My Modern Met’s Art + Culture Guide to New York City

Surround Yourself with History in New York City


Take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Statue of Liberty Ferry in New York City

Photo: Circle Line

You’ll have to travel across open waters in order to visit the grounds of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Through Statue Cruises, you can buy one ticket and visit both islands and take an audio tour.


Forthcoming Statue of Liberty Museum

In 2016, it was announced that Lady Liberty would have her own museum. Called the Statue of Liberty Museum, it sits on the same island as the monument and offers a detailed look at Lady Liberty’s rich history. The Statue of Liberty Museum, at the time of writing, is at the cusp of being opened. It will welcome visitors in May 2019.


9/11 Memorial and Museum, 180 Greenwich Street

9/11 Memorial in New York City

9/11 Memorial (Photo: Marley White/NYC & Company)

Located on the site of the former World Trade Center complex, the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan’s Financial District comprises about half of the original 16-acre site. It includes two waterfalls and reflecting pools with more than 400 trees surrounding the features. The Memorial is meant as a contemplative space that’s separate from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding area.

9/11 Museum in New York City

9/11 Museum (Photo: Jin Lee, 9/11 Memorial)

The 9/11 Museum tells the story of the day through interactive exhibits, archived footage, and a collection of artifacts. There are tributes to those who died, the implication of the terrorist attacks, and the significance it all has today.


Incredible Public Installations


Vessel, 20 Hudson Yards

Vessel in New York City

Stock Photos from Scootercaster/Shutterstock

A giant honeycomb that's currently called Vessel recently opened to the public in a new development called Hudson Yards. Comprising 154 interwoven staircases, the structure rises 150 feet above the ground and looks like a hive of activity when populated with people. British architect Thomas Heatherwick designed Vessel, and he intends for it to defy conventional use. “It’s not a building, it’s not a sculpture, it’s not an artwork,” he says, “and yet it has scale and relevance to all of those typologies… In a way, we’re thinking of this as a piece of furniture. Its ongoing use will evolve, quite naturally.”


Oculus, 33-69 Vesey St

Oculus in New York City

Photo: Julienne Schaer/NYC & Company

Oculus is an architectural marvel with a design that's so sleek and contemporary that you'd never realize it's a train station. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, it’s meant to look like a dove in flight and less like a transportation hub. The transit hall is 325 feet long—90 more than Grand Central Terminal—and replaces the PATH station that was destroyed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. You can connect to many subway trains as well.

The Westfield World Trade Center mall is within the Oculus building and boasts over 50 shops and places to nosh.


How to Taste Incredible Dishes Around New York


Food on Foot Tours

Food in New York City

Photo: Tagger Yancey IV/NYC & Company

The Food on Foot Tours promises to have you eating like a true New Yorker. Through their guided and self-guided experiences, you traverse the island with dining at the forefront of the excursion. They offer a variety of locations as well as diet-specific tours to ensure that there is something for nearly everyone.

One thing to note is that these tours don’t focus on food preparation or small samplings; you purchase your own meals in a relaxed and mingle-with-others atmosphere. And no matter which tour you embark upon, one thing is a constant—the restaurants are a surprise! So, be sure to come adventurous and hungry.


Don't forget your CityPASS!

My Modern Met Tip: CityPASS is the best way to see New York City’s top attractions—they’re bundled to save you 42% on admission. Included are The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, 9/11 Memorial & Museum, and Empire State Building. And better yet, when you have the pass, you’ll get priority entry into some of them. It’s a win-win!

For more information on New York City:

Check out NYCgo: the Official Guide to New York City.

Related Articles:

Restored Film Footage Shows What Life Was Like in New York City Over 100 Years Ago

Colorized Portraits of Ellis Island Immigrants From 100 Years Ago

100-Year-Old Portraits of Immigrants to Ellis Island Show the People Who Helped Shape America

15 New York-Themed Gifts That Are So Much Better Than a T-Shirt

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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