Although New York City is famously considered the urban powerhouse that never sleeps, it is far more memorable as an international city where cultures worldwide have intersected to create an array of beautiful landmarks. The uniqueness of every country is amplified as they continue to participate in dialogue to introduce delicacies, innovative fashion, and other creative ideas.
A symbol of modernity, the Flatiron building is considered an iconic masterpiece. With its Corinthian columns and unique shape, it’s no wonder that the building was photographed by both Edward Steichen and Alfred Steiglitz. Explore the Flatiron district on your own or join the free 90-minute guided walking tour. The Flatiron district is home to nine museums, multitudes of stores, and to one of the most beautiful and unique places in the city, Rizzoli Bookstore. The area also offers many seasonal entertainment events. This lively space rivals many other attractions.
The space encompassing Herald Square is rather elusive unless visitors are coming up from the subway. The space spans from two food kiosks to a line of green chairs and umbrellas that lead into a flower-filled park. Just outside of Herald Square Park lies a strip of shops, most notably Macy’s, a longstanding historical landmark. Walking down to 33rd Street is another thriving space that is becoming iconic to the city, Korea Town. The cultural square is popular for its chic coffee houses, delectable food court, and fried chicken. With a karaoke bar and late-night Korean BBQ, this is truly a part of Midtown that never sleeps.
Long before Tom Cruise’s Vanilla Sky (2001) famous running scene at Times Square, people and businesses have flocked to this entertainment district since the early 1900s. It started as a thriving business, but for almost 90 years, Times Square was akin to the red-light district. After intense redevelopment in the 2000s, theaters, clothing retailers, and children-themed stores inhabited this ‘crossroads of the world,’ making it the famous landmark that tourists visit today. Times Square, with its enormous ads and beaming lights, is best seen at night, after an evening Broadway show or a family dinner at one of the many restaurants in the district.
Above the entrance of Grand Central Terminal sits the largest Tiffany clock in the world; once inside, the opulence and beauty of the railroad terminal only continues. With 68 shops and 35 dining options, Grand Central Terminal is more than a means of transportation; it is a destination in and of itself. This space in Midtown is an architectural feat, boasting lofty arches, decorative symbols, and sculptures of ancient Greek gods. Servicing 82 million people annually, Grand Central Terminal is the whole package: functional, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing.
Open daily from 12-5 p.m., the Palm Court at The Plaza offers afternoon tea. While other establishments may offer afternoon tea, The Plaza is inimitable in taste, selection of teas, and ambience. The Palm Court offers the standard menu and a gluten-free alternative. There is also an ‘Eloise Tea Menu’ that children are sure to enjoy if only for the ‘Pink Pink Cotton Candy.’ Reserve a table for a quiet afternoon, and expect the experience to be elegant and unforgettable.
The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology)
The Museum at FIT, directed by Dr. Valerie Steele, aims to relay the history of fashion through accessible dialogue and one-of-a-kind garments. The research draws upon scholarly themes as well as popular culture. Their exhibitions feature artifacts and modern pieces made by high-end designers such as Vivienne Westwood and the House of Dior. The Museum at FIT also seeks to enlighten its audience with unconventional topics that have not been studied in depth such as their 2009 exhibition, ‘Gothic: Dark Glamour.’ Explore the colorful stories of fashion; museum admission is free to the public.
Located near several other prime landmarks, Bryant Park is a perfect rest area for all seasons. With lunch and a cup of coffee in hand, lounge on the signature green chairs. Bryant Park offers many recreational activities such as the ‘Reading Room,’ ‘Le Carrousel,’ the ‘Art Cart,’ and various games. Special events are peppered throughout the day such as Tai Chi, poetry readings, live music, and much more. During ‘Winter Village,’ green holiday shops surface all around the park and the ice rink opens to the public. The time is always right to stroll inside Bryant Park.
The Museum of Modern Art, or simply MoMA, contains almost 200,000 artworks; it is an institution devoted to representing modern and contemporary art in any medium. It is known for controversial installations such as the 2013 ‘Rain Room’ which drew in 74,222 visitors in just 11 weeks. The MoMA participates in extensive dialogue with contemporary artists and art historians, as seen on their blog and podcast sessions titled ‘MoMA Talks: Conversations.’ Their exhibitions encourage visitors to challenge long-established viewpoints about art and generate conversations about incredibly neglected subjects such as Latin American art. Step out of convention with the MoMA.
The splendor of Rockefeller Center is partly due to its 100 beautifully designed shopping sites which are a perfect complement to the nearby fashion mecca that is Fifth Avenue. The other half of this cultural center’s intrigue is due to its attractions. Go up to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck or take a few stories down to the underground level called the Concourse, which features eateries and unique shops. Explore the Channel Gardens or Radio City Music Hall. During the winter months, stop by the ice skating rink or take a photo in front of the colossal Christmas tree.
Enter the Time Warner Center skyscraper, and peruse the glistening Shops at Columbus Circle. There are specialty shops such as Moleskine, The Art of Shaving, and other major clothing retailers. Satiate the palate with over nine restaurants and bars; indulge in handcrafted chocolates at La Maison du Chocolat. If the weather is nice, an impromptu picnic may be arranged for at Central Park. Just head down to the lower level where you’ll find a 60,000-square-foot Whole Foods; the variety of fresh produce and prepared lunches is sure to entice.