New York City is the largest, most populous city in the United States and one of the world’s finest cultural centers. Founded in 1624 as a Dutch trading colony, over the centuries it has blossomed into one of history’s most important urban areas. Boasting innumerable historic landmarks famed for their magnificence and artistic styling, NYC is one of the premier destinations for tourists coming to the United States. It’s impossible to list them all, but there are at least three that no visitor can be allowed to miss: The Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building and Central Park.
The Statue of Liberty
An iconic colossal sculpture, the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World brings to mind what the ancient Colossus of Rhodes must have looked like. French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi intended the statue to serve as a monument to American freedom and to the enduring friendship between the United States and France. It depicts the Roman goddess of freedom, “Libertas,” raising a torch in her right hand, while her left holds a tablet inscribed “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI,” the date of the Declaration of Independence in Roman numerals. The Statue of Liberty is renowned as a monumental artistic achievement, one of the greatest of its kind ever completed. It has been closed to public entry since incurring damage during Hurricane Sandy, but is scheduled to reopen July 4, 2013. There is no admittance fee, although tourists are required to pay for ferry service to the island and to ascend the inner staircase.
The Empire State Building
This 102-story Manhattan skyscraper derives its name from New York’s nickname “The Empire State.” Located at the corner of West 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, it is a unique building in a city known for unique buildings. The Empire State Building adheres to Art Deco architectural design, a style typical to the early 20th century but not shared by its neighboring structures. It was designed by William F. Lamb, and opened to the public May 1, 1931; the Empire State Building was the world’s tallest until the completion of the World Trade Center in 1972. The site is an immensely popular tourist destination, generating more income from ticket sales than renting office space to businesses. Lines to enter its popular observatory are notoriously long, but can be skipped for an additional $20 fee.
The largest urban park in the United States, Central Park draws in over 37 million visitors each year. It was built under the direction of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who worked to introduce over four million trees and 1,500 plant species before its 1873 completion. Over the years private organizations have donated 29 sculptures to the park grounds, each famous in its own right. Central Park is located in the center of Manhattan, and the view of the surrounding skyscrapers provides possibly unequaled aesthetic appeal. It is maintained by the nonprofit Central Park Conservancy, and admittance is free of charge.