A few ideas on how to begin planning a visit to New York City

New York City Skyline
The skyline of Manhattan as seen on May 29, 2016. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The Travel Trolley)

NEW YORK (defeo.biz) — New York City is truly a one-of-a-kind place. Writing a travel guide with the absolute must-do sights and attractions is almost a ridiculous proposition.

TripAdvisor, for example, shows 1,038 things to do in the City That Never Sleeps, certainly an overwhelming number of possibilities. There is something for everyone, to be sure.

Now, I always say take the Big Apple one bite at a time. For first-time visitors, there are some great ways to experience the city in a cheap and easy way, such as heading to a park or grabbing a hot dog from a street vendor.

But, for anyone looking to take in some of the city’s world-class attractions, here are a few options for starters:

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty, or Liberty Enlightening the World (La Liberté éclairant le mode in French) stands on Liberty Island in New York Harbor.

There is no more well-known symbol of the city — and the country, for that matter — than Lady Liberty. As an alternative, hop the Staten Island Ferry for great views of the Statue of Liberty. It won’t cost a dime.

Ellis Island

For millions of immigrants, Ellis Island was the first view of America. Today, it is a moving experience for anyone wanting to learn more about that era in U.S. history, Ellis Island is a must. The island sits in the middle of New York Harbor (possibly on the New Jersey side, depending on whom one asks) in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. Though quiet today, it’s amazing to think of what the Great Hall was like as new arrivals to the country passed through in search of a better life here.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum

National September 11 Memorial & Museum
A fire engine on display at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Sept. 11, 2001, was one of the darkest days in the city’s history. The city persevered and rebuilt. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum commemorates that fateful day. The 9/11 Memorial & Museum, located in the basement and footprint of the former Twin Towers, is a poignant reminder of the day, with exhibits bringing to life the heartbreaking, heartwarming and heroic stories that emerged from the devastation and destruction.

Empire State Building

Empire State Building
The Empire State Building as seen on Nov. 2, 2015. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

There may be no more iconic representation of Gotham City than the Empire State Building. The 102-story-tall skyscraper was built in 1930-31 and opened on May 1, 1931. It was the tallest man-made structure in the world until 1954 and today is the second-tallest skyscraper in New York and the fifth-tallest completed in the country. The view from the observation deck is awesome, to say the least.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Washington Crossing the Delaware
Washington Crossing the Delaware, an 1851 oil-on-canvas painting by the German-American artist Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, in on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The Met was established in 1870 and since that time has built one of the best museum collections in the world. Its collection includes works from such renowned artists as Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, to name just a few. One incredible piece is by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, depicting Gen. George Washington leading his trips across the Delaware River. Who says America never inspired great artwork?

Todd DeFeo
About Todd DeFeo 67 Articles
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is the owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and Railfanning.org.