New York

Planning a short break to New York City? Here are the top 10 things you just have to see when youre visiting this amazing city for a weekend:

1. American Museum of Natural History

81st Str. The museum was founded in 1869 with a mastodon's tooth and a few thousand beetles. Today, it has more than 30 million artefacts, interactive exhibits and loads of taxidermy. It is famous for its 3 dinosaur halls which reflect how these behemoths behaved and includes a skull top of a pachyceph ulasaurus, a plant-eating dinosaur that roamed the earth more than 65 million years ago.

Other attractions include an enormous fake, blue whale and the Star of India sapphire. The Butterfly Conservancy has more than 600 butterflies from all over the world.

2. Central Park

72nd Str. This vast rectangle of green makes a welcome contrast to the concrete and traffic of the rest of Manhattan. Skaters, joggers, musicians and tourists enjoy the atmosphere as well as the free theatrical performances in summer. From the boathouse, you can rent a rowboat or take a ride in an authentic Venetian gondola. There is also a small zoo in the Park and a memorial garden "Strawberry Field" in memory of John Lennon, the ex-Beatle who was killed outside his apartment in 1980.

3. Empire State Building

350 5th Ave. One of the city's main tourist attractions, this was one of the original skyline buildings, built of limestone during the Depression in 410 days. It stands 102 storeys and is almost 449m tall. The Observatory on the 86th floor offers a glass-enclosed pavilion and surrounding open-air promenade with breathtaking views of Manhattan and beyond.

4. Greenwich Village

One of the city's most popular neighbourhoods, it stands as the universal symbol of all things outlandish and bohemian. It is a vibrant area packed with cafes, shops and bars with Washington Park Square supposedly the most crowded recreational space in the world. Once known for its swinging, smoky arts scene, which can be traced back to the early 1900's, when artists and writers moved in, followed by jazz musicians. In the 40's it was a gathering place for gays, followed by the 50's and 60's hippie era. Now the neighbourhood seems somnolent and while nobody can afford to live in the village, it is still a vibrant place, packed with energy.

5. Statue of Liberty

Liberty Island. The Lady of the Lamp stands at the crossroads of Old and New Worlds, representing the shining ideals of democracy. It was supposed to be a rather grand political gesture in 1865 by two French political activists, but it has become the American conception of political freedom. Modelled on the Colossus of Rhodes, the statue was unveiled in 1886 and visitors can take the 354 steps to the crown to breathtaking views across the bay to the Manhattan skyline

6. Wall Street

The historical heart of the Financial district is in an area at the southern end of Manhattan. It was the first permanent home of the New York Stock Exchange, which traces its origins back more than 200 years, when 24 New York City stockbrokers and merchants signed the Buttonwood agreement in 1792. It is now one of the foremost securities marketplaces and while some financial companies are no longer there, the financial markets as a whole are still called Wall Street.

7. Chrysler Building

405 Lexington Ave. In 1929, a race for the sky broke out between automobile tycoon Walter Chrysler and Wall Street powerhouse Bank of Manhattan Trust Co. for the title of the world's tallest building. Historians consider it the most tense race in skyscraper history. In 1930, the Chrysler building became the world's tallest building at 1046ft. and also the one of the most decorated office buildings in the world. It was decorated with hubcaps, mudguards and hood ornaments, just like the cars, and was recognised as New York City's greatest display of Art Deco. Chrysler hoped that such a distinctive building would make his cars household names.

8. Brooklyn Bridge

185 South Str. It has been the most influential bridge in American history and it remains one of New York City's most celebrated architectural wonders. Designed in the 1880's and completed in 1883, this elegant structure was, at that time, the longest suspension bridge in the world and the first to be constructed of steel The bridge links Manhattan with Brooklyn, once two separate cities.

9. St Paul's Chapel

162 Fulton Str. Completed in 1766, the Chapel stood in a field from the growing port city and was built as a chapel of ease for parishioners who lived far from the primary or mother church. It is Manhattan's oldest public building in continuous use and its only remaining colonial church. George Washington worshipped here in 1789 on Inauguration Day and above his pew is an 18th Century oil painting of the Great Seal of the United States. It was also used as a place of rest and refuge for more than 8 months for the recovery workers at the World Trade Centre site in 2001

10. World Trade Centre Site or Ground Zero

34 Church St. For generations of tourists and visitors who come to see the sites, this has been added to the list after September 2001.While there is nothing much to see, a viewing wall overlooks the gaping hole left after the terror attacks destroyed the World Trade centre Towers and other buildings around it.

Where once the Towers were landmarks, so too are their ghosts and those of the 2792 people who died here. While construction of the Freedom Tower began in July 2004 and was designed to evoke the Statue of Liberty, for many tourists, a Ground Zero pilgrimage to pay their respects will be a regular on the tourist list for many years.
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