They say that the musicians who travelled to New York in the past to seek their fortune were so impressed when they saw the skyscrapers that a lump formed in their throat, as if they were trying to swallow a big apple. This is the origin of the name with which this vibrant city is known. Nowadays, staying in a hotel in New York with Iberostar, you can experience this feeling first-hand.
Founded by the Dutch in 1624 and located at the end of the Hudson River, New York has five districts, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island which annually attract 60 million tourists.
The cradle of countless artistic avant-guards and cultural, literary and musical movements including hip hop and punk just to name a few, New York is a collage of streets and avenues always on the move and dotted with iconic yellow taxis. With an extensive metro network that never closes its doors, this urban colossus has earned the nickname of the city that never sleeps.
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A good place to start exploring New York is Lower Manhattan (Downtown Manhattan), and specifically, Battery Park, a landscaped strip that runs between Bowling Green and the confluence of the Hudson River. From there you can catch the ferry that takes you to Ellis Island and Liberty Island the latter of which is home to the well-known Statue of Liberty, one of the great icons that symbolize the city, the United States and, ultimately, the American dream.
From Battery Park, take Broadway Avenue, to stumble upon Trinity Church, the greatest neo-Gothic building in New York. On the other side, the world capital of finance unfolds: Wall Street, which houses the Stock Exchange building.
Taking Water Street, you will arrive at the famous Brooklyn Bridge over the East River, which was the largest bridge in the world for 20 years. On the corner of Broadway and Murray Street, it is worth visiting the City Hall (between Broadway and Park Row), home to the local government since 1811 and one of the best examples of federal architecture in the country. Moreover, it is a good idea to visit the infamous Ground Zero, where the tallest building in the United States stands, and then return to Broadway to explore the peculiar Chinatown.
The area of Midtown Manhattan, where the 4-star hotel Iberostar 70 Park Avenue is located, allows visitors to reach Greenwich Village, one of the most charming neighbourhoods in New York and a classic meeting point for artists and intellectuals. In recent years, however, the arty types have moved to the nearby East Village, between East Houston Street and East 14th Street.
Another neighbourhood nearby that you should not miss out on is Soho, located just below Greenwich Village (between Canal, Sullivan, Broadway and West Houston). Considered an important focus for avant-garde art, it stands out due to its cast iron constructions. Nearby you will find another example of the enormous influence exerted over the city by European emigration in the past: Little Italy.
Returning to Broadway and continuing upwards, you can see Washington Square on the left. Here you’ll find the Washington Arch, which commemorates the centenary of the election of George Washington as president of the United States. From there, heading towards Fifth Avenue, you reach Madison Square Garden, between West 33rd and 31st Street, presided over by monumental buildings and beautiful gardens. The visit to Midtown Manhattan ends in Times Square, between West 42nd and 47th Street, where New Yorkers brave the cold temperatures to say goodbye to the year every December the 31st.
Upper Manhattan (Uptown Manhattan) also offers its dose of tourist attractions, such as three of New York's major museums, the American Museum of Natural History, the MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library (between Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street) which was completed in 1911, Grand Central Station, a huge railway station that began operating at the beginning of the 20th century and finally, the Chrysler Building (1928-1930), a beautiful art-deco skyscraper that is 1,046 foot high including the antenna (between Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street), is also worth a visit.
You should also spend time discovering the Rockefeller Center Area in Uptown Manhattan which is like a city within a city, home to the largest complex of privately owned buildings on the planet and belongs to the family of the same name. When you finish, walk towards Saint Patrick's Cathedral, at the crossroads between Fifth Avenue and 50th Street, a neo-Gothic church that is the main Catholic focal point in the city.
Not far from here, you must of course visit the timeless Central Park, an enormous, green park that will make you forget that you are in one of the largest Metropolitan areas in the world.
In the district of Queens, which has an area of 178 square miles, you’ll find the neighbourhood of Flushing which is full of elegant and old houses and home to the Newtown Reformed Church, the Flushing Meadows-Corona, which is the fourth largest park in the city, and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Nature Reserve.
As for Brooklyn, located just in front of Downtown Manhattan, it is not only the ideal place to take in the New York skyline, but also offers many places of its own to visit such as the Children's Museum of Brooklyn, the first children's museum in the world, located at 145 Brooklyn Avenue, and the Brooklyn Museum (188 Eastern Parkway), considered one of the most important art museums in the country. As is the case with the Bronx neighbourhood in the north of the city, between the Hudson River, East River and Long Island we would also not recommend visiting the south side of Brooklyn.
A mandatory subject if you decide to visit this city is to look for a place to contemplate New York at sunset from the 86th or 102nd floor of the imposing Empire State Building, a skyscraper that was the highest in the world between 1931 and December 1972, when construction of the former North Tower of the World Trade Center was completed.
Another excellent option to see New York from above is to take a helicopter ride over the city. Although this is not exactly a low-budget activity, the feeling of seeing a sea of skyscrapers under your feet is simply priceless.
Do you want to go shopping in New York? In that case, there’s nothing better than visiting Macy's, located in Herald Square, near the Empire State Building. You can also enter the Century 21 chain, which has three stores in New York. One of the most frequented is on 22 Courtland Street, near Ground Zero.
On the stretch between West 47th Street and Fifth Avenue, you’ll find Diamond Row. As you can tell from the name, 80% of the shops and stores of this shopping street are jewelleries selling diamonds, hence the considerable police presence in the area.
While staying at your hotel in New York, you can also spend an afternoon horse riding at the Aqueduct Race Track, the New York racecourse, or take in a Broadway musical show at one of the many breathtakingly plush theatres.
Finally, make the most of your holidays in New York to explore the Harlem neighbourhood, between East and Harlem River, East 96th Street, Lexington Avenue, East and West 110th Street, Morningside and Saint Nicholas Avenue and West 155th Street. And if it's Sunday, you can attend any of the gospel masses held there.
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