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New York Travel Guide

New York City . NYC , New york state , New york NY
its only just one . No other US metropolis even comes close to it in terms of population, diversity of culture, entertainment, business and commerce. Yet within a day's drive, visitors can find fine beaches and seascapes quiet, forested mountains, quaint, small towns and plenty of historical sightseeing.

places to see in New York

Central Park New York City

designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to reflect the English pastoral life, Central Park became instead another proof of New York's artful skill in imitation nature while making it better.

On these 843 acres of land, there are trees, shrubs, vines, rock, trails, and pathways.

There are lakes, fountains, cascades, bridges, gardens, statues, an obelisk, a fort, and a castle.

There are theaters, concert grounds, a great museum, and restaurants.

There are playgrounds, carousel, discovery center, wild life center, and a children’s zoo.

There is green grass for picnic and sunbathe, and green grass to contemplate life.

There are places for jogging, biking, birdwatching, chess playing, and tai-chiing.

There are specific areas for sledding, ice-skating, inline skating, boating, model boating, hockeying , tennis courts, volleyball courts, baseball fields, basketball courts, and a bocce court.

In short, anything you want to find, you will find it in Central Park. Is that a valid enough reason for a few visits during your next stay in NYC?

In 1981, the New York City Council decided to name the 2.5-acre parcel of land at Central Park West Strawberry Fields.

The project was not officially intended as a memorial to John Lennon, but rather a symbol and hope for world peace. Nevertheless, three very prominent elements altered the original intention.

First, the entrance to this garden is located directly across the street from the Dakota. Second, Yoko Ono donated $1 million to Central Park Conservancy with specific instruction to use only for re-landscaping and maintaining this parcel of land. Third, a marble mosaic (donated by the City of Napoli) was set in the pathway of the entrance. In the middle of the mosaic is the word “Imagine”.

There are 121 nations who sent their endorsements to make Strawberry Fields the Garden of Peace. There are 121 trees on this parcel of land to represent those nations. Yet, there are 153 countries in the world. I wonder what the other 32 countries think. "Heck, we don't believe in world peace and we're not gonna waste the postage to send a seedling over to some garden in America!" That's a rather antisocial behavior, wouldn't you say?
Central Park, an oasis of green and a New York City landmark, was built between 1859 - 1870, and provided employment during a depression at that time. It's hard to believe that originally, this site consisted of pig farms, quarries, shacks, and swampland. The designers, Fredrick Law Omstead and Calvert Vaux seemed to have foresight about the growth of New York, as even today the heavy traffic of midtown Manhattan is largely hidden from sight by transverse roads.

Come here and walk the various pathways, and you really do escape the hustle and bustle of the city -- don't miss out on the charming building known as "The Dairy", where years ago, children could get fresh milk and refreshments. It was restored in 1979, after falling into disrepair while being used as a shed. You can get park information here, maps and even rent chess and checker sets.

Empire State Building . NYC

Its exact location is on Fifth Ave, bordering W. 33rd St. and W. 34th Sts. Its exact area is Midtown. Its borough is Manhattan. Its city is NYC. It is local.

However, mentioning Empire State Building and it is no longer local. It would be almost impossible to find one person on earth who has not heard of it, has not seen the picture of it, has not dreamt of seeing it, had not been in awe in its presence, or had not stared at the wonderful cities spread out and below when they were on its Observatory.

For most tourists, this is one of the two things they know about New York City -- Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty. For most people, this is the symbol of America. There is no other place and no other image that is more American than The Lady with the Torch, and The Spire that Reaches the Sky.

The history of Empire State Building, its facts and factoids can be read a million times over on the Net so I'm not going to bore you with it here. What I will tell you is although I don't consider myself a tourist, although I have been to Manhattan and have seen Empire State Building many times, although I have been up to the 86th floor so often I should have a season pass, there had not been one time when I didn't find my breath taken away when I caught the glimpse of it. Doesn't matter where I was, on the streets or in an airplanes, I have always searched for it.

It is not the location that counts. It is not the shape that counts. It is not the height that counts. What counts is its image, for it is the beacon for all to search, to feel that life will go on no matter what had happened.
The 86th floor Observatory is 1,050ft or 320m above NYC streets. That doesn't sound very tall for a mountain, even a small mountain. We have hiked to almost three times that heights. It took us a while to get to that point, and we had to wear hiking boots and brought along backpack of water and energy bars, but we still carried a conversation while trudging up.

The elevator to the 86th floor takes less than a minute. We don't need to carry anything except a wallet or a purse. We wear street shoes and we carry a conversation leisurely on the way up. Then we stop talking.

You would stop too, when you see the view.

From the West side of the Observatory, there are One Penn Plaza, Madison Square, Jacob Javits Convention Center, and Intrepid -- the WWII aircraft carrier and Air and Space Museum. Beyond the Hudson River are New Jersey with Newark Aiport and the Ramapo Mountains. Beyond that is Pennsylvania with the Pocono Mountains.

From the South, there are Wall Street, Flatiron, and Woolworth. In the Upper New York Bay are Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Beyond the great bridges (Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Verrazano-Narrows) are Brooklyn and Staten Island.

From the East, it's Queens, with CitiCorp building and United Nations. There are the trio of bridges in Long Islands (Triboro, Bronx-White stone and Throgs Neck), La Guardia, JFK, and then Brooklyn with Williams burg Bridge.

From the North, it's Chrysler, MetLife, CitiCorp, GE, St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Plaza Hotel (which no longer is), and the majestic GWB. Beyond the Hudson are Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Who feels a lump in the throat at first sight of The Great Lady? I do, not just at first sight but also time after time.

Who needs to know the technical details when a friend across the ocean presented you with such monumental gift? I don't.

Thousands upon thousands of people have written about the history, the facts and factoids about Statue of Liberty, adding my part would just not a thing to do. It was a gift of friendship -- let's not dwelt into the whys and hows, and let's not spoil the sentiment.

Let's remember what Emma Lazarus expressed so eloquently in 1883 and see if we can help keeping the spirit of giving alive:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
with conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
with silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

-- Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)
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