New York City Things to Do Tips by Dabs
New York City Things to Do: 5,341 reviews and 8,600 photos
As we were walking past the Empire State Building and the line that extended from the lobby out onto 5th Avenue and around the corner onto 34th Street, I was glad someone told me about the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center) which hadn't been open for visitors on my last trip to NYC.
We prepurchased tickets on their website for a specific time, it appeared that as long as you visited after the time of your ticket you were OK to go in. You can also get tickets at the booth that was on 50th Street or inside, there was no line when we passed by. It wasn't cheap to go up, $17 for adults, quite a bit more than the observatories in Chicago.
I'm surprised that more people don't come here, I'd be annoyed if I had to spend 2 hours waiting to go up the Empire State Building and if you're on the top of the Empire State Building you can't see the Empire State Building.
There are several viewing levels, some views are enclosed, some are open air behind plexiglass. On your way up, you can stop and read about the history of Rockefeller Center and watch several 4 minute movies on the history, on the Rockettes or on NBC Studios.
Picture 1-View of Central Park
Picture 2-if you look in the distance you can see the Statue of Liberty
Picture 3-Empire State Building
Picture 4-me modeling the stylish Stormtrooper boot I had to wear on my visit
Picture 5-Rooftop garden
Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Manhattan
Directions: Rockefeller Center on top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. TOP OF THE ROCK has an exclusive entrance on West 50th Street, between fifth and 6th Avenues, which leads directly to the ticket counter.
Tthe 37 story art deco Daily News Building was constructed in 1929-1930 for, what else, the headquarters of the Daily News, the architect was Raymond Hood who also designed one of my favorite buildings in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune tower. Be sure to pop inside the lobby to take a look at the giant rotating globe.
Address: 220 E. 42nd Street
Named after architect Irwin Chanin, this art deco building was built between 1927-1929. The exterior and the lobby of this building are fabulously decorated, the attached website has some brilliant photos of the lobby.
Address: 122 East 42nd Street at Lexington
Built in 1927, the Graybar Building, located near Grand Central Station, caught my eye because of the rather large rats climbing the side of the building on cables that are ship mooring ropes. I thought this was rather an odd decoration for a building in a large urban city, who would want their building associated with rats?
Address: 420 Lexington Avenue
Grand Central Terminal
Even if you are not taking a train to or from New York City, you should stop by the Grand Central Terminal, built in 1913 and one of the grand train stations in the US. The attached website has a nice self guided walking tour of the station.
There are also guided tours on Wednesdays at 12:30 PM given by The Municipal Arts Society, suggested donation of $10 per person for this tour, call (212) 935-3960 for more information.
On Fridays at 12:30 PM the Grand Central Partnership has a free 90-minute walking tour of Grand Central Terminal and the surrounding neighborhood, meets in the Sculpture Court of the Whitney Museum at Altria on East 42nd Street across from Grand Central, call (212) 883-2420 for more information.
Address: 42nd St & Park Ave.
Staten Island Ferry
After our expensive lunch at Carnegie Deli, we were glad to find something in NYC that didn't cost ANY money, the ride on the Staten Island Ferry is FREE and gives a really nice view of the Statue of Liberty, downtown Manhattan and the harbor. We got on one of the rush hour ferries which was crowded but we were still able to get a seat on the main floor. If you are not planning on staying on Staten Island, you must still get off the ferry and get on the next return ferry. On the way back we went up to the 2nd level on the side but it looked like the best spot for the view was at the front of the ferry but I think you may have to stand, I didn't check it out with my bum ankle.
We took line R to the Whitehall St. station to get there and it was about 3-4 blocks away, on the way back we took line 1 which was right next to the Ferry Terminal.
Address: trains 1, N, R, Q & W to Whitehall St.
Alice in Wonderland-Central Park
Although more pleasant to visit in the warm summer months when all of the trees have leaves and the grass is green, even in the winter months, Central Park should be on the visitors must see list. Central Park covers 6% of Manhattan to give you an idea of it's size.
Central Park is an 843 acre green oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of New York City. It was designed in 1858 by Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, it took 16 years to finish the park. It was the 1st landscaped public park in the US.
I was only able to squeeze in a walk from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the southern end of the park, even in that short distance there are several highlights-the Alice in Wonderland Statue, Hans Christian Andersen statue, the Reservoir and the zoo.
On my 3rd visit to the city in 2007, we took the subway to 81st Street stop and walked into the park trying to find the Belvedere Castle. After several people gave us bad directions, we finally found someone who worked there and he pointed us in the right direction. So if you want to explore, bring a good map, there aren't many directional signs. There's a good walking tour on the attached website if you want to explore more fully.
Belvedere Castle was erected in 1869 as a lookout and is now home to the NY Meteorological Observatory.
Directions: Between 59th Street and 110th Street and 5th Ave. on the East Side to Central Park West (8th Ave.) on the West Side.
Other Contact: http://www.centralparknyc.org/
NY Public Library lion
On my recent visit to New York, I finally had a few minutes to visit the interior. Take the elevator up to the 3rd floor to see the Rose Main Reading Room, a room nearly 2 blocks long with ceilings covered in murals, rows of oak tables and carved woodwork. Other highlights include the DeWitt Periodical Room on the 1st floor, the McGraw Rotunda at the top of the main staircase and the Astor Hall, the marble foyer on the 5th Avenue side. I think I saw a sign with guided tours so stop at the information desk if you are interested or check out their website.
I love the marble lions standing guard outside the Library, I have bookends that I bought years before I ever went to New York at home
Address: Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
Directions: Take 1,2,3,9 to 42nd Street and Broadway. Walk two blocks east to Fifth Avenue.
Phone: (212) 930-0830
Fred F. French Building
This building was built in 1927 for one of best known real estate firms of that day. Be sure to wander into the lobby as well as looking at the exterior.
Address: 521 5th Avenue
It seems I barely scratched the surface of Rockefeller Center, I had gone over to see the Christmas tree and ice skating rink but the complex consists of 19 buildings, the original 14 decorated in Art Deco style. Rockefeller Center is named after John D. Rockefeller Jr., a multimillionaire who's family made their fortune in oil.
There are daily guided tours of Rockefeller Center or you can grab a free "Walking Tour of Rockefeller Center" pamphlet at the GE Building's lobby information desk.
The attached photo is of the Christmas tree and the gold statue of Prometheus, in Greek mythology known for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to mortals and for being punished by Zeus by being chained to a rock and having an eagle eat his liver.
See my travelogue for more photos
Address: 47th-51st Streets and between 5th and 6th Avenues.
Directions: 5th to 6th Avenue between 48th and 51st Streets
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