By Steve Zinone
If you have time before or after the NCRA Convention & Expo, New York offers enough sightseeing to keep you busy. Here are a few ideas.
The Gallery of Shorthand is in the atrium of the Alfonse M. D’Amato Federal Courthouse in Central Islip, Long Island, N.Y. The gallery is a must-see as it is the only one of its kind in the entire world. Our esteemed colleague, Dom Tursi, has created this incredible gallery entirely devoted to our timeless profession. Having been at the gallery on the day of its grand opening, Sept. 30, 2010, I can assure you that you will not want to leave after witnessing firsthand the evolution of our timeless profession. The gallery is approximately an hour from the hotel.
Let’s talk about the absolutely beautiful and moving site that has touched us all and is woven through the fabric of our American being: the National September 11 Memorial, the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and Freedom Tower. This is best accessed by subway because the stop is at the World Trade Center. It’s an approximate 15-25 minute ride by subway from our hotel. Of course you can take a cab, but it might cost you $15-30 dollars depending on traffic and the time of day.
The most important thing when visiting the 9/11 Memorial Museum is to purchase and print your ticket online and pick the time that you would like to enter the museum. By purchasing your ticket in advance you will just walk right into the security area for inspection and begin your tour rather than waiting in the line that can be as long as three city blocks. The museum is a very moving experience, so plan to spend a few hours in lower Manhattan so that you can thoroughly enjoy your visit.
Just a few blocks from the 9/11 memorial at the very tip of the island of Manhattan is Battery Park. Here you will find the ferry that will take you to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. If you have time, because you can hop off the ferry at the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island and spend as much time as you would like; the Ferry runs continuously throughout the day and brings you right back to Battery Park.
Of course, you can just stand in Battery Park and see both majestic New York icons clearly from the park as well. But if you want to go up into the crown of Lady Liberty, you have to make a reservation online because they only allow so many visitors up into the crown each day.
Keep in mind when visiting NYC that it’s a neighborhood thing. If you walk from the Hilton New York Midtown heading south, depending if you go east or west, you will walk through:
- the diamond, theater, garment, flatiron, meatpacking, and financial districts (including Wall Street);
- Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwich Village, NoHo, the West Village, SoHo, Chinatown, and Little Italy;
- Herald Square, Gramercy Park, Union Square, and Foley Square;
- Tribecca, Bowling Green, and South Seaport;
- and end at the 9/11 memorial and Battery Park.
If you are adventurous, start walking and take it all in, but it will take you all day and a great pair of shoes. That’s why it might be better to pick the areas you want to visit, take the subway or cab to that area, and then explore. But I would suggest that if you find yourself in Lower Manhattan near Foley Square, where City Hall is located, the Brooklyn Bridge is right there and has pedestrian access. If you walk even half way across the bridge, you will have the most beautiful view of the Manhattan Skyline — priceless!
Did I mention shopping at Chinatown? If you want a deal, they got a deal for you. Head down to Canal Street and get ready because you just can’t believe it. From purses to watches to jewelry to bright neckties and fancy hats and belts and scarfs, it’s all there! While you are down there, walk up Mulberry Street and you will find yourself in Little Italy. If you look close enough, you will recognize a famous scene from the Godfather.
If you walk north from the Hilton New York Midtown, you will find yourself at Columbus Circle and the very beginning of Central Park: a breathtaking park full of history and beauty. You will see Strawberry Fields, which is located on the west side between 71st and 74th streets, a tribute to John Lennon. I suggest that you take a few minutes and stroll through a part of this wonderful park, which will allow you to escape the concrete jungle of the City for a few moments. All the information that you will need can be found here: centralparknyc.org.
On either side of the park is what is called the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, depending on which side of Central Park you are located on. If you walk the entire length of the park, you will find yourself in Harlem, home of the Apollo Theater and in my opinion the birthplace of the world’s greatest entertainer and a true inspiration and example of the American Dream, Sammy Davis, Jr.
If the Mets are your thing, Citi Field is in Queens. If it’s the Yanks, you gotta go to-da-Bronx. Both are doable, but that’s up to you. Just like Brooklyn, it’s just a train ride away.