As one of the oldest cities in the United States of America and arguably its most popular, New York City is home to a treasure trove of natural and architectural wonders for tourists to behold (and residents of the town as well). This is especially true if you count yourself among those who are self-declared history buffs. If you are among them & find yourself in New York City, here’s a few places that have to be on your checklist that are a mix between the popular & the lesser known. For an authentic experience of New York, check into one of these top Airbnbs in New York City.
1. Morris-Jumel Mansion
Located in the Washington Heights neighborhood in upper Manhattan, the Morris-Jumel Mansion is a striking sight that harkens back to the Revolutionary War period and is the oldest standing home in the borough. The mansion was the home of a former British officer and afterwards, a French merchant whose wife became a figure of controversy in New York society as well as one of the richest women in it. It was also a field mansion for former president and general George Washington during the early years of the war. These days, the home has become a national landmark as well as a setting for many films and television shows dealing with the Revolutionary War era into the 1800’s. It’s also open for tours along with the rest of the estate grounds.
By Beyond My Ken [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
2. Ellis Island
This island off of the southern tip of Manhattan was the first point of entry into the U.S. for more than 12 million people until its closure in 1954. Today, the complex of buildings where many came in order to find a better life in America and underwent a thorough process of medical exams, legislation and registration as citizens has been preserved as a museum for all looking to get a true sense of the melting pot that is America. There’s even a section that contains a database of steamship passengers that visitors can look through to find their ancestors.
3. U.S. Custom House
Among many of the sights that can be found in lower Manhattan, this building on Bowling Green is among the ones that have a unique place in American history. The Alexander Hamilton Custom House was built on the site of the first ever settlement on the island of Manhattan in 1907 and it’s now home to the National Museum of the American Indian which is run by the Smithsonian. Many come here to see the architecture that dates to the Beaux Arts movement as well as the massive sculptures outside on its façade.
By AshtonNekolah [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
4. Louis Armstrong House Museum
This sight can be found in the borough of Queens, and it is the former home of the globally renowned jazz musician Louis Armstrong and his wife Lucille. They first moved into this house in 1943 in the neighborhood of Corona and lived there until their passing. Conservationists worked to meticulously preserve the home and helped it become a national landmark and museum. Now, the Louis Armstrong House has daily tours Tuesdays through Sundays and even hosts concerts in its garden space.
By Dmadeo [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
5. Fraunces Tavern
Located on a corner of Pearl Street in lower Manhattan, Fraunces Tavern is one of the city’s and the nation’s key historical sites. The museum and restaurant was a tavern owned by Samuel Fraunces, and it became famous during and after the Revolutionary War as a headquarters for George Washington as well as the site of his final address to his troops. The tavern has been carefully preserved and expanded and holds a plethora of early American artifacts and documents.
6. Brooklyn Bridge
One of NYC’s most recognizable structures, the Brooklyn Bridge has been a part of its landscape since its opening in 1883. Stretching over the East River at a length of 5,989 feet, many visitors take to its upper level for pedestrian traffic to walk back and forth between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Visitors can also get a great view of the Statue of Liberty from underneath its stately arches.
7. Stone Street Historical District
Stone Street, located in lower Manhattan is a slightly hidden gem within New York City. It’s one of the oldest thoroughfares in the city dating back to 1632, and one of the few to retain its cobblestone surface from that period. Today, it’s home to a few restaurants that are highly popular with those working in the area.
8. Flushing Meadows Corona Park
A ride on the 7 train will deposit visitors at NYC’s second largest park out in the borough of Queens. Flushing Meadows Corona Park is best known as the site of the 1964 World’s Fair, marked by the gigantic steel globe sculpture known as the Unisphere created for the occasion. The park is also home to the N.Y. Hall of Science museum, a zoo as well as the U.S. Open, the last of professional tennis’ Grand Slam events.
9. The Cloisters
Nestled within Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights, The Cloisters is a museum complex that is home to some of the world’s most notable works of European art including Gothic and Romanesque pieces. The museum itself was officially opened to the public in 1938 thanks to the contributions of John J. Rockefeller, who also purchased the land the site is on.
By Christopher Down [CC BY 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
10. Statue Of Liberty
Lastly, this neoclassical copper statue rises from its own island in the NYC harbor as a symbol of America’s stature in the world as a beacon of freedom. Clocking in at 305 feet from the ground up, the statue sees thousands of visitors a year & has an attached museum. Liberty Island is accessible by ferry from lower Manhattan.
It’s safe to say that New York City is full of places and things that are certain to open one’s mind and make the eyes pop. But their historical sites certainly occupy a high place, and shouldn’t be missed by anyone who has the chance to visit all of them on their upcoming trip. With a little bit of planning and a lot of enthusiasm, it can be done! For more destination guides and accommodation reviews, hotels and vacation rentals, check out Trip101.