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Metropolitan Museum of Art
The largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere, the Met is a mecca for art lovers of all stripes. Treasures from all over the world and every era of human creativity make up its expansive collection. If you need a breather, you can always retire to the Temple of Dendur or the rooftop café.
Times Square is the most frenetic part of New York City: a cacophony of languages and flashing lights, outré street performers, shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, and back-to-back billboards. These days it's also a pedestrian-friendly zone, so you won't have to take your eyes off the excitement to watch where you're going.
Empire State Building
It may not be the tallest building in New York anymore (the Freedom Tower reclaimed the title for the World Trade Center in May 2012), but its status as most iconic will never change. Take in the panoramic views of the city from its observatories, or just enjoy it from afar—after dark it's illuminated by colored lights that correspond to different holidays and events.
Museum of Modern Art
Airy and spacious, with soaring-ceiling galleries suffused with natural light and masterpieces that include Monet's Water Lilies and van Gogh's Starry Night, this one-of-a-kind museum designed by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi is as famous for its architecture as for its collections.
New York City's most famous bridge connects the island of Manhattan to the borough of Brooklyn, and serves thousands of pedestrians, vehicles, skaters, and bicyclists a day. Walking across is an essential New York experience.
Statue of Liberty
Presented to the United States in 1886 as a gift from France, Lady Liberty is a near-universal symbol of freedom and democracy, standing 152 feet high atop an 89-foot pedestal on Liberty Island. All access to the interior of the monument is closed to the public until the end of 2012, but Liberty Island remains open, and is well worth a visit.
American Museum of Natural History
The towering, spectacularly reassembled dinosaur skeletons that greet you when you enter this museum might stop you in your tracks, but there's much more to see here, including exhibits of ancient civilizations, the live Butterfly Conservatory (October-May), a hall of oceanic creatures overlooked by a 94-foot model of a blue whale, and space shows at the adjoining Rose Center for Earth and Space.
The literal and spiritual center of Manhattan, Central Park has 843 acres of meandering paths, tranquil lakes, ponds, and open meadows. For equestrians, softball and soccer players, strollers, skaters, bird-watchers, boaters, picnickers, and outdoor performers, it's an oasis of fresh air and greenery amid the hustle of the city.
The memorial at the World Trade Center site is a moving tribute to the lives lost on 9/11. After a decade of clean-up and construction, the memorial opened to the public on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks, while construction of a museum and other parts of the site continues.
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