Great Attractions in New York City

More than a dozen terrific Big Apple attractions, from star-studded plays to little-known museums.

By: Sophie Gilbert

Take the High Road
In a city as congested as New York, it makes sense that art would start blossoming above street level. Since it opened in 2009, the High Line, a railroad track turned elevated park, has brought new vibrancy to Manhattan’s Lower West Side. The mile-long space stretches from West 30th Street to Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District and features lush greenery, cafes and food carts, and pop-up art installations on adjacent rooftops. The High Line gets crowded on weekends, but there’s usually a space or two to sit and eat or people-watch.

Warhol at the Met
With 1.6 million square feet of exhibits and collections, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the biggest museum in the Western Hemisphere, making it overwhelming if you don’t have a plan. The museum offers online itineraries—a fun way to hit the highlights. “Regarding Warhol,” an exhibit exploring the influence of pop artist Andy Warhol, runs September 18 through December 31. Don’t miss “Cloud City,” a spectacular rooftop exhibit by Tomás Saraceno, through November 4.

Contemporary Art in Queens
While Manhattan has more than its share of museums and theaters, the outer boroughs contribute to New York’s thriving arts scene as well. A ticket to the Museum of Modern Art also gets you admission to MoMA PS1 in Queens (22-25 Jackson Ave.; 718-784-2084). The museum has no permanent collection, instead focusing on cutting-edge contemporary art. Across the street, 5 Pointz is an outdoor exhibit space known as “graffiti Mecca.”

Farther north in Queens’s Long Island City cultural district, the Noguchi Museum and Sculpture Garden is a little-known gem dedicated to the work of Isamu Noguchi. Tickets are $10 and offer admission to several galleries of the artist’s streamlined designs as well as a serene outdoor space. The Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Vernon Blvd.; 718-956-1819), across the street, features outdoor installations by resident artists and stellar river views of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island.

Stars on Broadway
On any weekend, there are at least five Broadway shows worth seeing. Chaplin, a musical about the life of silent-movie star Charlie Chaplin, opens September 10 at the Barrymore Theatre. Jake Gyllenhaal makes his American stage debut in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet, a new play by Nick Payne running September 20 through November 25. From November 1, you can catch Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain in The Heiress, a play based on Henry James’s Washington Square, at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

Brooklyn Highlights
You’ll be glad you made the short trip to Brooklyn for a number of reasons, and one is the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The multipurpose arts venue has hosted performers such as Cate Blanchett and Paul Simon as well as director Sam Mendes and actor Kevin Spacey’s acclaimed Bridge Project, which collaborated with London’s Old Vic to produce works by Shakespeare and Chekhov. The new Richard B. Fisher Building, an intimate 250-seat space, opened earlier this year; on a grander scale, the Opera House seats more than 2,000.

While in Brooklyn, don’t miss the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Museum. The museum rivals the Met in scale and has magnificent collections of Egyptian and Islamic art. Closer to the Brooklyn Bridge, the Dumbo Arts Festival runs September 28 through 30 and features visual art, live music, poetry readings, and more.

Bronx Blooms
If you have a car, the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is worth a trip, with 250-plus acres of native plants and forests. In the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory through October 21 is “Monet’s Garden,” a spectacular exhibit based on the gardens Claude Monet painted at his home in Giverny, France. The nearby Bronx Zoo is another fun visit and a favorite with kids.

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