The center of Manhattan in a dozen ways, Fifth Avenue bisects the city from below 23rd Street to the north end of Central Park and beyond.
Home to some of the most expensive real estate on earth (over $600 per square foot in some cases), the street featured in dozens of films deserves its acclaim. Whether south to the Flatiron Building at 23rd Street (the first cast-iron ‘skyscraper’) or up to midtown to the north of 88th, there’s more to see and do here alone than in all of most cities.
Take a tour of the New York Public Library at 42nd street and say ‘Hello’ to the stone lions outside, Patience and Fortitude. Enjoy the park in the rear, where outdoor markets are held. Walkthrough the hallowed halls inside and take in one of the world’s great libraries.
Wander up to midtown to the ‘city within the city’: Rockefeller Center. A dozen high-rise buildings, a skating rink, and dozens of shops and restaurants compete for attention.
Only a few blocks up from this 52nd Street marvel is 57th where the visitor can take in Tiffany’s. Upstairs is where they keep the really good stuff. Bergdorf Goodman’s is right next door if you simply must have one of the world’s most expensive raincoats. Cartier’s is not far away.
And don’t forget to take a photo by the huge red ‘9’ at 9 West 57th, in front of the spectacular curved glass building there. Former headquarters of Avon, from the cafeteria on the 33rd floor you can see all the way up to Central Park and downtown to the former World Trade Center site.
Nearby, at 59th Street, is the world-renowned Plaza Hotel across the street from the bottom of Central Park. Have a drink in the bar and imagine Cary Grant – who used to have a suite at the hotel – walking through and sitting down.
Sit on the steps and look at the fountain and the white stone tower of GM Plaza. Stop in at FAO Schwarz, the world’s most interesting toy store.
Board one of the horse-drawn carts and take a trip up 5th Avenue alongside or through the park. Or, if you’re in a hurry, hail a cab and zoom up to 82nd Street and the Metropolitan Museum. Here’s a treasure trove of 6,000 years of art in a 19th-century setting inside and out.
After your tour, sit outside on the steps and have a hot dog while you people watch. Through these Greek columned doors pass thousands from all over the world, often in fascinating native dress.
And for poetry lovers, just up and across the street is the Goethe Institute, dedicated to the 19th-century dramatist and poet. Here you can rest and see films, hear small concerts and lectures, and enjoy the ambiance.
Just up the street is the famous Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim. A work of modern art itself, the spiral layer-cake building houses late 20th century works along the walls of a spectacular atrium.
On your way back down, catch The Frick Collection at 70th Street. One of the world’s great small museums. A medium-sized mansion, but every room is itself a work of art and the collection rivals that of any in New York or Paris.
Enjoy the street that was famous long before Fred Astaire sang and danced on it. When you’re done, you’ll be dancing too.