Cruise passengers can enjoy a slice of the Big Apple, New York City, both as a port of call as an embarkation/disembarkation port on a variety of voyages including Canada and New England itineraries and some Caribbean and trans-Atlantic crossings.
Often called the “Capital of the World,” Giovanni da Verrazano, history tells us, was the first European to glimpse Manhattan in the 16th century, and Henry Hudson explored the area in the early 17th century. Everyone has heard the story of how Peter Minuit, the Dutch colonial governor of New Amsterdam was said to have purchased the entire island from Native Americans for $24 worth of beads and trinkets in 1629, and how the Dutch surrendered to the British in 1664 and the town was renamed New York in honor of the Duke of York.
Our first president, George Washington, was inaugurated in New York in 1789 and the city served as our country’s capital for a time.
New York City is arguably the most exciting city to visit on a voyage, although since it has so much to offer and so much to see, it can be a little frustrating for cruise ship passengers on a short visit.
For cruise passengers whose itinerary has New York as a port of call, sightseeing begins as the ship arrives in the Big Apple – offering views of the city’s spectacular skyline including such highlights as the Art Deco-style Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, as well as the Statue of Liberty.
Most cruise lines feature city tours that take in some of New York’s “must-sees” including the 102-story, Empire State Building, at 350 West 34th Street, whose famous observatory has been the filming site of such Hollywood blockbusters as “Sleepless in Seattle.” Other highlights include Rockefeller Center, a National Historic Landmark with arguably the world’s most famous skating rink and the 70-floor GE Building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Another National Historic Landmark is Central Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and architect Calvert Vaux. The Central Park Zoo, in a corner of the park, is one of its most popular attractions, particularly with visiting families.
Still other “musts” include Times Square in the heart of Manhattan and world famous for its New Year’s Eve countdowns; Lincoln Center in the Lincoln Square neighborhood in the Upper East Side; Grand Central Station, 89 East 42nd Street, with its 44 platforms, famous four-faced clock on top of the information booth, shops, restaurants, and market; and the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum set within the original footprint of the World Trade Center Twin Towers.
Museum lovers have many to check out. Among some very noteworthy ones are The Metropolican Museum of Art with more than two million works of art at 1000 Fifth Avenue; the Guggenheim Museum with a collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art at 1071 Fifth Avenue; and the American Museum of Natural History, with its dinosaurs, planetarium and more on Central Park West.
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But these are just some of the top New York City attractions, there are also Broadway shows (a “must” if your ship stays in the Big Apple overnight), neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and the SoHo District, Park Avenue, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Art Deco splendor of Radio City Music Hall, the United Nations Building and Plaza, the Art Deco-style Chrysler Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Yankee Stadium, the Staten Island Ferry, Coney Island, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows, the Bronx Zoo, such legendary lodgings as the Plaza and the Waldorf Astoria and much more.
Flavors to taste in New York City include all manner of international dishes –maybe falafel (a Middle Eastern dish made with chick peas or fava beans and spices) for lunch? Or pho (a Vietnamese soup with noodles, chicken or beef) and zeppole (an Italian pastry with ricotta) for dinner? And, of course, the city is world famous for its pizzas, hot dogs (who hasn’t heard of Nathan’s Famous, home of the hot dog eating contest?) and definitely delis. Try a pastrami sandwich with delicious hand-carved meats at Katz Delicatessen, a Jewish kosher-style deli at 205 East Houston Street. The “fake orgasm scene” from the 1989 Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally,” where Estelle Reiner says, “I’ll have what she’s having,” was filmed at Katz Delicatessen.
Cruise lines that call at New York and/or use the Big Apple as embarkation/disembarkation port include American, Carnival, Crystal, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian, Oceania, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, and Silversea.
IF YOU GO: For additional information on New York City, visit www.nycgo.com.