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New York City Spotlight

It would take a lifetime to experience all that New York City has to offer

By Elissa Richard

October 17th, 2006

There are few more thrilling cities to visit than New York, with its dynamic, inimitable mix of world cultures, of skyscrapers and small towns. Pulsating with an almost tangible energy, visitors regularly find themselves invigorated and, on occasion, even a bit overwhelmed, by the exciting, brash, and creative force that drives the Manhattan machine. Of course, five distinct boroughs contribute to the synergy of New York City, but it is Manhattan that remains at the Big Apple’s vibrant core, with its scores of museums and performing arts venues; its one-of-a-kind shopping, restaurant, and nightlife scenes; and that classic “canyons of steel” cityscape unlike any other on the planet.

Fast-paced, innovative, and in a constant state of flux, visitors from one year to the next will almost certainly discover that the city has evolved and morphed into something new since their last visit. With real-estate developers forever sculpting the skyline with evermore modern skyscrapers and building projects, a newfangled cityscape is a near-guarantee. Undoubtedly, the arts scene will be showcasing a fresh slate of museum and gallery exhibits (with one or two stirring up some type of controversy), Broadway will be hosting a new cast of plays (many with A-list celebrity names), and that hot restaurant or nightclub you managed to talk your way into last time will have inevitably been deemed passé, thanks to the city’s mercurial nightlife scene.

Of course, underneath all of the kinetic frenzy, there is a solid, grounding base to it all – the classic New York depicted in black-and-white movies of old. Glimpses of this steadfast, refined metropolis are still easy to find – just try strolling a quiet Greenwich Village street on a crisp autumn day, eyeing the silent grandeur of the Statue of Liberty’s beacon in the harbor, wandering the urban oasis of Central Park, or admiring the brightly-lit Empire State Building after dusk.

Still, the sheer number of museums and sights here is impossible to cover in a single trip. Three days – and a good dose of stamina – will definitely allow you to hit up the major highlights, like the Empire State Building, Times Square, Fifth Avenue, and Central Park, plus take in a Broadway show, one of the city’s renowned art institutions (be it the Met, the MOMA, or the Guggenheim), and enjoy a late-afternoon stroll through Greenwich Village; you may have just enough time to catch the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and pay your respects at Ground Zero. Five days is considerably more ideal, allowing a visit to the South Street Seaport, a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge or a cruise around Manhattan, some retail therapy in SoHo, and visits to Chinatown and Little Italy. A week will allow you to venture out into the outer boroughs and take in a baseball game or a slice of Americana at Coney Island. Welcome to Gotham – now go to town!

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