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New York City - Things To Do in the Big Apple

We've all at some point in time dreamt to be in midst of the hustle of this town called New York City. Whether through the glamor showcased in various movies, the awe of the financial industry exposed during career phases or an aspiration to climb the top of the skyscraper - the city has always caught fancy of human beings world over. We mere mortals,, your humble authors, are no less and we had always talked about spending some time in this city. In fact, wifey says that it was her fantasy to visit the city at one point in time. We finally had a chance to spend some quality time over her birthday's long weekend and here comes our recommendation of not to miss Top-7 tourist destinations of the city.

Let's Start Exploring the City

First and Foremost, What is New York - Is it really a conundrum?

Well in India, New York is synonymous to Manhattan - popularly broken down into a Man-Hat-Tan by a popular Hindi movie song. Well, some of you would be related to it while others would be better of giving this line a pass. It is the city of dreams for many!

Known for being the world's financial hub, New York City is home to most of the leading financial institutions of the world. The city has an identity as the land of sky-scrapers - against cities that have a horizontal outreach. While the city has a varied experience to offer, it is difficult to either love or to hate the city - most of us would have to find a middle way and love a part of it and hate the remaining bit.

Having said that we bring to you a list of seven things to do recommendations that any tourist, especially the first time visitors should aim to cover.

Below is a Video depiction of our recommendations

Times Square - An overrated Mecca of advertisers

Times Square - Glitter and Glamor
Sorry folks who have a glamorous image of this one. In our opinion, if something gets the title of most overrated square footage in the world, Times Square would carry it all the way. The so-called most touristy destination in the world is nothing but a group of glittery bill-boards. What we saw makes it a commercial intersection supplemented by the paraphernalia of vendors making money from unsuspecting tourists. Confused with it still being the first place we list on the recommendations? You definitely have to be here if you are in the city. In fact, if you are able to cover a single thing, this has to be it. Nothing better than busting a myth deep ingrained in your mind - no?

Don't get us wrong - there is nothing that the place lacks and if you visit at night, you would actually be able to enjoy a bit with all the hustle and souls from all over the world descending to witness the "charm" that is popular across the globe. This is a story of how a commercial location has been successful in getting the limelight and attracting the crowd. It is well managed with adequate law enforcement presence to ensure that it sends out safe vibes in the middle of the night when most of the tourists come together to be here for various events, sometimes after the Broadway shows.

Statue of Liberty - The icon that is the face of New York

Statue of Liberty
Standing tall on an island away from the mainland New York is the symbol of universal freedom - Statue of Liberty. The statue was a gift to the Americans from France as a symbol of friendship and the common aim of gaining freedom from colonial rules. The 93 meters high - green-tinted lady wears a crown on her head with seven-pointed ends which depict seven continents and seas. The torch on the right hand has a gold gild a the end and the feet have broken chains to symbolize freedom from tyranny.

There is a statue cruise that goes from Battery Park - another point of attraction for some tourists - which takes guests on a visit to the Statue of Liberty Island and Ellis Island. The approximately 25-minute ride takes tourists to the statue island. The boat stops at the Ellis Islands on its way back. Views of New York's skyline from the boat receding from the shores are worth capturing.  Tourists have an option to choose an optional add-on to visit the top of the pedestal or the crown of the statue. If you plan to cover this beauty, aim to book early if your visit is around the busy season.

Empire State Building and Rockefeller Plaza - Climbing up the sky-scrappers

Empire State Building
The city of New York is synonymous with skyscraper and any image of the city is incomplete until complemented by tall glass-covered buildings seemingly touching the sky. How could such a city not offer a view of its expanse from a point high above the ground? Two high-rises are often found on the tourist map which takes visitors to their observation decks and offers a panoramic view of the city.

The first one is the world famed Empire State building. This is a 102 storied building and counts within the top-10 tallest building in the world. A 40$ ticket takes you up the elevator to the 86th floor (there is a kind of transfer involved en-route) within the seconds. Another is an observation deck atop the 67th floor of the Rockefeller Building which is another high point in the city.

We recommend visiting one of these observation decks during the day while the other at night so as to enjoy both views of the city. While the day provides a view of tall buildings and key landmarks across the city, the night view gives a glimpse of the twinkling lights that embrace the city in the dark.

Broadway Show - The glitter and the glamour 

The Broadway
In an era of dazzling 3-D movies and stunning IMAX films, Broadway theater entertainment remains one of the most popular attractions in NYC. roadway refers to the famous street in Manhattan that has become the worldwide leader in stage entertainment.  Featuring 40 Broadway theaters, high-profile stage actors, and world-class sets and costumes, New York Broadway shows are must-see entertainment for travelers in NYC.

The Central Park - More than a green patch of land

Bethesda Fountain - Central Park
In the lush-grey concrete jungle that the island of Manhattan is, Central Park offers a nice break with greenery and opportunities for unwinding.  It was one of the first American parks to be developed using landscape architecture techniques. This is the largest park of the island and houses a number of memorials and tourist sites. The park offers horse rides, bike paths, lakes, and gardens - so everyone would find something for themselves. The park is also the destination for a number of events across the year. As a tourist keep some time aside to explore the expanse of this park strolling through various points worth going on the Instagram wall.

One of the sites that stood out for us was the Bethesda Fountains. The fountains overlooking the Bethesda Terrace has the statue of Angel of Water at the top. The marvel symbolizes the celebration of innovation in water transport and development of the new Croton Aqueduct - a water arrangement feeding the fountain and the New York City with potable water. This development marked relief from widespread diseases because of unsafe drinking water. With such rich history, the fountains are also a scenic treat - and this explains it being featured across movies globally more than any other feature of the park.

Brooklyn Bridge - Bringing the boroughs together

The Brooklyn Bridge
If history puts down a list of reason what made the New York City what it is today, this bridge would feature prominently in the list. This cable-stayed bridge was one of the largest bridge of the time and one of the first suspension bridges in the United States. The bridge connects the islands of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The engineering marvel has stood the test of time even though there were no simulation tools available at the time of its construction. The bridge while being of interest to civil engineers from around the globe, is also a sight to visit it for. A stroll from one end of it to the others offers breathtaking views of the Brooklyn River.

Wall Street - Well money does matter right !!

Charging Bull - Wall Street
The nerve of the city is this innocuous-looking lane in Manhattan - the one which is the center of global financial activities. This street is the house for the New York Stock Exchange - the place where bets are made and fortunes created. Wall Street has also been the historic headquarters of some of the largest U.S. brokerages and investment banks. Take a stroll across the street and the region to absorb the fast-relentless life of this town. While you are in the area, do not forget to pass through the Charging Bull - the symbol of aspirational sentiments of the trading center. It is believed by many that rubbing the nose of the bull brings good luck - no harm in trying to take your shot. The popularity of this symbol is evident from the fact that people queue for up to 20 minutes to get a picture with the Bull.

What is our verdict of the city?

New York Skyline - Top of the Rock
New York is a city with its own flavor which could be pretty overwhelming for a west coast resident visiting the city for a limited time. There is a part of the city which represents the uber-rich lifestyle but beneath all the glitter lies the truth which few like to talk about. like any big city across the world, the city faces huge issues of homeless inhabitant and law and order challenges. It is difficult for someone to either like the city or hate it - there probably is a middle ground which leads to cautious optimism. Whatever the situation is, New York is something you definitely want to cover as one of the top cities you visit while in the country.

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