The occasional visitor to New York City can easily be overwhelmed by the size and range of attractions that are on offer. To make things a little easier here is my choice of top places to visit on a weekend in Manhattan.
1. The Brooklyn Bridge. For 20 years after it was opened in 1883 this was the largest and longest suspension bridge in the world. It spans the East River joining Manhattan with Brooklyn. The walk is a wonderful stroll along a wooden boardwalk with the traffic racing below. It affords splendid views over the Financial District, the Midtown Skyscrapers and out as far as the Statue of Liberty. It is an inspiring experience. Just watch out for the manic cyclists.
2. The Frick Collection. Located on 5th Avenue and East 70th Street, this is a small but spectacular museum of art treasures. It is kept in the beautiful house occupied by the robber baron Henry Clay Frick in the early part of the 20th Century. Masterpieces include works by Bellini, Hans Holbein, Ingres, El Greco, Bronzino and others. If you visit just one art gallery make it this one.
3. Grand Central Terminal. On Park Avenue and 42nd Street. Built by Vanderbilt in 1913 this is a cathedral of the grand industrial age. Its magnificent size and art deco design make it a marvelous place to visit. The ceiling is covered in a representation of the night sky with 2500 stars. Be sure to visit the food market and the cocktail bar.
4. Central Park. An amazing variety of sights and sounds confront you in this large collection of open spaces. It makes a wonderful change from the busy streets and towering skyscrapers. Try tea at the boating lake house.
5. Financial District and Wall Street. The oldest part of New York has some wonderful architecture. Wander around Broadway, Ground Zero, Wall Street (a little disappointing but you should still savour it) and down to Battery Park.
6. Staten Island Ferry. Take a (free) trip on the ferry for terrific views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis island and southern Manhattan. It does not stop at the islands but gives you the chance to relax and drink it all in.
7. Rockefeller Center. Visit this or the Empire State Building. Built between 1932 and 1940 the Rockefeller Center is a masterpiece of urban design, all the way from the ice rink in the plaza to the observation platform at the top.
8. The 9/11 memorial. Two large square pools with waterfalls now stand where the Twin Towers once stood. The memorial is moving and dignified.
If you have time visit the Museum of Modern Art and the New York Public Library. On the other hand save time by missing Times Square – it is tacky and overrated. Walk the city, ride the subway, take taxis. Eat a hearty breakfast, skip lunch and then eat out in style in any one of hundreds of wonderful restaurants. What a great place to visit!