Walking Tour in NYC with StumbleUpon

When I travel, I like to go where the locals go. I have to admit that tours scare me. A large group of people looking at “touristy” places is not for me. BUT, this time in New York I decided it is time to learn more about the city. I humbly accepted to “stumble upon” NYC Midtown landmarks, and I didn’t regret it. Thank you to StumbleUpon for providing a cool Starbucks iced latte and a guide into Midtown! Side note: StumbleUpon is a discovery engine (a form of web search engine) that finds and recommends web content to its users. Its features allow users to discover and rate Web pages, photos and videos that are personalized to their tastes and interests using peer-sourcing and social-networking principles.

Midtown is the heart of Manhattan, packed with architectural landmarks, the city’s most popular retail shopping and several of its top museums. The tour started at the Hilton New York. It is a couple of blocks away from the southeast corner of Central Park. This is one of the park’s loveliest sections, near the zoo and Wollman Rink.

We continued down Sixth Avenue, where we saw Radio City Music Hall, recently restored to all its original art deco splendor. I was even able to go inside to where the Rockette’s rehearse for a personalized workout with two of them. Click here to read all about it. ūüôā

Stretching from 48th to 50th Streets between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is Rockefeller Center, a magnificent complex of towering skyscrapers and country flags. We entered between 49th and 50th Streets, past Channel Gardens (and a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art gift shop) to the main plaza, tucked under the golden statue of Prometheus.¬†Dominating the plaza is the soaring art deco GE Building. NBC’s television studios are nearby (including the streetside set used for the Today show).

My roommate, Jen Sobel, also known as Punky and the City

We continued to Fifth Avenue. On the east side of Fifth, between 49th and 50th, stand the chic confines of Saks Fifth Avenue. Across 50th Street rise the twin Gothic spires of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, seat of the Archdiocese of New York. It’s worth a peek inside to see the interior, where Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald were married, and where funeral services were held for Bobby Kennedy.

Later I went down Fifth to 42nd Street, where I reached the magnificent main branch of the New York Public Library, a 1911 Beaux Arts temple with rows of Corinthian columns. Two vigilant stone lions (dubbed Patience and Fortitude by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia) stand sentry at the entrance. I headed west, past the library, to Bryant Park, a lovely green oasis in the heart of Midtown. I grabbed a chair at Bryant Park Grill and join the lively crowd who came here for a casual bite after work.

Dallasite and fellow food lover, Alex Young of Eat. Style. Dallas.

We ended the tour at Time Square. Formerly named Longacre Square, it was renamed in April 1904 after the New York Times moved its headquarters to the Times Building, now called One Times Square. Famous for its electric, neon and illuminated signs including Coca-Cola, Toshiba and the curved NASDAQ sign.

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