New York City — For Shopping, Sightseeing And Theatre

New York City offers so much to see and do, it’s a city you must visit at least once in your lifetime.

New York City offers so much to see and do, it’s a city you must visit at least once in your lifetime.

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If you have not traveled to New York City at least once in your life, it’s time to do so. No other city offers the excitement, shopping opportunities, sightseeing and live theatre as does New York City. I have talked with some people who tell me they are afraid of New York because of all the people, the noise, traffic and so on. Well, if this is your problem, forget it.

There are easy flights into the city and good taxi service at reasonable prices.

I suggest you stay at a mid-town Manhattan hotel such as the New York Hilton where you will be in the middle of most of the action the city has to offer. There are many other good hotels in the same area from which to choose. Rates can run anywhere from $175 per night to more than $500 per night depending on the quality of hotel you select. I would choose a property that at least has a brand name such as Sheraton, Marriott and Hilton, etc.

The best time to visit would be in the spring or fall when the weather should be quite nice. New York is cold in the winter; hot and humid in summer.

What’s to do? Everything — almost. I find the city has become friendlier in the past years so you can ask directions and usually get a polite answer.

If this is going to be your first visit to “Mecca” I suggest you book a sightseeing tour around the area. Greyline is dependable and offers a good selection of sightseeing on half-day, full-day and two-day tours.

In Manhattan, you will see the three most visited sights: the world famous trio of the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and the site of the World Trade Center — “Ground Zero” where the city’s and nation’s heart was broken on Sept. 11, 2001.

Your sightseeing may even be on a double-decker bus. If the weather is good, sit topside, which is best for photography. Be sure to take a hat for cover.

The uptown and Harlem tour will be interesting as will the Brooklyn tour.

There is even a nighttime tour (Rockefeller Center) in mid-Manhattan. You will even be taken to the top of the Empire State building for a view of the entire New York City skyline. Believe me, this is exciting.

You have a selection of some of the finest museums in the world as well as music centers, Madison Square Garden, Grand Central Terminal, Chinatown, little Italy, Wall Street and the financial district, the United Nations building, Carnegie Hall and the Broadway theatre district. And, there is a lot more!

If a tour is available, be sure to take one at the famous Radio Center Music Hall. It seats 6,000 people, has two Wurlitzer Theatre Organs and is still in good condition. A few live shows are still presented there each year. It’s located next to Rockefeller Center with the tall building next door which houses NBC television for the east coast as well as radio. A tour is also offered here. In front of the building entrance is the famous ice skating rink. You can even rent skates and give the ice a try.

Central Park is beautiful and very large. Plan to spend some time walking around photographing and enjoying the scenery and fresh air.

There are also the Trump Tower and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s all there wrapped up in a rather small package.

Spend some time at the South Street Seaport where you will see interesting displays of marine objects such as old boats and ships, museums and interesting shops. Visit Ellis Island where many of our forefathers first entered the United States. You might even see one of your relatives’ names.

As for shopping — Interesting shops can be found everywhere. The latest and greatest is all here waiting for your pocketbook.

Don’t pass up the live theatre on Broadway. See at least two or three shows if you can. Tickets are not inexpensive, but if you are lucky, visit one of the scalper offices and save a lot of money purchasing last-minute tickets to some of the best shows playing.

The hottest ticket is for “The Book of Mormon,” which centers on two young Mormon missionaries sent off to spread the word in a dangerous part of Uganda. Their tale is told alongside the founder Joseph. Tickets are going for as much as $400 each. You may be lucky and get one much cheaper.

“The Lion King” continues forever it seems. I saw it in London last year and was not impressed. If you like Disney, this may be good for you.

“Wicked” fills the theatre night after night. I also saw this last year and didn’t care for it, but you may. It’s a take-off on “The Wizard of Oz.”

“Phantom of the Opera,” winner of seven 1988 Tony Awards including Best Musical is back with its timeless story. Great show! Great music!

“Jersey Boys,” winner of the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical, is a story of how Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons went from being unknown New Jersey kids to their fame.

“Mamma Mia” has ABBA’s greatest hits woven into a sunny tale set on a Greek island. It’s cute.

“Chicago” is a musical tale of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery wrapped up in a great evening of entertainment.

“Spider-Man Turn off the Dark” draws from over 40 years of Marvel comic books for inspiration. Parts of this play are actually thrilling to see.

“Motown the Musical” is a new musical based on the life of Motown founder Berry Gordy and featuring the era’s greatest hits.

“Annie” is back for the umpteenth time on Broadway with an all new production of one of the most acclaimed musicals in the past 35 years.

This is the current Broadway lineup not to mention the Off-Broadway productions usually found in smaller venues. You will also find great music being played by the Philharmonic Orchestra or Grand Opera at the Met.

There are numerous clubs featuring great musicians playing jazz, rock and easy listening.

There are more than 5,000 restaurants serving daily in Manhattan alone. Don’t eat in your hotel; try an eatery outside. The hotel concierge will be happy to recommend a few places.

So, plan your New York City outing carefully and then take as much in as you can. It’s a great experience!

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