & Schapiro is sort of like the Carnegie (or Stage) deli of the Upper West Side. A little less glitzy than the Park Avenue delis, but equally authentic, and classic.
    From the community
    Ranked #2,715 of 9,645 restaurants in New York City
    • Very good Jewish soul food 13/08/2017
    • Jewish Deli 05/08/2017
    • Fine & Schapiro
    Address:
    138 W 72nd St
    Frnt A
    New York City, NY 10023-3347
    Phone:
    +1 212-877-2874
    Price range:
    USD 0 - USD 20
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Broadway Theatre
    Theatres
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    I've sent all your regards to Broadway, as I'm on or it near it often. The "theater district" or "Times Square district" overlap, with the theaters on the side-streets just off-Broadway or on, up to around 50th Street (Times Square's center is 42nd Street). This is where all the legendary plays were launched: Annie, South Pacific, The Fantastics, My Fair Lady, Cabaret, Fiddler on the Roof, Cats... way too many "classics" to name, and more recently featuring both Disney stagings and more recent hits like Kinky Boots, The Book of Mormon, Wicked... There's no place like Broadway! Aside from the theaters themselves, and the plays, there is (on 42nd St) a wax museum and Disney store, and on Broadway itself, in warm weather, there is now a pedestrian promenade and all sorts of entertainers (human and otherwise) and high energy. At night it's like Tokyo - a lot of neon and LCD/LED displays, and packed with tourists.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Family
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Ticketmaster for tickets is easiest (online) but there's also a "TCKTS" booth in the middle of Broadway/Times Square which offers very reduced tickets (when available) on the day of a performance. Be prepared to wait in line.
    From the community
    Ranked #79 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Very good 15/09/2017
    • Miss Saigon - Masterpiece 11/09/2017
    • Broadway Theatre
    Address:
    1681 Broadway
    New York City, NY 10019-5827
    Phone:
    +1 212-239-6200
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    10:00 - 20:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Chelsea
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    Chelsea hugs the West Side in the teens and 20's (below "Clinton", nee "Hell's Kitchen"). It was once heavily meat-packing and industry, like the Nabisco Company (remnants of which are still in evidence within the Chelsea Market.) There's also the Highline, many art galleries, a huge selection of restaurants, a Barney's outlet, many small businesses, and many old neighborhoods, some with graffiti, others modern and over-looking the Highline or with views of the Empire State Building.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Check out the Chelsea Market and the Highline park (behind and above the market). There are many industrial cross-streets, so it's not as much fun as walking around the village or Fifth Avenue or Broadway, in terms of people watching or shopping or architecture.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #83 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice neighborhod 18/09/2017
    • Chelsea neighborhood...the flower district 11/09/2017
    • Chelsea
  • Save
    Rare Bar & Grill
    Restaurants (American, Bar, International)
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    This is the restaurant of the Affinia Shelburne Hotel, off the lobby. I wrote a review of the food, but best you read the more recent reviews. I dined here with some family members who were gathered at the hotel. There was something for each of us, though none specifically looking for burgers. Theirs turn out to be special. I got a burger which was laced with bourbon with a side snifter too. There were some interesting versions (fairly healthy) of fries too. I'd check the recent reviews to get a sense of today's menu items. There are quite a few choices, indeed, and it's a fairly low-key place (the drinks and party are on the roof) This has the comfortable feel of a steak house, coupled with the casual but diverse diners. Reliable dining and very convenient for hotel residents as well as anyone on that black past the 9-5 workday

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • They are well-known for their burger varieties, but less meaty options are on the menu too. Vegans: check first!
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #466 of 9,645 restaurants in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great burgers 19/09/2017
    • Great food! 17/09/2017
    • Rare Bar & Grill
    Address:
    303 Lexington Ave
    at 37th Street Inside the Affinia Shelburne Hotel
    New York City, NY 10016-3165
    Phone:
    +1 212-481-1999
    Hours:
    Sun - Wed
    17:30 - 23:00
    Sun - Sat
    11:30 - 14:30
    Mon - Fri
    06:30 - 10:30
    Thu - Sat
    17:30 - 00:00
    Sat - Sun
    07:30 - 10:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Central Park Zoo
    Zoos
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    This is a lovely spot for a family visit, romantic walk, just to see what it's like - it's really quite tiny as zoos go, but it's tastefully carved into the trees and urban landscape behind, and this is right in the heart of New York. It's changed over the years, as the exhibits became more humane and naturalistic (i.e., no more elephants confined to cages). There are outdoor components, including a fountain with sea mammals playing about, and there are 3 separate "zones", major climates like temperate and tropical. There's also an iceberg with a large glass window between some polar bears and humans. There are family-friendly rest and dining areas. But as I began, it's tiny, really, and though I haven't checked lately, no special events. It's a small space, at the Southeast tip of Central Park, or walking from inside the park, a lovely stroll from the Fountain/Bandshell area to the zoo.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Can be a quick (fairly inexpensive) visit while near 5th/Madison Avenue midtown shopping, or a family excursion, or a lovely walk-through (without going into exhibits) on a nice day.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #107 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Disappointing 18/09/2017
    • Small but some great things to see 14/09/2017
    • Central Park Zoo
    Address:
    830 5th Ave
    New York City, NY 10065-7001
    Phone:
    +1 212-439-6500
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    10:00 - 17:00
    Sat - Sun
    10:00 - 17:30
    Other:
  • Save
    The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum
    Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, Speciality Museums, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    I'll defer to the many ongoing reviews of the exhibition, in terms of reservation ease and so forth. I've not been in the new museum, but have visited and contributed photos to the Tribute Center. (I'd spent a lot of time there, at the original WTC.) Anyway, the site and Freedom Tower construction is done, dignitaries and families have visited, and it's now open to the world - with advance reservations still. (Check the most recent reviews for tips.) Everyone I know who's visited says "powerful", "somber", even "overwhelming", and for survivors, doubly. It's a solemn place. Before or after, if you have time and the weather is nice, take a walk around, as you're in real, Old New York, in between the skyscrapers. Nearby are some historic pubs and buildings, City Hall and Wall Street.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    Tips
    • Prepare in advance - both with reservations and knowing what to expect (check TripAdvisor of course, for the latest visitor updates - it changes, as it's new.).
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Emotional 20/09/2017
    • Amazing 19/09/2017
    • The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum
    Address:
    180 Greenwich St
    World Trade Center
    New York City, NY 10007-0089
    Phone:
    +1 212-312-8800
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 20:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Chinatown
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    Bottom line: New York has a "real Chinatown", on a large scale. True, not as extensive (or hilly) as San Francisco, but a legendary slice of New York life. Chinatown has long been the epitome of a transplanted culture within an urban environment. (Welcome to New York!) New Yorkers, and suburbanites, come to NY's Chinatown knowing it is a "real deal" sampling of Chinese Cuisine. Yes it is, and more. Chinatown has long been populated by a large Chinese community who often work, live,and raise families here. I came here as a child and in recent visits (as an old fogey) it' really just the same. In between I once took a visitor from Europe here, and she did not enjoy what I'd call it's "earthy" nature. Many of the best restaurants are on small winding sidestreets, like Pell Street - that's a pretty good 'restaurant row' including the Mandarin Pell, which has been there forever, while there's the super-inexpensive step-down restaurants on Mott Street and some gourmet restaurants a bit further north, on Elizabeth Street. Aside from the restaurants, as a child I would love to see this: Chinese pagoda-style telephone booths (do they still exist?) and huge spires on the buildings overlooking the main entrance to Chinatown, off also-legendary Canal Street. Not as many displays as in San Francisco, or even DC, but it's unique to see several blocks "Chinese-style" in the midst of modern Manhattan. And truly dense-packed with Chinese restaurants of every style, particularly Mandarin, Szechuan, and Hunan. You'll see Peking ducks hanging in windows. There are still active markets - the lifeblood of residents, it would seem, Chinese herbs, an arcade, general stores from which to buy chopsticks, and fish stores on the NY sidewalks just as in generations before.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Check individual reviews for restaurants - Many of the restaurants have been in business for decades, within families. Mostly on Mott, Pell, and Elizabeth Streets.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #155 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    • Great neighborhood 17/09/2017
    • Huge and growing 17/09/2017
    • Chinatown
    Address:
    Canal Street to Bayard Street
    New York City, NY
    Phone:
    +1 212-346-9288
    Other:
  • Save
    Times Square
    Neighbourhoods, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    I've written reviews and I'm sure there have been hundreds or thousands since. They say, we say, it is said: Times Square is the Heart of Manhattan. Energy-wise, it is for sure pumping out creative extravaganzas, from the dropping of the ball on New Year's Eve to TCKTS and the pedestrian mall to The Lion King, Kinky Boots, and the LCD-lit NASDAQ and Yahoo! buildings.... Picture Taylor Swift singing "Welcome to New York" on New Year's Eve. Right here. It's lovely when it's warmer out, too, with all sorts of street activities, a M. Tussaud's Wax Museum (on 42nd Street), and every collage of New York you've ever seen. Do watch for hustlers if you're in the midst of tourist season and it's mobbed, but know that real New Yorker's do consider this heart of New York. (Maybe Central Park, the flip side of Times Square, is the lungs.) To be in New York for even a few hours, see Times Square if you can, in the day for family things, at night for entertainment, and anytime for a dose of pure New York energy, day or night, heat wave or blizzard....

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Super easy to get to from anywhere in NYC via public transportation. Subway is best, and leaves you right at Times Square (#1,2, or 3 from West Side - 42nd St)
    • Opportunities for discount play tickets at the TCKTS booth - Tourist and souvenir shops (NY hats, etc.) -everywhere. Best dining is not IN Times Square, but 46th Street (Bway-8th) is called "Restaurant Row" for a reason. (Classic, elegant, pre/post Broadway shows). McDonald's etc, also nearby on Broadway (nicer than 8th Ave).
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #25 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great for People Watching 19/09/2017
    • People watching! 19/09/2017
    • Times Square
    Address:
    Broadway
    New York City, NY 10036
    Phone:
    (212) 768-1560
    Other:
  • Save
    The Metropolitan Opera
    Performances, Operas
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    This is New York's premier opera center, at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (or just "Lincoln Center" to locals). This majestic opera house sits in the center of the campus which also includes film, jazz, and symphony centers. This building boasts not only the elegant stylized interior but features 2 huge Chagall paintings (several stories tall) in the front window, which are lit at night but covered by day (to avoid sun fading). Check the listings, the Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Opera web pages, and recent reviews to learn about the most recent performances. There is a huge variety of pre- or after show dining in this neighborhood (on the high end of pricing but a few moderate-priced options too). In warmer weather there are many outdoors cafes (across the street and sometimes in the plaza itself), and in the summer there are festivals directly in front of the Metropolitan Opera, which adjoins several small parks (one of which hosts an annual crafts fair). For generations both locals and tourists (and the occasional celebrity shoot) have gathered around the fountain in the middle of the promenade. As for the opera itself, again: check the latest reviews and listings, in print or online. It is a world-class venue. Borne from the ashes of, and now an integral part of, The West Side Story. Definitely worth a visit, from a walk-through to catching a performance.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Check for the most recent events online or in local papers. There is always something happening at Lincoln Center.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 416 Concerts & Shows in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • One of the Premier Musical/Operatic Institutions is the United States and the World 13/09/2017
    • Every intelligent person owes it to himself to give The Met a try. 09/09/2017
    • The Metropolitan Opera
    Address:
    West 62nd Street
    Lincoln Center
    New York City, NY 10023
    Phone:
    +1 212-799-3100
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 - 18:00
    Mon - Sat
    10:00 - 20:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Ethos Meze
    Restaurants (Mediterranean, Greek)
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    This is a small and lovely little restaurant, with an inspired chef, friendly service, and a rather unique menu which features many small dishes (or full-sized) and allows for sampling new and old favorites. There's a bar as well. This is one of two Ethos restaurants a block apart, the other with some nice offerings as well, but it is this location we enjoyed specifically because of the chance to try several different things, all delicious and affordable.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Know which Ethos you are aiming for if you've not been there before. (There are two a block apart.)
    • They accept reservations online via popular "apps".
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • 90 minutes for a Dleivery 11/07/2017
    • Fun times 16/04/2016
    • Ethos Meze
    Address:
    542 3rd Avenue
    Between 33rd & 34th Streets
    New York City, NY 10016
    Phone:
    +1 212-686-0372
    Price range:
    USD 15 - USD 30
    Hours:
    Sun - Thu
    11:30 - 22:00
    Fri - Sat
    11:30 - 23:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Upper West Side
    Neighbourhoods, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    Just like the pictures I see on display at the moment! Brownstones & parks. And there's also Zabar's (food emporium and cookware), Haydn Planetarium, the American Museum of Natural History, Citarella's (fish store), and the Fischer Bros. Kosher meats. These which I mention have been inetgral parts of the Upper West Side for decades, since shortly after "The West Side Story" was shot here. Of course those buildings and the playground (from the 'rumble') were razed and its footprint emerged: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Also still here since, and recently renovated. Across the street from the IMAC theater now, and the American Museum of Folk Art.. And behind: housing projects, co-ops, and Trump buildings. All Upper West Side. Moving from West (bounded by the Hudson River and the wonderful Riverside Park with its dog playground, ballfields and marina) towards the East, there are all these wonderful side streets with these very "NY" brownstone buildings. (A bit like Georgetown?) At the end of 72nd Street, heading from Riverside to Central Park, one passes the wonderful Columbus Avenue (many outdoor cafes; wonderful in spring/summer), and is at the Dakota, home to Paul Simon, Mia Farrow, John Lennon... facing Central Park. Cross the street, pass the food vendors and continue straight ahead and you'll quickly see "Strawberry Fields" to your left and sign to your right, and then you are there: at the "Imagine" Mosaic. Somewhat sacred, often people gather, singing or honoring John. Further ahead is Bethesda Fountain and if I turn left and walk Northwest, I soon find myself at the American Museum of Natural History. A littler further north and we get into Columbia University and Harlem. But everything else I've mentioned: Upper West Side.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • It's almost 24/7 on Broadway and often quieter and another world on the side streets.
    • Check the Lincoln Center or museum webpages for special performances or exhibits. Upper West Side covers many venues.
    From the community
    Ranked #63 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful neighbourhood 05/09/2017
    • Cute restaurants! 02/09/2017
    • Upper West Side
    Address:
    Columbus and Amsterdam Ave.
    between 63rd and 85th Streets
    New York City, NY
    Phone:
    646-233-4316
    Other:
  • Save
    Lower Manhattan
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    "Lower Manhattan" comprises quite a range of territory and distinct neighborhoods and destinations. Most are described in detail in reviews, and include such disparate elements as the World Trade Center memorial and tribute centers, Wall Street, Chinatown, Little Italy, So-Ho (many galleries "South of Houston St."), Union Square, Tribeca, Chelsea, the High Line, Chelsea Piers (sporting), Circle Line Cruises (past all the bridges, Statue of Liberty, etc.), and much more. It is an integral part of Manhattan, and New York, plus home to many iconic, historic sightseeing destinations, like Old New York cobblestones and the tavern favored by George Washington. There's City Hall and Federal buildings as well, countless restaurants and shops, and if it exists, you'll likely find it here. A microcosm of New York, with many iconic buildings and places.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • See individual review listings for information on things like sightseeing buses or cruises around the island (Circle Line is our most well-known). For huge attractions like the WTC Memorial), be sure to check on hours and the reservation process.
    • Downtown New York is usually very, very busy with both car/truck and pedestrian traffic. While there are some municipal lots and private (expensive) parking, the best bet for convenience, mobility, and economic wellbeing is public transportation.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #57 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Just walk arround 18/09/2017
    • Walk 18/09/2017
    • Lower Manhattan
    Phone:
    +1 646-322-9189
    Other:
  • Save
    Harlem
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    From the Cotton Club and Apollo Theater, Harlem is iconic for many, both culturally and creatively. home to Duke Ellington and cradle for American jazz and big band music. Harlem has gone through economic and cultural changes, and is now in a rejuvenated mode, with many neighborhoods undergoing renewal and a strong community spirit remaining. There are many churches and historical buildings seen throughout the neighborhoods, small community gardens, and on 125th Street, the legendary Apollo Theater remains , along with the energy of the streets, in warm weather. One can find "ethnic" (or traditional, comfort) food, at Sylvia's (also legendary) or smaller places. Tourists can find some small-scale souvenir shops. It is New York, and so there is diversity of styles and neighborhoods. Harlem retains its identity as something unique.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • For a group experience (especially a birthday - let them know) eat a deep-south Southern-style meal at Sylvia's Restaurant
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #96 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • My Adventure in Harlem. 05/09/2017
    • So much history!! 30/08/2017
    • Harlem
    Address:
    110th to 150th streets
    New York City, NY
    Phone:
    9562904512
    Other:
  • Save
    Wall Street
    Neighbourhoods, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    At the risk of over-using the word "iconic"... Wall Street is. From the huge bull symbolizing economic strength to the fact of trading floors and headquarters for financial firms. Pillars and statues and grand building with marble steps. Like the Federal Buildings to the East, this in fact is living history. But unless you are interested in the inside of bank or stock exchange buildings (most of which do not allow public access), you can see the essential "Wall Street" rather quickly, as many tourists do, stopping for selfies at the bull or in front of the Stock Exchange. Contrary to the image the world seems to have (and many Americans too), Wall Street is not one big entity (just as The Kremlin is not a building). It is a street, with a small section devoted to financial buildings, and then continuing like any other downtown Manhattan Street, with stores, banks, restaurants, etc. While walking, this is something to take in and then continue on to the nearby World Trade Center, or perhaps Fraunce's Tavern (hangout of George Washington), or Chinatown, or to a boat terminal or the massive variety of shopping venues. A lot of history, which for a tourist might be interesting to hear from a guide or to read about beforehand. "Wall Street" is more a street and state of mind than tourist destination. But from Revolutionary war-era history to modern-day downtown Manhattan energy, Wall Street cuts a path through it all.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Driving is horrific in most of Manhattan, but this is among the worst due to density of traffic and all the small, winding streets off of the "grid". Walk or take a tour, or both, and use public transportation, almost all lines having a "Wall Street" stop.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #106 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    • Financial power of the world. 18/09/2017
    • A little hard to walk around in 18/09/2017
    • Wall Street
    Address:
    Wall Street
    New York City, NY 10005
    Phone:
    +1 866-648-5873
    Other:
  • Save
    American Museum of Natural History
    Natural History Museums
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    One of America's best-known museums, this is a fortress-sized venue with expansive exhibits as well as special events. Their permanent exhibits include the same ones I enjoyed as a child, and many times since: dioramas of both human and animal history, remnants of dynasties and tool-making and costumes and weapons are lovely to see, and very interesting/educational. Of course a main attraction, for many decades, has been the dinosaur collections. Some names have changed but there are still plenty of classic prehistoric creatures. Former home to Margaret Mead and other scholars and explorers, there are elements of all the "ologies", such as paleontology, cultural anthropology, sociology... There are special exhibitions too - see their website for the latest information on exhibit and times. Just next door to the museum is the Haydn Planetarium and Rose Kennedy Center, and this offers not only a mini-museum with facts about the universe and some hands-on things (like a scale to weigh yourself according to different gravities). The big feature is the planetarium itself, with its modernized and rather awesome simulated drive through the universe. Tickets for this are separate from the AMNH and are for specific times. A good plan (depending on weather) might be to take in the Haydn early or late in the day, and devote ample time to the museum, which is huge. Outside there are benches and a little park, and particularly along the Western side, many fine restaurants.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Great for families, tourists, the interested... Allow time to fully explore.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #31 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Massive 20/09/2017
    • Fantastic museum...so much to see 19/09/2017
    • American Museum of Natural History
    Address:
    79th Street and Central Park West
    New York City, NY 10024
    Phone:
    +1 212-769-5100
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:45
    Other:
  • Save
    Hayden Planetarium
    Observatories & Planetariums
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    This is a mainstay of tourism and family outings in New York, for generations. The planetarium itself has been modernized and features a (reservations-required) journey through the universe, stars and all. There are some experiential features like a ramp one walks through the eons on, a scale which tells you your lunar weight, and many educational and interesting bits from astronomy and science.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Be sure to get a reservation, onsite or in advance - for the show. You can browse the other exhibits before or after, and just next door is the American Museum of Natural History, and a neighborhood outside with countless restaurants and shops.
    From the community
    Ranked #141 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Always Interesting 06/09/2017
    • Good attraction, needs better signage 05/09/2017
    • Hayden Planetarium
    Address:
    Central Park West and 79th Street
    American Museum of Natural History
    New York City, NY 10024
    Phone:
    +1 212-769-5100
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:45
    Other:
  • Save
    Washington Square Park
    Neighbourhoods, Parks, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    Washington Square Park, featuring a miniature Arc de Triomphe at its Northern edge, is both a campus for New York University students, and small urban park. Here you'll find students and faculty reading or heading to/from classes, or relaxing. Depending on weather, on nice days there is usually some guitar or other spontaneous music happening. Like most urban parks, there are the usual nuisances as well as the better aspects, and it's a small park with many passersby of all kinds. The park is surrounded by classroom buildings (which have been there for generations), brownstones with NYU offices, a student center, library, and Law School. As I said, this is in effect the NYU campus. But it also the gateway into the West Village (including McDougal and Bleeker Streets, of Dylan and beatnik coffee house fame) and there are still some interesting boutiques,clubs, and "head shops" in the mix of counter-culture and serious coffee shop. To the north, through the arch, is most of Manhattan, after the many blocks of dorms and restaurants and campus bookstores, etc To the east, "the East Village" with its many clubs and restaurants. To the West, across 6th Avenue/Ave of the Americas, are more West Village, in winding, tiny streets which are truly "Old New York". And to the South, past McDougal and Bleeker Streets, there is SoHo (with many small art galleries and lofts) and Chinatown/Little Italy, and then downtown. (See separate listings) There's not a lot to see in the park itself, though it's a nice spot outdoors. But if you find yourself in the neighborhood, this is central to the West Village (nee "Greenwich Village") and a gateway to a choice of unique Manhattan neighborhoods.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #49 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • entertaining 20/09/2017
    • Summer Holiday 20/09/2017
    • Washington Square Park
    Address:
    West 4th Street
    Greenwich Village
    New York City, NY 10001
    Hours:
    Sat - Sun
    07:00 - 00:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Greenwich Village
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    Nobody you'll meet in NY will speak about "Greenwich Village" and if they do they're either quite elderly or not a New Yorker. Locals for a few decades now, refer to "the Village", which was known in the 1950's to early 60's as home to the beat movement, with "beatniks", who predated "hippies". The Village is described often in terms of "East Village" (east of Broadway or University Place, and including the "alphabet streets", Avenues A, B, etc.) versus the "West Village". The West is more closely what people think of, in terms of the beatnik and hippie movements, and includes Washington Square Park, the coffee houses and boutiques of Bleeker Street and McDougal, and several enduring theaters, parks, and historic buildings. Many sight-seeing tours either pass or walk by, but it's nearly impossible to drive and park nearby, so a better idea is use public transportation, like most places in Manhattan. A good spot to visit briefly if tired out from walking or studying, or if self-touring about lower Manhattan or seeking the ghosts of Bob Dylan, Folk City, and the 60's summers of love. Many young people, which may be a plus for visiting students or tourists seeking the latest nearby hot spots. Many small clubs endure and new ones have sprung out. Check individual sites or local papers like "The Village Voice" for concert and art exhibit info.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • The Village (once called Greenwich Village) is meandering, particularly on the West side, with many old winding streets not on the usual grid map of streets and avenues. Allow time to navigate or sight-see some of the old New York streets.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #41 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great little area to just walk around and enjoy 19/09/2017
    • One of the best areas in Manhattan! 18/09/2017
    • Greenwich Village
    Address:
    14th Street and West of Broadway
    New York City, NY
    Phone:
    646-801-8
    Other:
  • Save
    Strawberry Fields, John Lennon Memorial
    Monuments & Statues, Parks
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    Strawberry Fields Forever! Well, this version is near where John & Yoko loved to walk, near the entrance to Central Park across from their home (The Dakota). The "field" itself may be hard to discern, a small patch of grass and strawberry off to the left of the trail, fairly nondescript. However, walking past this (from the W72nd and Central Park W entrance) a very short ways, one arrives at what is pictured in many of the reviews, the "Imagine" mosaic, or John Lennon memorial, where people often gather and pay tribute to John Lennon. There are local "guides" and followers there often, as well, and everyone stops for photos. Every time it is different as people leave offerings every day. You can sit here and take in sun, tourists, locals, and/or Beatles songs, or keep walking, as just ahead is Bethesda Fountain and the Bandshell, and all of Central Park. Sitting here a while, you are bound to hear many languages and see many Beatles fans of all ages. But there's more Central Park (including the zoo, local performers, mini-boats and real rowboats) and this is but one stop. It's an easy walk, easy find. But no buses come here - it's our beloved refuge from the city, Central Park. And Strawberry Fields too. Imagine.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    Tips
    • Just steps away from the Dakota, West 72nd Street at Central Park West. Just walk straight ahead . Might be nicely paired with other Central Park or West side activities.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #99 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Missed it 1st time in New York got there this time 10/09/2017
    • Somber and Beautiful 02/09/2017
    • Strawberry Fields, John Lennon Memorial
    Address:
    W. Park Dr. and W. 72nd St.
    New York City, NY 10023
    Other:
  • Save
    St. Patrick's Cathedral
    Churches & Cathedrals
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    Here is another classic landmark of New York, and still a highly revered Cathedral where dignitaries wed, eulogies are delivered, and Cardinals include pillars of the Vatican. It is open to the public most times, and whether just taking a respectful peak from the back, along a huge collections of candles, or watching a ceremony, this is a most serious living church of great importance, in the realms religion, history, and architecture.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Check online for times and announcements; consult recent reviews.
    • The location in the midst of one of New York's most fabled (and crowded) streets, 5th Ave. Do not expect to drive here and park nearby. By foot one can walk from here to one of the world's most elegant shopping promenades.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #17 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful place, free of charge, peaceful 19/09/2017
    • Beautiful 19/09/2017
    • St. Patrick's Cathedral
    Address:
    460 Madison Ave
    New York City, NY 10022-6863
    Phone:
    +1 212-753-2261
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    07:00 - 20:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Sapphire Indian Cuisine
    Restaurants (Indian)
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    This is an interesting "find", which it really is, as it's a difficult-to-categorize location, so it's not easily found as "Upper West Side" or "Midtown West" or other category. As I see it, this is just at the boundary between the two, as walking from the UWS to here ends up taking you to a small block not quite at Columbus Circle and midtown, just a short walk from Lincoln Center. Location. Check out all the recent reviews, as I did (they were one of the few restaurants open on July 4!) and know that this is immense in scale, great food but with hidden a la carte charges for basic staples (some think) like rice. On the other hand, they have a hugely popular workweek buffet lunch, where it's more affordable and filling for lunch. Again, read the reviews. I know lots of people go here, many from nearby mid-town and the AOL building, probably a few besides me who enjoy walking and found this by accident! Quickly checked reviews and figured it's worth a try. Really fine. Authentic.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • Check their site and reviews for suggestions; lots of love for their buffet lunch
    From the community
    Ranked #2,755 of 9,645 restaurants in New York City
    • Good food in upscale setting 15/08/2017
    • Fantastic fare! 15/08/2017
    • Sapphire Indian Cuisine
    Address:
    1845 Broadway
    New York City, NY 10023-7622
    Phone:
    +1 212-245-4444
    Price range:
    USD 21 - USD 80
    Hours:
    Sun
    17:00 - 22:00
    Mon - Sat
    12:00 - 14:45
    17:00 - 22:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Manhattan Skyline
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    Using this word once again (as it is unavoidable) : Iconic. Truthfully, to appreciate all that the skyline offers, think of all the movies and photos you've grown up with. The "classic" view is actually from New Jersey, across the Hudson River, or from across the East River. It's hard to appreciate the urban skyline until you're out from under it, and can view it in panorama. Some popular spots for photography or ambience include Liberty Park (NJ) and the Pacific Palisades (for a long-long shot). An elegant spot for a very special occasion is the River Cafe, in Brooklyn, just across the water. (Elegant in food, view, and cost.) There are views from the Triboro Bridge, as well as from any number of spots in New York City and northern New Jersey. If you're already on the island of Manhattan, you can see the skyscape from a rooftop hotel restaurant (Westin on the West, Rare on the East Side, for two) or from Rockefeller Center or the Empire State Building. The skyline is as big as the island itself, with surrounding hills and buildings offering infinite variations of the view. As they say, YMMV (your mileage may vary) depending on your chosen spot and purpose (photography, barbecue with a view, party, whatever). The skyline is still a work in progress, recently joined by Freedom Tower.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • It's a big skyline! Choose your goal and then check out what is nearby, to make for a nice occasion which includes a view of the Manhattan skyline.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • World Beater 19/09/2017
    • It's Manhattan!!! What more needs to be said?? 19/09/2017
    • Manhattan Skyline
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 00:00
  • Save
    Statue of Liberty
    Monuments & Statues, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    drmikenyc Says:

    Here is one of those attraction which literally "needs no introduction", as an international icon and tourist destination. (New Yorkers visit this too, and its recently re-opened). A gift from France, in honor of our birth as a democratic nation, the base features time-worn words from Emma Lazarus, encapsulating the hopes of our new country being a gateway to freedom and liberty for peoples of the world: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- The CIrcle line boat tour around Manhattan comes near this (great photo op) and you can also book a boat and tour where you climb the inside up to the top. Check with the tour operators (Grey Line, Circle Line, others) for times and costs, and check the recent reviews for any notices about temporary closures and visitor tips.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Reserve in advnce; check for times and dates available
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #14 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lovely Lady Liberty. 19/09/2017
    • Be careful with the water taxies 19/09/2017
    • Statue of Liberty
    Phone:
    +1 212-363-3200
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:30 - 16:00
    Other:
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