New York holidays : what do I have to know
We may naively think that no surprises await us during a trip to New York, so much is it covered through films, serials, music or books. Yet this is to underestimate the potential of the Big Apple. Indeed, there's nothing like seeing those huge skyscrapers in real life, the incessant frenzy and the mosaic of neighbourhoods. Now you're wondering what places to visit to make the most of your holidays in New York? Good news! We've put together a selection of must-sees for you.
What to do in New York to see the essentials
There is no shortage of activities to do in New York City, as this selection of must-see sights shows.
The Empire State Building
New York is known for its big buildings, so head to the most famous of them : the Empire State Building. Both imposing and graceful, powerful and delicate, this building is unsurprisingly a must-see in the city. Behind its unique design lies a rich history. Even before its prominent role in the film King Kong, the building was known as the world's first 100-storey building. Construction began in 1930 and was completed one year later. A record time! It immediately attracts the curious who want to visit the highest building in the world. So follow in their footsteps and climb to 86 or 102. The stunning views of New York offered from these observatories will simply leave you speechless.
Hungry to breathe? Then head to the « green lung of New York ». This is how Central Park is nicknamed, this huge park located in the heart of Manhattan. In this place where cars are rare, you will be able to stroll freely. All year round, you can enjoy the many attractions and activities on offer, as well as strolling through the bucolic corners. For example, you can visit the Belvéd castle. As the name suggests, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the entire park. Weather permitting, take a picnic to the side of Sheep Meadow. The more athletic can run around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Finally, from the zoo to The Mall, the Bow Bridge and the wilderness area of The Ramble, you'll be in for a surprise!
Always Manhattan, Times Square is certainly the most famous square in the district. Known as the Cross of the World, the square is known for its cosmopolitan vibrancy, perennial excitement, and many brightly lit nooks. As you walk through the heart of this landmark, you'll see huge billboards, but that's not all. You can also meet costumed characters, have a drink, go shopping, or simply take the selfie of your trip! Although it is often very crowded, you should know that the influx of people doesn't make you feel oppressed here, but rather gives Times Square its charm. Finally, be sure to finish your visit with a visit to the nearby Broadway theatres.
The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is not only a symbol of New York but also represents the United States globally. It stands proudly on a huge base of over 40 metres and is 46 metres high. It represents a woman wearing a seven-pointed crown and raising her right hand to the sky, in which she holds a torch. It is the latter that embodies all the values linked to freedom. Her left hand holds a plate on her hip on which is inscribed a date: July 4, 1776. It corresponds to the day of the birth of the United States. After taking the ferry, you can visit the State of Liberty in a variety of ways. For example, simply by passing by the edge of the road on which it was built, or by taking a tour of its interior.
Does it help to mention that spending an evening on Broadway is a must on your New York trip? This iconic avenue may be the city's oldest and longest, but its features don't stop there. It also runs diagonally through the city for 22 kilometres. Known as the Theatre District, take advantage of your visit to see one of the iconic shows. Is it a musical comedy or a theatre show? It's up to you!
The MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) is an iconic museum in New York. It is also one of the world’s most respected museums of modern art. Located south of Central Park, it was founded in 1929 by three women who were dedicated to exhibiting modern art. You can see world-famous works of art on six levels. Among the artists on display are Picasso, Cézanne, Matisse, Andy Warhol, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Miro and many others. Incredible! Even travellers who are not art lovers will recognise the iconic works. Whether it is a question of permanent or temporary exhibitions. The last floor is usually reserved for one or two important exhibitions that would be a shame to miss. Levels four and five are also very interesting and allow you to admire the works of the greatest artists, including the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists and Cubists.
Wall Street is much more than just a street. As you walk down it, you will be in the heart of the centre of world finance and face a big figure in capitalism. This is where most of America's largest corporate headquarters are located, as well as the New York Stock Exchange. Even if the latter is no longer open to the public, be sure to stop by its imposing facade. Then just cross the street to visit the Federal Hall National Memorial. The latter is nestled in what was New York's first city hall and the first U.S. Capitol before becoming the headquarters of the U.S. Customs Service. Finally, don't miss Trinity Church. This 19th century church seems lost in the midst of the skyscrapers.
What neighborhoods are a must-see?
New York is a mosaic inhabited by several communities and composed of several neighborhoods, or rather districts. It is precisely these districts that give the city its unique atmosphere. So here is a selection of the districts that you should not miss.
Who says New York says Manhattan as this district nestled on an island is so famous and rich in places of interest. The image of its skyline never ceases to cross borders and make people think. The city is divided into different small districts, including the financial heart of the city (Wall Street), the green lung (Central Park) and numerous museums. Its main thoroughfare, 5th Avenue, is the most prestigious in the city. This status is due to the presence of iconic buildings such as the Empire State Building and Saint Pratick's Cathedral. It is also due to the wealthy families who lived there in the 19th century, such as the Goulds, Astors and Vanderbilts. This earned it the nickname Millionaires’ Row. Here are two of these neighbourhoods not to be missed:
- Harlem is a neighborhood that begins at the end of Upper Manhattan and ends at 155 Street. Located on 125 Street, the Apollo Theatre is certainly one of its main attractions. Don't miss the Colombia University campus either. Typically American, it will give you the impression of being in the middle of a movie. Finally, you can't miss Saint John the Divine Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the world.
- Little Italy is located on the southeast side of Manhattan. It and its neighbour Chinatown are full of exotic surprises that will take you on a journey. Its main thoroughfare is Mulberry Street. Filled with restaurants and bars, it also allows you to do some typical shopping in the small Italian shops. In recent years, the Chinatown district has unfortunately encroached on the Little Italy district, which is now limited to a few streets.
Brooklyn is the city's most populous district and has been steadily changing in recent years. It has gone from being a poorly populated area to one of the most fashionable neighbourhoods. Today, it attracts all communities and personalities. The first attraction here is the Brooklyn Bridge. It overlooks the East River and separates the Manhattan district from Brooklyn. So don't miss the chance to cross this iconic bridge on foot! With a height of almost 40 metres, it offers a superb view of the surrounding area. For artists in need of inspiration, head to Brooklyn Bridge Park. With the Manhattan skyline on one side and the meadows and hills on the other, you can't help but enjoy it.
Then head for what sets this area apart from the rest of the city: the typical grey and brown buildings. You'll love wandering between those in Brooklyn Heights, nestled in tree-lined streets. Afterwards, it's time to head to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. The latter is particularly impressive in the spring, when the Japanese cherry trees bloom in this part of Prospect Park.
What to eat in New York
First of all, forget your clichés about American culinary habits. While this may be true in some parts of the US, New York has always been a special case. You'll be surprised to find world-renowned restaurants and a wide range of specialties here. In addition to the New York restaurants, be sure to sample the street food. Indeed, this street food served in food trucks is worth the trip. It is also a must if you want to feel like a real New Yorker! Finally, don't miss a good brunch at the weekend. The best way to end the week!
Where to go for a day out in New York City?
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