New York City comprises 5 boroughs sitting where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean. At its core is Manhattan, a densely populated borough that’s among the world’s major commercial, financial and cultural centers. Its iconic sites include skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building and sprawling Central Park. Broadway Theater is staged in neon-lit Times Square. New York City is a center for media, culture, food, fashion, art, research, finance, and trade. It has one of the largest and most famous skylines on earth, dominated by the iconic Empire State Building
Food Must Try
After Seinfeld made it mainstream in the ’90s, babka, the half-yeasted-bread, half-cake hybrid from Eastern Europe, is bigger than ever. Much has changed since our first babka survey of New York five years ago, and there are more ambitious contenders for the Best Babka crown than ever before.
Not that New Yorkers’ love of babka is anything new, and it’s easy to see why. Babka’s rich, buttery, brioche-like crumb, woven with ribbons of chocolate, is unfussy and approachable. You can eat it as dessert or breakfast, as a brunch side or a quick snack. The only trouble is not finishing a loaf as soon as you start it, because one good bite of babka demands another. And if you are new to the city and have no idea what we’re talking about, take note: Eat some babka. It’s one of the best sweets you’ll find in New York.
Look at all the ink spilled about Mexican food in the past couple years and you’ll see, above all else, two big stars: tacos and the tortillas that are used to make them. But we rarely discuss the country’s traditional breads; Rene Redzepi didn’t travel to Mexico to eat sandwiches.
Maybe it’s an age thing. Tortillas have been a Mexican foodstuff for thousands of years. Pan traditional is a 150-year-old custom. While sweet pan Dulce dates back to the 16th century, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century, with French influences during the second Franco-Mexican War that Mexican bread took a savoury turn. The French were defeated in that war (giving Mexico Cinco de Mayo), but they left a bounty of bakeries in their wake, and a deep cultural appreciation for bread-baking.
For some years in New York City, dessert was all about chocolate. And caramel. And doughnuts. Fruit? That took a back seat.
But fruit desserts are making a comeback, and apples are leading the charge. After all, New York State produces more apples than anywhere else, except Washington. And this apple revival is helping bring back one of the best desserts to ever grace a linen table cloth: tarte tatin.
The classic tarte tatin is an upside-down tart, where fruit (typically apple) is caramelized in a pan with butter and sugar, topped with pastry dough, and baked. The tart is then flipped over before serving so its caramelized juices can trickle down to the crust.
Lady Liberty—or Liberty Enlightening the World, as she’s officially known—was a gift from France on America’s 100th birthday. A universal symbol of freedom, the copper-plated sentinel stands 305 feet tall from the bottom of her base to the tip of her torch. The monument’s grand reopening on the Fourth of July 2013 comes after almost two years of construction and Hurricane Sandy-related closures. Reservations are required for a tour of the statue’s interior and to trek up to her iconic crown.
Occupying 13 acres of Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which opened in 1880, is impressive in terms both of quality and scale. Added in 1895 by Mc Kim, Mead and White, the neoclassical facade is daunting. However, the museum is surprisingly easy to negotiate, particularly if you come early on a weekday and avoid the crowds. In the ground floor’s north wing sits the collection of Egyptian art and the glass-walled atrium housing the Temple of Dendur, moved en masse from its original Nile-side setting and now overlooking a reflective pool. Antiquity is also well represented in the southern wing of the ground floor by the halls housing Greek and Roman art, which reopened in 2007 after receiving an elegant makeover. Turning west brings you to the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas collection; it was donated by Nelson Rockefeller as a memorial to his son Michael, who disappeared while visiting New Guinea in 1961. A wider-ranging bequest, the two-story Robert Lehman Wing, can be found at the western end of the floor. This eclectic collection is housed in a re-creation of his townhouse and features Bellini’s masterful Madonna and Child. Rounding out the ground-floor highlights is the American Wing on the northwest corner. Its Engelhard Court reopened in spring 2009 as part of the wing’s current revamp. Now more a sculpture court than an interior garden, it houses large-scale 19th-century works in bronze and marble—and one of its three fountains is by Tiffany.
Can’t get a table at Nobu? No worries—you can rub shoulders with Madonna, Hillary Clinton and Oprah (or their paraffin equivalents, anyway) at this world-famous wax museum.