Area Guide

New York Public Library
The magnificent marble Beaux Arts building, with its grand staircase flanked by iconic lions (“Patience” and “Fortitude,” as they were nicknamed during the Great Depression by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia) far more than New York City’s favorite public reading room. The steps are one of the city’s greatest meeting places (and a de facto public cafeteria at lunchtime); changing exhibitions celebrate scholarship, art and history with pieces from the library’s own incredible collections; free tours with docents take you deep into the history of the city and the library itself.

Central Park
Perhaps the best-known urban oasis in the world, the 843 acres of rolling hills, pastures, running trails, ballparks, skating rings and lakes that comprise Central Park are the most visited of any city park in the United States. And for good reason: the 19th century National Historic Landmark designed by Frederick Law Olmstead has starred in hundreds of movies; the Great Lawn hosts free concerts by the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera; celebrity sightings are common (and not just in the Shakespeare in the Park performances each summer in the Delacorte Theater). It’s where New Yorkers escape on their lunch hours; grab the first rays of sun in the spring in Sheep Meadow; and flirt in the summer at the Loeb Boathouse.

Central Park Zoo
The first visit to the Central Park Zoo is a rite of passage for New York City’s kids – and a regular field trip for its adults. The five-acre zoo maintained by the Wildlife Conservation Society offers the surprising reminder that inside the urban jungle there’s a real jungle (and a polar icecap), and that getting away from the schoolyard – or the office – is as easy as ducking into the entrance at 63rd street and meeting the snow leopard, mini-Nubian goats, penguins, two-toed sloths and other animals in their own habitats.

Bryant Park
The gardens, promenades and walking paths that form Bryant Park are some of the prettiest – and most accessible – in the heart of midtown Manhattan. The park is perhaps best known for hosting the tents of Fashion Week for more than a decade, but on a daily basis, it’s the heart of midtown lunchtime culture. Free seating dots the park (get there early or late for the prime people-watching spots) and you’ll be lunching outside with more editors, writers and television personalities from the surrounding media offices than you can shake a stick at. Secretly, it’s one of the best places in the city to find free Wireless, and in the winter, you can ice skate for no fee at the central “Pond.”

To read about more New York City Activities, please click here.

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485 5th Avenue at 41st Street, New York, New York, USA, 10017