The Wild Center
The largest place of worship in the United States has yet to be completed – and probably won’t be any time soon.
Union Sq is like the Noah’s Ark of New York, rescuing at least two of every kind from the curling seas of concrete. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find a more eclectic cross-section of locals gathered in one public place.
Sorry, Gaga, but New York's true icon of edge is MoMA PS1. This smaller, hipper relative of Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art is a master at hunting down fresh, bold contemporary art and serving it up in a Berlin-esque, ex-school locale. Forget about pretty lily ponds in gilded frames.
This small, cultural gem has been exhibiting the works of African American artists for more than four decades. While its rotating exhibition program is always challenging, the museum is not just another art display center.
This 22-acre 'city within a city' debuted at the height of the Great Depression. Taking nine years to build, it was America's first multiuse retail, entertainment and office space – a modernist sprawl of 19 buildings (14 of which are the original art deco structures), outdoor plazas and big-name tenants.
Featured prominently in almost a hundred Hollywood films over the years, the Empire State Building – actually a very glorified office building – is the most famous member of the New York skyline. It’s a limestone classic built in just 410 days (using seven million hours of labor) during the Great Depression, at the astounding cost of $41 million.
Off-limits to the public for 200 years, former military outpost Governors island is now one of New York's most popular seasonal playgrounds. Each summer, free ferries make the seven-minute trip from Lower Manhattan to the 172-acre oasis. Among the island's draws is Picnic Point, an 8-acre patch of green with picnic tables and hammocks; Figment (www.figmentproject.
Love it or hate it, the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Ave (better known as Times Square) is New York City's hyperactive heart; a restless, hypnotic torrent of glittering lights, bombastic billboards and raw urban energy. It's not hip, fashionable or in-the-know, and it couldn't care less.
Named for the mulberry farms that once stood here, Mulberry St is now better known as the meat in Little Italy's sauce. It's an animated strip, packed with smooth-talking restaurant hawkers (especially between Hester and Grand Sts), wisecracking baristas and a healthy dose of kitschy souvenirs Despite the neighborhood's many changes over the years, history looms large.
Built in 1902, the 20-story Flatiron Building, designed by Daniel Burnham, has a uniquely narrow triangular footprint that resembles the prow of a massive ship, and a traditional beaux arts limestone facade, built over a steel frame, that gets more complex and beautiful the longer you stare at it.
The country’s biggest and oldest zoo easily justifies a subway ride into the Bronx. Some two million visit each year, with daily numbers reaching 35,000 on discounted Wednesdays and weekends, and any day in July or August (try to go Monday morning).
This 10.5-acre park honors Daniel Tompkins, who served as governor of New York from 1807 to 1817 (and as the nation’s vice president after that, under James Monroe). It’s like a friendly town square for locals, who gather for chess at concrete tables, picnics on the lawn on warm days and spontaneous guitar or drum jams on various grassy knolls.
One of the most magical things about New York is that every street tells a story, from the action unfurling before your eyes to the dense history hidden behind colorful facades.
A spectacular art deco diva, this 5901-seat movie palace was the brainchild of vaudeville producer Samuel Lionel 'Roxy' Rothafel.
What was once a potter’s field and a square for public executions is now the unofficial town square of the Village, and plays host to lounging NYU students, fire-eating street performers, curious canines and their owners, and legions of speed-chess pros.