The Edge, New York

New York | From Central Park to Hudson Yards

Our second day begins with a brisk chill under a perfectly clear sky. The breakfast buffet at the Riu Plaza New York Times Square is not exceptional but it is tasty and generous, particularly appreciated by my daughter who always struggles to make a choice 😂

Under the beautiful blue sky of early January, we bundle up for a walk to Central Park. We pass through Times Square and then take 46th Street to Grand Central. Before us stands the imposing silhouette of the famous Chrysler Building.

Chrysler Building, New York
Chrysler Building, New York

Built in 1930, this masterpiece of Art Deco architecture was commissioned by Walter P. Chrysler, founder of the famous automobile company, and designed by architect William Van Alen. At the time, there was fierce competition to build the world’s tallest building, and the Chrysler Building briefly held that title before being surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. Its stainless steel spire, standing 56 meters tall, remains one of the most recognizable features of the New York City skyline.

➜ Although the building is not open to the general public, the lobby of the Chrysler Building is accessible during weekday office hours, typically from 8 am to 6 pm. Adorned with sumptuous marbles, steel and exotic wood elevators, and murals depicting the stages of construction, this lobby is often cited as one of the finest examples of interior Art Deco architecture.

Just steps away from the Chrysler Building is Grand Central Terminal, another iconic landmark of New York.

Grand Central Terminal, New York
Grand Central Terminal, New York

Designed by architects Reed & Stem and Warren & Wetmore to replace an old station destroyed by fire, Grand Central opened its doors in 1913. Designed as a majestic space welcoming travelers from all over America, the terminal quickly became the nerve center of railway transportation in New York.

Many enter to admire the vaulted ceiling of the Grand Hall, adorned with a fresco painted by Paul Helleu. Titled “The Universe,” this fresco remarkably depicts the constellations with precision.

Grand Central Terminal, New York
Grand Central Terminal, New York

➜ On the lower level, the Grand Central Market is a food market featuring local produce stands as well as restaurants and culinary specialties to enjoy on-site. Not to be missed: the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant for its selection of oysters and seafood dishes.

Heading back up Park Avenue, we pass by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, recognizable for its unique helical shape.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Opened in 1959, the building was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who aimed to create a space where visitors could appreciate art in a fluid and organic environment, diverging from traditional galleries with right angles. The central atrium of the museum, around which a spiraling ramp ascends, allows visitors to navigate the exhibits continuously and naturally, providing a truly unique and dynamic immersive experience for its time.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum – Photo by Ana de León on Unsplash

Good to Know

  • The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is open daily from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. Closed on November 28 (Thanksgiving) and December 25.
  • Admission is $30 per person. Admission is free for children under 12.
  • Pay as you wish on Mondays and Saturdays from 4pm to 5:30pm.
  • Tickets can be booked in advance via the official website.

We stroll alongside Central Park for a few meters to reach the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as “The Met,” founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Beaux-Arts facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue, New York

Located along Fifth Avenue in New York City, this prestigious museum houses a collection of over two million works of art, making it one of the largest museums in the world. Needless to say, a few hours won’t suffice to explore it all!

While The Met’s collections span across all continents and epochs, the museum is particularly renowned for its collection of ancient Egyptian art, boasting no fewer than 30,000 objects dating from around 300,000 BCE to the 4th century CE. Much of this collection derives from archaeological excavations conducted by The Met’s teams in Egypt starting from 1906, spanning over 30 years.

The centerpiece of the collection, the Temple of Dendur, is located in the Sackler Gallery of Egyptian Antiquities.

Built around 15 BC during the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus, then ruler of Egypt, the Temple of Dendur is dedicated to the gods Isis, Osiris and two deified brothers, Petii and Pahor, who helped the Romans repel a Nubian invasion.

In 1963, a large international campaign was launched to save the Nubian monuments threatened by the construction of the Aswan Dam. At that time, the Egyptian government offered the temple to the United States as a token of gratitude for their assistance. The temple was dismantled stone by stone and transferred to New York in 1965. Reassembled at the Met, it has been open to the public since 1978.

Asian galleries showcase artifacts and artworks from Japan, China, India, and many other Asian countries.

The Met also houses an extensive collection of European art, featuring works by masters such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Vermeer. I managed to quickly show my daughter the most famous pieces, but the vastness of the Met tested her patience 😅

Good to Know

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open daily, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
  • Admission is $30 per person (reduced to $17 for students). Admission is free for children under 12.
  • Tickets can be purchased online via the Met’s official website.

A beautiful sunny day invites you to leisurely stroll through Central Park, a sprawling 341-hectare oasis in the heart of Manhattan. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1858, Central Park transcends the typical park setting—it’s a verdant sanctuary offering New Yorkers and visitors a retreat from urban life, with a plethora of activities like jogging, walking, biking, baseball, tennis, and basketball.

Central Park, New York

The park’s paths are adorned with various structures, including the Alice in Wonderland sculpture near Conservatory Water. Commissioned in 1959 by philanthropist George Delacorte in memory of his late wife, this sculpture by artist José de Creeft draws direct inspiration from John Tenniel’s original illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s book.

Alice in Wonderland, Central Park

➜ Located at the heart of Central Park, the Central Park Zoowhich opened in 1864, is one of the oldest urban zoos in the United States. Completely renovated in the 1980s and managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the zoo offers an educational and entertaining experience, featuring a variety of animals from around the world.

Good to Know

  • Central Park is open daily from 6am to 1am.
  • The park is accessible by several bus and metro lines (1, 2, 3, B, C, D, A, F).
  • There are several kiosks and restaurants in the park.
  • Central Park Zoo is open daily from 10am to 5pm on weekdays and from 10am to 5:30pm on weekends and public holidays. Admission is $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for children aged 3 to 12.

Continuing along the famous Fifth Avenue toward Times Square, you pass by the majestic St. Patrick’s Cathedral, built in 1858 by architect James Renwick Jr. With its neo-Gothic style, the cathedral’s white marble façade is adorned with two spires that rise 100 meters high. The stained glass windows, designed by renowned artists like Charles Connick and John La Farge, are among the most beautiful in the world.

Facade of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue

Next, we take a detour through the Rockefeller Center esplanade to admire two iconic sights during the holiday season in New York: the famous Christmas tree, whose lighting ceremony is broadcast nationally, and the windows of the legendary FAO Schwarz toy store, founded in 1862 by Frederick August Otto Schwarz.

We then take the subway to Hudson Yards on the west side of Manhattan. Inaugurated in 2019, this extensive development project rises above the former Long Island Rail Road yard, transforming an industrial area into a vibrant urban center. Today, this neighborhood combines office buildings, luxury residences, upscale shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.

The central and iconic element of Hudson Yards, The Vessel, stands as a honeycomb-like structure consisting of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs. Conceived by Thomas Heatherwick, this interactive artwork not only offers a unique view of the neighborhood and the river, but also serves as a focal point where visitors can discover new perspectives of the city and beyond, from different heights, angles, and viewpoints.

Atop 30 Hudson Yards, The Edge reigns as the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere. With its glass floor located over 335 meters high, The Edge provides 360-degree panoramic views of New York City.

The Edge, Hudson Yards, New York
The Edge, Hudson Yards, New York

Good to Know

  • The Edge is open daily from 9am to 10pm. Last elevator up 50 minutes before closing time.
  • Admission is $40 for adults, $35 for children aged 6 to 12. Tickets can be booked online via the official website.

Another splendid day comes to an end in New York…

The Edge, Hudson Yards, New York
The Edge, Hudson Yards, New York