New York City is a place of lights, skyscrapers and entertainment. As the weather gets warmer, eventually anyway, students begin taking trips into the the Big Apple for a day of Broadway, shopping or just to spend some time with friends. Here are the many places everyone should be sure to check out when journeying to the entertainment capital of the world.
Times Square: “Times Square at the Crossroads of the World.” So says the Web site of the entertainment capital in New York City. With the the “Good Morning America” studio on one side of the street, MTV on the other and Broadway theaters all around, Times Square is the place where everything converges in a sea of monstrous buildings and advertisements. This site of the annual ball drop on New Year’s Eve is awash in a sea of lights at night with the Virgin Megastore’s flickering red sign and colored billboards advertising the newest Broadway hit. With cuisine such as the Italian food of La Rivista, Broadway Joe’s Steakhouse and the French cooking of Les Sans Culottes, all on 46th Street, visitors will not go hungry. Besides the theaters and the atmosphere of Times Square itself, there is the nightlife with the B.B. King Blues Club on 42nd Street with space for casual listeners and energetic dancers and featuring music from such greats as B.B. King, James Brown, the Beach Boys and Little Richard. And, of course, the shopping is excellent with the Virgin Megastore, the largest store for entertainment in the world, and a giant Toys “R” Us, with its indoor ferris wheel, in the heart of Times Square.
Central Park: Central Park is the world’s largest park and is in the center of New York City. It stretches as far as the eye can see and is a haven for bikers, joggers or anyone who simply wants to spend hours basking in the comfort of the trees, benches and overall atmosphere of the giant park. Besides featuring walking tours, there are also year-round horse-drawn carriage rides. The tours can last up to 50 minutes and, despite being somewhat pricey, they are still a romantic and popular way to see the entire park, even in the winter. There are also many different recreational sports played there, including swimming, tennis and lawn bowling, all cementing a wonderful experience in Central Park.
Broadway: Broadway is one of New York City’s biggest attractions. The shows feature incredible acting, music and scenery and are always a joy to the viewers. Though usually expensive, there are often tickets available at cheaper prices through TKTS, where half-price tickets are sold. The theaters are all located in Times Square and downtown at South Street Seaport and are advertised on billboards throughout the theater district. Shows playing now include Tony Award Winners “RENT,” “Hairspray” and “Avenue Q,” which mixes puppets and humans in its touching story, and “The Phantom of the Opera,” the second longest-running show in Broadway history.
Museums: There is an abundance of museums in New York City, each with its own special focus. From the Museum of Natural History, with its exhibits on the evolution of the Earth and mankind itself, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which features every category of art from Egyptian and Greek artifacts to 20th century art and textiles, they offer a great learning experience for all ages. Other museums include the Jewish Museum, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Television and Radio and the Museum of the City of New York, among others with specific focuses.
Century 21: North Jersey natives may be familiar with this discount designer store’s Morristown cousin, but the original New York City version boasts a bigger selection. Located across from Ground Zero, the store is structured like a regular department store, with 25 to 75 percent off names like Versace and Chanel.
TriBeCa – 22 Cortland St. between Broadway and Church
Dylan’s Candy Bar: Founded in 2003 by Dylan Lauren, daughter of clothing designer Ralph Lauren, this is every kid’s dream. Like an FAO Schwartz for candy, Dylan’s offers something for everyone.
Midtown East – Corner of 60 St. and 3rd Ave.
Screaming Mimi’s: Though the city is filled with vintage clothing shops, Screaming Mimi’s has made a name for itself with organized racks and low prices.
East Village – 382 Lafayette Street between E. 4th and Great Jones
The Strand: With a slogan like “18 miles of books,” it’s no wonder shoppers can find almost anything at this Union Square book-selling legend. The store is enormous and a little difficult to get around, but the 20-something hipster staff is more than willing to point you in the right direction. The Strand is a great place to find used, rare or out-of-print books at reasonable prices.
Union Square – 828 Broadway at 12th St.
St. Mark’s Place: Not just a store, but an entire block with a distinctly East-Village-rock vibe, St. Mark’s is a great place to come for a tattoo or piercing, or to find that used CD you’ve been looking for.
East Village – Between 3rd and 2nd Ave.
Bowlmor/Pressure: This late-night bowler’s haven has become a hit with the celebrities and college students that pack its neighborhood. The atmosphere is calculated and artsy and the Applebee’s-like bar menu compliments long hours on the lanes. On Friday and Saturday, the trendy set can enjoy cocktails upstairs in Pressure, a chic rooftop nightclub featuring a billiard lounge and continuously playing movie screens.
Greenwich Village – 110 University Pl. between 12th and 13th St.
The Comedy Cellar: It may not look like much, but this underground comedy venue on bar-happy MacDougal Street features some of comedy’s biggest names in an intimate setting. The cover is usually $10 per person, but the two-item minimum will run the bill a bit higher.
Greenwich Village – 117 MacDougal St. between Bleecker and W. 3rd St.
Irving Plaza: New York’s premiere venue for cheap live music, Irving Plaza books a mixture of established acts with up-and-coming artists. Upcoming events include Ben Kweller, Catch-22 and the New York Dolls, and ticket prices are generally $10-14.
Union Square – 17 Irving Place
McSorley’s Ale House: Straight out of “Gangs of New York,” this East Village dive bar serves only two brews – light and dark. The sawdust on the floor decor and two-at-a-time drink orders cater to a no-frills crowd.
East Village – 15 E. 7th St. between 1st and 2nd Ave.
Stonewall Bar: Considered by many the birthplace of the gay rights movement, Stonewall has a diverse clientele. It is certainly not the best gay bar the city has to offer, but it has a proud history.
Greenwich Village – 53 Christopher St.
Lombardi’s: Like Trenton’s DeLorenzo’s, Lombardi’s is an old-school pizzeria with local clientele and a great reputation. The menu is sparse, but the staples like coal-oven pizza are always a good bet. Also, visitors should bring cash- Lombardi’s doesn’t accept credit cards.
NoLiTa – 321 Spring St. between Mott and Mulberry
Sylvia’s: Harlem’s ultimate soul food experience, Sylvia’s is world renowned for its southern cooking. On Sundays, the after-church gospel brunch is packed with tourists and regulars, but the ribs and fried chicken are worth the wait.
Harlem – 328 Lenox Ave. between 126th and 127th St.
-Audrey Levine, Entertainment Editor; Katelyn McCormick, Entertainment Assistant