Iconic places you must visit in New York City – Part 1: Architecture & Parks
Well, New York! I don’t think it requires any further explanation to convince you about visiting. There are so many iconic sights in the city which I think takes at least a week in the city to cover all them all; Apart from the ‘classics’, there are always new shops, new restaurants, new exhibitions, and new shows in the city that make every visit exciting, fresh and unique for everyone.
While it might take a little bit more time to explore the new shops and restaurants in the city, here are my list of classic and iconic places in New York City that you must visit!
Empire State Building
Manhattan is a perfect example of a concrete jungle. The Empire State Building is the Avatar’s mother tree of Manhattan’s midtown. It’s the longest-standing world’s tallest skyscrapers in the world, and one of the oldest. The building was also featured in numerous Hollywood blockbusters, and I believe King Kong should be one of the most memorable movies. Note that the line could quite long go up to the rooftop observatory, purchase the tickets in advance of use New York pass could save some time lining up at the ticket counter.
Rockefeller Center (Top of the Rock)
You may have heard about the Rockefeller Center’s famous Christmas tree lighting. But even if you are not in the city during Christmas, the Top of the Rock is another popular observation deck in Manhattan. To me, the location may not be as iconic as the Empire state building, but it offers a less obstructed view of the Central Park in the North, a better view of the illuminated Times Square below, and a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline in the South.
(More about World’s Best Urban Observation Decks!)
The Central Park is a 4sq km large urban park in the heart of Manhattan that acted as a buffer to the Upper East Side and Upper West Side. The park has a zoo, and a number of restaurants, sports facilities, museums, and monuments. It would be enjoyable just rolling on the lawn in the park. Given that the park is huge, one way to get around the entire ground would be renting a bike and cycle around the park’s biking trail. The William Tecumseh Sherman Monument across The Plaza on Fifth Avenue is a good starting point because once the lap around the park is done, we could go straight to the shopping 😊
Grand Central Terminal
The Grand Central Terminal is a prominent train station with 44 underground platforms, which are more than any other railroad station in the world.
The current building was completed in 1913, while the original one was a depot dated back to 1871. When it was built, Grand Central rivaled the Eiffel Tower and Crystal Palace as the most dramatic engineering achievement of the 19th century. The steel frame consists of more than 18,600 tons of steel – more than twice the amount used to build the Eiffel Tower. The exterior is Connecticut Granite & Indiana Limestone and the interior is Tennessee Marble. The Grand Central basement is the deepest basement in New York City, it’s more than ten stories high!
Not only the size of the station was impressive, but also the grandeur and a vintage interior that makes such an iconic landmark in the city. Being one of the busiest train stations in the world, I didn’t feel as hectic as I was in the lobby – maybe it was because of the sheer volume or the elegant ambiance of the structure.
Fun Facts: Grand Central’s Lost & Found has a return rate of more than 80%, making it the best recovery rate in the world!
More than US$150 million is spent each year in Grand Central’s restaurants and shops. in terms of income per square footage, it is the most profitable shopping center in the United States.
Of the three suspension bridges (the other two are the Williamsburg Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge) that connect Manhattan to Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Bridge is the oldest and for sure the most iconic. For over 130 years, it is by far the longest suspension bridge in the world and it had been faithfully servicing the locals from the two neighborhoods across the East River. The bridge is also a cultural sensation that inspired a lot of modern art great names who incorporated or featured the bridge into their artworks, like Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, and more!
The Fuller Building, or more commonly known as the “Flatiron Building”, is known for its outstanding shape that sits in between the intersection of Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and East 22nd Street. Among many other skyscrapers in Manhattan, the building was named the “quintessential symbol of New York City”.
Fashionistas must have heard about the Bryant Park as it was where the New York Fashion Week took place. The park is merely 9.6-acre but it’s an important green land in the heart of Manhattan Midtown. Besides, the great lawn, the “Le Carrousel”, the memorial, and the sculpture offer a great viewing value to both locals and visitors.
The Art Deco Style skyscraper was once the tallest building in the world, for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building, which was completed in 1931. Yet the architecture was still considered one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture with its remarkable shape and shiny exterior. Sadly, the building does not have an observation deck now and no way for tourists to enter the building beyond the lobby. It is adjacent to the Grand Central Station and we could still admire this architectural wonder from the outside 🙂