Take the express back to a bygone era. Grand Central Terminal — don't call it Grand Central Station — is a living, bustling temple to New York's illustrious past. Gaze at the celestial ceiling mural above the vast main concourse. Slurp some Kumamotos at the legendary Oyster Bar downstairs, and wash them down with a Manhattan at the swank Campbell Apartment. Tell a secret to your partner in the Whispering Gallery: stand at the end of either Oyster Bar ramp and whisper into the wall; you'll be heard way across on the other side. Mingle with the commuters in the gourmet culinary market. Explore the "secret" elevated passageways for a spectacular view of the concourse. Even if you have nowhere to go you can spend hours in the 100-year-old depot and never get bored.
John Roebling's engineering masterpiece was the world's longest suspension bridge upon its completion in 1883. One of the most recognizable structures in NYC, the bridge has been featured in countless movies and television shows and, as the first land passage between Manhattan and Brooklyn, represents a critical piece of New York City history. Though the bridge is visible from the shores of both boroughs, it is best experienced through a leisurely stroll across its elevated pedestrian walkway. Here, visitors from around the world can share a path with New Yorkers making their daily commute; those walking across can enjoy views of downtown Manhattan and New York Harbor on every step of the 5,989-foot traverse. The Manhattan-side entrance is at Park Row and Centre Street, across from City Hall Park.
Not sure where to look while walking through world-famous Times Square? Don't worry—you're not alone. With massive digital billboards whose bright lights make midnight look like midafternoon; star-studded Broadway and Off-Broadway shows (and reduced-price tickets to see them available from the TKTS Discount Booth); people peddling art and jewelry on the street; and, of course, the Naked Cowboy—who plays guitar in his tighty-whities—the expansive stretch of Midtown is a feast for all five senses. Visitors can shop in flagship locations of such stores as Toys "R" Us (which boasts an indoor Ferris wheel), take pictures with wax celebrities at Madame Tussauds, watch the ball drop on New Year's Eve or grab a pre- or post-theater meal along Restaurant Row (West 46th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues), where many eateries offer prix-fixe deals. And with Broadway closed to cars from West 42nd to West 47th Streets, Times Square is now more pedestrian friendly than ever.
The ups and downs of the nearly 90-year-old Cyclone roller coaster are a fitting metaphor for the Coney Island experience lately—every year seems to bring big changes to the quirky beachfront amusement district, but a visit there is always entertaining. The latest addition is the Thunderbolt, a new coaster named after a ride that was shut down back in 1982. These days, classic Boardwalk institutions like Ruby's Bar and Grill, Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park and Nathan's Famous operate next to shiny thrill-ride tract Luna Park, whose Scream Zone twists, turns, drops and spins patrons into a state of pure bliss (or at least bliss with a splash of queasiness). Other area attractions include MCU Park, the gorgeous home of Mets minor-league affiliate the Brooklyn Cyclones (who play from June through early September), and the New York Aquarium, which features a menagerie of aquatic life including walruses, penguins and cownose rays. Also worth visiting on Brooklyn’s south shore is famed Russian enclave Brighton Beach, just a short stroll away on the Boardwalk.
The original Yankee Stadium, known as "The House That Ruth Built", opened in 1923 and served as the Yankees' home until 2008. The new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009, and the team capped the venue's inaugural season with its 27th World Series title. This monolith, which retains some of the more beloved features from the old hallowed iteration, is a must-see for any baseball fan. Visitors can take a guided tour, which includes stops at the clubhouse/batting cage area (only during the off-season or when the team is on the road), the dugout and Monument Park, as well as the New York Yankees Museum, which offers a fascinating look at the history of the storied franchise. Of course, professional sports in New York City go much deeper than just the Yankees.