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 Central Park 
There's something for everyone in this remarkable rectangle of urban greenery, a half-mile-wide swath of lawns, woodlands, gardens, playgrounds and recreation areas stretching 2 ½ miles from 59th Street up to 110th. Walking, jogging, cycling, roller skating, tennis and team sports are popular activities, and you'll find facilities for horseback riding, lawn bowling, croquet, rowing, wall climbing and other sports. The park stays busy year-round, offering shady respite on hot summer days, impressive displays of fall color in autumn, cross-country skiing and ice skating in winter, and abundant flowers in springtime. Various concerts, plays and dance programs take place here from May through September, including performances by the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Shakespeare Festival. For detailed information about the long list of recreational opportunities in the park, visit the Web site of the nonprofit Central Park Conservancy (www.centralparknyc.org), which also offers an ongoing program of free walking tours focusing on various aspects of the park's history, flora and fauna.
Information: Central Park Conservancy,
 Urban Hikes 
In good weather, there's no better way to experience New York's incredibly diverse patchwork of neighborhoods and commercial districts than to lace on a pair of comfortable walking shoes and set out on foot. As the pigeon flies, it's only about 5 miles from Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan to the bottom edge of Central Park. In a few hours of zigzag explorations, it's possible to trek from the Wall Street financial district through Chinatown, SoHo and Little Italy to Greenwich Village, then through Chelsea, Korea Town and the Garment District on your way to Times Square and the park. Let serendipity be your guide, and along the way you're sure to find plenty of intriguing shops and galleries, interesting architecture, great people-watching, and an international grab-bag of enticing restaurants, cafes and delis. Other good destinations for urban hiking include Carnegie Hill on the Upper East Side, Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope in Brooklyn, and the various multi-ethnic enclaves along the No. 7 Flushing subway line (a.k.a. the “International Express") in Queens.
Information: ,
 On Stage 
From Broadway musicals and high-kicking Rockettes to classical music, ballet, modern dance and world-class opera, New York is one of the best places on earth to catch live performances on stage. Local performing arts groups include the Metropolitan Opera (www.metopera.org), the New York City Opera (www.nycopera.com), the American Ballet Theater (www.abt.org), the New York City Ballet (www.nycballet.com) and the New York Philharmonic (www.newyorkphilharmonic.org), to name just a few of the more prominent companies. The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts complex alone (www.lincolncenter.org) hosts a dozen resident arts organizations with a busy year-round program of classical and chamber music, dance, film festivals and jazz concerts. The best seats and the most popular shows sell out quickly, so it's a good idea to consult the online events listings at www.nycvisit.com and www.tdf.org in advance of your arrival and purchase tickets online or by phone. If you haven’t planned ahead, stop by one of the TKTS discount ticket booths ( the Times Square booth is temporarily located just outside the New York Marriott Marquis hotel on West 46th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue or visit the South Street Seaport booth, www.tdf.org/tkts) for same-day tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, concerts and other events.
 TV Tapings 
Joining the live audience of a popular national television show can be loads of fun. The downside is that scoring coveted studio seats for the likes of The Late Show with David Letterman, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Live with Regis and Kelly or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire can be a real challenge. Each show has its own procedures for recruiting audience members, but most tickets are distributed well in advance by lottery, with unclaimed stand-by tickets doled out at the last minute to fans who queue up for hours outside the studios. It's also possible to appear briefly on one of three morning network news shows --The Early Show on CBS, Good Morning America on ABC or The Today Show on NBC -- by showing up outside the respective studios during taping.
Information: View detailed listings,


 


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