101 things to do in New York: Your essential guide to Gotham

Discover what every local needs to tick off their NYC checklist in our roundup of the coolest and most quintessential things to do in New York.

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  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

    101 best things to do in New York City

    91. See the Rockettes

  • 101 best things to do in New York City

    92. Sign up for a social sports team

  • 101 best things to do in New York City

    93. Gorge at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

  • 101 best things to do in New York City

    94. Sing your heart out at a karaoke jam

  • 101 best things to do in New York City

    95. Go ice skating

  • Photograph: Courtesy Of Golf Center

    101 best things to do in New York City

    96. Play minigolf on an island

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    101 best things to do in New York City

    97. Lose it at one of NYC's best roaming parties

  • 101 best things to do in New York City

    98. Bowl at the Gutter

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    101 best things to do in New York City

    99. Bowl at Brooklyn Bowl

  • Photograph: Courtesy New York Road Runners

    101 best things to do in New York City

    100. Cheer on marathoners

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    101 best things to do in New York City

    101. Feast on the cheap during NYC Restaurant Week

Photograph: David Rosenzweig

101 best things to do in New York City

91. See the Rockettes

91

See the Rockettes

  • Price band: 3/4

For more than 80 years, this iconic dance troupe has captivated audiences with its signature eye-high kicks and smiles as dazzling as their sequined ensembles. To prepare for up to five shows a day during the holiday season (which is most of November and December), these ladies rehearse for six weeks, ensuring the nine routines and eight costume changes can be performed seamlessly. Even the Grinch would be impressed by their precision.

  1. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave, (at 50th St)
More info
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ZogSports co-ed sports leagues

Sign up for a social sports team

You’ve thought about it, now do it: Put down that PS3 controller and join an outdoor league. ZogSports coed sports leagues, one of NYC’s biggest rec groups, hosts coed softball, soccer and touch football throughout the year Don’t sweat it if you haven’t swung a bat since T-ball days: When signing up, participants must assess their own skill level—from “extremely casual” newbies to jocks who’ve played high-school or college sports—and are then matched to a compatible division. As a bonus, teams are encouraged to retreat to a nearby bar for postgame drinks, and a portion of the bar tab is donated to charity. Visit zogsports.com for more information. Prices vary.

  1. Locations vary
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Head to Madison Square Park for the annual gut-busting 'cue fest Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, featuring grub from some of the nation's top pitmasters ($8 a plate), plus plenty of free live music, seminars, cooking demos and book signings.

Gorge at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

Make the meat lover’s pilgrimage to Madison Square Park for this annual gut-busting ’cuefest. Some of the nation’s top pit masters (in the past including local luminaries from Hill Country, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Blue Smoke) have manned the flames, dispatching grub for $8 a plate. In between plates of meat, listen to live music and check out the free seminars and cooking demos. bigapplebbq.org. Free.

  1. E 23rd St to E 26th St between Fifth and Madison Aves
  2. Mon Jun 8
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Karaoke Killed the Cat

Sing your heart out at a karaoke jam

Cohosts Goldteeth and Lord Easy keep the crowd pumped by acting as backup dancers or instigating water-gun fights during the bonkers Karaoke Killed the Cat affair (Union Hall 702 Union St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-638-4400, unionhallny.com; Fri 11:45pm; free). And the Strokes played some of their first gigs at LES mainstay Arlene’s Grocery, so you can take comfort in the fact that you’re rocking out where a rowdy Jules & Co. did during Arlene’s World Famous Live Rock ’n’ Roll Karaoke. Just make sure you bring it—cuts by Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC and other tried-and-true rock staples (the more anthemic, the better) require some serious wailing (95 Stanton St between Ludlow and Orchard Sts; 212-358-1633, arlene-grocery.com; Fri midnight; $10).

95
Go ice-skating at Rockefeller Center

Go ice skating

When the temperature drops, it’s time to strap on the blades and take to the slick stuff. NYC has a wealth of outdoor ice-skating rinks that are open well beyond Christmas—and if you want to avoid the mobs, postholidays is probably the best time to visit hot spots like the Rink at Rockefeller Center or Citi Pond at Bryant Park. You can also perfect your lutz year-round at indoor arenas such as Chelsea Piers’ Sky Rink. Click here for a full rundown of the city’s slippery offerings.

96

Play minigolf on an island

  • Price band: 1/4

No, it’s not quite like that episode of Lost where Hurley builds the golf course, but Randalls Island Golf Center is still a pretty absorbing place to while away a summer afternoon. Surrounded by beautiful trees, the spot boasts a whopping 36 holes of minigolf, in which you must shoot your ball through rocky caves and other obstacles. After your time on the green, grab a table at the on-site beer garden to sip a pint of Blue Moon or split a pitcher of Stella. Check out our roundup for more hole-in-one spots in the city. See website for hours of operation; $9, children 12 and under $7.

  1. Randall’s Island Golf Center, 1 Randalls Island, Randall’s Island
More info
97

Lose it at one of NYC’s best roaming parties

This underground-electronic shindig has been held in a score of clubs, warehouse venues and makeshift spaces throughout the city. The brainchild of Taimur Agha and Fahad Haider, the six-years-and-running affair attracts a range of house and techno all-stars. $TBA. Advance tickets and schedule available through residentadvisor.net/blkmarket.

  1. Various Fridays at 11pm
98

Bowl at the Gutter

  • Price band: 2/4

Laid-back Williamsburg alley the Gutter has early-1980s Milwaukee decor and boasts a dozen killer microbrews on tap, plus a  happy hour ($1 off drafts and $3 off pitchers) before 8pm. Also, early-weekend warriors can play two games for the price of one ($7) between 2 and 6pm.

  1. 200 N 14th St, (between Wythe Ave and Berry St)
More info
99

…or at Brooklyn Bowl

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Just a few blocks away, this popular space takes its design cues from Coney Island, with old freak-show posters and carnival-game relics, and all of the beer sold inside—by Sixpoint, Kelso and the Brooklyn Brewery—is made in the borough. You can tackle a pitcher ($20–$30) and the stoner-food menu from the Blue Ribbon team (delicious fatty brisket, fried chicken) laneside between frames (games are 30mins for $25). The plush tufted couches  are the most luxurious alley seating we’ve ever seen.

  1. 61 Wythe Ave, (at North 11th St)
More info
100
ING New York City Marathon

Cheer on marathoners

Because of Hurricane Sandy, 2012’s ING New York City Marathon was a no-go. But the race will be back on Nov 3, when tens of thousands of runners will hit every borough of our fair city. Catching the ginormous procession is quite a sight; we recommend nabbing a lively spot along Fourth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn; First Avenue between 60th and 96th Streets in Manhattan; or Central Park South near the finish line.

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Monday 11--July 24NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2011

Feast on the cheap during NYC Restaurant Week

Every summer and winter, NYC Restaurant Week returns, with more than 300 restaurants offering three-course dining deals for lunch ($25) and dinner ($38). The fest adds trendy newcomers to a long list of fine-dining standbys, drawing bargain-hunting New Yorkers to try out new spots and revisit old favorites on the cheap. Reservations and a full list of participating venues are available at nycgo.com/restaurantweek. Winter 2013 edition: Through Feb 8.

  1. Locations vary
  2. Times vary

  • New York attractions

    Empire State Building
    Try imagining New York City’s skyline without the towering spire of the Empire State Building. Impossible, right? Taking a mere 11 months to construct, the 1,454-foot-tall emblem became the city’s highest building upon completion in 1931. (When One World Trade Center is finished, it will tower over the ESB by a good 300 feet.) During your visit, pay special attention to the lobby, restored in 2009 to its original Art Deco design. You can also impress your pals with these tidbits while queuing for the observation decks: In 1945, 14 tenants were killed when a plane crashed into the 79th floor during heavy fog; a terrace on the 103rd level was once intended for use as a docking station for airships; and the topper’s three tiers of lights can illuminate up to nine colors at a time. 350 Fifth Ave between 33rd and 34th Sts (212-736-3100, esbnyc.com)—Tim Lowery

  • New York attractions

    The Statue of Liberty
    Perhaps no other New York attraction is as iconic—or as avoided by tourist-averse New Yorkers—as Lady Liberty. The landmark was closed in the fall in order to repair damage sustained during Hurricane Sandy, but happily, it will reopen to the public on July 4. (Hor apropos.) Our tip: Dodge the foam-crown-sporting masses and skip the line for the ferry by prebooking a combo cruise-and-tour ticket (visit statuecruises.com for more information). A climb to the crown affords a panoramic view of New York Harbor and the chance to see the literal nuts and bolts of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s creation. We also recommend stopping in the museum on Liberty Island, if only to marvel at the initial ambivalence of 19th-century New Yorkers when they were asked to fund the construction of the pedestal. Ferries depart from Castle Clinton, Battery Pl at State St (212-363-3200, nps.gov/stli)—Jonathan Shannon

  • Photograph: Michael Kirby

    New York attractions

    Brooklyn Bridge
    No mere river crossing, this span is an elegant reminder of New York’s history of architectural innovation. When it opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was a feat of engineering: It was the first structure to cross the East River and, at the time, the longest suspension bridge in the world. (It also made use of steel-wire cables, invented by the bridge’s original designer, John A. Roebling.) Now it attracts thousands of tourists and locals, who enjoy spectacular views of lower Manhattan and other city landmarks (such as the Statue of Liberty and Governors Island) as they stroll its more-than-mile-long expanse. Heads up, though: You may run into the occasional cyclist trying to navigate through the crowds on the pedestrian walkway. Enter at Cadman Plaza East near Prospect St, Dumbo, Brooklyn (nyc.gov)—Amy Plitt

  • Photograph: Michael Kirby

    New York attractions

    Central Park
    Gotham’s love affair with its most famous green space is well documented in song, literature and film, but there’s still plenty to adore about the country’s first landscaped public park. Urban visionaries Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux sought a harmonious balance of scenic elements: pastoral (the open lawn of the Sheep Meadow), formal (the linear, tree-lined Mall) and picturesque (the densely wooded paths of the Ramble). Today, the 843-acre plot draws millions of visitors to its skyscraper-bordered vistas in all seasons: sunbathers and picnickers in summer, ice-skaters in winter, and bird-watchers in spring and fall. It’s also an idyllic venue for beloved cultural events like Shakespeare in the Park and the New York Philharmonic’s annual open-air performance. From 59th St to 110th St and Fifth Ave to Central Park West (212-310-6600, centralparknyc.org)—Carolyn Stanley

  • Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin

    New York attractions

    Grand Central Terminal
    The 100-year-old transit hub funnels thousands of commuters each day, but it’s a destination in its own right: The majestic Beaux Arts framework is a spectacle of both form and function. Familiar features include the vaulted, constellation-adorned ceiling and the four-faced opal clock topping the main information booth, both located in the Grand Concourse. Meanwhile, ornamentation above the 42nd Street entrance includes a likeness of Mercury, the god of travel (naturally), and an ornate Tiffany-glass timepiece. 89 E 42nd St between Lexington and Vanderbilt Aves (212-532-4900, grandcentralterminal.com)—CS

  • Photograph: Wendy Connett

    New York attractions

    American Museum of Natural History
    No matter which wing you wander through or where your curiosities lie (dinosaurs, gems or something else entirely), it’s hard to explore this Upper West Side fixture without being awestruck. You’ll immediately spot the rotunda’s hulking Barosaurus skeleton replica, but delving further into the museum’s collection, you’ll find actual specimens, such as Deinonychus, in the fourth-floor fossil halls. When you tire of dinos, head to the human origins and culture halls to learn more about our evolutionary history, or gawk at the famed 94-foot-long blue whale model in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Central Park West at 79th St (212-769-5100, amnh.org)—Sarah Bruning

  • Photograph: Alys Tomlinson

    Staten Island Ferry
    The price of a harbor crossing between Staten Island and lower Manhattan may be the only activity in New York City that’s cheaper today than it was in 1817. Back then, it was 25 cents; today, it’s free. This 24-hour ferry is a lifeline for commuters making their way from NYC’s southernmost borough, but it’s also a boat trip affording some of the finest views in the world. Keep your eyes peeled for Governors Island to the east and Ellis Island and Lady Liberty to the west as the Manhattan skyline recedes in the vessel’s wake. South St at Whitehall St (siferry.com)—Jenna Scherer

  • New York attractions

    5Pointz Aerosol Art Center
    This Long Island City warehouse, treated as a 200,000-square-foot canvas, is one of the world’s best places to see the full spectrum of spray-paint art. Ride a Queens-bound 7 train past the Hunters Point Ave stop for an elevated, panoramic view of the names of NYC’s graffiti forebears—like Iz the Wiz—scrawled on 5Pointz’s walls. New pieces appear regularly during the painting season, with concrete surfaces assigned by founder and curator Meres One. Go while you can: The property owner is securing permission to replace the warehouse with condos. Take advantage of the biweekly behind-the-scenes tours (Sun 2–3:30pm; $35; visit sidetour.com for details), led by Meres One, to watch a painting demonstration. 45-46 Davis St at Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens (5ptz.com)—Jonathan Shannon

  • Photograph: Wendy Connett

    New York attractions

    Prospect Park
    After Olmsted and Vaux unveiled Central Park in 1859, they turned their attention south to create this bucolic Brooklyn destination. There’s plenty of room in the Long Meadow and Nethermead to bliss out on a patch of grass, while the Ravine, a towering indigenous forest, offers a woodland respite unparalleled in the borough. City planner Robert Moses was behind 20th-century additions like the zoo and the bandshell, where Celebrate Brooklyn! hosts free top-notch concerts all summer long. The Lakeside complex, due in fall 2013, looks to be the cherry on top of one of the world’s greatest urban oases. From Prospect Park West to Flatbush Ave and Prospect Park Southwest to Ocean Ave, Brooklyn (718-965-8951, prospectpark.org)—Jenna Scherer

  • New York attractions

    Chrysler Building
    We won’t argue if you want to call this glimmering pinnacle of Art Deco architecture NYC’s most eye-popping skyscraper. Triangle-shaped windows in its crown are lined with lights, creating a beautiful effect come nighttime. Oozing a moneyed sophistication oft identified with old New York, the structure pays homage to its namesake with giant eagles (replicas of ones added to Chrysler automobiles in the 1920s) in lieu of traditional gargoyles and a brickwork relief sculpture of racing cars, complete with chrome hubcaps. During the famed three-way race to construct Manhattan’s tallest building, the Chrysler added a needle-sharp stainless-steel spire to best 40 Wall Street—but was outdone shortly after its completion in 1930 by the Empire State Building. 405 Lexington Ave at 44th St—TL

  • Photograph: Courtesy New York Yankees

    New York attractions

    Yankee Stadium
    The Bombers’ current field opened in 2009 to much fanfare and stands opposite the now-flattened original. It may not be the House That Ruth Built, but many elements of the new arena—the limestone exterior, the gatelike frieze around the top—mimic the old, plus cup holders at every seat and a high-def scoreboard are noticeable improvements. A museum behind center field aims to hold signed baseballs from every living Yankees player, but the most potent relic wasn’t allowed to stay on site—in 2008 the construction staff jackhammered out a Red Sox jersey a rival fan tried to install in the structure’s foundation. 1 E 161st St between Jerome and River Aves (718-293-4300, newyork.yankees.mlb.com)—Allison Williams

  • Photograph: Charles Denson

    New York attractions

    Coney Island Cyclone
    Nothing offers a thrilling jolt of Brooklyn nostalgia quite like a ride on the Cyclone. The roller coaster dates to 1927, when Coney Island was a booming seaside resort, but shuttered for six years starting in 1969, marking one of many troubled economic periods for the ’hood. Aside from grabbing a beer and hot dog at Nathan’s Famous, riding the Cyclone is the thing to do at Coney Island on a lovely summer day. 834 Surf Ave at 8th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (lunaparknyc.com)—TL

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    New York attractions

    Brooklyn Museum
    One of Kings County’s preeminent cultural institutions, this 560,000-square-foot venue made history as the first American museum to exhibit African objects as artwork. In addition to the more than 4,000 items in the Egyptian holdings,  museumgoers can scope pieces by masters such as Cézanne, Monet and Degas, plus an entire center devoted to feminist art. (The venue is the permanent home of Judy Chicago’s massive installation The Dinner Party.) Beyond its physical acquisitions, the spot draws crowds with its BrooklyNites Jazz music series and the perennially popular free Target First Saturdays. 200 Eastern Pkwy at Washington Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-638-5000, brooklynmuseum.org)—SB

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    New-York Historical Society
    Instead of the niche perspective on NYC’s past that some of our favorite attractions offer, this institution gives a comprehensive look at the New York of yesteryear. Exhibits here are wide-ranging, covering all aspects of city life; in the past year alone, the society has staged shows on New York’s former beer-brewing prowess, the smallpox vaccination’s effect on the city and Keith Haring’s Pop Shop. And the museum’s permanent holdings—many of which are on view in the open-storage galleries on its fourth floor—offer a glimpse into quotidian urban living, with items such as vintage toys, furniture and clothing on display. A massive renovation, completed in 2011, made exhibits more compelling and interactive, helping visitors gain a clearer, deeper understanding of the city. 170 Central Park West between 76th and 77th Sts (212-873-3400, nyhistory.org)—AP

  • New York attractions

    Bronx Zoo
    Tweeting cobras and peahens aside, this wildlife park garners fans far and wide for a number of reasons—approximately 5,000 animals call it home. Strolling through the 265 acres, visitors  spot such exotic and endangered creatures as the Coquerel’s sifaka (a type of lemur), the fossa (a predatory, tree-climbing mammal) and snow leopards. More common favorites, including gorillas and polar bears, also reside at the nature park. Keep an eye out for the daily penguin and sea lion feedings, plus other rotating activities. 2300 Southern Blvd at Fordham Rd, Bronx (718-220-5100, bronxzoo.com)—SB

  • Photograph: Krista Schlueter

    New York attractions

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
    Frank Lloyd Wright’s concrete edifice became the home of the eponymous philanthropist’s collection in 1959; today, the iconic spiral is considered as much a work of art as the paintings it houses. In addition to pieces by masters such as Manet, Picasso and Chagall, the institution holds the most Kandinskys in the U.S., as well as one of the largest collections of Mapplethorpes in the world. And yes, there is a right way to see the exhibits: as Wright intended, beginning at the bottom and moseying around to the top. 1071 Fifth Ave at 89th St (212-423-3500, guggenheim.org)—Jenna Scherer

  • New York attractions

    BLDG 92
    Located in a former military residence on the grounds of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, this small museum chronicles the mighty history of the former shipbuilding center—which, at its peak during World War II, employed close to 70,000 people. Permanent exhibits examine the yard’s origins and significance throughout history; for example, a number of massive vessels, including the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor and the Pearl Harbor casualty USS Arizona, were outfitted or built there. But the institution also looks to the manufacturing future of the Navy Yard and increasing number of businesses moving in each year businesses (including Brooklyn Grange, which operates an apiary on site). 63 Flushing Ave at Carlton Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-907-5992, bldg92.org)—AP

  • Photograph: Michael Kirby

    New York attractions

    New York Botanical Garden
    Every city park offers its own brand of verdant escapism, but this lush expanse goes beyond landscaped flora. In addition to housing swaths of vegetation—including the 50-acre forest, featuring some of the oldest trees in the city—the garden cultivates a rotating roster of shows that nod to the world’s most cherished green spaces, such as the regal grounds of Spain’s Alhambra palace and Monet’s alfresco sanctuary at Giverny. Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd, Bronx (718-817-8700, nybg.org)—SB

  • Photograph: Jessica Lin

    New York attractions

    Macy’s Herald Square
    Holiday windows and enormous balloons may draw gawkers to Macy’s flagship during the winter, but the mammoth department store is a year-round destination for some 20 million shoppers. A new $400 million renovation will upgrade the entire Beaux Arts edifice by 2015, but the store has already debuted a “world’s largest” shoe floor, home to 280,000 pairs. Thankfully, not everything will be brand-new: The project will restore the original 34th Street entrance, and some of the rickety wooden escalators—installed when this branch opened in 1902—will remain intact. 151 W 34th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212 695-4400, macys.com)—AW

  • Photograph: Ilenia Martini

    New York attractions

    The High Line
    There’s something uniquely New York about this aerie. Built on an abandoned railway track, the space is ingenious in its use of reclaimed industrial detritus, a necessity in footage-starved Manhattan. But what we like best is how the pathway takes you above the city while keeping you rooted in urban life: Where else can you walk through a field of wildflowers or sprawl on a lush lawn as cabs zoom along the street beneath you? The third and final section, the High Line at the Rail Yards, is scheduled to debut in 2014, completing one of the city’s most popular sites (with more than 3.7 million visitors in 2011). From Washington St at Gansevoort St to Tenth Ave at 30th St (thehighline.org)—AP

  • New York attractions

    Times Square
    Manhattan’s heart was once a hub for vice, teeming with sex shops and drug dealers. Over time that notorious reputation has eroded, and now the area can feel like a tourist-clogged shopping mall. Still, changes such as the stairs above the TKTS booth and a pedestrian plaza along Broadway have improved the sightseeing experience…sort of. If the thought of attending the annual glitzy New Year’s Eve celebration gives you hives, you can see the midnight countdown re-created on a smaller scale at the Times Square Visitor Center, thanks to one of the Waterford crystal balls used in years past. Broadway between 42nd and 47th Sts (timessquarenyc.org)—AW

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    New York attractions

    Flushing Meadows–Corona Park
    Give the city’s second-biggest park a day and it’ll show you the world: Its most enduring icon is the Unisphere, the mammoth steel globe created for the 1964 World’s Fair. But there’s also first-rate culture and sports at the New York Hall of Science, Arthur Ashe Stadium and Citi Field (depending on how the Mets are doing). The rolling green fields also encompass a zoo, a boating lake, a skate park, a barbecue area, playfields, and a $66 million aquatic and hockey center. In 2011, wetland plants such as swamp azalea and swamp milkweed were added to better handle the park’s water runoff, improving the catch-and-release fishing in Meadow Lake. From 111th St to Van Wyck Expwy and Flushing Bay to Long Island Expwy, Flushing, Queens (718-760-6565, nycgovparks.org/parks/fmcp/)—AW

  • Photograph: Shahar Azran

    New York attractions

    Apollo Theater
    The 78-year-old Harlem institution has been the site of more than a few historic moments: Ella Fitzgerald’s first performance happened here in 1934; Live at the Apollo, recorded in 1962, practically launched James Brown into the mainstream; and a young Jimi Hendrix won an Amateur Night contest in 1964. Despite its storied history and grand decor, this living link to the Harlem Renaissance feels rather cozy inside. As of late, the theater has attracted big-name comedians (Aziz Ansari, Tracy Morgan, Jim Gaffigan) and huge rock stars (Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen), while still welcoming under-the-radar talent to its famed Wednesday Amateur Night. 253 W 125th St between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (Seventh Ave) and Frederick Douglass Blvd (Eighth Ave) (212-531-5305, apollotheater.org)—TL

  • Photograph: Michael Kirby

    New York attractions

    Brooklyn Heights Promenade
    If you’re looking to fall in love with New York City again (or for the first time), there are few vistas more breathtaking than this one. It’s easy to forget that you’re standing atop the hectic Brooklyn-Queens Expressway while strolling along this esplanade, which opened in 1950. But the thoroughfare is inextricably linked to the Promenade’s existence: Community opposition to the BQE—which was originally intended to cut through Brooklyn Heights—led city planner Robert Moses to reroute the highway along the waterfront. He also proposed building a park atop the road to block noise.. Stroll, run or make out along its ⅓-mile length, pausing to appreciate postcard-ready views of lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty; then check out some of the 19th-century row houses down Brooklyn Heights’ tree-lined side streets, or head down to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Columbia Heights between Middagh and Montague Sts, Brooklyn Heights (nyharborparks.org)—Jenna Scherer

  • Photograph: Michael Kirby

    New York attractions

    South Street Seaport
    One problem with being an active sightseeing draw right on the water: When a big storm rolls into town, you’ll almost certainly sustain some damage. Hurricane Sandy temporarily closed many of the attractions at the waterfront hub, including the Seaport Museum (currently under the management of the Museum of the City of New York), which charts the former wharf’s history. But many of these institutions are back up and running, and the Seaport will even welcome an outpost of the Brooklyn Flea this summer. 19 Fulton St at Front St (212-732-7678, southstreetseaport.com)—AF

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    New York attractions

    Brooklyn Botanic Garden
    Those searching for a little peace and quiet would do well to spend a few hours at this verdant oasis. The garden—which abuts two other neighborhood gems: the Brooklyn Museum and Prospect Park—was founded in 1910 and features thousands of types of flora, laid out over 52 acres. Each spring, crowds descend on the space for the Sakura Matsuri Festival, during which many trees bloom along the Cherry Esplanade. But equally impressive are serene spots like the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, the first Japanese-inspired garden displayed in the U.S., and the Shakespeare Garden, brimming with plants (such as primrose and crocuses) mentioned in the Bard’s works. Start your journey at the Visitor’s Center, an eco-friendly portal (it has a green roof filled with 45,000 plants) that opened in May. 990 Washington Ave at President St, Crown Heights, Brooklyn (718-623-7200, bbg.org)—AP

  • Photograph: Michael Kirby

    New York attractions

    Brooklyn Flea
    In the nearly five years since its debut, this market has elevated the vintage-shopping experience, setting a new standard for both goods and food vendors, and emphasizing local purveyors where possible. Its mini empire now includes markets in Fort Greene and Williamsburg, as well as two food-focused Smorgasburg outposts, and forthcoming locations in Manhattan and Philadelphia. When temperatures plunge, the fest moves to the handsome, cavernous lobby at Brooklyn’s landmark Skylight One Hanson (through March). It’s as good a people-watching spot as you’ll find—plenty of established and wanna-be designers mill about—and the eats alone are worth the trip. Vendors change each weekend, so check the website the Friday before doors open to see who’s selling. Various locations; visit brooklynflea.com for details.—TL

  • New York attractions

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Sprawling doesn’t even begin to describe this Manhattan institution: It’s one of the few spots in the city where you could spend literally an entire day and see only a fraction of the holdings. Behind the doors of its iconic neoclassical facade lie 17 curatorial collections spanning countless eras and cultural perspectives, from prehistoric Egyptian artifacts to contemporary photography. Those seeking to satisfy their anthropological curiosity can explore the extensive assemblage of musical instruments, weapons and armor or the Costume Institute’s centuries of wearable art. And for committed museumgoers who have made their way through the permanent collections—an admirable feat—special exhibitions merit return visits year after year. Recent blockbusters have examined the career of the late designer Alexander McQueen and featured the works of Pablo Picasso. 1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St (212-535-7710, metmuseum.org)—CS

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    New York attractions

    Citi Field
    While they haven’t been as successful as their Bronx rivals in recent years, the Mets can certainly be happy about their newish stadium, which opened in 2009. With great sight lines, fun activities for kids and a prodigious selection of food and booze (including Shake Shack and Blue Smoke outposts), even those with the barest interest in the game will enjoy themselves here. During the 2012 season, the Amazin’s brought in the outfield walls by a few feet to eke a few more long balls out of the notoriously pitcher-friendly park. The result? An additional 45 dingers sent to souvenir city. Roosevelt Ave at 126th St, Flushing, Queens (718-507-6387, mets.com)—Andrew Frisicano

  • Photograph: Michael Kirby

    New York attractions

    Union Square
    This gathering place was named for the union of two of Manhattan’s busiest thoroughfares: Broadway and Fourth Avenue (formerly Bowery Road). Political activism has played a large role in the site’s history; the square has hosted rallies, protests and assemblies from the Civil War through Occupy Wall Street. Nowadays, its biggest draw might be the year-round Greenmarket—the city’s first, started by a handful of farmers in 1976—which brings locally grown goods to thousands of New Yorkers every week. From University Pl to Fourth Ave and 14th St to 17th St (212-460-1200, unionsquarenyc.org)—CS

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    New York attractions

    Roosevelt Island
    This mostly residential isle (technically part of Manhattan) is full of quirks; for example, the preferred method of getting there involves a four-minute trip on the city’s only commuter tram. There’s plenty to draw in visitors, notably the fancy new Four Freedoms Park (named for the principles outlined in Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union address), which opened in 2012. A Gothic lighthouse stands at the island’s northern tip, and the creepy ruins of the Smallpox Hospital (which operated from the mid–19th century until the 1950s) at the southern end are a part of Southpoint Park. Travel: F to Roosevelt Island, or take the Roosevelt Island Tram (59th St at Second Ave) (rioc.com)—AP

  • Photograph: Jay Muhlin

    New York attractions

    Rockefeller Center
    You’ll find plenty of iconic New York sites in this multiblock complex: The ground level alone is home to the tourist-packed ice-skating rink, the bronze Atlas statue and the Today show plaza. Higher up, Top of the Rock rivals the Empire State Building in panoramic city views. You may not be able to access the five private rooftop gardens if you’re not a Saturday Night Live cast member, but you can still peek at the spaces from Saks Fifth Avenue’s eighth-floor shoe department if you’re curious. Special credentials are not required, however, to inspect the Art Deco murals that appear in several buildings. Don’t miss the triptych above the outdoor entrance to 5 Rockefeller Center or the rinkside Prometheus statue; both purportedly contain secret Freemason symbols. 48th to 51st Sts between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-332-6868, rockefellercenter.com)—AW

  • New York attractions

    Flatiron Building
    This 21-story Beaux Arts edifice once dominated midtown. Although it’s now dwarfed by other structures, when it debuted in 1902, the triangle-shaped monolith represented the threat and the thrill of modernity: Naysayers claimed it would never withstand the high winds plaguing 23rd Street, while revered photographer Alfred Stieglitz—who captured it in an iconic shot in 1903—wrote that it was “a picture of a new America still in the making.” Today, it’s possibly the least tourist-friendly New York landmark. The space above the ground-floor shops, occupied by publishing house Macmillan, is inaccessible to the public, but during office hours you can admire black-and-white photos and read a few panels on the history of the tower in its lobby. If you want to see the “point” offices (just over six feet wide at their narrowest), we suggest getting to work on the Great American Novel. 175 Fifth Ave between 22nd and 23rd Sts—Jonathan Shannon

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    New York attractions

    The Cloisters
    This Middle Agesmuseum may have been constructed in the ’30s, but it feels much older than that. Set in a bucolic park overlooking the Hudson River, the structure re-creates architectural details from five 15th-century monasteries and houses items from the Met’s medieval art and architecture collections. John D. Rockefeller, who donated the land for the museum, even purchased a tract across the river to preserve the pristine view. Make sure to inspect the tapestries, including the famous 16th-century Hunt of the Unicorn. Fort Tryon Park, 99 Margaret Corbin Dr (212-923-3700, metmuseum.org)—AF

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    New York attractions

    Battery Park
    This 25-acre green space is like Manhattan’s delicate fingernail, neatly plotted with monuments, memorials, gardens, sculptures and a farm-to-table café, plus killer waterfront views from the promenade. Though the area was named for the battery cannons it once housed, the fortified walls of Castle Clinton now protect little more than summer music concerts. If you prefer a quieter nook, seek out the stone labyrinth traced in the park’s lawns; it’s not actually a maze meant to confuse, but a prescribed stroll for meditation. The new SeaGlass Carousel, battered but not broken by Sandy, will open sometime this spring in a building shaped like a nautilus shell. Battery Pl at State St (212-344-7220, nycgovparks.org/parks/batterypark)—AW

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    New York attractions

    Green-Wood Cemetery
    If the thought of skulking around a cemetery for fun seems creepy to you, know this: Green-Wood is less geared toward goth kids than it is to history nerds. The burial ground was first established in 1838, and since then, it’s become the final resting place of many notable New Yorkers, among them William “Boss” Tweed, Leonard Bernstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lola Montez and Louis Comfort Tiffany. But there’s more to do here than grave-spot: Check out the massive Gothic arch at the main entrance or climb to the top of Battle Hill, one of the highest points in Kings County and a pivotal spot during the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776. 500 Fifth Ave at 25th St, Sunset Park, Brooklyn (718-210-3080, green-wood.com)—AP

  • New York attractions

    Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
    There’s more to this decommissioned aircraft carrier than an unparalleled collection of fighter jets, a Blackbird spy plane, a Concorde, the nuclear submarine USS Growler, a prototype space shuttle and a capsule that returned one of the first astrotourists to earth (though all are worth the price of admission alone). Permanent exhibits address the human element, from a harrowing 30-minute video with audiovisual effects about the kamikaze attacks the Intrepid suffered to a chance to see how the crew lived and admire their graffiti. ) Pier 86, Twelfth Ave at 46th St (877-957-7447, intrepidmuseum.org)

  • New York attractions

    Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
    The largest campus of its kind in the world, Lincoln Center is home to a staggering array of theater, music, dance and film. Construction began in 1959 with the help of John D. Rockefeller III, largely in an effort to provide new stomping grounds for the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic and the Juilliard School. Today the complex encompasses 30 venues and 11 world-class resident organizations that mount thousands of events each year. Standing in Josie Robertson Plaza at twilight, with the fountain spouting white-lit jets of water and the lobby of the Met glowing golden behind it, is one of Manhattan’s more transporting experiences. 10 Lincoln Center Plaza between 62nd and 65th Sts (lincolncenter.org)—Jenna Scherer

  • New York attractions

    Museum of Modern Art
    Sure, you could spend a day getting lost in the permanent exhibits, which showcase all manner of priceless pieces from renowned artists. But just as essential are this museum’s other elements, including an attached cinema that combines art-house fare and more accessible offerings, a sculpture garden with works by Picasso and Rodin, and the Modern, a high-end restaurant and bar run by Danny Meyer. Free Fridays, an alluring prospect considering the sizable entry fee ($25 for adults), are best left to the tourists and penny-scraping students; visit the museum when you can hunker down for a while. 11 W 53rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-708-9400, moma.org)

  • New York attractions

    Queens Museum of Art
    Located on the grounds of two World’s Fairs, the QMA holds one of Gotham’s most amazing sights: The Panorama of the City of New York, a 9,335-square-foot scale model of the five boroughs, created for the 1964 exposition and featuring Lilliputian models of landmarks. The museum itself is currently undergoing an expansion to double the size of its galleries by fall 2013, as well as add public-event spaces, two new entryways and a glass facade facing Grand Central Parkway. Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, near 111th St and 49th Ave entrance, Flushing, Queens (718-592-9700, queensmuseum.org)—AF

  • Photograph: Philip Greenberg

    New York attractions

    Brooklyn Bridge Park
    Some city parks—Central and Prospect, most obviously—were built to replicate rustic fields and preserve serene woodland. Brooklyn Bridge Park, however, was not—and that’s precisely why it has become so popular in the almost three years since it debuted. The project has transformed a chunk of the Brooklyn waterfront into a nearly 85-acre expanse; several sections house unique attractions such as Jane’s Carousel, a restored 1920s merry-go-round, and riverside esplanades with gorgeous Manhattan views. Pier 5, the first part of the park designed specifically for “active recreation,” opened in late 2012, cementing the space as the city’s premier urban playground. From Jay St and John St to Atlantic Ave and Furman St, Brooklyn (718-222-9939, brooklynbridgepark.org)

  • Photograph: Michael Kirby

    New York attractions

    Radio City Music Hall
    New York City is full of legendary performance venues, but few match Radio City Music Hall in terms of sheer elegance. The Art Deco concert hall remains one of the prettiest in the city: Designed by Donald Deskey, its interior features opulent chandeliers and lush carpets, while the stage and proscenium are meant to resemble a setting sun. Although Radio City is probably best known as the home of the Rockettes, a plethora of noteworthy performers have graced its boards, including huge pop stars (Lady Gaga, the Jonas Brothers) and indie faves (Pulp, Grizzly Bear). 1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St (212-247-4777, radiocity.com)—AP

  • Photograph: Krista Schlueter

    New York attractions

    New York Transit Museum
    Other archives may offer broader perspectives on city history, but we love the Transit Museum because it goes deep into one essential element of New York life: the public transit system. Opened in 1976 in a former IND subway station, the museum displays historic artifacts—including a collection of vintage train cars spanning the 20th century—as well as more timely pieces, such as works from the MTA’s Arts for Transit program. Boerum Pl at Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn Heights (718-694-1600, mta.info/mta/museum)—AP

  • Photograph: Michael Kirby

    New York attractions

    St. Patrick's Cathedral
    Even though it faces off against the imposing Art Deco Rockefeller Center, architect James Renwick's Gothic Revival building holds it own with intricate marble towers, a cavernous ribbed vault, pointed arches and buttresses. But the real treasures are inside this active house of worship, which is bursting with awe-inspiring works. While the stained glass, along with much of the exterior, is currently covered in scaffolding for an ongoing $175-million restoration project, due for completion in 2015, the cathedral is still worth a visit. More than 200 saints are represented throughout the church, with many alters helpfully explaining their stories for those who cut Bible studies class. Seek out the alter of Saint Louis, just north of the Lady's Chapel, designed by the Tiffany workshop and donated by Jackie O's father Michael Bouvier. To the south of Saint Louis is an oversized copy of Michelangelo's Pieta, made by the same sculptor who fashioned the lions outside the New York Public Library on 42nd Street. 14 E 51st St between Fifth and Madison Aves (212-753-2261, saintpatrickscathedral.org)—Jonathan Shannon

  • Photograph: Moira Brazier

    New York attractions

    New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
    The century-old main branch of the NYPL is about as regal a setting for reading—either on your laptop or those old dusty things called books—as you’ll find in the city. Two massive Tennessee-marble lions, dubbed Patience and Fortitude, flank the main portal and have become the institution’s mascots. Once inside, check out the cavernous Rose Main Reading Room, spanning almost 300 feet and outfitted with chandeliers and stunning ceiling murals. Though it’s a classy setting in most instances, it’s also where Bill Murray uttered, “Are you, Alice, menstruating right now?” and “Back off, man, I’m a scientist” in Ghostbusters. Fifth Ave at 42nd St (917-275-6975, nypl.org)—TL

  • New York attractions

    Whitney Museum
    Like the Guggenheim, the Whitney is distinguished by its unique architecture: a Marcel Breuer–designed gray granite cube. When Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, a sculptor and art patron, opened the museum in 1931, she dedicated it to living American artists. Today, the Whitney holds about 19,000 pieces by nearly 2,900 artists, including Alexander Calder, Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Georgia O’Keeffe and Claes Oldenburg. Still, the museum’s reputation rests mainly on its temporary shows, particularly the Whitney Biennial. Held in even-numbered years, the Biennial is among the most prestigious (and controversial) assessments of contemporary art in America. In 2015, the museum will move to a new Renzo Piano–designed edifice near the High Line and lease its Madison Avenue home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 945 Madison Ave at 75th St (212-570-3600, whitney.org)—AF

  • New York attractions

    MoMA PS1
    While we can’t ignore the virtues of its Manhattan forebear, this Long Island City offshoot distinguishes itself with a constantly evolving lineup of cutting-edge artwork and programming. Not only does PS1 bring in noteworthy artists from around the globe (Janet Cardiff, Olafur Eliasson), it curates one of the city’s premier summer events, Warm Up, bringing together innovative installations and live music to challenge visitors’ expectations of what art can be. 22-25 Jackson Ave at 46th Ave, Long Island City, Queens (718-784-2084, momaps1.org)—SB

  • New York attractions

    United Nations
    Technically, the U.N. complex is international territory, but that doesn’t mean you get immunity when you enter (so don’t steal from the Delegates Dining Room buffet). The striking, 39-story Secretariat Building (designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer) is the complex’s most eye-catching structure, but it’s not open to the public. Visitors can instead tour the midcentury assembly room whenever dignitaries aren’t using it, or enjoy free art in the lobby. The current exhibit’s theme is antiwar: The knotted gun sculpture was a gift from Luxembourg, and the Soviet Union donated a statue titled “Let Us Beat Swords Into Plowshares.” The U.N. even has its own post office, but the personalized stamps sold there are only good if mailed from that spot. First Ave at 46th St (212-963-8687, visit.un.org)—AW

  • Photographer: Filip Wolak

    New York attractions

    Little Italy
    The 2010 census didn’t find a single Italian-born resident on or around Mulberry Street, but pasta-and-Parmesan purveyors still line the narrow lanes of Little Italy, and the recently restored Most Precious Blood Church(113 Baxter St between Canal and Hester Sts, 212-226-6427) holds fast. Old-world flavors abound at joints like the 120-year-old Ferrara Bakery and Cafe (195 Grand St between Mott and Mulberry Sts; 212-226-6150, ferraracafe.com), and every September, the deep-fried-zeppole carts mark the start of the Feast of San Gennaro. But modern joints are moving in too: Hidden under a souvenir shop, the speakeasy Mulberry Project(149 Mulberry St between Grand and Hester Sts; 646-448-4536, mulberryproject.com) mixes bespoke cocktails in a den dark enough for a mafia don. From Lafayette St to Elizabeth St and Spring St to Canal St—AW

  • Photograph: Wendy Connett

    New York attractions

    Washington Square Park arch
    The beatniks, folkies and hippies who famously flocked to this public space are still there, though sporting slightly different facial hair than their boundary-breaking predecessors. During warmer months, the park is one of the best people-watching spots in the city, as musicians and street artists perform in the shadow of the towering 1895 Washington Arch, a modest replica of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe designed by Stanford White (whose fingerprints are found on more than a few landmark NYC structures). Since 2007, the park has undergone a controversial, multimillion-dollar renovation—currently in its third phase—which has yielded more benches, paths, lawn space and vegetation. W 4th St to Waverly Pl between MacDougal St and University Pl (nycgovparks.org)—TL

New York attractions

Empire State Building
Try imagining New York City’s skyline without the towering spire of the Empire State Building. Impossible, right? Taking a mere 11 months to construct, the 1,454-foot-tall emblem became the city’s highest building upon completion in 1931. (When One World Trade Center is finished, it will tower over the ESB by a good 300 feet.) During your visit, pay special attention to the lobby, restored in 2009 to its original Art Deco design. You can also impress your pals with these tidbits while queuing for the observation decks: In 1945, 14 tenants were killed when a plane crashed into the 79th floor during heavy fog; a terrace on the 103rd level was once intended for use as a docking station for airships; and the topper’s three tiers of lights can illuminate up to nine colors at a time. 350 Fifth Ave between 33rd and 34th Sts (212-736-3100, esbnyc.com)—Tim Lowery


Users say

3 comments
Cesar marin
Cesar marin

I love your 101 things to do in ny city, you are missing a couple of good ones like, Chelsea market, eataly at 23rd and 5th ave, go for a bike ride , run in the Hudson River park , Central Park , Kite fly ad the Hudson River park, Sunset under the Brooklyn bridge, cup cakes at magnolias bakery etc, etc.

kelly
kelly

This is great!! I've used loads, I also found a little gem called The Moth! They host weekly events around the city. If you go on their website. I'm new to the city and met lots of people there. Had a very fun night!!

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