The Whitney Museum was designed by Marcel Breuer and contains a large collection of American art from the nineteenth century to the present day. Sometimes however it shows special exhibitions and that can restrict the range of work on display. This is a pity since many visitors to New York will want to see a representative selection of work from the Whitney's entire collection to gain an insight into the nature and range of American art, rather than concentrating on the work of select figures.
However the Whitney is well worth visiting especially if, in future, it makes a more generous selection of its main collections available than was on show this season. There is also a good bookshop.
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street. www.whitney.org Subway lines 5 or 6, at 77th St and walk towards Central Park.
This incredible bar is located in the Four Seasons restaurant, an architectural and culinary landmark since it opened in 1959. You can drink and/or have a light lunch while sitting under a stunning Richard Lippold sculpture of brass rods hanging from the ceiling. It's not cheap, but definitely a 'must-do' splurge. (It's nice to feel special and privileged even if it is only once in one's life.) The Four Seasons is still the place where New York's movers and shakers, political, financial, editorial and otherwise come for lunch ($100 at least per person) and the bar offers a nice perch to view them from. (Well, you can always rub shoulders with them in the lavish restrooms.) Plus there's a good view of what's happening on glorious Park Avenue.
99 E. 52nd & Park Avenue in the landmark Seagram's Building. Go to www.fourseasonsrestaurant.com for pics, menus, etc.
70 floors above Rockefeller Center is the best observation deck in New York City. A 360' outdoor experience is possible from the 'Top of the Rock' terrace. Go to 50th Street entrance off 5th Avenue for ticket windows or buy online. Check out the great website: www.topoftherocknyc.com.
Rockefeller Center, 50th Street entrance off 5th Avenue
Try 'top of the rock' on the 69th floor. It's got the one thing the Empire State doesn't have - a view of the Empire State!
Queues are infrequent at the Rockefeller, even on the sunset trip which was very popular.
You get great panoramic views right across the whole area and can stay for as long, or as little as you like. Doesn't get packed at the top and most people are courteous enough to keep moving so that everyone has the chance to snap good photos. The only downside is that the Chrysler Building is partially blocked by the horrible Met Life carbuncle.
At ground level, the whole plaza is a good place to chill out/ have a drink or food.
49th and 5th Ave, Midtown Manhattan
First opened in 1887 and now due to reopen on its 120 year anniversary after many years of restoration. The outside is complete but to bring the interior back to glory they may have a long way to go. That said it’s a great opportunity to see restoration in progress and get to chat to the helpful and informative couple who are on hand to show you around. You’ll find it in the middle of Chinatown and is a reminder of a previous wave of immigrants who expectantly set up home, business and faith in the Lower East Side.
Empire/ Fulton ferry state park - The most dramatic views in the city, situated on the waterfront underneath the coming together of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges in DUMBO, Brooklyn - surrounded by old industrial buildings - The drama is heightened by the subways rolling over the Manhattan bridge - used in numerous films eg The French connection
York St subway station on the F line
If you want to do something totally free and absolutely amazing, take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. You walk on a special walkway above the traffic, which is speeding by underneath you, you have brilliant views of New York and it's all for free.
The queues (in America they call them 'lines') for the Empire State are very long on a clear day. However, tickets are valid any day so if you pass by on a cloudy day when there are little or no queues pop in to buy tickets for use later in your trip. This should save about 20-30 minutes queue time when you want to go up on a clear day.
Empire state building - 5th Avenue at 34th
But to make it worth your while you should go first thing on a weekday - it opens at 9.30am. Otherwise you'll spend half a day in the queue and be so cheesed off you won't care what you see by the time you get to the top.
350 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan; www.esbnyc.com/
Europeans are rarely going to want to visit American churches - they are, after all, just recreations of ones "back home" but St. Bart's is something special - the Byzantine-style mosaic tile interior is incredible, as are many of the stained glass windows. There are tours available but just wandering is best, maybe followed by tea in the church's courtyard cafe. While enjoying this building remember that all of this section of Park Avenue is built on columns above the double-level trainyard of Grand Central Terminal.
Park Avenue (East Side) between 50th and 51st Streets. Subway - 6 (Lexington Avenue Local) to 50th Street.
The Municipal Art Society (MAS) is a non-profit organization which aims to make NYC more livable. It focuses on many aspects of NY life including planning and zoning but also runs exhibitions, programmes and tours on architecture, public art and the cultural development of NYC. The MAS has its own galleries with rolling exhibits on NY-based themes, many of which are unique to the organization. These run for 6-8 weeks at a time and info can be found on their website: www.mas.org The tours are especially great for tourists though, particularly if you've been to NYC before and have seen all the usual sights already. They take you to little-known districts where expert guides show you around and offer fascinating information on places you might not think of going otherwise, like Harlem, the Bronx, and various areas of Brooklyn and Queens. The Grand Central Station tour is the most popular and runs every Wednesday at 12.30 from inside the terminal. The schedule changes all the time so you'll need to check their website to see what's going on when you visit, but you can just show up at the street corner and join the tour without booking. Prices are very reasonable; make sure to get there early. Tours leave promptly and are often hard to track down once they're under way.
The Municipal Art Society of New York 457 Madison Ave (btw/ 50th & 51st) NY 10022 T: 212-935-3960 W: www.mas.org Subway: B, V, F, D to Rockefeller Center 6 to 51st & Lexington
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