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50+ things to do in NYC (p.3)

Third part of my endless guide to NYC!

By Anna Purpurpurpur

New York City never ceases to amaze me – and here goes the third part of my endless NYC guide which I prepared following my recent trip in spring 2023.

And a quick reminder what we had in the first two parts is at the end of the page. Are you ready for another list?

31. Explore Hudson yards

Hudson yards is the newest Manhattan borough with hundreds of shops and dining options. Looking for Dior, Cartier or Zara or fancy restaurants? You’ll find those here.

You’ll be stunned by the amazing Vessel created by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio opened in 2019. This is a real architectural gem: make sure you pop in inside and see all the skyscrapers going up there! Tragically, this piece of art gained a sad reputation as several people committed suicide jumping from it.

32. …and find yourself at the Edge

The Edge is the latest and the trendiest observation point of NYC. You’ll learn there about the sustainable project on which Hudson yards are based and will see the most breathtaking panorama from the 100th floor of the building! 

The Edge is one of the most impressive observational points I’ve ever been to, and no surprise why: it’s the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere (and the second in the whole world being overtaken only by Burj Khalifa in UAE).

They also have a shop and a small cafe with champagne and coffee. Don’t miss this chance to observe NYC, it’s a must-do experience!

33. Buy tickets to the Metropolitan opera

The Metropolitan Opera, world famous opera house in NYC, opened in 1966 as a replacement to the older building on 1411 Broadway that housed the Met Opera since its opening in 1883 (and it was demolished in 1967).

You’ll be stunned not only by the music performance here, in the Met opera. This new building was erected in modern style and is famous for its Sputnik chandeliers, Lobby staircases and two Mark Chagall murals. 

We were fascinated to attend Verdi’s Falstaff there, and it didn’t disappoint.

34. Find the treasures of the NYPL

The building itself is stunning, and moreover they’ve got a special event taking place right now: The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures at Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, a gorgeous Beaux Arts building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

It showcases the gems of the NYPL collection including first written words of human species, rare Gutenberg Bible (1455), Bill of rights (1789), Evangelie naprestol’noe (Altar Gospels, 1791), multiple objects belonged to Charles Dickens, pieces linked to social and art life of NYC, original Winnie-the-Pooh and co, first editions of Joyce’s Ulysses printed by Shakespeare and Company (1922) and amazing woodblock prints by Keisai Eisen (19th century).

Don’t miss the famous halls of the library – Astor Hall, Wallace Periodical Room, Gottesman Exhibition Hall, Rose Main Reading Room (photography is not encouraged there as people are reading and working there) – and its shop and cafe! 

By the way, if you walk along the 41st street, you might notice quotes from famous books about books and about reading: this is Library way leading to the NYPL!

35. Stroll along the High Line 

NYC High Line is a nice elevated path around 2.3km long with trees and flowers that used to be the New York Central Railroad railway. Now you can enjoy the views of Manhattan from it and watch the nature around you. There are a few elevators available as well if you can’t use stairs. 

36. See a seasonal celebration 

NYC is a perfect place to witness or to take part in seasonal celebrations! Pick your fighter: Lunar New year, St Patrick’s day Parade, Christmas, Halloween, Columbus Day Parade (if you’re still into it) and be sure that you won’t be disappointed.

I’ve been lucky to attend all of them except for Christmas and Halloween (well, I’ve seen the spooky decorations in October but haven’t been in the city for the evening of Halloween itself) – and those have been grand! 

37. Shop at Madison avenue

Madison Avenue is probably my favourite place for shopping in NYC. It’s much quieter and less crowded than Fifth Avenue, the selection of shops is fantastic – any European brands are here – and the cafes like Ralph’s coffee at Ralph Lauren are great. What else is to wish for?

38. Eat at Little Korea

You probably know that NYC is divided into various areas where people from particular countries historically prefer to live. Here go Little Italy, Brighton Beach with a Russian-speaking/post-USSR population, China town… And of course there is Little Korea too!

Located right below the Empire State building, it’s a great destination for coffee (Grace street cafe was my favourite) and Korean cuisine lovers: try Miss Korea, they have the most original BBQ I tried outside of Seoul! There are also shops with K-beauty products, stationery and even a Ginseng museum where you can buy this precious traditional Korean plant root and learn about its uses and extraction. 

39. Admire Ford Foundation for Social Justice’s garden

Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice (320 East 43rd Street) is dedicated to philanthropic goals and is a great initiative, but I’d like to introduce the fantastic atrium garden designed by Dan Kiley: with a pond and located on a few levels. The building itself dates to 1967.

The garden is open to the public and accessible for strollers/wheelchairs from both entrances. It features about 40 different species of plants and has a special sensory section where people can interact with plants and learn more about them. Pop in to enjoy peaceful green oasis in the concrete jungles of the city!

40. Drink a butterbeer in Harry Potter New York 

If you’re a Potterhead, then Harry Potter New York is a place for you!

Located on 935 Broadway just a short walk from the Flatiron, although it’s not as big as Warner Bros Studio in (and definitely smaller than the Harry Potter’s area in Osaka too), it’s very much worth your time.

It has two floors and has a strong vibe of the Wizarding world because of the great interiors, animated characters, moving statues and the kiosk with butterbeer and pastries!

41. Climb the Top of the Rock

If you’ve seen just any movie taking place in New York, you’ve probably seen the Rockefeller Centre with its fountains, Christmas tree and a seasonal rink. And the Rockefeller centre’s main building, 30 Rockefeller Plaza built in the 1930s in Art Deco style, is topped with a 360 degrees observational desk!

It provides you with the best views not only of the downtown as well as other observational desks on my list, but also an uptown too. For me, for instance, it was the first time I’ve seen Central park from above.

By the way, this is one of the baby friendliest places I’ve been so far, mommies and babies receive full attention and help from the staff. There is also an eating area with many cafes inside the centre too.

42. Dine at the Restaurant street

Restaurant row on 46th street  between 8th and 9th Avenues – just a stone throw away from the Times square – is home to a few dozens of restaurants from the whole world.

You can find Chinese (Dim sum palace and others), Japanese (Sushi Seki), Mexican (Tito Murphy’s), French (Le Rivage), Caribbean (Jasmine’s), Italian, of course American (Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse) and many other cuisines there! It was definitely a place where we returned day by day to try something new. 

43. Have a ride at Bryant park

Bryant park is one of the nicest green spaces of NYC with a fountain and tables. A park occupied this site since the mid-19th century, and later it was named after William Cullen Bryant, American poet (his memorial is here in the park too). Now people play Pétanque, drink coffee or have a picnic.

If you have kids, it’ll be even a petter spot for you as you can ride a historical Le Carousel there! It’s been designed by Marvin Sylvor, founder of Fabricon Carousel Company, and he claimed that this carousel in the Bryant Park was his famourite out of all he’s ever made!

Also, the park is framed by many pleasant cafes – and pop into the Kinokuniya New York bookstore too! 

44. Shop at Macy’s Herald square

Is there anything more iconic than shopping at Macy’s? This legendary shopping centre on Herald Square is a flagship of the shop chain established in 1858 by Rowland Hussey Macy.

It’s famous for its window decorations and despite its recent renovation it’s still a home to the wooden escalator dating back to the early 20th century! Go there for skincare and beauty products, clothes, home items and the kids department! 

45. Look for rare books at the Strand bookshop

If you need a paper book of any kind, head to the Strand bookshop on the corner of 12th Street and Broadway (yes, named after London’s Strand!) – probably they have it! The store has been run by the Bass family since its foundation in 1927 (although the location has slightly changed), and now it’s the fourth generation of them who runs the business.

The motto is that they have 18 miles of books – and I didn’t have to doubt this claim after visiting their enormous bookstore. The book stands occupy both outside and inside space, and there are all sorts of books in terms of rarity, genre, variety of authors etc.

Just a reminder what we had in the previous parts of my blog:

1. Get stunned by St Patrick’s cathedral 
2. Learn about the history of NYC at Museum
of the city of New York, Skyline museum, and Ellis Island 
3. Learn the timeline of 9/11 step-by-step
4. Ride a yellow taxi
5. Stroll along the Central Park
6. Appreciate the Oculus’s architecture
7. Visit DUMBO
8. Have a nice ride at Coney Island
9. Get famous Nathan hot dog 
10. Pop in for a lunch into Chinatown 
11. Wander around SoHo
12. Meet the famous Wall Street Bull
13. Study the Washington Square Arch
14. Visit Central Park zoo 
15. Dine with a view at Columbus Circle
16. Get an art boost in The Met, MoMA,
Guggenheim Museum, Morgan Library,
or Frick collection
17. See New York from
Empire State Building 
18. Say hi to the Statue of Liberty
19. Eat ravioli and cannoli in Little Italy 
20. Observe Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn
21. Get a cutest beverage boost 
22. Get blinded by ads on the Times Sq 
23.  Avoid scams at Diamond district
24. Try to take a photo at the Brooklyn bridge
25. Enjoy a Broadway musical
26. Find your inner child at Schwarz toy shop
27. Have a coffee and a donut at Greenpoint
28. Get lost in Chelsea Market
29. Take a train from Grand Central 
30. (Window) Shop at the Saks

You might also like:

New York guide: p.1 and p.2
St Patrick’s day parade
Five easy trips from NYC
Sleepy Hollow: Halloween edition
Museums of NYC
Lunar New Year NYC

Hope you liked my blog!
Anna xxx

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