New York City can be overwhelming, especially for first time visitors. In this article, I’ll point out a few of the highlights and suggest an itinerary that is fun, informative, affordable, and easy to execute. We’ll focus on the Times Square area from 42nd Street to 50th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Tailor the suggestions to your schedule and preferences.
New York CityPASS and Midtown Manhattan
On this particular trip to NYC, I was attending a writers’ conference at the Javits Center. My hotel was on 42nd street, so I focused my sightseeing on nearby venues. For part of my time, I used the New York CityPASS to save money and time.
From the options included on my New York CityPASS, on this day I chose to do the Top of the Rock exhibits and observatory on 50th Street in Rockefeller Plaza; the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum; and the Circle S Cruise. I finished off my evening with a wonderful dinner at Gabriel Kreuther on 42nd Street.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The fascinating Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is located in Midtown Manhattan at the far western end of 46th Street. The main attraction is the mammoth USS Intrepid aircraft carrier launched in 1943 during WWII. The Intrepid has a long and storied history, including surviving five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike. It also functioned as a NASA recovery vessel in the 1960s. Informative plaques educate guests on the numerous planes and choppers used in WWII that cover the deck of the aircraft carrier.
Other attractions include the only American guided missile submarine open to the public, the Growler. In addition, the Space Shuttle Pavilion houses the space shuttle Enterprise, which paved the way for the successful space shuttle program. Numerous exhibits, photos, artifacts and exhibit zones tell this intriguing story of man and space. In addition, the British Airways Concorde in on display at the museum’s nearby Pier 86.
Circle S Cruise around the Southern Tip of Manhattan
The leisurely Circle S Cruise took us from the 84th Pier with views of the New York City skyline to the left and the cities of New Jersey on the right. One of the highlights of the cruise was passing close by the Statue of Liberty holding her torch high against the sunlit evening sky. I’ve seen Lady Liberty several times before, but taking our time passing close by during a gorgeous sunset was a special experience.
After spending time cruising by Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the boat headed around the tip of lower Manhattan with Governors Island and Brooklyn on our right. Crossing underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, we passed by the revitalized DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and the Navy Yard. Shortly we turned around and headed back to Pier 84, with fantastic view of the One Trade Center and the entire Manhattan skyline.
Top of the Rock
Rockefeller Plaza is best known for the world famous skating rink, the Christmas tree lit up with thousands of lights during the Christmas season, and the spectacular Rockettes dancing their well-known routines at Radio City. Rockefeller Plaza is also home to Saturday Night Live and various news and entertainment programs and dozens of shops.
Being away for some time, I had forgotten how huge Rockefeller Plaza is. In fact, the complex covers 19 buildings over 22 acres in the heart of midtown. The very interesting story of Rockefeller Plaza is told with vivid photos, videos, and written text in this popular tourist mecca. I was struck by the vision, genius, and accomplishments of the Rockefeller family through the years.
Vistas of the huge Central Park and the New York City skyline is definitely a highlight of the Top of the Rock attraction. As visitors wind their way towards the top, they pass by numerous intriguing and entertaining exhibits loaded with tidbits of fascinating trivia.
One of my favorites, much like those at the Empire State Building, are the exhibits showing fearless workers high up on steel girders performing their trade. I just cannot imagine being up that high with so little equipment to keep me safe while doing construction work in the clouds.
Gabriel Kreuther – One of “America’s Best Restaurants”
Launched is 2016, by many accounts Gabriel Kreuther is one of the best new restaurants in NYC. It has been named to many lists of best and most beautiful restaurants in the city. In addition, it has earned its two Michelin stars by providing diners with an unforgettable dining experience with fantastic food and impeccable service in an amazing space. Gabriel Kreuther has been named to many “Best of … “ lists, including “Best New Restaurant of the Year” by NY Village Voice, and “Best Restaurants in America” for the Daily Meal, Open Table, Gayot, Wine Enthusiast and others.
With its convenient location at 41 West 42nd Street across from Bryant Park, Gabriel Kreuther caters to the pre-theater crowds and others looking for a special dining experience. The inspired French Menu features main dishes like Black Angus Beef Tenderloin, Roasted Local Striped Bass, and Long Island Duck Leg Confit. With fantastic food, impeccable service, an award winning wine list, and convenient location on 42nd street, Gabriel Kreuther is the place to dine in Midtown Manhattan.
Next time you find yourself in Midtown Manhattan, check out some of these great sites for a fun and memorable day. You’ll definitely have fun and be entertained. And, you may even learn a thing or two about New York’s fascinating history. Explore Rockefeller Center and the Intrepid Museum. Cruise down the Hudson River and spend your evening with Lady Liberty at sunset, and then finish your evening at Gabriel Kreuther for a day to remember.