NEW YORK CITY – My family and I recently enjoyed a wonderful five days in New York City. Of course, the Big Apple is also one pretty terrific place to shop, from the boutiques of Madison Avenue, the iconic department stores on Fifth Avenue, the world’s largest Macy’s, the two bargain-packed Century 21 locales and the fashion-forward shops in SoHo and the Village. There are many great museums to choose from as well.

Among the most popular tourists stops in the Big Apple are the 9-1-1 Memorial, the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History, Ellis Island, The Statue of Liberty, Central Park/the Central Park Zoo and the Bronx Zoo.

Before your departure look into purchasing the New York CityPASS (www.citypass.com). You will save 42 percent on the city’s six best attractions – plus skip lines. New York CityPASS includes admission to the Empire State Building Experience, American Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Top of the Rock Observation Deck or the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, 9/11 Memorial & Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The cost is $116 US for adults (a $195 value) and $92 US for youth (aged six to 17, an $175 value). It is valid for nine days. You can purchase the booklets or printable vouchers at citypass.com or at participating attractions for the same low price.

Located on a 12 acre island, the ‘Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World’ was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.

Official ferry service to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is the only way to get there. Tours sell out quickly, so if you do not have the CityPASS, reserve your tickets as soon as possible in order to avoid the long lines.

The statue is made of a sheeting of pure copper, hung on a framework of with the exception of the flame of the torch, which is coated in gold leaf. It stands atop a rectangular stonework pedestal with a foundation in the shape of an irregular eleven-pointed star. The statue is 151 feet 1 inch (46.5 m) tall, with the pedestal and foundation adding another 154 feet (46.9 m).

New York City

A visit to the Empire State Building is an immersive experience inside a world famous landmark – more than just a view

I have always enjoyed my visits to The Empire State Building, for this spot is more than just a view. It’s an immersive experience inside a world famous landmark. In addition to its Observation Decks, your visit includes the newly restored lobby with its stunning art deco ceiling murals, the historical Dare To Dream Exhibit, the new Sustainability Exhibit, and an interactive audio device.

By the way I picked up my City PASS at the Official NYC Information Center at Macy’s Herald Square. In addition to the city specialists who are there to answer any of your questions, the center also features touch-screen information kiosks to help you plan your trip, featuring Google maps and the ability to print directions; a multitude of guides and maps; and tickets for various attractions (many discounted). Visitors can also enjoy a Macy’s 10 percent off visitors Shopping Pass, which is obtainable for free from the center’s specialists or by using a driver’s license or passport at one of the kiosks. Located inside the Macy’s flagship on 34th Street between Seventh Avenue and Broadway, the center is convenient not only too many subway lines, but also the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak—which all operate in and out of Penn Station, located across the street. In addition, 34th Street is a major shopping hub in Manhattan and the location of a number of flagship stores

Unquestionably “the draw” in New York City remains its extraordinary Broadway productions.  Be prepared to pay big dollars, even for a seat that is the second to last spot in the house at the top. Here is a tip though. Go online via Ticketmaster or Telecharge, check out the precise availability and call the toll free number so that you can get a more accurate route of what is available. While they offer to mail the tickets at least 48 hours before the show, we recommend that you either print them out online or ask to pick them up at will call. In some cases you can even buy cancellation insurance. The biggest hit on Broadway these days is Hamilton, the musical exploration of political mastermind Alexander Hamilton. It is a rap history lesson starring Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda. I am hoping to secure tickets when I go there next summer. We were able to see Fun Home, a refreshingly honest coming of age story of seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.

Mike Cohen can be reached at info@mikecohen.ca. See his travel advice column at www.sandboxworld.com/travel.

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