One of the central locations in my newest book, Deep Plant, is New York City. Known the world over as the Big Apple, it is a extraordinary collision of sights, sounds, smell, taste and vibration. What struck me about NYC was how close all the major landmarks we see in movies and TV are to each other. Central Park, Times Square, Empire State Building, Wall Street, Broadway, Grand Central Station, Rockefeller Center, Tiffanys, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel … I could go on.
New York City is Comprised of Five Administrative Districts Known as Boroughs.
They are, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Manhattan Island. There is a vast array of things to see and do in the greater New York area, but for today let’s focus on Manhattan.
Manhattan is the most densely populated of the five boroughs and serves as the center of New York City’s self-identity. When people speak of New York, the often are referring to Manhattan. An island, it’s bounded by the Harlem River to the north, in the east by the East River, on the west by the Hudson River and the Upper Hudson Bay to the south.
Manhattan is the home to many amazing and impactful organizations and buildings. You often hear of New Yorkers referring to ‘uptown’ and ‘downtown’. Downtown is famous for Wall Street and Battery Park, while Uptown is home to things like Columbia University on the Upper West Side. But for today, I want to touch on Midtown Manhattan.
According to Wikipedia, it is this country’s largest commercial, entertainment and media center as well as home to some of the most expensive retail real estate on the planet. On Fifth Avenue alone, rents can be as high as $3,000 per square foot. It is home to two of America’s four major TV networks, CBS and NBC.
While the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade starts up by Central Park, it winds through and finishes at Macy’s Midtown flagship store. Midtown is the nexus of New York.
What are some of the cool things to do in there? Well what do you like? Loud? Vibrant? Crowds?
Times Square is Off The Hook
Be the star of you own movie here where the world celebrates New Years with the dropping of the ball at midnight. Neon lights, the life blood of one of the world’s most recognizable locations, pulse with energy. Hard to take a bad pic anywhere in the Square. Experts suggest taking selfies on the steps right atop a TKTS booth, facing south, which offer a unparalleled view of the Square.
Have you ever wanted to visit the winter ice skating rink you see in the movies or on TV. From Times Square, you’re a short walk, less than half a mile, to Rockefeller Center. On the way you’ll pass Hershey’s Chocolate World, the Ninetendo Store, NBC Studio 1A where they film the Today Show and FAO Schwarz Toy store, made famous in the movie Big. In winter, ice skating. Summer, outdoor bistros and dining. And of course in either season, Starbucks.
The best place to take selfies is at the end of Channel Garden, on the steps overlooking the skating rink below.
An interesting bit of trivia,
Rockefeller Center is in Many Ways the Epicenter of Mid-Town Manhattan.
It was the vision of John D. Rockefeller Jr., son of John D. Rockefeller, the oil magnate who founded what is today Exxon.
Construction of the Center commenced in 1931, with the majority of the complex finished by 1939. It is home to many of America’s most recognizable establishments. Radio City Music Hall, home of the world famous Rockettes. NBC studios where you can see live tapings of the Today Show, SNL and the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. You can eat or have a drink at the iconic Rainbow Room, on the 65th floor, used in the movie, Sleepless in Seattle with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
Other prominent features to be found at Rockefeller Center, is the extraordinary artistic influences. The building’s design, art, sculptures, statues and color, are massively dominated by Art Deco, an extremely popular style of the early twentieth century.
Two examples of this are the statue of Atlas holding the world at the eastern side of the Rock Center, across Fifth Avenue from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The other, is perhaps one of New York’s most recognizable landmarks, the famed statue of Promethus overlooking the ice-skating rink.
I will continue my travelogue of Midtown again soon, but for now, these are some of the vast number of highlights to see when you visit New York.
If you have an experience in Mid Town to share, please email me, would love to hear about it. Until next time!