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Best Places To Visit in New York

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Famous Buildings and Structures

 

The iconic, art-deco Chrysler Building is a famous sight in New York

 

New York is an architect's paradise and home to the skyscraper (it even has a Skyscraper Museum).  In this section of our guide  to the best places to visit in New York, we cover the Chrysler Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Grand Central Terminal, St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Cathedral of St. John the Devine.

The Chrysler Building 

Constructed in 1930 at the initiative of  Walter Chrysler of automobile fame, the 77-story Chrysler Building was once the world’s tallest building,  topping out at approximately 1046 feet tall.  However, its record was a short one, as the Empire State Building eclipsed it in height in 1931. 

Due to its art deco style, enchanting architecture and intricate decorations, the Chrysler Building soon came to be regarded as an icon by designers and New Yorkers. 

The Chrysler Building is located at 405 Lexington Avenue and is best seen from adjacent streets.  Although you can enter the lobby to view its marvelous decor, there are no tours of the interior of the building.  The lobby is open weekdays during normal working hours, but we regard the Chrysler Building as a walk-by.

During its construction, the Chrysler Building was in a competition with the Manhattan Trust Company Building (now the Trump Building - 40 Wall Street) for the title of the world's tallest building.  It looked like Manhattan Trust was going to win the battle, when the spire, which had been hidden inside the Chrysler Building, was popped through the top and finished in less than a day, gaining, at least for a few months, Chrysler's right to be called the tallest building in the world.

The Brooklyn Bridge  

          The Brooklyn Bridge at night


The iconic Brooklyn Bridge and its celebrated 6016 feet of engineering prowess crosses the East River and connects Manhattan with Brooklyn. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened in 1883 and is now a National Historic Landmark.

The view of Manhattan from the bridge is spectacular and you might want to cross the bridge by foot using the pedestrian walkway called the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade, which starts quite near City Hall.  Others prefer the view from the Brooklyn end of the bridge and advise taking the subway to Brooklyn and then walking back to the city.  Take either the A (Eighth  Avenue Express) or the C (Eighth Avenue Local) to High Street and walk back to and across the bridge to Manhattan.  See the MTA's official subway map for details on transportation.

Note that construction and maintenance programs to keep the bridge in good shape are ongoing, so pedestrian  access may be restricted at times.

Grand Central Terminal 

Interior view of Grand Central Terminal, note the zodiac just visible on the ceiling

The Grand Central Terminal (1913) has a storied past.  Once tied intimately the Grand Central Railroad, the building is now a registered historic landmark that is known for its fine restaurants and shopping, as  well as a range of food emporiums.  The Grand Central Oyster Bar is a New York landmark and bills itself as providing, “The Freshest Seafood in Manhattan.”

The famous four-sided clock at New York's Grand Central TerminalThe interior and exterior of the Terminal are grand and the building was completely renovated before the turn of the century.  The exterior is known for its fine statues, while the interior has a number of treasures.  Covering the concourse is the original “Sky Ceiling” by the French painter Paul Helleu.  A minor controversy about the ceiling is that the zodiac appears backwards.  It was represented by the artist as the view of the zodiac from Heaven, while it was derided by others as an unforgiveable mistake.  The Grand Staircases and chandeliers also deserve a  quick look, but it is the overall ambiance that will impress you.

See the official website of the Grand Central Station for more details on visiting.  The Grand Central Terminal is located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan at 42nd and Park Avenue.

 

Saint Patrick's Cathedral 

Saint Patick's Cathedral is a beautiful house of worshipToday, Saint Patrick's Cathedral is surrounded by skyscrapers.  When its cornerstone was laid in1858 the location of  Saint Patrick's was considered too far outside of the “City” to attract a congregation large enough to justify its expense.

Now considered one of the great cathedrals of the Catholic faith in the United States, the Cathedral's architecture and interior design, have been continuously augmented since it was dedicated in 1879. Saint Patrick's is known for its fine chapels (particularly the Lady Chapel) and elegant Gothic design.

Saint Patrick's is open daily from 6:30 a.m. until 8:45 p.m. Tours are available for groups of ten or more by appointment and are usually timed around the schedule for Mass.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is located on Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Street.   See the Cathedral's official website for details on the building, visiting and services .

Cathedral of St. John The Divine 

Saint John's is the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and one the world’s largest cathedrals.  The construction of Saint John the Divine began in 1892 and is still unfinished, as its construction is based on the traditional methods of stone carving and masonry used in the construction of Gothic-style churches. Be sure to see the Rose Window, the seven chapels and the impressive nave, as well as the Cathedral’s beautiful garden.

Saint John's suffered a devastating fire in 2001.  Although the damage was repaired by 2008, restoration efforts to maintain the Cathedral are an ongoing effort.

Located at 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue (1057 Amsterdam Avenue) the Cathedral is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Tours are offered to individuals and groups. See the official website  for more details on the cathedral and visiting.

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Chrysler Building
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