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Deconstructing NYC: 10 Tourist Traps Actually Worth A Visit
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Deconstructing NYC: 10 Tourist Traps Actually Worth A Visit

Picture of Jared Schnabl
Updated: 9 February 2017
New York City is undoubtedly one of the world’s largest, most famous, and most amazing cities. But with such recognition, comes a wide swath of attractions in all shapes and sizes. And with popular attractions, comes tourists. There is a cliché that exists, stating that crowds of tourists take away from the aura and mystique of an attraction. Alas, it is important not to judge a book by its cover. Here in New York, it is almost impossible to resist some of the world’s most famous attractions. Do not let the appearance of mass tourists deter you away from a few of the most amazing sites in America.
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The Empire State Building

At 1,454 feet high, this 102-story skyscraper is as much a part of New York as the subways and hot dogs on the street. The Empire State Building is currently New York’s fourth tallest building and the 25th tallest in the world. Erected in 1931, this amazing and distinctive art deco style work of man has dominated the skyline with its familiar shape and tall spire, which was originally built as a blimp anchor and not as a lure for King Kong! Visitors to this piece of history in Midtown Manhattan can ride the elevator up to the building’s observation deck for a 360-degree panoramic view of the greatest city on Earth! Year-round, the building’s spire and top floors are illuminated in different colors to reflect the times of the year.

The Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 736 3100

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Central Park

Since opening in 1857, this massive nature site, situated in the middle of Manhattan, has been New York City’s natural escape from the urban jungle. Beyond the lush, verdant landscape, this oasis in the Big Apple covers over 840 acres from Midtown to Harlem and back. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, two soon-to-be famed national landscapers and architects, created Central Park’s design. Unwind in front of the fountain next to Bethesda Terrace, take a walk alongside bikers and dog walkers near the Water Conservatory, slap on your ice skates at Wollman Rink, or make believe like royalty atop Belvedere Castle. And don’t miss the iconic views of The Plaza and the Essex House in the colorful fall months.

Central Park, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 310 6600

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Brooklyn Bridge Park

Since 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge has done more than link the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn; it gave New York City a recognizable symbol for its growing skyline long before any skyscraper went up. For the best views of one of the world’s most iconic bridges, head to Brooklyn Bridge Park in the neighborhood of DUMBO, just across the East River from Downtown Manhattan. With its sprawling greenery, old brick buildings, the home of the antique Jane’s Carousel, and panoramic views of Lower Manhattan, this romantic rendezvous is not to be missed! While it is conveniently located within walking distance of the High Street and York Street subway stations, it is more fun to walk or bike across the Brooklyn Bridge to reach this park.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, 334 Furman Street, New York, NY, USA, +1 718 222 9939

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Rockefeller Center

Next to Times Square, Rockefeller Center is probably New York’s favorite rendezvous spot. Here in the middle of Manhattan, locals can lace on their ice skates and spin underneath the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. When it isn’t up, however, there are numerous shops, high-end dining, jewelers (it is located near New York’s diamond district), and, of course, Radio City Music Hall, home of the world famous Rockettes. Another option is to head to NBC Studios and dine inside the Rainbow Room, tour the Top of the Rock, or if you’re lucky, be a part of the audience inside Studio 8H for Saturday Night Live.

Rockefeller Center, 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 332 6868

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Coney Island

Long before Disneyland and Six Flags revolutionized the concept of the amusement park, it all began along the seashore of the Atlantic Ocean in Brooklyn nearly a century and a half ago. Coney Island gave New Yorkers a playground to call their own. Be sure to ride the famed Cyclone, America’s oldest wooden roller coaster, and dine on Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters at the original flagship store that has been dishing out wieners since 1916. Take in a Cyclones minor league ball game, or take a relaxing stroll along the famed boardwalk. These days, the park has undergone a massive redevelopment and features new thrill rides that will entice even the most die-hard thrill seeker.

Coney Island, 1208 Surf Ave, New York, NY, USA, +1 718 594 7895

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Statue of Liberty

At 151 feet tall, the Statue of Liberty just might be both the tallest and most famous woman in all of New York. Since 1886, Lady Liberty has stood tall and proud overlooking the entrance to both Manhattan and Ellis Island from her massive pedestal on Liberty Island. Visitors to the island can explore her from the wide base below or, better yet, can climb inside her and see the grand history behind New York’s most famous statue. You’ll learn everything from Emma Lazarus’ famed poem, The New Colossus, to the origins of the statue, which date back to the Colossus of Rhodes from ancient Greece, plus the amount of work that went into creating a legendary figure of freedom.

State of Liberty Monument, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 363 3200

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American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History (abbreviated as AMNH), located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is one of the largest museums in the world. The museum complex comprises 27 interconnected buildings and houses 45 permanent exhibition halls, in addition to the Hayden Planetarium and a library. The museum’s collections contain over 32 million specimens of plants, humans, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, and human cultural artifacts, of which only a small fraction can be displayed at any given time, and occupies 1,600,000 square feet. Gasp in awe of the famed Blue Whale mockup, surround yourself with the wonders of African Wildlife, get up close with the cultural histories of the peoples of the South Seas, or step back in time to the days of dinosaurs.

American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West & 79th St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 769 5100

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The Museum of the Moving Image

Long before Hollywood became the capital of showbiz, the movie industry began in the backlots of New York. Adjacent to the famed Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, the Museum of the Moving Image is home to a most impressive collection of film and television memorabilia; the museum exists to expand public understanding and appreciation of the art, history, technique and technology of film, television, and digital media by collecting, preserving, and providing access to related artifacts with multimedia exhibitions. Panel discussions about current movies are frequently held at the museum. If you’re into movies and games, this is the museum for you! The main attraction here is the Behind the Screen exhibition, which features historical film and television cameras, sketches, makeup, and more. And if you are a gamer or someone who is still nostalgic for the 1980s, the museum features an awesome exhibit on classic arcade games that you can actually play!

Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, New York, NY, USA, +1 718 777 6888

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Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Where in New York City can you see a baseball game, visit old exhibits from days gone by, see animals, go for a bike ride, play tennis, and get up close with the wonders of science all in one day? Just a quick subway ride on the 7 train from downtown Manhattan, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, or just Flushing Meadows for short, is one of the city’s largest outdoor spaces. Why go around the world when you can go around the massive globe known as the Unisphere, the proud symbol of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair. Grab a seat for some aces and smashes at the U.S. Open Tennis Center, or bring your glove and jersey to a New York Mets game at Citi Field. Don’t forget to have your picture taken in front of the Big Apple outside the park! Also remember to bring your kids to the NY Hall of Science, where they can check out the history of aviation, the science behind robots, and, all this month, learn about the science behind waves.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York, NY, USA, +1 718 760 6565

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Lincoln Center

New York City’s premier destination for the opera, ballet, the symphony, classical music, and all forms of the arts can be found in the midst of this epicenter of high culture. Lincoln Center is made up of the Metropolitan Opera House (the Met), the David Geffen Theatre (Avery Fisher Hall), and the Koch Theatre; these buildings are home to some of the most famous musical and theatre productions in the world. Come and listen to the New York Philharmonic, take in a production of The Magic Flute by Mozart or The Barber of Seville by Rossini, or watch the New York Ballet dance and pirouette like never before! Adjacent to these houses of high art, you’ll find high-end dining and the Julliard School, one of the most famous music and dance schools in the world.

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 875 5456

By Jared Schnabl