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NYC is called the Empire State for a reason – it’s home to one of the biggest ‘scrapers in the world. There is no doubt that the former tallest building on the planet is well worth a look. At night, when the lights of the city are flashing, there aren’t many better sights in the whole of the USA. Forget about clichéd tourist traps because it’s well worth the money, and the eye rolls from the locals.


New York isn’t only about one building though. It’s a magnificent city, one which doesn’t sleep and is home to sights and sounds you won’t find anywhere else. Focusing on a single feature is a slight to the city and your trip. Why get so worked up about a skyscraper in a city where there are hundreds?


Whisper it quietly, but there’s a chance you can have a fantastic time without it. In fact, it might be even better than you imagined. All tourists need to do is head to the Empire State without going to the 86th floor. If that sounds like something of interest, then take a look at the following. These are the things which are more than capable substitutes.



The Rockefeller Center


Okay, so this one is a bit of a cheat. But, it isn’t the Empire State Building even if it offers a similar experience. Slightly smaller than the ESB, the Top of the Rock has observation decks at levels 67, 69 and 70. To be honest, no one notices the difference when stood on the viewing platforms. If anything, the Empire seems a touch smaller but it’s the distance playing tricks.


What is noticeable is the view from the TOTR. Looking straight out, in front of you is Central Park and it’s remarkable. We’ll move onto the park later on in the post, but it’s hard to gauge the size of it until you’re standing on the Rockefeller building. The Empire State doesn’t have this view because it’s further downtime and blocked. Plus, Times Square is easy to spot too.


What’s great about the Rock is the freedom and flexibility. Visitors are desperate to hit up the ESB so the lines are huge and waiting times long. Sometimes, you can walk into the center and go straight to the top at a cheaper price.



One World Trade Center


As far as tall buildings go, they don’t come much taller than the rebuilt World Trade Center. It’s officially the 6th highest in the world, only coming behind the likes of the Burj Khalifa in the UAE. In the western hemisphere, it’s the main man, the head honcho, the king of the castle.


Okay, viewing decks are a bit played out after your trip to the Top of the Rock. Don’t worry because there is no need to go to the platform in the One. After the tragedy of 9/11, this building was put up with homage in mind. So, it’s easy to spend a day at the waterfall marveling at its size or in the museum learning about the deceased and the heroes. Sure, it’s not at the top of the list but it is well worth it for the culture and history lessons.


Plus, Wall Street is only a couple of blocks down the road. And, not to promote drinking, but the area does have some excellent watering holes.






Aren’t musicals for posh people and the Guys and Dolls trying to be posh? Yes, it is a little bit pretentious and artsy-fartsy what with the acting and the drama. However, it’s also full of talent and plays and musicals which are record-breaking. Anyone who hasn’t been under a rock (or is that on top?) will remember the hype of Hamilton. Even non-theater goers bought into the hype and hysteria.


Hamilton isn’t around any longer, but there are a plethora of shows to take its place. Wicked, the musical is currently performing live at the Gershwin in New York. As the name suggests, the content isn’t the usual stuff. However, there is plenty to cover the bases from a Bronx Tale to Carousel.


Give it a try because it’s amazing how the average Joes and working classes get hooked. It isn’t only for the rich snobs!




Central Park


It got a mention earlier in the piece, but let’s go into it in more detail. After reading about the park, you can try and explore it. Be warned though – it’s a huge feat, and it will hurt your feet too! Let’s start with the size, which is 3.41km2 or 2.1 miles squared for those who deal in old money. In terms of land it covers 843 acres, which is about the size of the Vatican City. It’s six times bigger than Monaco. That’s some measurements for a park.


The amazing thing about it is the variety of activities. There are the boats rowing across the lake as well as runners and cyclists too. But, try and take in the outdoor museum. Okay, there isn’t one yet there are plenty of sculptures and monuments as well as plaques scattered across the grounds.


Luckily for you, film crews and concerts and all around famous people frequent the park. So, you may either get on TV or meet someone who already is on the boob tube. Empire State what?



High Line


Central may be the popular park retreat for New Yorkers but High Line is the coolest. Once a working railway line, it was abandoned for years before the city took notice. Thinking outside of the box, as people from NYC do, they decided to turn it into a park. Now, it is elevated 30ft above the ground of Manhattan running almost 1.5 miles long.


Primarily, it’s renowned for its greenery, as well as its novelty, but there are events too. The lucky ones get to watch live bands and local talent perform, for example. And, it wouldn’t be New York without the booze flowing and delicious food. There’s a lot to do in the city but this is a definite, a must do, a number one on the bucket list.


The next time you hit up NYC, where will you spend your days?

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