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A taste of New York City

BY DEVYN YOUNG | MARCH 26, 2015 5:00 AM

A man walks across 14th and Broadway street toward Union Square Park in New York City.
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Many spend spring break lying on the beach or flopped on their parents’ couch. I did neither. 

Last week, I went to one of my favorite cities: New York City, a hub millions flock to each year for vacation (despite it being chillier than even Iowa). Here are some of my personal favorite experiences during my few short days in the Big Apple, in case you're planning a trip come summer and have already seen The Lion King and the Statue of Liberty.

Broadway

I admit to being passionate about theater, but you don't have to have a deep love of the stage to enjoy a Broadway show. Two of the best performances I saw this break were new shows, one still in previews. If you find yourself in the New York area, you should make an effort to nab tickets.

The first was Finding Neverland. Although still in the preview stage, it was positively the best experience I have ever had in live theater. Based on the movie by the same name, Finding Neverland tells the story of J.M. Barrie and how he created the world of Peter Pan. 

The story lends itself to a beautiful new musical, complete with one of the most moving scores I have ever encountered. The show will have you feel every emotion, transitioning from laughing to crying in seconds. 

The second notable play I caught recently jumped the Pond from London’s National Theatre. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is new to Broadway and is the perfect example of how technology is shaping theater. 

The play, based on the novel with the same title, follows Christopher, a 15-year-old with autism, as he travels to London to find his mother, who left him and his father. The stage is designed as a black box theater, using projections and LED lights to tell the story of Christopher and his adventures.

There are scenes in the show so intense that you won’t be able to breathe and moments so touching the entire audience respond verbally with a collective “Aw.”

Sightseeing

The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Times Square will probably be on the top of anyone’s list going to New York City. I personally am not one for tourist attractions, so I avoided these areas as best as I could. However, there are some off-the-beaten path attractions that are worth anyone’s time in the city.

The High Line Park was originally an elevated train track that was built in 1929 through 1934 above the meatpacking district of New York. Trains ran consistently on the track until the 1980s, when people wanted to knock down the entire structure. That’s when the idea came up to build a park above the streets of New York instead of demolishing the structure. Today, the High Line is a large park that still has the original train tracks scattered throughout the park. Built into the elevated structure are park benches and tables to allow people to enjoy themselves. With a view of New Jersey across the Hudson on one side and incredible views of lower Manhattan on the other, the High Line Park is a must-see destination. 

Central Park is well-known to many, but it contains a secret gem: Belvedere Castle. Built in 1869, it was used solely as a place for the National Weather Service to track storms until 1983, when it was opened as a visitor center. Today, patrons are allowed on the roof, giving some of the best views of Central Park and Manhattan. 

Overall, this spring break was one of the best I’ve had in a long time. Iowa City has its own prominent art scene — it has even picked up the nickname “the Manhattan of Iowa” — but you can’t beat New York City if you want a rush of culture in a few short days. Overall, my spring break was full of great theater, great food, and great memories. 


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