Harlem, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, & Central Park
New York has soaring skyscrapers, world-famous art galleries, great shopping, Central Park. The Big Apple is one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
A good way to get to know the Big Apple is to take it in small bites, and one of the best ways to taste what the city has to offer is to stroll down Fifth Avenue. Not only is ‘the avenue’ New York’s most glittering shopping area, but it is also home to some of the city’s most famous institutions. The mixture of old and new is fascinating and is a good introduction to the infinite variety of this wonderful city.
Walking is the way to see New York. The island of Manhattan is only 12 miles from north to south, and three miles wide. The streets are set in a grid pattern, with avenues going in one direction and streets the other; it’s easy to find your way around.
New York – 5th Avenue- The Empire State Building
So, map in hand, let’s start our Fifth Avenue walk in midtown at the Empire State Building on 34th Street. We will make our way north from here to the tip of Central Park at 59th Street, a distance of about one and a half miles. Fifth Avenue continues on past Central Park and into Harlem but since this walk is just a taster we will stay in midtown Manhattan.
The Empire State Building is one of the most breath-taking skyscrapers ever built. It was made familiar to moviegoers around the world when the lovesick gorilla, King Kong, dangled over the side with Fay Wray clutched in his hairy hand. When it was completed in 1931 it was the highest building in the world Rising from the ground to 102 stories, the view from the top extends more than fifty miles.
Continuing north, six streets on is the Rockefeller Center at 50th Street. It has been described as a city within a city. There are shops, restaurants, a cinema, and even a subway station. Have lunch in the Lower Plaza where needle-thin New York businesswomen eat their cottage cheese lunches.
New York – 5th Avenue – Great shopping
Fifth Avenue is one of the world’s most famous shopping streets. This was once millionaire’s row when people like the Astors and Vanderbilts erected huge mansions after the Civil War. In a way it still is millionaire’s row as the high-quality shops that line the street are filled with luxuries from around the world, catering for those who are looking for and can afford, the best. Here are the de-luxe emporiums of Gucci, Saks, Cartier, and Tiffany’s.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, also at 50th Street, is a nice place to rest your feet. When it was built in the late 19th century, churchgoers complained that it was too far out in the country – hard to believe when one sees it today, dwarfed by the skyscrapers around it.
Museum of Modern Art
Almost every visitor to New York manages to find the way to the Museum of Modern Art at 53rd Street It has one of the best collections of modern art in the world and there are a delightful sculpture garden and a good, reasonably priced restaurant.
The famous jewelry store, Tiffany’s, with its marvelous window displays, is on the corner of 57th Street. And right next door is a building that New Yorkers either love or hate – the Trump Tower, a soaring edifice of bronze glass. The interior contains a six-story pink marble shopping emporium with an 80-foot waterfall cascading down one side.
Central Park is straight ahead. Full of interesting things to do and see, and if your feet are tired this would be a good time to take a ride in one of the horse-drawn carriages lined up at the entrance to the park.