By Robyn Bushong
Our annual trek to the Big Apple earlier this summer was dedicated to “putting the NEW back in New York!” Together with my dear friend, neighbor and travel buddy, Dorothy Trevino, we were eager to see the new Statue of Liberty Museum (that opened in May) and the new and exciting Hudson Yards (debuting this past March.)
But first… a little background about our annual New York City adventure. For almost a decade, Dorothy (aka “DT”) and I spend 4-5 days every year in New York sight-seeing, going to Broadway shows, walking throughout the City, finding unique, off-the-beaten-path eateries; enjoying the ambiance of lively neighborhood bars and restaurants, as well as experiencing fine-dining establishments. We’ve taken the water sightseeing tours around the city, walked the High Line and even walked from our hotel, The Ritz Carlton*, at 59th and Central Park South, ALL THE WAY across the Brooklyn Bridge! ( We did take the subway train back, however.) We generally make our annual trip in May or June.
First stop on this year’s agenda was the new Statue of LIberty Museum. We had read about the museum (as well as Hudson Yards and The Shed) in both USA Today and The New York Times before our arrival. We think the headline in the May 15th edition of USA Today said it best: “Lady Liberty gets a foot in the door.” This 26,000 square-foot museum – loaded with historic relics and interactive exhibits – and constructed on the central pedestrian mall on Liberty Island – was funded by a $100 million public campaign. The museum is divided into three sections: Upon entering the museum, you will be directed first to the Immersive Theater – a series of three oval theaters that screen three-minute segments about the statue’s history, construction and symbolism.
Next, the Engagement Gallery – where traditional and interactive visits expand on the statue’s construction, as well as an overview of its place in our culture. The last section is the Inspiration Gallery, where the highlight of this part of the tour is getting to see – up close – Lady Liberty’s original torch. The torch is positioned in the center of a glass-enclosed space that offers truly breathtaking views of Lady Liberty and the stunning New York skyline.
It’s also important to note… that we enjoyed so much seeing all the young children in awe of the gleaming copper replica of Lady Liberty – where youngsters could clamber over and sit on the gleaming copper replica of Liberty’s toes, put their fingers on her nose and touch her face. Indeed, the perfect spot for a family photo! (Note: Admission to the Museum is included in the price of the ferry ticket that is required to travel from either Liberty State Park in New Jersey or Battery Park in New York. We purchased our tickets through the concierge at our hotel and took the subway from our hotel to Battery Park.) DON’T MISS THIS!!
Our next adventure was to Hudson Yards. The Yards are located between 10th and 12th Avenues from West 30th to West 34th Streets. Considered the “most elaborate construction project in New York’s history – since the establishment of the Rockefeller Center, in the 1930s,” this project is massive! Presently, there are more than 100 diverse shops and culinary experiences to explore and enjoy, new offices for leaders in industry, significant (understatement!) public art (especially The Vessel) and dynamic cultural institutions – specifically The Shed, modern new residences, 14 acres of public plazas, gardens, groves and so much more.
The Shed, recognized as a “new arts center for the 21st century” commissions works of art – across all disciplines and for all audiences. In addition, this new entity brings together established and emerging artists in fields ranging from hip-hop to classical music, painting to digital media, theater to literature, and sculpture to dance….and all in an “unprecedented movable structure that adapts to support all kinds of inventive work under one roof.”
It’s been said that “Hudson yards has become the cultural center of Manhattan’s New West Side.” And a “template for the future of cities”, as this new neighborhood has not only changed the way “New York looks to the world… but the way the world sees new York!”
(Footnote)*The quality of service, friendliness, excellent food & beverage, housekeeping, and the appreciation the staff shows for their guests at The Ritz Carlton, 59th & Central Park location… is unsurpassed. We have become friends with the Assistant Chef Concierge, Maria Trejo-McDonald, whom we met on our first trip in 2011. Each year when we return – it’s like “old home week.” Maria’s advice and suggestions for things to “see and do” are always excellent and of great value. (Plus… Maria even got us great tickets to “Hamilton” in 2016 – when Lin Manuel Miranda was still performing!)