We Know: The Ten Best Things To See in New York City
In general, if you visit New York City, you should park the car somewhere else and take public transportation. Parking throughout the city is in the range of $20 for the day, considerably more in denser sections, and traffic can get very bad both in the city and on interstate highways well into Connecticut. Subway ticket fares range up to $2.50 in city, seventy-five cents for children aged 5-11.
Central Park is a virtual city within a city. Strolling through, you'll see people of every description. Be sure to visit Central Park Zoo in the park near 5th Avenue, Cleopatra's Needle (East Side Drive at 81st, behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and 28 other sculptures and monuments, the venerable Central Park Carousel at Mid-Park on 64th St. ($1.50/ride, weekends only from November-April), and Strawberry Fields, a memorial area devoted to John Lennon on Central Park West from 71st to 74th Streets.
New York City Zoos and Aquariums
The zoo and aquarium system in New York City is legendary. From the Bronx Zoo to the New York Aquarium, New York City's Wildlife Conservation Society does a great job of bringing the wilds to the city. For all the zoos, call ahead for hours, and check the website for directions.
- Bronx Zoo, New York's flagship zoo, features gorillas, an indoor Asian rain forest, and enclosed sky ride; Exit 6 off the Bronx River Parkway. Make a day of it by visiting the New York City Botanical Gardens, right across the street.$8 parking, $8 adult/$6 childrens and seniors admission.
- New York Aquarium houses 8,000 animals at Surf Ave. and W. 8th St. in Brooklyn. Parking's tight here, so mass transit is best. $8 parking, $12 adult/$8 children and seniors admission. Opens at 10 am year round.
- Central Park Zoo, located in Central Park near 5th Avenue and 64th Street, this beautifully landscaped zoo is one of the oldest in the U.S. $6 adult/$1 children/$1.25 seniors admission. Parking is on your own; mass transit is best.
- Queens Zoo is located at 53-51 111th St. in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens; $5 adult/$1 children/$1.25 seniors admission
- Prospect Park Zoo is located at 450 Faltbush Ave. in Brooklyn; $5 adult/$1 children/$1.25 seniors admission.
New York Monuments and Icons
There are a few things not to be missed in New York City, the icons everyone knows and loves. If you take a walking tour of downtown Manhattan, you can see most of them easily in a day, and spend time window-shopping at places like FAO Schwartz, the biggest toy store in the world, or strolling through Central Park and Times Square.
- The Statue of Liberty - on Liberty Island, Call or go online to schedule a tour time; since 9/11, no one is allowed inside the pedestal without a guide. Take the Battery Park Ferry: $8 adults/$6 seniors/$3 children over 3 for the ferry, but admission to the Statue is free. This ferry also stops at Ellis Island in the same trip.
- The Empire State Building, 5th Avenue at 34th St. - currently the tallest building in New York City, it's well worth a visit. Tickets to the 86th Floor Observatory should be purchased in advance if possible; $18 adults/$16 youth, seniors, military with ID/$12 children 6-11/military in uniform and children 5 and under free.
- World Trade Center footprints - corner of Church Street and Vesey Street in Manhattan, but any New Yorker will point the way for you.
- Times Square has always been and will always be the heart of New York City, where shopping on Fifth Avenue meets arts on Broadway. Don't even try driving here; take the subway to Grand Central Station (follow 42nd Street West from here) or to the 42nd Street and Times Square Station instead.
- Ellis Island is the famous gateway to the Land of Freedom, and its quiet grounds contain a self-guided museum to the immigrants who came through here, as well as a library invaluable to genealogists. You'll need to take the Battery Park Ferry (which also stops at Liberty Island): $8 adults/$6 seniors/$3 children over 3.
New York City Museums
From the Guggenheim to the American Folk Art Museum, New York is stuffed with museums.Some of the best are:
- The Guggenheim Art Museum, one of the great art museums of the world, 89th and 5th Avenue, $18 adult/$15 student and senior tickets, children under 12 free.
- The American Museum of Natural History, including the Hayden Planetarium, 81st St near Central Park West. Ticket prices vary.
- Museum of Modern Art, the famous MoMA, at 11 W. 53rd Street, holds 150,000 works of art, 300,000 books, and a huge photographic archive. Van Gogh's Starry Night holds an honored position here. $20 adult/$16 seniors/$12 student admission; children sixteen and under are free. Film tickets have a separate charge.
Best Deal: New York's CityPass
If you're planning to see three or more of the following covered attractions, you should consider purchasing a CityPass, which gives you admission to all. CityPass tickets are $53 for adults, $41 for youth over the age of 5. Children five and under are free to all these attractions.
- Guggenheim Museum
- American Museum of Natural History
- Empire State Building
- Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum
- Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
- Circle Line Sight Seeing Cruises