Whether the Empire State Building or Times Square comes to mind, there may be no location in the United States more iconic than New York City. It is the most densely populated major city in the country, and according to some experts, as many as 800 languages may be spoken throughout its five boroughs, making it one of the preeminent regions for culture and diversity. Named by Trip Advisor as the 2012 top destination to visit in the United States, the city that never sleeps has no shortage of activities.
New York is rated among the world’s most influential gastronomic regions. It boasts 66 area restaurants that have earned at least one Michelin star. Among them is the French seafood restaurant Le Bernadin, cited by Zagat as New York’s most popular restaurant.
You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the Big Apple’s international array of eats. Start your morning in Brooklyn with a Mediterranean brunch at Olea Mediterranean Taverna. Then for lunch, experience a taste of Cuba at Margon in Midtown Manhattan. For dinner, try traditional Italian at the quaint Bianca Restaurant in NoHo or German fare at Cafe Katja on the Lower East Side. Don’t forget dessert: you can sample homemade marshmallows and ice cream sandwiches at Three Tarts in Chelsea or a three-course dessert menu at ChikaLicious Dessert Bar in the East Village.
For art and history enthusiasts, Manhattan’s Museum Mile is a must. Several museums occupy the section of Fifth Avenue from 82nd to 105th streets, including the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Jewish Museum of New York, and Guggenheim. Perhaps most prominent on Museum Mile is the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the United States.
Of course, we all know the real reason you are in New York: shopping. For the high-end fashionista, Fifth Avenue features nearly every famous designer name in the world. If you’re looking for a slightly more subdued experience, some of the city’s best boutiques are located in Nolita. Even if you aren’t in a shopping mood, it’s fun to walk through this neighborhood, with its variety of unique stores.
In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, you may want to slow down, and Central Park is the perfect spot. In the 843-acre park, you can rent a rowboat or kayak for use on Central Park Lake, take a pedicab tour around the park, or visit the Central Park Zoo. During the summer, there’s Shakespeare in the Park, where you can enjoy free performances produced by the Public Theater. Famous actors and actresses have starred in past shows, including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Al Pacino, and Amy Adams.
It’s hard to talk about New York without mentioning Broadway, where you can see popular productions like The Lion King and Jersey Boys and recent shows such as Newsies. Looking for a bargain? Check out the TKTS Discount Booths located in Times Square, downtown Brooklyn, and the South Street Seaport, which sell tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows for up to 50 percent off.
By the time your trip to New York ends, you’ll probably be thinking about when to come back. One visit won’t be enough to experience what this one-of-a-kind city has to offer. DW
La Bernadin • 155 West 51st St., New York 10019, 212-554-1515, le-bernardin.com
Olea Mediterranean Taverna, 171 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn 11238, 718-643-7003, oleabrooklyn.com
Margon • 136 West 46th St., New York 10036, 212-354-5013
Bianca Restaurant • 5 Bleecker St., New York 10012, 212-260-4666, biancanyc.com
Cafe Katja • 79 Orchard St., New York 10012, 212-219-9545, cafekatja.com