I hate to say it, but it's true. My image of New York has been heavily influenced by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When I picture Manhattan, I see a walking turtle in a trench coat who has just finished watching the movie Critters. To me, central park is a place where goalie-masked individuals protect citizens while not engaging in witty repartee about Jose Canseco. And pizza stores? Well, as we all know "Wise man say, forgiveness is divine; but, never pay full price for late pizza."
The eight year old version of myself took all of these things to heart. Rooftops were places to to fight master-ninjas, who blended in seamlessly with the crowd. Pickpockets were terrible organized, requiring at least three people for the perfect wallet hand off, and seedy graffiti coated skate parks offered anything a troubled youth could ever dream of. You want cigarettes? There they'd simply ask, "menthol or regular," before tossing you a carton. And in New York City? Everybody loved M.C. Hammer.
For myself, this was a time when New York City was coloured by mutants. And the only mutants I knew of were Lean Green Fighting Machines.
So at this point you might be asking yourself, what right do I have to write about a city, so immersed in fictionality, that I'm yet to even step foot into? Well: I feel I know this city. I feel that I have spent years of my life there. And, to be sure, I can tell you all number of places you might want to visit.
Not to mention, I've spent the last week reading just about every book, every website, and every map I could get my hands on. So, for your benefit, let me try and show you...
The Best Places to Visit in New York City
Bronx Zoo - Not only does the Bronx zoo allow you the afternoon to explore a fantastic zoological exhibit, it also gives you reason to leave the downtown Manhattan area, and explore the more northern areas of the city. Access to the Zoo Grounds are free on Wednesday.
Whitehall Ferry Terminal - The Ferry here runs every half hour, taking people back and forth from Staten Island. The ferry offers a wide range of photographic opportunities, as you are set out on the water, with great views of the city skyline. As an added little bonus, it just so happens to be free.
The Empire State Building - Not only is it a must see, but it's also an impossible to miss. Towering over the city, the building has become iconic with New York. Made famous, only a few years after construction, this building is the very one that King Kong climbed up time and time again - in every subsequent remake. Access to the observation level will cost you about $40.00 if all my pricing is correct. This is one of those choices where you have to think, hmm... Tokyo offers it for free, and even Toronto is pushing the envelope with the C.N. Towers $25.00 price tag.
Ground Zero - September Eleventh, Two Thousand and One. Where were you when you heard the news? It's something that all of us remember. To be honest, I'm shocked that nothing has been rebuilt in the eight years since the incident. For me, September Eleventh was my very first day of University - all the way there and back on the bus people were talking about how a plane hit the towers, but I assumed it was a tiny one. For the next few weeks our communal T.V. would show nothing else. Visiting this site, to me, seem like an obvious choice. A reminded how for that one short year everything seemed off balance, and emotions ran raw.
5 Pointz - Located at 45 - 46 Davis Street, this place claims to be a Graffiti Mecca. There are few forms of art that I love more, and this open gallery is notorious for being one of the most sought after hot-spots in that particular art world.
Frick Collection - The Frick collection, to some, is an Art Reference library. To me, however, it is better known as the Avengers Mansion from Marvel Comics. Though the Avengers Mansion was destroyed in the comics, it still lives on in real New York City.
Central Park - Without a doubt, there is more to see here than can ever be seen, and more to do than can ever be done. It's the circle of... Well, it's a circular path at some points? To be honest, the biggest draw for me is the Alice in Wonderland statue that resides somewhere within the park's boundaries.
Brooklyn Bridge - I have been told that walking this bridge is, without a doubt, one of the most important things one can do in New York City. But, to be honest, I'm more interested in seeing it so as I can finally develop a visual representation of where, exactly, it was that the Green Goblin pushed Gwen Stacy, ultimately causing her death in one form or another. Be it the fall, or the sudden stop caused by Spider-Mans (snap!) webbing.
Museum of Modern Art - Somewhere between Ottawa and Winnipeg, back in 2006, I developed a love of Art Galleries, and Museums. I'm told that the MOMA is one not to be missed. From its opening hall, to its elaborate galleries, this is one stop that no tourist should pass up. Apparently it's worth skipping the Guggenheim for.
FAO Schwarz Toy Store - For those of you who remember the movie Big (you know, the Tom Hanks film that says, it's o.k. for older women to fall in love with and engage in acts of sexual deviancy with young children, provided they look "of age" - pretty much the reverse of Twilight) will delight in wandering this toy store, and browsing row after row of childhood playthings. Plus, you know... the keyboard!
Again, this is by no means a complete list, and as you've gathered it was created by a product of the eighties who has never walked a single foot into the city. But, that being the case, hopefully this was of some help to you. You can view the map below which has far more hot spots (as well as walking tour paths) listed. It is my personal map of New York, detailing what I want to do, and where I want to go.
Best of luck to you, as you plan your own World Class City get-away.
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