Much like it being impossible to tour the full spectrum of the Louvre in one visit, it is virtually impossible to take in all that New York has to offer in one weekend. However, if you know what you want to see and have an understanding of where things are located you can cram a lot of New York’s tourist attractions with the family into one weekend.
Unlike the images seen on television and in movies New York is a sprawling metropolis with diversity, cultural attractions, and a melting pot of lifestyles all living attached to one another. The mass transit system can be a bit complicated to understand at first, but with a good subway schedule, some common sense, and great walking shoes you can get to just about anywhere. If you are interested in more of a historical view of the area here are a few not to miss sights.
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
The statue of Liberty sits in view of Battery Park, and has an abundance of tour companies available to take you across the bay and tour the exquisite lady and Ellis Island. Ellis Island was the original port of entry for all those immigrants looking for a new life in a new land. The museum offers great insights into the past that built America along with records of those who entered the country through this port.
Who knows, you may even see one of your long lost relatives names on one of the displayed documents. If you simply want a closer look at the regal lady, you can take the Staten Island Ferry and cross right by the amazing work of art and diplomacy for free.
As one of the first Danish settlements in 1623 Battery Park was erected as a “battery” of cannons to defend the new city of New Amsterdam. This defensive armory continued to grow and eventually built Castle Clinton in preparation for the war of 1812. The castle was renamed in 1896 to Castle Garden and turned into the city’s foremost concert hall.
Over the years Battery Park has been enlarged by renovating encompassing landfills, has been the welcoming center to 8.5 million immigrants as Ellis Island’s receiving center, and seen the castle turned into the New York Aquarium. This historic site now regularly hosts traveling art displays, and contains a variety of memorials for tourists and spectators alike to enjoy.
Twin Towers Monument and Museum
The Twin Towers Monument has two separate waterfall reflection pools which sit in the exact sites of the original twin towers and consistently run as a sign of never ending spirit. Circling the reflection pools are the names of every know person to have died as a result of the Twin Towers attack. During high wind situations the center most water fall will be temporarily turned off due to splash back caused by strong winds, but the second pool typically remains on at all times. The museum sits just between the two memorials and can have quite a line, so get there early.
The Twin Towers Monuments and Battery Park are within walking distance of each other and as you make the leisurely long walk from the towers to Battery Park you will come across strategically placed maps to guide you to your next destination. Between these two destinations sits the Wall Street Bull that is seen in many movies, such as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, the building that was used as headquarters in “Men and Black” and an eclectic variety of architecture that spans the history of the city.
Depending on how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and where you are staying within the city, all of the fore mentioned attractions, excluding the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island tours, can be visited in one day, as well as Little Italy and China Town.
For the second day of your trip consider taking in some of the world renowned museums, checking out Time Square (best viewed at night or dusk), or tour some of the Central Park attractions. Whatever you do, just don’t forget to try the pizza and other fabulously made local ethnic cuisines that can only be found in New York.