New to New York? An itinerary for first-timers in the Big Apple

Map of New York with landmarks
Elizabeth Byrne /Staff

Although most of pop culture’s greatest rivalries revolve around people, easily one of the most notorious battles to this day is the feud between the East and the West Coast. Having lived on the West Coast for my entire life, I’ve always had an intrinsic desire to experience the much beloved New York City with my own eyes. This spring break provided the perfect opportunity for me to go and see what all the commotion was about. If you’ve never been to New York before, here are some must-see spots to add to your itinerary that just might change your mind on which coast is better.

The Brant Foundation

Upon description, The Brant Foundation might just sound like another one of your typical trips to the museum (cue: memories of your elementary school field trips). However, as soon as you enter the building, you’ll be surprised by the atmosphere that makes it feel as if you’re entering a private gallery. The current exhibition on display is Jean-Michel Basquiat, making it all the more refreshing to see a well-known artist in such a personal setting.

SoHo, Manhattan

Nowadays, online shopping has become the way to shop almost out of convenience, especially when your favorite stores and boutiques don’t have any locations in proximity. Sometimes, it would really be nice to try on those pair of jeans you’ve been eyeing for the past month before you decide to treat yourself. That’s where SoHo comes in. This neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, known for its upscale fashion, is quite possibly the solution to all your shopping dilemmas.

Central Park

Take a stroll in the largest park in Manhattan, which offers a multitude of activities regardless during which season you choose to visit. There’s always something to explore among the 840 acres of the park from uncovering less traveled footpaths and streams to an ice skating rink and a carousel. Having a huge park immersed right into the city really takes the phrase “concrete jungle” quite literally. The site of towering skyscrapers peeking through the trees and shrubbery is one to behold.

The Museum of Modern Art

If you’ve ever been to the MoMA in San Francisco, you’ll definitely want to check out the MoMA in New York City, which gives its Bay Area cousin a run for its money. The MoMA is easily one of the most influential art museums of our time, boasting a permanent collection of esteemed artwork that you’ve only seen in your textbooks. From Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night to Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies,” you don’t have to be a connoisseur of art to appreciate what’s in front of you.

One World Trade Center

Built in 2014, the One World Trade Center was constructed on the site of the original Six World Trade Center and currently holds the record of the tallest building in the United States. Put your fear of heights to the test by going up to the observation deck and viewing the city skyline from a bird’s eye perspective. Located in front of the building is the National September 11 Memorial which entails two square reflecting pools and panels with the ingrained names of those who were killed during the attacks. The memorial serves as a beautiful commemoration to mark the former location of the Twin Towers and pay its respects to the people who died.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

You would commonly expect the biggest takeaway from an art museum to be the art, but at the Guggenheim Museum, that’s where you’d be wrong. Designed by the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Guggenheim’s spiraling shape resembles that of a nautilus shell, which speaks to Wright’s love of nature. Other organic elements within the design include natural color schemes, tons of open spaces and the perception that the building grows from its base.

Whitney Museum of American Art

With its focus on 20th and 21st century American art, the Whitney is truly a museum for fans of the contemporary wave. Previously on display was the Andy Warhol exhibition “Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again,” which displays a combination of Warhol’s most famous pieces as well as his earlier sketches that elucidate his creative process.

While I might not have the power to single-handedly end this long abiding debate, I’ve learned that the Big Apple is definitely all it’s cracked up to be and more. Better than California sun and beaches? We’ll leave that for you to decide.

Contact Erika Lee at [email protected] .