By: Fehmida Bholat
New York, New York: what to say about the city that hasn't been said before? The city itself is a teeming, living and breathing being that encompasses nearly every culture, religion, ethnicity and philosophy in the world.
The city at the heart of the state is broken up into it's own enclaves, from upscale Manhattan, gritty Bronx, the slowly gentrifying Brooklyn, to the many other places within the city that comprise of millions of bodies, New York attitude, good pizza, and a whole lot of yellow taxi cabs.
The city has so much culture, fun, information, and history around every corner that it can become dizzying trying to finish everything on one trip. Use this list as a guide on what is must-see, and what is worth every penny:
1) Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island: Presented by France to the US, this cultural symbol of hope, prosperity and a better future is even more moving in real life. No picture or postcard can capture the emotions that you can almost see of millions of immigrants passing through the infamous island and catching a glimpse of the astounding statue. Take a tour of the island by way of ferry and soak up the history of the city.
2) World Trade Center Site and Memorial: The site lies surrounded by Liberty, Vesey, Church and West St., and is a testament to the perseverance of New Yorkers. The former site of the World Trade center has see-through screens and grids, as well as monuments to the individuals who perished in the September 11th attacks. The area around it is as bustling and as busy as the rest of the city, but the memorial itself is eerily quiet—a must see.
3) NBC Studio Tour: This is great for people who want to see where their favorite shows are filmed and get a sense of the history of television. Located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the hour-long tour will take you behind the scenes look at some great shows currently in production and a sneak peek at the legendary studio.
4) Museum of Natural History: This is THE museum to see if you are in New York. It houses some of the most up-to-date and impressive displays on everything from the dinosaurs to ancient tribes. The fossil halls are especially impressive, with no less than six halls filled with more than 600 fossils from throughout the millennia. It's a great place to take kids, but make sure to allow for breaks throughout the day. The museum is so expansive, and it usually takes a whole day or more to cover.
5) Central Park: This natural haven among the concrete jungle of the rest of the city provides some of the best relief from the confines of the city. Live shows, plays, a zoo, an ice skating rink, a carousel, free movies and just a general sense of relaxation can be found at the park. Make sure to take advantage of these while here, and to soak up the easygoing side of New Yorkers that comes out when at Central Park. Pack a picnic, bring some blankets and enjoy the different aspects of the city that can be found here.
6) Taste everything: For Arab visitors, New York City is a great place that has numerous halal options. Considering New York's relatively large Arab population, there are various gyro, falafel and Arab cuisine found on block after block. Don't stop there, though. The city is famous for its superb Italian food as well as its Jewish delis. Taste everything, from the late-night snack stands to the fancy French restaurants—space here is limited, so you know if the establishment has survived here, the food has to be good!