Just south of Central Park, Midtown is the New York as seen in a thousand films – a street-scene of yellow cabs, pretzel vendors and soaring skyscrapers. On the West Side of Sixth Avenue, the neon billboards of Times Square and the theatres of Broadway dominate. On the East Side, the Radio City Music Hall and St Patrick’s Cathedral surround the Art Deco Rockefeller Center, home to broadcasters NBC and a 70th-floor observation deck. Along Fifth Avenue, shoppers duck in and out of grand department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman browsing acres of clothes and jewelry. A few blocks south is the imposing Grand Central Terminal station and gleaming spire of the Empire State Building.
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Above Midtown to the east of Central Park, the genteel Upper East Side’s streets are lined with palatial apartment buildings and stately brownstone townhouses. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum are part of Museum Mile, a stretch of museums and galleries that line Fifth Avenue alongside Central Park. To the east is the upscale shopping of Madison Avenue and the cool sports bars of Second Avenue. Lush Central Park is the city’s backyard, filled with well-groomed paths, gardens, playgrounds, lakes, fountains and more than 9,000 benches. The American Museum of Natural History stands across the street on the West Side.
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A few blocks below 34th Street, Chelsea simmers with leafy streets of renovated brownstone townhouses and cutting-edge art galleries. A smattering of restaurants, bakeries and delis round out its friendly neighborhood vibe. To the east, Union Square brings regional growers and artists to its ongoing market. Below 14th Street, Greenwich Village retains its bohemian vibe though these days it is moving upscale. Funky restaurants and unique clothing boutiques line Bleecker Street. The Village Vanguard hosts consistently excellent jazz at night, while street musicians entertain the onlookers in Washington Square. Trendy fashion types head to the hip clubs and restaurants in the Meatpacking District. The East Village takes the Greenwich Village vibe and gives it a rock-and-roll makeover.
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South of Greenwich Village, art and designer fashion come together inside SoHo’s cast-iron lofts. Broadway is the busy shopping street, but discreet cobbled side streets hide restaurants, galleries and intimate boutiques. Get a taste of Little Italy on Mulberry and Mott Streets. Below that is Chinatown. Canal Street buzzes during the day with stalls and shops selling electronics, Chinese trinkets, fresh fish and vegetables. The Lower East Side is a blend of hipster funkiness and immigrant heritage. Trendy restaurants, designer New York hotels and shady bars sit amid tenement housing, delis and used clothing shops.
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Wall Street is one of the world’s foremost financial centers, sitting just north of the site of the former World Trade Center where crowds come to pay their respects. The 19th- century cobblestone streets of South Street Seaport provide vibrant spots to contemplate a walk across the 19th-century Brooklyn Bridge. Breezy Battery Park on Manhattan Island’s southern tip is where you can find a ferry to take you to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
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