In the age old tradition of summer book reports and fourth grade essays, your fearless A&E editors set off to give you an inside look at what they did this summer, reporting from the city with the most to offer in art, entertainment, and ampersands – New York City. Being a lifelong Californian, at first I was skeptical: what could New York possibly offer besides muggings, overrated hot dogs, snobby hipsters, twelve dollar vodka tonics, and humidity that had you lathered in sweat by the time you reached the subway? Well, below is one foreigner’s top ten list of things to do and see in the Big Apple.
10. Museum of Natural History – This was the sleeper event of the summer, providing an unexpected romp through time and space that was both enjoyable and informative. The first Friday of each month during the summer the Rose Center of Earth & Space puts on a show with Tapas & Jazz set against a backdrop of stars and their enormous planetarium. The Museum also includes an IMAX theatre (I highly suggest the Lewis & Clark movie), a dazzling look at the universe (guided by Tom Hanks), and hands-on exhibits perfect for the kids.
9. Guggenheim – A must see in New York, the building itself is undoubtedly the best exhibit there. Expect to see a great permanent art exhibit, periodic exhibits that take art to the edge, and interpretive pieces that are 90% interpretive, 10% art.
8. Times Square – Although this is the classic tourist trap, Times Square remains a great attraction complete with Vegas-like neon lights, towering billboards and television screens, high-profile stores, and a naked cowboy strumming his guitar. Go for the people watching, stay for the Broadway shows.
7. The Met – Possibly the best museum in the world (as an American, this is of course based on no international experience whatsoever), the Met showcases priceless pieces of art, tombs, and an Egyptian room that is spectacular.
6. Chinatown & Little Italy – The best Italian food in the country? Check. Cheap Chinese food for us students low on budget but high on appetite? Check. Knockoff goods ranging from LV bags to unreleased films on DVD to shady looking dealers selling fruit you’ve never heard of before? Check, check and check. This area is a great place to go for dinner or just to walk around on a lazy Saturday afternoon.
5. Yankee Stadium – Although not quite as historic as the cozy confines of Fenway, Yankee Stadium is every bit as fun and the crowd is rowdy and energetic until the very end. Oh, and Steinbrenner’s blank check ensures that an all-star caliber team will take the field everygame. Just make sure you protect yourself from the screaming women who will stop at nothing to get themselves closer to Derek Jeter.
4. Brooklyn Bridge – Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge takes only a few minutes and provides breathtaking views of the skyline, New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and the bridge itself.
3. The Cloisters – Gorgeous. Nestled among the trees and flowers in Fort Tryon Park up in Northwest Manhattan, The Cloisters is a medieval museum giving visitors an insider’s look into monastic life.
2. Central Park – The Park is full of events during the summer, from Shakespeare in the Park to free concerts to democrats protesting the RNC. Also take advantage of the penguins chilling in the Central Park Zoo, rowing boats in the lake, or just lounging around the Great Lawn.
1. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island – The age old emblem of democracy and freedom, Lady Liberty is back and open for business since her closure after 9/11. Book your tickets in advance and you can take advantage of the Observatory Tour, which gives the visitor an inside look at the history, meaning, and internal structure of the statue. However, be ready for a great deal of security, both before you get on the ferry and at the statue itself. Also, make sure you leave time for Ellis Island which gives you an inside look at immigration.