Five of New York’s most unique features and characteristics.
- Theater & Performing Arts
The 39 venues that make up Broadway are iconic theater destinations but New York’s number and variety of theatrical performance venues are for more expansive. Off-Broadway shows usually take place in smaller (less than 500 seats) theaters and are less pricey, while Off-Off-Broadway shows are downright obscure, but most likely to please more avant-garde theater lovers. New York City also boasts some of the most high-profile music and dance venues and companies in the world. Carnegie Hall is the pinnacle of classical music venues, The Beacon Theater offers comedy and music performances, Brooklyn Academy of Music offers cutting-edge, contemporary musical and dance performances, and renowned Radio City Music Hall is equally ideal for catching a concert or seeing the Rockettes.
It may seem surprising that the most populous metropolitan area in the world is known for its parks, but consider that New York City is home to Central Park, the world’s most visited green space. Central Park is home to the Reservoir, Belvedere Castle, an ice skating rink, a carosel, public tennis courts, walking and bike paths, and a host of other attractions. Summerstage, which features free live music throughout the summer season, has also played host to a number of legendary concerts. Elsewhere, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park offers an idyllic 90-acre meadow thought to be among the most expansive of any US city park. Eleven massive pools, opened in 1936 by Mayor La Guardia, are spread throughout New York’s five boroughs, are also major draws, and free to the public.
What visitors need to understand first and foremost about New York City cuisine is that it encompasses virtually every kind of ethnic cuisine in the known world. This is in large part because of the plethora of neighborhoods that serve as enclaves of particular cuisines and cultures, but you can also find all types of fare across each of New York’s five borough’s. Pizza litters the landscape in abundance; don’t be surprised to find a truly great slice for little more than a dollar. Be on the look out for delis (bagels and Reubens are the mainstays of Big Apple deli fare) and street vendors peddling hot dogs, Indian food, smoothies and vegetarian lunches. Food trucks are situated all over the city, offering top quality fare such as gourmet takes on cupcakes, sandwiches, ice cream and coffee. Salad bars are plentiful and fresh alternatives.
- Museums & Galleries
In addition to its numerous major museums and galleries (which, it goes without saying, are some of the finest in the world) New York boasts hundreds of small, private galleries, many concentrated in the Chelsea neighborhood. Major museums like the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, The Frick Museum, The Jewish Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History are international destinations. Brooklyn and Queens have as much to offer as Manhattan. The Brooklyn Museum of Art has a superb collection of ancient Egyptian and Assyrian art, while the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens and The Museum of Television and Radio are must-sees for videophiles. Be sure to note when planning your itinerary, many of the city’s major museums are closed on Mondays.
From historic sports venues to distinguished teams that have captivated (and at times, enraged) fans all around the world, New York is a city that loves sports. The Big Apple is the only metropolitan area in the United States with more than one team in each of America’s four major sports; indeed, New York boasts nine. Baseball is the premier spectator sport in New York, with an intense rivalry between the Mets and Yankees eclipsed only by the legendary rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox. Basketball, football, and hockey are other popular sports in the city, and the New York City Marathon, held in November, is one of three pre-eminent long-distance running events in the world. The U.S. Open for tennis, held in late August is a world-class event.