You may already know of some of the more famous sights to see in New York, but here is a brief selection of activities for you to be doing while visiting this great American city, especially useful if you do not have much time there.
We all know that New York has a diverse history and culture, notably thanks to the many different nationalities that have arrived in this city over the centuries. New York's cultural sights and monuments reflect this changing and diverse culture and are not to be missed.
The Statue of Liberty is perhaps the best known monument in New York. It is in the neoclassical style and found on Liberty Island in New York Harbour. It was designed by the Frenchman Fédéric Auguste Bartholdi and was dedicated on October 28th 1886 as a gift from the French. It represents 'Libertas' the Roman goddess of freedom who bares a torch and a tablet evoking the law, upon which the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4th 1776, is written. It is an icon of freedom and the US; a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.
What could be better for your ears than catching one of the fantastic performances on Broadway. There are 40 professional theatres in the Theatre District and Lincoln Centre along Broadway in Manhattan. Theatres did not arrive in the Times Square are until the early 1900's, and popularity only really saw an increase when levels of transport, poverty and lighting improved.
Motion pictures arriving in the 1920's proved a challenge for Broadway plays, but the 1943 "Oklahoma!" saw the start of the Golden Age for theatre. Today, theatres often employ big names from TV and cinema as head liners for their plays, to attract more of an audience, such as Bradley Cooper currently performing in 'The Elephant Man'. Upcoming performances include: 'Aladdin', 'Jersey Boys', 'Chicago', 'Les Miserables' and 'The Lion King'.
The Brooklyn botanical gardens are home to a true treat for your nose, the Fragrance Gardens. The gardens were created in 1955 by landscape architect Alice Recknagel Ireys and was the first garden in the country designed for the vision impaired.
Visitors are encouraged to rub the fragrant and textured leaves. There are four themed sections to the garden: 1) Plants to touch, 2) Plants with scented leaves, 3) Plants with fragrant flowers, 4) Kitchen herbs. The garden is wheelchair accessible and all of the planting beds are at an appropriate hight for wheelchair users. In addition to facilitating access, the gardens have information signs in Braille and a fountain for a calming sound and for visitors to wash their hands after touching the plants.
It is no secret that the US is well known for its food. New York cuisine specifically is made up of various different cuisines from the different ethnic groups that have entered the USA through the city. In each borough there are various different districts for specific types of cuisine, such as Chinatown or Little Italy.
There are many different foods associated with New York such as pretzels, bagels, doughnuts or a New York strip, but perhaps the most well known are hot dogs and New York style pizza. You can find hot dogs everywhere in NYC, from street vendors to wandering vendors at baseball games and convenience stores like 7-Eleven (who sells 100 million annually!). They can be eaten plain but most people add condiments such as ketchup, mustard, pickle relish, onion, mayonnaise, tomato, cheese etc.
The New York-style pizza, or the classic 'dollar slice', is characterised by large, hand tossed thin crust, often sold per slice as a snack/street food. It has a thin layer of tomato sauce with mozzarella cheese and then other toppings can be added. The slices are quite big (the pizza is typically 18 inches) so the slices are typically folded in half when eaten.
In this modern, fast paced city it is easy to get swept up in the commotion and excitement of the city and forget that there are still some calm, relaxing places in the city. When looking for a place to unwind and relax, what could be better than getting your hands on a good book.
What better place to do this than the New York Public Library. It is the second largest in the US and the third largest in the world with 53 million items. Founded in the 19th century, both its interior and exterior have been recently renovated. Its founding was established as a partnership between the city government and private philanthropy. As of 2010, the research libraries are largely funded with private money.