THINGS TO DO IN NYC
THINGS TO DO IN NYC
Despite many historical, cultural and social changes that occurred in the twentieth and early part of the twenty-first century, New York still embodies the “American myth”. Maybe not so much as a possibility of redemption from earlier disadvantages but certainly from a tourist point of view. In other words, for many the equation “United States equals New York” is still true. More than New York City, Manhattan, because the main touristy attractions of the city are concentrated in this borough, one of the five (the other 4 are: The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island) that make up the “Big Apple”. A reduction that makes many scoff, but we can be indulgent. Seeing the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, Fifth Avenue, etc. up close, continues to represent a lifelong dream for many, especially if you come from infinitely smaller urban and architectural contexts. We will start a weekly blog post with a special list of top things to do and see in New York City. Enjoy!
At the beginning we mentioned the “greatness” of New York as one of the factors that most contributes to its touristic appeal. Everything is gigantic, or at least significantly larger than most other metropolises around the world. Central Park is no exception. We are talking about a park that stretched over 300 hectares and it attracts about 40 million visitors a year.
The arrival of well-deserved fame, however, obscures the enormous effort it took to transform what was a gigantic swamp in the nineteenth century into New York’s “green lung”. In fact, thousands of workers, under the orders of the two designers, took part in the reclamation, the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and the architect Calvert Vaux. Thanks to these two men, New York bridged the gap with large European cities – let’s think of Paris and London – by providing a public green space available to the entire city, regardless of the economic and social status of its inhabitants. And even today, more than a century later, this remains the essence of the park. Lots of things to see. We must point out the Strawberry Fields Memorial, dedicated to John Lennon and the Conservatory Water, an artificial lake particularly loved by New York families. Near the lake there is a statue of Alice in Wonderland, around which dozens of children roam free, especially in the spring and summer months. More information at: centralpark.org.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York is close to central Central Park. A few minutes walk to go from one of the most beautiful public parks in the world to one of the most beautiful modern art museums in the world. Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Warhol, Pollock, Cattelan and countless other artists are present on the 4 floors that house the museum’s permanent collection. The most famous names are on the top two floors, so it is worth visiting MoMA from top to bottom. In all, 200000 works of which 79000 are also visible online. Among other things, with a single ticket you can also visit MoMA PS1, an avant-garde museum set up inside a former school. Fridays are usually free from 4pm till closing time, but it is advisable to rely on the museum’s official website (www.moma.org) to plan your visit and be updated on the many activities of the “Olympus of art lovers” as this museum space is defined by many.
TOP OF THE ROCK
The “30 Rock”, as New Yorkers call it, is one of the 19 skyscrapers that make up the Rockefeller Center. Its popularity comes from the fact that on the 70th floor there are three indoor and outdoor panoramic terraces that allow the view of the wonderful skyline of the city. A landscape so breathtaking that, according to many, it would even be preferable to the Empire State Building. The reason, in addition to the greater breadth of the view, would be its (relative) “lesser” fame. The climb to the top of the “Top of the Rock” is just one of the attractions of the Rockefeller Center (lighting the Christmas tree is another very heartfelt moment in the city). This real estate complex in the heart of Manhattan, in fact, is one of the most shining symbols of the “Big Apple”. Made in the 1930s, it is rightly considered “a city within a city” in the words of its first financier John D. Rockefeller Jr. In over 80 years of history, this group of art deco commercial buildings has passed through several hands. It is currently owned by the Tishman Speyer real estate fund. More information at: www.rockefellercenter.com.