Monday, October 29, 2007

I'll Take Manhattan, Along the Adirondack Line

New York City is an ideal place for people of all ages who want to unwind, play, and meet new friends in an energetic backdrop. Beginning at the southern tip of Manhattan, the borough offers views of The Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn, and New Jersey from Battery Park City, which buttresses The Hudson River. Fall is a good season to stroll along the multi-leveled plaza, watch sailboats zip by and stately cruise ships glide by to dock in Midtown Manhattan. While you’re downtown, don’t forget to walk over the cobblestone streets to The South Street Seaport to shop and dine in various retail stores and restaurants. The historical area adjacent to the Seaport has yet more quaint shops and restaurants within minutes of Wall Street and the NYSE.

The next stop on our walking tour of Manhattan brings us to TriBeCa and world-class hotels, novelty shops, and locations for various movies and television shows, not mention the tony residences of local celebrities such as Robert DeNiro and Leontyne Price. Manhattan is best experienced on foot, so be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and bring bottled water. Manhattan can’t be fully enjoyed in one day, there’s much to see and do in different neighborhoods, museums, and at landmarks. No trip to Manhattan is complete without a visit to Chinatown, east of TriBeCa, and within a few blocks of the Lower East Side. Crossing Broadway into Chinatown is akin to stepping back into time or traveling to a small village in the Orient. All manner of fowl and fish are visible in restaurant windows and specialty stores as you navigate along the main thoroughfare of shops and kiosks that sell faux designer handbags, athletic wear, and New York memorabilia. Sights, sounds, scents, and multiple mainland Chinese accents and dialects compete for your attention as you traverse along the zigzag streets heading further east. The Lower East Side and the East Village are eclectic neighborhoods, but don’t offer outsiders anything of interest. The allure of these two areas lies in their offbeat and anti-establishment status, a one-time haven for creative types and musicians who couldn’t afford to live above 42nd Street. It still maintains its avant-garde status as a home to painters, singers, and denizens who live on the edge, and or aspire to. The neighborhood hosts an annual summer Fringe Festival.

As the name states, Little Italy, has authentic Italian pastries, pasta, and marinara sauce, and the annual San Gennaro Festival in early September. Visitors can also tour the original St. Patrick’s Cathedral that’s now a parish house. The tight-knit streets in Little Italy are reminiscent of New York City’s yesteryear as brought to life on screen in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York.

If culture is what you seek, check out the New Museum of Contem
porary Art in SoHo, and then head over to one of best attractions in the city, Chelsea Piers, a multi-unit sports and activity complex where visitors can play golf, ice skate, climb indoor rock formations, lift weights, go kayaking in The Hudson River, and host birthday parties. Silver Screen Studios at Chelsea Piers have also been used for feature films, dance rehearsals, special events, music videos and commercials.

Midtown Manhattan is home of The Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, and Macy’s Department Store. Visitors and native New Yorkers head to the Observatory on the 86th floor for a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline. You’ll never be at loss for entertainment at The Garden with year-round sporting events, solo musical artists and bands, and family shows. Christmas shopping at Macy’s is a must during a fall visit to New York City. The block-long store's window displays are decked out in holiday fanfare and decorations accent the entire store. Santa Claus is usually on hand to grant wishes and check his list one last time before he climbs aboard his sleigh for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November.

Once you’ve caught your breath from all things shopping, make your way to Lincoln Center for The Performing Arts, where you’ll find an entertainment complex that features renowned orchestras, ballet performances, independent films, and opera. If Wagner, Mozart, Mahler, or Pedro Almodóvar isn’t to your liking, head east to Central Park to see the orange and brown fall leaves, rent a bike and peddle leisurely around the six-mile circumference, or go horseback riding along the Bridle Path.

No visitor should leave Manhattan without experiencing Harlem’s Apollo Theatre on West 125th Street, a place where dreams still come true, while others are dashed on stage during its weekly Wednesday Amateur Night. The audience shows its appreciation for stellar acts with thunderous applause, and cast many would-be performers off the stage with raucous laughter. A final stop on this trip is The Cloisters at Fort Tyron Park, with its collection of art and architecture from medieval Europe. It’s also a great place to shop for last minute gifts and keepsakes before continuing on to your next destination.

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