Well, New York! I don’t think it requires any further explanation to convince you about visiting. There are so many iconic sights in the city which I think takes at least a week in the city to cover all them all; Apart from the ‘classics’, there are always new shops, new restaurants, new exhibitions, and new shows in the city that make every visit exciting, fresh and unique for everyone.
While it might take a little bit more time to explore the new shops and restaurants in the city, here are my list of classic and iconic places in New York City that you must visit!
Museum of Modern Art
There are quite a lot of “Museum of Modern Art” in the world, the Museum of Modern Art, literally the queen of the MoMA’s, is located in Midtown Manhattan. It is one of the largest and most influential art museums of modern art and they have been supporting the preservation and education of contemporary art for almost 90 years.
For tourists, the museum is offering a feast for the eyes as it housed an abundant of widely-recognized modern artworks in the modern art history, including g Picasso’s Cubism “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”, van Gogh’s Post-impressionism “The Starry Night”, one of Monet’s Impressionism Water Lilies painting, Jackson Pollock’s Abstract Expressionism “One: Number 31”, Henri Matisse’s Fauvism “Dance(I)” (and the other “Dance” painting is in the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg!), Andy Warhol’s Pop Art “Campbell’s Soup Cans”, and Dali’s Surrealism “The Persistence of Memory”… The list goes on and on. If you only get one hour in the museum, concentrate on a particular collection – see the floor plan to find galleries devoted to painting and sculpture, architecture and design, photography, and more – or explore a special exhibition in depth. If you have a little bit more time, sample the entire museum from top to bottom. Take time to join a gallery conversation, see a film, dine in a cafe, and browse at the MoMA stores.
The MoMA’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden is an outdoor courtyard of the museum and I think it’s a haven for the urban people to just unwind, relax… and appreciate art in the middle of the Manhattan concrete jungle.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met is on the side of the Central Park and it’s one of the most important and largest art museums in the world. It is a treasure chest of art where art lovers could find masterpieces basically from all over the world. The museum is divided into numerous sections that make it almost impossible to complete in a day!
Apart from the largest classical art collections from big names like Botticelli, Rembrandt, Vermeer, van Gogh, Degas, Robin, to Albrecht Dürer, the museum has a collection of treasures and artifacts from different parts of the world, including the entire Temple of Dendur from Egypt, Beaux-Arts Bronze Lampposts and the Façade of the Branch Bank, originally in Wall Street, in the Charles Engelhard Court. Amongst all these, I found the Human-Headed Winged Lion from Nimrud in Iraq, really special, based on the footage that ISIS was destroying the ancient city, and “luckily” a trace of this part of history was removed from there and remained safely in the museums.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
It is usually referred to as The Guggenheim, as it’s one of the oldest art museums in the city, rather close to the Met. The museum focuses on its collection of contemporary art, especially from impressionists and post-impressionists throughout the years. The museum has a permanent collection exhibit and also hosts temporary modern art exhibitions, one of my favorite paintings would be Vassily Kandinsky’s Composition 8 – this painting actually opened my eyes to contemporary art, especially Impressionism the first time.
The modern and sleek design of the museum is also widely-recognized to the world. The hallway is actually a continuous platform that spirals down the ground floor, making the entire the viewing experience fluid and smooth.
New Museum of Contemporary Art
The museum is rather “new” considering it was established 40 years ago and it’s located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan (a.k.a. Soho). It’s among the few museums worldwide exclusively devoted to presenting international contemporary art from around the world, and that’s why it’s called “New”. It is a center for exhibitions, information, and documentation about living artists whose work did not yet have wide public exposure or critical acceptance. The founder and curator had neither personal resources nor a collection, just abundant resourcefulness and a passion for living culture.
The museum doesn’t have a permanent exhibition but rather it hosts a number of themed exhibitions in different art forms from paintings, installations, photos, and more. The building that I visited was opened in 2007, while the museum originated from a one-room office on Hudson Street in 1977. Now, the museum has an important and influential legacy and mission to keep breaking new ground.
Visit the Sky Room, of which it opens to the public on the weekends unless it was booked for a private event. It has a nice outdoor terrace which offers a panoramic view from Manhattan’s Midtown all the way down to the lower Manhattan.
High Line Park / Whitney Museum of American Art
Ever since the High Line is opened it has been praised that the restoration of an old elevated train track to a park is such a brilliant idea. The park is an aerial greenway that stretches from the Madison Station to Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. The walkway offers great views of the Hudson River and it has several attractions along with the naturalized planting. Today’s park has become a great recreation site for locals and tourists.
Known as the “Whitney”, the Whitney Museum of American Art may be less recognizable to the others mentioned above. The museum, however, focuses on 20th and 21st-century American art. The museum was originally located on the Madison Avenue and then moved to the South Entrance of the High Line in 2014, the building is now leased by the Met and known as the “Met Breuer” as part of the Met. Whitney was founded by an art collector Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, who believed in supporting living artists, from celebrated pioneers to the latest innovators. She has quite an impressive collection of American art. Artists like Edward Hopper was the precursor to the Whitney. Other paintings in the permanent collection include George Bellows’s “Dempsey and Firpo”, Joseph Stella’s “The Brooklyn Bridge”, George Tooker’s “The Subway”, and more. Many of these artworks showcased American life in the 21st century as if it was a museum of history.
Today, the museum continues the founder’s tradition by presenting a mix of special exhibitions and installation of works from the collection.
American Museum of Natural History
While many of the museums that I love are art museums, the American Museum of Natural History is all about the nature that people from all ages could enjoy and learn. If you have watched the movie “Night at the Museum”, you would know how big the museum is. In fact, it is one of the largest museums in the world! Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan across Central Park from the Met, the museum comprises 28 interconnected buildings with 45 permanent exhibition halls that showcase the history, science, and knowledge of… basically everything on the earth from the past to present, and it even explored outer space. From Human, mammals, insects, birds, sea life… to fossils, dinosaurs, mummies, and space. The life-like animal exhibits in the Milstein Hall and Akeley Hall of Mammals and Indians exhibit were very interesting and they piqued my interests to learn more about their history and culture I recommend to catch a space show at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, I was totally wowed by the spectacular visual effect from the giant Hayden Sphere!
If you love theatres, then you have to catch a show at the theatre district. The Broadway theatres and located in the district along Broadway, nearby Times Square. There are 41 professional theatres and a number of musicals showing all year round, while “The Phantom of the Opera” at the Majestic Theatre and “Cats” at the New London Theatre, “Chicago”, and “The Lion King” are some of the longest-running Broadway musicals, new ones like “Kinky Boots” (and the theatre is located on 45th street, in the Hell’s kitchen 😛 – a.k.a. Clinton, a neighborhood on the West Side of Manhattan from 34th to the 59th Street) are also very popular, too!
Radio City Music Hall
Talking about the Radio City Music Hall, you must know about the Rockettes. The Rockettes are a precision dance company founded in 1925 in St Louis. Since 1932, they have performed at Radio City Music Hall near the Rockefeller Center in Midtown and the venue became the headquarter of the company. There are a variety of dance performances throughout the year, and the Rockettes were known for their kickline and eye-high kicks.
Not only may catch a show in the hall, but a stage hall tour is also available for visitors to find out all of the behind-the-scenes details about the hall and learn about the performers that have graced the stage.