Seeking the quintessential New York Experience? There is too much going on in this sprawling city for you to see everywhere. Without help, you’ll be challenged even to experience all dynamic Manhattan has to offer. Assuming you are already familiar with Times Square or The Empire State Building, here are six suggestions for a distinctly Manhattan-flavored New York Experience.
Experience the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater live
The Ailey company first began innovating in American dance starting in 1958. Today it is Congressionally recognized as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World.” The company performs annually at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, a 16.3-acre complex of buildings with other resident companies including The Metropolitan Opera and The New York City Ballet.
Explore Harlem’s heritage and culture
Learn about Harlem’s diverse cultural and social history exploring its historic neighborhoods. Hamilton Heights, now one of northern Manhattan’s most desirable neighborhoods, is named for US founding father Alexander Hamilton. The storied Sugar Hill is where “life was sweet” for many African-Americans living in the area in the 20s and 30s. Yet, Central Harlem is the place to start. Considered Mecca for turn of the century African Americans, the Central Harlem neighborhood remains the vibrant home to arts, dining and shopping. NYXT partner Harlem One Stop offers weekly tours of these neighborhoods.
Relax in Washington Square Park
It won’t cost you anything to soak up the NYC energy in Washington Square Park featuring an adored arch monument, towering water fountain, outdoor chess tables, a lively dog run and music and theatre performances. When you’re ready to move on, stroll to the Blue Note, visit the Comedy Cellar, or revisit gay rights history at the Stonewall Inn.
Hush in the New York Public Library
You’ll likely have cause already to visit the bright Broadway lights of 42nd street, but the nation’s largest public library’s flagship building is peaceful, inspiring and impressive. The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building exemplifies Beaux-Arts style architecture, features ongoing collections free for the public to explore, and borders the famed Bryant Park where you can sprawl afterwards with a good book.
Discover Manhattan’s surprise gems
Using NYXT’s partner Manhattan Sideways’ real-time city history at sideways.nyc, learn more about this borough’s changing landscape. Plan a pub crawl in the Flatiron district, find unexpected vintage treasures in Chelsea, or plan a day out with the kids in Greenwich Village with this site’s helpful “sidewalk stories.”
Share Secrets in Grand Central Terminal
Yes, you can experience Grand Central virtually today thanks to Facebook, but its different to actually immerse yourself in the buzz of people traveling through this vast concourse. You’ll recognize the celestial ceiling mural and the building’s emblematic facade or train boards from many a movie. Yet you can only experience the whispering gallery live. Stand in an archway in front of the legendary Oyster Bar downstairs and whisper into the wall — you’ll be heard at the other side of the gallery. Strangers may hear you though, so perhaps you could offer a suggestion for another perfect New York experience to any listener.
“People usually walk through this incredible space — choreography is already going on — but they don’t really see it.”
— Elise Bernhardt, founder of Grand Central Dances, The New York Times; Oct 4, 1987 cited on gcthistory.com
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