Written by Staff Writer at CNN
Early renderings of the Brooklyn Museum of Art
The Brooklyn Museum of Art
"Brooklyn," reads the museum's plaque outside. It reads more accurately: "Just-is Brooklyn." The artistic zest and stamp of place, which fueled artists' imaginations long before the city's renaissance, is the thing that the Brooklyn Museum celebrates. Everything on the lobby wall, from the African masks to the lobster molds, was drawn, cast or painted in New York City, where artists lived and worked.
Besides the Grand Central Oyster Bar, the Bowery Dance Club , a multiple-story arcade and a ballet barre, the museum is also home to the Museum of Ice Cream . This innovation shop specializes in brand new frozen treats, in tandem with their unique display space -- art. Modern, colorful, unfettered, the Ice Cream is unapologetically playful in a neighborhood where Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum once dominated.
3. High Line
Work on this elevated park began in 2008, after a spate of redesigns that initially erased large swaths of the former rails that left no space for them on the Manhattan side of the river. The first phase of the park opened in 2009 and today, travelers can walk through the rounded trees and bend their knees on the lazy strips of grass, where birds swoop down to their nests below. Just remember to grab a falconry guide to kick you into primetime when you step out.
4. Newark Museum
The building itself -- an abstract steel frame -- is truly works of art itself. This historic, striped glass building was constructed for Andrew Carnegie's sponsorship in 1909. But the real act of art is seeing the masterpieces of art for free in modern white spaces. The building is also an entry point into the city's port communities, allowing visitors to gaze at ships (and serve as visitors to their archives, museum gift shops and free guided tours) -- all in the same building.
5. John Jay College of Criminal Justice
This new facility was designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien , as part of a controversial collaboration between the nonprofit and the city, with critics decrying the removal of public art. But, as one commenter aptly said: "he artistic spirit never died in this project." Gone are the "Citizens" plaques that once marked the current spot, and in their place: bold, serene arches and striking doors, which lead to an open atrium. As students and the public see the campus alongside all the museums, galleries and academies nearby, the reemergence of fine art will be increased.
6. Grand Central Terminal
This modern gem is the embodiment of the Terminal's American dream: a grand structure with endless welcoming spaces, from baggage claim to booths to escalators, all of which could easily become a packed museum. What better way to discover the sites and museums within than, as the signature train ride has its own train station?
7. High Line
Today, visitors can walk through the curved trees and bend their knees on the lazy strips of grass, where birds swoop down to their nests below. Just remember to grab a falconry guide to kick you into primetime when you step out.
8. American Museum of Natural History
What started as a gift from Harry's Bar owner Harry McKnight in 1900 is now an iconic locale that bills itself as the World's Most Popular Museum. The museum has remained famous for its research on animals, from dinosaurs to dinosaurs that ate humans. This exhaustive collection also covers the origin of life and the evolution of man, both in space and time, as seen through animal specimens. Now, this time-honored museum stretches eight floors high and offers free admission, attractions like the River of Life Bridge, the George Washington Carver Institute, the City Reptile Zoo and a 10,000-gallon shark tank.
9. Museum of American Finance
Inside the Museum of American Finance. Credit: Mark Van Aken/Corbis via Getty Images
This site was created in 1883, and until it was renovated in 1984, had no windows. "The banks were very secretive at that time. As far as we know, this was the first museum in the world dedicated exclusively to banking," as Annie Lin, museum curator, told CNN. Over the past few decades, visitors have descended to this landmark to explore New York's financial giants, including the American Stock Exchange. The breathtaking view from the third floor terrace was a bonus.
10. 40 Street Arts District
Caught in the waterfront arteries that cut through Manhattan, this hidden neighborhood's buildings seem to be permanently cast over with protrusions, supports and conduits that were once raw steel -- and no doubt a bit of witchcraft applied to create them. This neighborhood has its own special "Secret Street"