The building was the tallest in the world for 41 years before it was surpassed by the North Tower of the World Trade Center. After the September 11 attacks, the Empire State Building is once again the tallest building in New York City and the second highest building in the United States—only Chicago’s Sears Tower is taller. The building was designated a National Historical Landmark on June 24, 1986 and has been named one of the seven wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The present site of the Empire State Building was occupied by the John Thomson Farm in the late 18th century; in the 19th century it was home to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which was frequented by New York’s social elite. The building was designed in two weeks by Gregory Johnson and his architectural firm, Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon and was financed by John J. Raskob. Construction was completed in 410 days and the building officially opened on May 31, 1931. In decadent fashion, President Herbert Hoover activated the now-famous lights with the touch of a button in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, because of the Great Depression the space was not profitable until 1950; locals nicknamed the building the “Empty State Building.”
Because of its impressive size, the Empire State Building has been involved in some unusual situations. On July 28, 1945, an Army Air Corps B-25 crashed into the building at the 79th floor. Though the crash caused $1 million damage to the building, the structural integrity was unaffected. During the spring and autumn bird migration season, the building must turn off its signature lights on foggy nights so confused birds won’t fly into the building.
The lights on the Empire State Building change seasonally or to commemorate a special event. For Christmas, the lights are red and green, blue lights were used to commemorate the death of Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra; the building sat in complete darkness for fifteen minutes when Fay Wray passed away. The building has even lit up with the colors of local sports teams. In the months after September 11, 2001, the Empire State Building used only red, white, and blue lights.
Like other New York City landmarks, the Empire State Building has been featured in countless movies since its inception, among them An Affair to Remember, King Kong, Funny Face, Guys and Dolls, Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, and various Woody Allen films. The Empire State Building has cemented itself not only in American popular culture, but in American history.
The Incredible Value of the New York Pass
If you're planning to visit New York City it really pays to make the investment in The New York Pass. This pass will allow you free entrance into some of the biggest attractions that New York has to offer in addition to discounts to many more attraction and a 140 page guide book that gives you information about many of the places you won't want to miss while you're visiting this great city.
Some of the places that you are allowed free admission by way of your New York Pass include the following: The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Isle with a free round-trip ferry ticket and gives you skip ahead privileges for the ticket line, free admission to the Guggenheim Museum (though you may need to pay additional fees for special exhibitions), the New York Skyride, and the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. These are just a few of the many places you can go for no additional fees. If you're planning to fit many activities into your time in New York, this is by far the best way to go.
There are often offers for discounts if you are purchasing multiple days of The New York Pass, the fact remains however that if you are choosing more than two events on any given day you'll probably be saving money on admission alone by purchasing the pass. If you're only planning on one paid activity per day then you're better off not making the purchase of a pass. With all vacations there are simple matters of economics involved. There are two forms of economics that come into play on a vacation-money and time. Time is often the most carefully guarded of the two while vacationing and people forget to pay attention to cast budgets as a result feeling it is better to waste money than to waste time.
I personally like to waste neither. I enjoy the skip ahead privileges that having city passes often allow as well as the knowledge that I've already paid for the days activities and can keep a better eye on where the remainder of my funds are being spent.
In addition to the many freebies that are involved as a result of the New York Pass there are also invaluable discounts that you can get on dining, souvenirs, even tours such as the New York Helicopter Sightseeing Tours. And then there are some tours that having a New York Pass will allow you to experience for free as well. Among those are: the United Nations Tour, The NBC Studio Tour, the Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour, the Rockefeller Center Tour, and the Tour at Lincoln Center.
The pass will introduce you to museums and zoos with free admission that you may not have otherwise considered and open the doors to extra entertainment for the entire family. If you're going to be in New York for an extended period of time, 3 days or more, and plan to take a lot of tours and do a lot of sight seeing on your trip, I seriously recommend that you buy the New York Pass and use it every chance you get for free entrance fees and merchandise or food discounts and freebies. This is by far one of the best tips anyone can give you about your visit to New York and your budget. I also recommend tailoring your experience to the free things offered as much as possible and save your money for gifts, mementos, and the wonderful food and shows that abound in this fabulous city. Be sure to pay close attention when ordering tickets and checking to see if you are entitled to a discount because of your New York Pass. Do your best to enjoy your time and try not to fit too many things into one day. There are only so many hours in a day and while New York may be the City that Never Sleeps, we all need to sleep sometime.
View NYC With Clean Tourist Buses
You may be roaming around New York City looking for the best shows or museums. Or you may be just shopping around the town watching out for the best MINI parts for your car. Or you can simply play the role of the tourist just taking in the sights and sounds of the Big Apple. Whatever your purpose, you can go about the city of New York while riding buses that do not contribute to air pollution.
The clean air sightseeing buses in New York City is actually part of the commemoration of the summer and the height of tourism in the area. Today, at 11 in the morning, these new environment-friendly buses would be unveiled. There would be twenty one new buses that will be added to the city’s touring buses. These buses actually have the capacity to reduce harmful pollution by around eighty five per cent because of the new technology that they have from the newly-installed diesel engines.
These twenty one buses are the usual double-decker buses that are colored red. As the icon of New York City sight-seeing, it is indeed very essential that they still continue to hold the same image it has in previous years but only with additional benefits – like cleaner air. These buses are creations of the Gray Line New York Sightseeing which is a company of Coach USA.
James F. Gennaro is the Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection of the New York City Council. And he is very much delighted by such a big leap in tourism and cleaner air. He even states, “Air pollution affects everyone who breathes our city’s air, residents and tourists alike. I applaud Gray Line NY / Coach USA and Clean Air Communities for their leadership in helping to clean our air and make New York City a much greener place to visit and live.”
New York City Educational Entertainment Guide
We are never too old for learning and we can never have too much fun. Whether you are young, have youngsters of your own, or are simply young at heart, New York City has a lot of entertaining ways to educate you.
Perhaps one of the neatest things to do in New York City is to pay a visit to the FDNY Fire Zone. General admission is free but if you wish to experience a Fire-Simulation presentation there are nominal fees involved (currently under $5 per person). The Fire Zone is a state of the art facility where fire safety is taught. Kids, big and little alike, enjoy the fact that they can actually put their hands the equipment, try on the gear, and work with parents to establish an escape plan for their homes.
The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art is another great place to spend a few hours and learn about the many different aspects of art, comics, and cartoons and what kind of role they have played in recording the history of our world. They offer different exhibitions at different times so this is a place you could definitely visit often in order to get the maximum enjoyment from the process. Current admission rates are $3 for children and adults over the age of 12.
Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden is another great place to learn, this time it’s about history. This building is steeped in history and was once the home of the daughter of President Adams. Take a walk through history inside this lovely home turned hotel and then stroll around in the gardens outside. If you feel a need to get away from the big city while remaining in the big city this is a great place to visit and feel the air around you and forget about the fact that the nearest mall is actually very close by.
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is great fun for kids of all ages, shapes, sizes, and nationalities. The good news is that this particular fun is actually well disguised education. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum was the very first museum of its kind, by that I mean the first museum that was dedicated to entertaining and educating children. It was a wildly successful experiment that is responsible for the 300 children’s museums now located around the world. The admission is very reasonable at $5 per person and children under the age of 1 are free. The museum is closed on Mondays during July and August and on Mondays and Tuesdays for the remainder of the year with the exception of certain public school recesses. It is best to check with the Museum if you are uncertain and hoping for a Tuesday visit.
The New York Hall of Science is another great learning experience that is available here. Enjoy activities and exhibits that bring the science to magic and prove that they are not exactly mutually exclusive. Exhibitions change frequently and always offer something fun for everyone. There are age appropriate activities for children and the science playground ($3 per person admission fee above the museum admission fee of $11 per adult and $8 per child is required for the playground) is always a big hit.
Learning opportunities abound in New York City. These opportunities are not all in boring atmospheres or hallowed halls of learning but in interactive experiences that are widely available to young and old alike in many brightly lit and fun to explore corners of this great city.
Times Square New York City
Times Square, one of New York City’s premier tourist destinations, is located on a major intersection in Midtown Manhattan--at the junction of Broadway and 27th Street and from West 42nd Street to West 47th Street. It occupies the blocks between 6th and 8th Avenues from east to west, and West 40th and West 53rd Streets from north to south. Times Square was “christened” in 1904; not coincidentally, so were neon lights and the city’s first subway line. New Yorkers wasted no time in starting the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration tradition: they began ringing in the new year at Times Square in 1904 as well.
Previously, the area that has been called “Times Square” for over 100 years was known as The Longacre. On April 8, 1904, the name was changed to Times Square to commemorate the official opening of the brand new New York Times Building located on the triangle of land at the intersection of Broadway, 42nd Street, and 7th Avenue. The building was the tallest in Manhattan at the time. In 1913, the New York Times moved to a larger facility across Broadway and the New York Times Building was renamed the Allied Chemical Building. Today, it is known simply as One Times Square.
During the First World War, Broadway became known as one of the world’s premier theatre districts. The Great Depression hit New York City hard, and many theatres had to close or offer less discriminating fare to attract more theatre-goers. Thus began a slow decline that reached its lowest point in the 1960s and 1970s. At this time, Times Square had become (in)famous for erotic bookstores, live nude shows, X-rated movies, and other adult fare. By 1975, many people considered Times Square to be the epitome of urban and moral decay.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, city and state officials began serious efforts to reverse the decline of Times Square. Today, Times Square has been restored to its former glory and boasts over 27,000 residents and over 26 million visitors each year, and makes a serious contribution to New York City’s economy—the annual total output is comparable to the economies of Bolivia and Panama, and far exceeds that of small countries.
New Year’s Eve at Times Square is now a global tradition. Approximately 1 million people gather there each year; additionally, millions across the United States and about 1 billion people all over the world tune into the New Year’s Eve celebration. The famous ball (currently made of Waterford Crystal) drops from One Times Square, a tradition that began on December 31, 1907 and has continued ever since, except during World War Two when a moment of silence was observed followed by the tolling of church bells, as the blackout restrictions prevented excessive New Year’s Eve festivities.
Times Square has cemented its place in American popular culture. It has been featured in movies such as Vanilla Sky, King Kong, and Spider-Man. ABC’s Good Morning America and MTV’s Total Request Live are broadcast live from their studios at Times Square. Additionally, many exclusive, popular, and specialty retailers and restaurants have locations at Times Square, such as the Hard Rock Cafי, Virgin Records, Toys R Us, ESPN Zone, Sketchers, Planet Hollywood, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Ruby Foo’s, and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Today’s Times Square is a perfect family destination.
The Statue Of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island, New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886 to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and as a gesture of friendship between the United States and France. At 350 feet, 1 inch tall from the ground to the flame, the Statue of Liberty is approximately the size of a 22 story building. In 1886, the statue was the tallest structure in New York City. Lady Liberty is made of pure copper (3/32 of an inch thick-about the thickness of two pennies put together) except for the flame on her torch, which is coated in gold leaf. Originally, the statue was copper in color, but has turned green from natural oxidation. The greenness is actually called a patina coating and protects the copper.
The statue faces southeast, which is a prime position for greeting ships as they enter the harbor. It used to be possible to climb to the torch, but it has been closed since the “Black Tom” explosion of July 30, 1916. Visitors were able to ascend to the crown of the statue until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Since then, the crown has been closed and the National Park Service has no immediate plans to reopen it.
“Liberty Enlightening the World” is the Statue of Liberty’s proper title. She was sculpted by Frederic Aguste Bartholdi and the internal structure was engineered by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame. Because the statue is so enormous, she had to be transported to the United States aboard the French warship Isטre in 350 pieces. The statue arrived in New York on June 17, 1885, but stayed in crates for 11 months until the pedestal could be finished. Emma Lazarus’s famous “Statue of Liberty Poem”, “The New Colossus” was read at the dedication and later inscribed on a plaque. From the time of her dedication in 1886 until 1902, the Statue of Liberty was a functional lighthouse.
The statue itself is symbolic of freedom, but certain aspects of Lady Liberty are specific symbols. The seven points on her crown represent the seven seas and the seven continents. She holds a flaming torch in her right hand, a symbol of enlightenment. The stone tablet she bears in her left hand is inscribed with the date, July IV, MDCCLXXVI, or July 4, 1776. Her face is said to be modeled after Bartholdi’s mother.
In 1983, American Express made the Statue of Liberty a beneficiary of one of the earliest cause marketing campaigns. For every purchase made with American Express, the company donated one cent to for the restoration of the statue. All together, the drive raised over $1.7 million dollars. The following year, the statue was closed so that a $62 million restoration project could be completed before her centennial celebration.
The Statue of Liberty is an important and cherished part of American history. Lady Liberty stands as a beacon of freedom to millions of people around the world.
New York City's Central Park
New York City’s Central Park is a vibrant, colorful attraction for tourists and locals alike. The park occupies over 840 acres in Manhattan and receives over 25 million visitors annually. It is bordered to the north by West 110th Street, to the west by Central Park West, to the south by West 59th Street, and to the east by the famous 5th Avenue. Though it appears natural, Central Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, is entirely landscaped with artificial lakes, a zoo, playgrounds, walking trails, and ice skating rinks.
In the mid-nineteenth century, New York City was growing at an unprecedented rate. Public open spaces, aside from cemeteries, were few and far between. Poet William Cullen Bryant, among others, began to voice a need for a larger, sanctioned public park. In 1953, New York Legislature designated over 700 acres of land to be used for a park, for a cost of about 5 million dollars. A design contest was held, and Olmstead and Vaux’s “Greensward Plan” was chosen. However, after the park’s construction, public interest waivered and the park declined quickly after it was built; the political powers in New York City at the time were not interested in maintaining a 700 acre public facility.
In 1934, mayor Fiorello LaGuardia appointed Robert Morris to restore and revitalize Central park. The park underwent major construction and redesigning; athletic fields were constructed and the walking trails were adjusted for automobiles. In the 1960s, the park thrived as a symbol for counter-culture events and urban revival. Many rock concerts, political events, and Shakespearean plays took place in Central Park. In 1963, it was declared a national historic landmark. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts in the 1970s, the park suffered another rapid decline. It was restored again in the 1980s and early 1990s, and remains a lively entertainment mecca today.
Central Park’s place in pop culture is secure. Legendary folk singers Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel played a reunion concert at Central Park, and subsequently released a recording of it that went on to be one of their best-selling albums. In recent years, the Park has hosted a variety of music festivals, including the extremely popular Dave Matthews Band. It was featured in the James Bond film Live and Let Die, as well as Madagascar. J.D. Salinger’s coming-of-age novel is partially set in Central Park, while Edward Albee’s drama The Zoo Story is completely set in Central Park; there is even a playground named after Diana Ross. Perhaps the most culturally significant pop culture aspect of Central Park is Strawberry Fields—the memorial for former Beatle and visionary John Lennon.
The park offers a wide variety of events for all ages. Tavern on the Green is a world-famous restaurant located on the west side of Central Park. The Central Park Zoo opened in 1981 and remains one of the most popular attractions. The obelisk, or Cleopatra’s needle, is the oldest public monument in North America. Finally, the Central Park carousel located at mid-park is a quaint family attraction. The original park carousel opened in 1871; the current carousel was built in 1951 and is one of the country’s largest merry-go-rounds.
New York City, aptly named “The Big Apple” and the “city that never sleeps,” represents one of the great international centers of finance, politics, communications, music, culture, and fashion. Home to numerous, world-class museums, venues, and sights, this city is one of the most cosmopolitan in the world. Imbued with a rich sense of history and culture, there are many attractions for visitors to see and visit.
Statue of Liberty (http://www.nps.gov/stli/)
The Statue of Liberty is another must see in New York, but don’t bother going into the museum unless you really want to. Visitors aren’t allowed to the top of the Statue of Liberty anymore because of security issues. You are thoroughly frisked in an exhaustive security check, and have to reserve a time to visit in advance. You would be better off seeing the Statue of Liberty from the ferry that takes you to Ellis Island. The Immigration Museum at Ellis Island is worth a visit, and it is free. The ferry ($10) leaves every 25 minutes from Battery Park and stops at Liberty Island and Ellis Island.
Possibly one of the more infamous locations in New York, Central Park is the stuff of American legend. With its beautiful greenery, sprawling lawns, and lakes, Central park in highly popular with outdoor enthusiasts and concert goers. It hosts a number of concert venues and is home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Central Park Zoo.
Another bit of American history, Times Square is a must-see for posterity. In actuality, Times Square is impressive, but it is also highly commercialized and caters mostly to tourists. The “old “Times Square is located near Broadway and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. It has become quite seedy, and thus a "new" Times Square, located blocks away from the old Times Square, has emerged that is a family-friendly, highly commercialized area of themed restaurants, theaters and hotels.
Cathedral of St. John The Divine (http://www.stjohndivine.org)
The Cathedral of St. john the Divine is the world's largest Gothic cathedral and has been a work-in-progress for over a century. Beautiful Gothic architecture and exquisite stained glass windows only add to the loveliness of this amazing building. If you’re in New York, don’t miss the cathedral. It is an incredible sight, and one that rivals the European churches it emulates.
Carnegie Hall (http://www.carnegiehall.org/intro.jsp)
Carnegie Hall is yet another staple of American history, having housed some of this century’s most amazing musicians and performers. Unless you can afford the tickets for a concert, be content wandering through the beautiful building and looking at pictures of past performers and beautiful people.
Empire State Building (http://www.esbnyc.com/)
This famous building sits on the equally renowned fifth avenue and was for many years the tallest building in the US. Synonymous with New York, this building, more than any other, personifies the sleek, urban, and cultured New York atmosphere.
World Trade Center Site
The site of the of the September 11th terrorist attacks has become popular with visitors. If you were in New York prior to 9/11, you will be astounded at the emptiness. The previous twin towers have been replaced with memorial pools that are quite beautiful, and various plaques are on display documenting the history of the WTC.
The Chrysler Building is the epitome of Art Deco architecture and one of the most beautiful and well-known buildings in the world. Visiting the lobby is a must, but you’re not allowed up top unless you are on business.