Tourist Attractions

Tourist Attractions07 Jan 2007 12:37 pm

By Chris Hale

Metropolitan opera

   The original Metropolitan Opera House first opened October 22, 1883 on a parcel of land between 39th and 40th Street on Broadway. The current Metropolitan Opera House opened September 16, 1966 and is situated on W. 62nd through W. 66th Sts. between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center Plaza is one of the world’s greatest opera houses. The opera house is first-rate in every aspect – from its majestic sets and staging to its featuring the world’s most revered artists accompanied by superior orchestral and choral musicians. The opera season runs over 32 weeks (from opening night at the end of September to the first week of May). During that period the opera house stages more than 200 performances with about 800,000 total attending the performances. The current opera house is a magnificent structure. Inside the opera house you are treated to swirling red carpeted stairs, crystal chandeliers, 24K gold ceilings and two enormous Chagal paintings. A recent addition to the opera house is the “Met Titles” feature: computerized screens that are mounted on the backs of the spectator seats to provide each person with their own opera-translation monitor. The Met Opera Guild offers backstage tours from October through June. For further information call (212) 769-7020 Monday thru Friday between 10-4 pm Eastern Standard Time. Current tour costs $9.00 per adult and $4.00 per student. Lincoln Center Tours (which includes The Metropolitan Opera) are given daily. For information call (212) 875-5350. The charge for this tour is $9.50 per adult, $4.75 for children 6 to 12 and $8.00 for students and senior citizens. Metropolitan Opera House, 132 W. 65th Street, New York, New York. (212) 362-6000.


 Photo: (c) Caroline P. Digonis 2006

Tourist Attractions15 Oct 2006 09:43 am

by Chris Hale
15 Oct 2006

   On a rainy day, heading over to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum on 42nd street proved to be a very entertaining experience. For twenty something dollars, you get to see how you measure up against the lifelike wax replicas of over 200 celebrities and personalities. Bring your camera since posing with the celebrities is the best part of this tourist attraction.
   The museum has five floors for you to explore and plenty of interactive activities for visitors. From auditioning with Will Smith to entering the scary Chamber of Horrors Live! attraction, the hours of entertainment are well worth the trip. The Stephen Spielberg wax replica was so real it was amazing! I could almost hear the voice projecting out of the  Barbara Streisand wax figure. There’s several themed interactive exhibits such as The Opening Night Party where you can mingle with the likes of Donald Trump, Woody Allen, and Nicolas Cage to name a few or the Popular Culture exhibit where you can see John Wayne, The Beatles, and Marilyn Monroe. There’s also a Gallery exhibit that has historical figures such has Pope John Paul,  Pablo Picasso, the Dalai Lama and a bunch of Presidents and other world leaders for you to meet. The kids will have the chance to meet Captain Jack Sparrow and get on board his ship the Black Pearl.
   The museum is open all year long and opens at 10 a.m. The weekends become overcrowded with tourist so you may want to visit during the weekdays. Taking a camcorder along might be fun too! There’s a nice gift shop filled with souvenirs from the museum for you to browse through on your way out.
   Getting there is also super easy, just take the N,R,S, or 1,2,3,7,9 to 42nd Street. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is located on 234 West 42nd Street.

Tourist Attractions12 Jul 2006 04:35 pm

by Chris Hale
12 May 2006

   Washington Square Park, named after George Washington, is located in the heart of Greenwich Village and is known for its two famous landmarks the Washington Arch and the central fountain. The history of Washington Square Park began as farmland until 1797 when it was turned into a cemetery until 1825. Washington Square was built in 1826 for the military to train defense troops on and was known as the Washington Military Parade Ground. The surrounding area quickly became posh residential homes for the upper class. On the north side of the park, the original row of Greek Revival style homes are still standing. In 1827, it became Washington Square Park.
    The park attracts an assortment of people including tourists, residents, street musicians, artists, vendors, and college students. The park is surrounded by historic red brick buildings primarily belonging to New York University for academic and residential purposes. Among other attractions to be found within the landmark park includes two dog runs, built-in chess and scrabble playing areas, commemorative statues, picnic tables, children’s play areas, paths, trees, benches and gardens. There’s plenty of events held at the park including several outdoor art fairs, a Halloween parade, dachshund events every May, street musicians, various speakers, and an annual music festival with free concerts.  
    The Washington Arch was designed in 1885 by architect Stanford White to commemorate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration. Interestingly, Fifth avenue traffic was allowed to pass thru the famous arch until 1964 when it was renovated at a cost of nearly $3 million dollars. The Washington Arch features two statues of George Washington, “Washington as Commander-in-Chief” and “Washington as President”. Originally made of plaster and wood, the memorial arch was so popular, Stanford White redesigned the arch in marble in 1892. The Washington Arch stands 77 feet tall and was modeled after the Arc de Triomphe located in Paris.
    The central fountain was installed in 1870 and remained a centered focal midpoint in the design of the park. The fountain is located near the Washington Arch and is a popular gathering location for leisure activities. The fountain is surrounded by plenty of stone steps for the publics use.
    Washington Square Park has been seen and mentioned in several movies, musical, and literary works. Among some include the 1994 film Searching for Bobby Fischer, the 1995 movie Kids, the film Deep Impact, and the literary work Henry James’ Washington Square. 
    Washington Square Park is located at West 4th St and Waverly Place. The Washington Arch is located at 5th Avenue and Waverly Place. Their telephone is (212) 982-9532. The park is open daily from sunrise to 1:00 am.

Tourist Attractions23 Mar 2006 12:35 pm

by Chris Hale
23 Mar 2006

   The New York Public Library has several branches throughout New York City but the one guarded by the two great stone lions on 42nd street and 5th Ave is worth visiting. The grand entrance alone is worth the trip where you can pose near the famous lions that were renamed “Patience” and “Fortitude” during the 1930’s by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia to encourage those qualities during the great economic depression of that time. This New York City landmark first opened on May 24, 1911.   
   Upon entering the library, you enter the main reading room of the research library, which has huge windows that light up the room, in addition to the beautiful chandeliers that hang from the 52 ft high ceilings. It’s a beautiful inviting space in rich details and they even have a guided tour that you can take at 11:00 a.m. or at 2:00 p.m. from Tuesday thru Saturday.
   The New York Public library was also featured in several films from many Hollywood decades. All the way back to the 1933 film 42nd Street, to the classic 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s to the 2002 film Spider-Man this historic landmark is a dominant tourist attraction.
   In addition to this masterpiece of a library, just behind it there stands Bryant Park which is a another great place to visit or have lunch along with the frequent office workers that take their lunch breaks here. Movable chairs are provided by the park for your use. The popular park has many activities throughout the year to enjoy including fashion shows, film screenings, craft fairs, comedy and free music concerts. There’s even a carousel known as “Le Carrousel” for the kids to take a ride on or plan a party at. The carousel is located on the 40th Street side of the park. 

Shopping Square and Tourist Attractions17 Feb 2006 12:48 pm

By Lucy Foster
17 Feb 2006

fao schwarz caroline digonis

   What is the oldest toy store in the U.S.? The answer is FAO Schwarz which dates way back to 1862 founded by German immigrant Frederick August Otto Schwarz. It also has the distinction of being “one of the oldest retail establishments of any kind”.  
   This magical toy store located on Fifth Avenue at the corner of 58th Street, is a whimsical treat for all those who visit. A toy soldier greets each visitor at the entrance and poses for photographs. When you enter the store, a  three story clock tower plays “Welcome to Our World of Toys.” The store is two floors of every type of unusual toy your mind could imagine. A vast collection of stuffed toys are located throughout the store and includes a collection of replicas of endangered species sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History. The store has something for every collector from a  fantastic collection of dolls to an impressive collection of Star Wars merchandise to exclusive jewelry and figurines.
   This FAO Schwarz store has the giant floor piano that was featured in the 1988 film “Big” with Tom Hanks.
   FAO Schwarz also offers some great customer service options to make your shopping experience a breeze. All of your purchases can be shipped to your home address at your request so you don’t have to worry about purchasing that oversized item. Some free services from the famed toy store include a personal shopper assistant and complimentary gift wrapping of your purchases.
   The impressive landmark toy store even has sweet treats to take with you throughout your shopping experience or you can enjoy your snack at the old-fashioned ice cream parlor area. The hot chocolate and fudge cake are recommended. 
   During the holidays, FAO Schwarz is also one of the busiest tourist attractions in NYC, so you may want to get there early to avoid long lines.

   Directions by subway include taking the N,R, or W, to the 59th street stop at Fifth Avenue or you may take the 4,5, or 6 to the 59th street stop at Lexington Avenue.

Photo: courtesy of FAO Schwarz

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