Every year millions of tourists come from all over the world to see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the myriad of other NYC attractions. Sometimes I forget how close I live to the city. With family coming into town in a few weeks to visit, we’re choosing to explore the city by visiting the architecturally unique Vessel and The Edge in Hudson Yards, the heartfelt tribute of the 9/11 Memorial, and the culturally significant Civil Rights Walking Tour in Harlem.
Hudson Yards, a series of towers built over a swath of rail yards offers two main attractions. The most notable in the complex is the Vessel. This sculpture, with its striking steel and copper honeycomb-like structure, has been called a beehive, an upside-down pineapple, and a rib cage. The network of 2,500 stairs and 80 viewing platforms are currently closed, but anyone can observe this grand work of art from the surrounding park and gardens, and contemplate its gesture toward open space and harmony.
The Edge, another Hudson Yard attraction, is located on the 100th floor of 30 Hudson Yards. As if you’re floating in the sky, the suspended glass floor platform is 1,000 feet from the ground and juts 65 feet out from the building. The angled walls entice those who are brave to lean out for an even better vantage point. Views north toward the tip of Central Park, southward to the Statue of Liberty, east to Brooklyn and Queens, and west to New Jersey are spectacular. The Edge is the highest outdoor observation deck in the western hemisphere and the fifth-highest in the world. Buy your Edge tickets here.
On the southern end of Manhattan, there’s a 90-minute guided walking tour of Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorial with a visit to the 9/11 Museum and One World Observatory. A local New York guide with a personal connection to the events of 9/11, conveys stories of heroism giving those visiting a deeper understanding of the attack and aftermath. The Memorial Plaza outside is a moving tribute to those who lost their lives, with two square pools sitting at the base of which each of the Twin Towers once stood. Select from two departure times when booking the 9/11 Memorial walking tour here.
The Civil Rights Walking Tour of Harlem transports visitors to the time of the Civil Rights Movement and the significant role Harlem played. Harlem became a symbol of the African American struggle for civil and economic equality in the 1920s and ’30s while emerging as a flourishing center of culture, art, and music. Compelling stories of activism and cultural growth of the past and the vibrancy of the community today put this tour at the top of my list.
For those of you who have guests in town or want to get the full NYC experience over a few days, I recommend getting the New York City Explorer Pass, available here. Get access to over 90 top attractions, tours, and activities -- many with skip-the-line privileges and direct entry from a mobile device. Explore the city from a Hop on Hop off bus, meander Ellis Island, visit the Guggenheim, or take a leisurely cruise aboard the Circle Line, and much more. The beauty of the pass is that you can create your own itinerary and sightsee at your own pace.
Whether you’re a family, couple, or traveling solo, with a little planning take a moment to find some of the gems within New York City that you’ve might have overlooked. At a little over an hour away by car or train from Putnam, northern Westchester, and Danbury, visitors have access to profound history, architectural wonders, and opportunities for cultural awareness at their fingertips. Visit this link for more ideas of things to do in New York City and for practical information to help plan your visit.
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