Take Your Pick
Albany, NY
I Love NY's Capitol
State Capitol Building - Unlike most State Capitol Buildings patterned after the nation's capitol in Washington DC, the Albany Statehouse is reminiscent of an estate-style chateau. The building was completed in 1899 after 32 years of construction and input from three different teams of architects. The varying styles of the architects, often competing with each other, in the end looks fabulous. The greatest features of the structure are the three interior staircases. One is named the "million dollar staircase" which accurately states the cost, but understates its beauty.
Bethel, NY
Woodstock Marker
Woodstock - Woodstock is considered the greatest music event in rock history and was held Aug 15-17, 1969 on a 600 acre dairy farm owned by Max Yasgur. Over 30 bands were in the line-up including Jimi Hendrix, Joan Beaz, Jefferson Airplane, CCR, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin and The Who. Crowds of 250,000 were expected to show up, but with the big name line-up and the possibility of getting in free, the crowd surged to over half a million. Of course if everyone who said they were there actually were, the crowd would have been at least 5 million strong. I was there.........well, not in 1969, but I did sit on the colorful marker with my trophy girlfriend Jess.
Bronx, NY
Home of the Bronx Bombers
New York Yankees - The New York Yankees christened a new stadium in 2009, retiring "the house that Babe Ruth built". The venue may have changed, but it is still one of the most exciting ball fields in the nation to watch America's favorite pastime. Every year the Yankees are the team to beat and they have won 27 World Series Titles (more than twice as many as any other club). Before or after the game be sure to check out the New York Yankees Museum located on the main level - it contains over 1,000 signed baseballs encased in a sculpture of the 1956 Don Larsen perfect game.
Brooklyn, NY
The Foggy Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge - Often photographed at night with glowing lights illuminating the silhouette of the bridge and the cityscape behind her, the Brooklyn Bridge is a marvel to admire. The National Historic Landmarks spans nearly 6,000 feet and can be viewed from either side or walked, biked, and driven across. The one-of-a-kind suspension bridge was designed by John Augustus Roebling (1806-1869), who during its construction lost his foot and subsequently died from infection. Construction was completed in 1883 and millions and millions of monkeys have crossed it since.
Buffalo, NY
Best Buffalo Wings
Birthplace of the Buffalo Wing - While working the kitchen at the Anchor Bar and Restaurant one night in 1964, Teressa Bellissimo deep fried some chicken wings and applied a secret sauce for some customers. From that point on, the lowly chicken wing that once was only used for soup had a delicious new purpose. The Anchor Bar is a fun place to visit, with license plates affixed to the walls and motorcycles hanging from the rafters, but the main attraction are the wings. Hear ye, hear ye, these are not only the first Buffalo wings ever made, but without-a-doubt the best Buffalo wings ever made.
Castile, NY
Falls in Fall at Letchworth
Letchworth State Park - The Genesee River cascades over three fantastic waterfalls in Letchworth State Park, the 71 foot Upper Falls, the 107 foot Middle Falls and 55 foot Lower Falls. The grandest of the three is the Middle Falls, which is illuminated after dark from May to October. But these three aren't the only falls in the "Grand Canyon of the East", there are over 50 ribbons of water, including the state's tallest waterfall, the 350 foot Inspiration Falls. The park also contains 600 foot cliffs, 50 miles of hiking/cross-country skiing trails, areas for whitewater rafting and hot air balloon rides.
Cooperstown, NY
National Baseball Hall of Fame - Since opening in 1939, Cooperstown has been the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, a place that honors the game and its players. Each year a handful of the baseball's most outstanding representatives (players, coaches and executives.) are inducted into the Hall. Fan favorites include Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, and Cy Young. The Hall of Fame contains over 38,000 three-dimensional artifacts including homerun balls, bats, and player's uniforms, as well as nearly three million newspaper articles, baseball cards and photographs.
Corning, NY
Artifacts in the Corning Museum
Corning Museum of Glass - Prior to visiting the Corning Museum of Glass, I speculated that it would be a museum filled with Corningware products used to make "hot dishes" - casseroles for non-northerners. It is nothing like that. The museum contains over 45,000 glass artifacts, many of them grand and beautiful works of art. The collection of glassworks includes objects from Tiffany and Co, contemporary colored artwork and some artifacts over 3,500 years old. The on-premises glass blowing exhibition is amazing and may even inspire you to take a glass making class.
East Hampton, NY
The Hamptons for the Ubers
The Hamptons - Often called the "playground of the rich", The Hamptons do attract plenty of celebrities and uber-wealthy to her beaches and nightclubs. No worries though, there are lots of attractions for us uber-regular monkeys too. The area is made up of East Hampton, Southampton, Hampton Bays and Westhampton Beach stretching along the Montauk Highway (Highway 27). Be sure to check out the dunes of Hither Hills State Park, John Howard Payne's "Home Sweet Home", and the fine art of East Hampton.
Heart Island, NY
Approaching Heart Island
Boldt Castle - George C Boldt (1851-1916), was a self-made millionaire and owner of the luxurious Waldorf Astoria in New York and the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. He and his wife Louise began construction of their 120 room castle in early 1900 on Heart Island and spared no expense. Then in 1904 Louise suddenly died and heart-broken George ended construction and never returned to the island. Today Boldt Castle is a major tourist attraction and accessible via ferries from Canada or the USA. Self-guided tours weave through the six story historic home and through the elaborate stone buildings of the estate.
Hyde Park, NY
FDR Presidential Library
FDR - The Franklin D Roosevelt home and Presidential Library and Museum are located next to each other in historic Hyde Park. The Springwood estate is where our only four-term President, was born, maintained a residence, and is now buried. Tours of the large three-story Federal style home weave through a vast collection of personal effects, paintings and campaign related items. FDR oversaw the construction of his, the first Presidential Library and Museum. Exhibits provide an in depth look at the future President's early years, his terms in office and post-Presidential life. While in Hyde park, be sure to visit the nearby Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site. The mansion is a looking-glass view into the nation's gilded-age.
Jamestown, NY
Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Museum
The Lucy-Desi Center - Lucille Ball (1911-1989), the hapless and loveable star of the popular TV show "I Love Lucy" and the "Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" actually began her career as a fashion model. The beautiful redhead then starred in several B-films before being noticed as an entertaining comedic performer in the radio program "My Favorite Husband", which launched her career. The Lucy-Desi Center is two facilities in one, The Desilu Playhouse and The Lucy-Desi Museum. Both have photos, show props, and tons of Lucy memorabilia. Remember to pick up an area map to find all of the Lucy sites around town including her birth home.
Lake George, NY
What Happened at Fort William Henry
Fort William Henry - The French and Indian War between 1754 and 1763 pitted the British Colonists against the French and their allies the Native Americans. The British occupied Fort William Henry and the French held it under siege from Aug 3 to Aug 9, 1757. Finally the British surrendered and were allowed to leave peacefully. What happened next is debated by historians, but it was reported that as many as 1,500 British soldiers, while marching unarmed, were attacked and killed by Native Americans. For the real story, head to Fort William Henry, which has informative tour guides in full military dress.
Lake Placid, NY
Do You Believe in Miracles?
1980 Olympics - "Do you believe in miracles?" Al Michaels yelled that question after the amateur USA hockey team defeated the heavily favored professional Soviet hockey team in the medal round of the 1980 Olympics. The answer to the question is a resounding "YES!!!" It will forever be known as the Miracle on Ice. Lake Placid was home to both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics and is a training facility for athletes of future Olympics. The small town is nestled amongst the Adirondack Mountains and features year-round activities. You can even ice skate where the Miracle on Ice took place.
Lewiston, NY
Underground Railroad Route
Whirlpool Bridge Freedom Crossing - During the early to mid 1800s at a time when the northern states were free and the southern states were slave states, the Underground Railroad was established to help fugitive slaves escape. The Underground Railroad was a network of safe houses, arranged transportation, people sympathetic to the cause of freedom (Harriet Tubman being them most famous), and predefined escape routes. One of those escape routes was the Whirlpool Bridge Freedom Crossing which crossed over the Niagara River into Canada. There is also a Freedom Crossing Monument on the banks of the river in Lewiston.
Montauk, NY
Oldest Lighthouse in New York
Montauk Point Lighthouse - Situated as far east on Long Island as a sock monkey can drive, is the historic Montauk Point Lighthouse. It is the oldest lighthouse in New York and the 4th oldest in the nation. The light was completed in 1796, and was authorized by the Second United States Congress, under President George Washington. Tours to the top of the 110 foot brown and white tower are available and offer a tremendous view of the Atlantic Ocean. The keeper's house, which is now a museum, displays two original documents pertaining to the lighthouse signed by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
New York, NY
The Place to be on New Years Eve
Times Square - Attracted by the intense and enormous flashing neon lights, people from all over the world head to Times Square and make it one of the busiest areas in the city. Well, maybe it is more than the neon lights. Times Square is at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and is in the heart of the theater district. So there are Broadway and off-Broadway theaters, shopping, street performers, food vendors, restaurants, museums, bus tours, and so much more. It is also the gathering place to watch the ball drop on New Years Eve. Times Square is a must-see on your NYC trip.
New York, NY
Amusements on the Boardwalk
Coney Island - Coney Island was known as the "World's Largest Playground" during its heyday in the mid-1900s and it still holds a lot of appeal today. The park boasts over 50 amusement rides and attractions including the 1920 Wonder Wheel and the oldest rollercoaster in America, the 1927 Cyclone. It features carnival favorites like skeeball mixed with new-comers like "Shoot the Freak". The best time to visit is at night when the neon glow of the rides illuminates the boardwalk along the beach. Coney Island is also home to the original Nathan's Famous "Coney Dog", and the company hosts the annual International Hot Dog Eating Contest from this location.
New York, NY
Hans Christian Andersen and Socko
Central Park - Located right in the middle of downtown Manhattan and surrounded on all four sides by a towering cityscape, Central Park is an oasis from the city bustle and a picturesque garden of greenery. The 843 acre National Historic Landmark was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1858 and contains several lakes, over half a million trees and shrubs, fountains, an ice rink, a castle and most importantly dozens of open areas for picnicking and laying in the sun. The park, which is closed to vehicle traffic on the weekends, is remarkably quiet - you can even hear the birds chirp.
New York, NY
Beat Out by King Kong
Empire State Building - Often I like to be the first monkey to do something, but in the case of climbing the Empire State Building, King Kong did it first in 1933. Plus, I took the elevators. The 102 story, 1,454 foot national historic landmark was completed in 1931, and at the time was the tallest building in the nation (it is now the third tallest). Tours are available that go to the observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors, both offering fantastic views of the city, day or night. At night the Art Deco structure is aglow in the colors of the season, holiday, or special event of the moment.
New York, NY
Showtime at the Apollo
Harlem - Harlem is the area just north of Central Park and is home to the Apollo Theater, Bill Clinton and the resting place of Ulysses S Grant. The Apollo Theater has hosted such greats as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald and continues today as a launching pad for tomorrow's entertainers. Not far down the road is the office of President Bill Clinton who arrived here in 2001 after 8 years in the White House. And heading towards the Hudson River, the location of the famous "Miracle on the Hudson", landing, is the tomb of Ulysses S Grant. FYI, the answer to the question, "who is buried in Grant's tomb?" is "nobody". Ulysses and his wife Julia are entombed, not buried.
New York, NY
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museum Mile - Spanning over 5,000 years of human and cultural history and containing over two million works of art from around the globe, is the world famous Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exhibits feature Egyptian, Asian, Byzantine, American, and European paintings, sculptures and decretive arts. "The Met" is considered to be the top museum in the nation and in the top 2 or 3 in the world. But, wait there's more. Located near the Met are a total of 11 museums that make up the Museum Mile (a few are the Guggenheim, El Museo del Barrio, and the Museum of the City of New York). Each year in June the city holds a Museum Mile Festival opening the museums free of charge.
New York, NY
30 Rock
Rockefeller Center - Rockefeller Center was built by and named after oil and steel tycoon J.D. Rockefeller (1874-1960). The entire complex is comprised of 19 buildings, 14 Art Deco structures and 5 modern. The centerpiece of 22 acre campus is the 70 story GE Building at 30 Rockefeller Center "30 Rock" which houses the headquarters of NBC Studios. Several tours are available including the, "Top of the Rock" tour which takes guests to the 70th floor observation deck, the NBC Studio and Radio City Music Hall. There is also an ice skating rink which is fun to try or watch others try.
New York, NY
Spires of Saint Patrick's Cathedral
Saint Patrick's Cathedral - Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan on 5th Avenue, amongst one of the most prestigious shopping districts in the world and surrounded by towering skyscrapers, is the gorgeous Saint Patrick's Cathedral. The neo-Gothic Roman Catholic Church with its 300 foot spires was completed in 1878 and at the time was a long distance from the city center. Today it is the largest Gothic church in the USA and the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York. Visiting the church as a tourist or for worship, with its enormous nave and wonderful choir, is truly inspiring.
New York, NY
Monkey See Monkey Do
Statue of Liberty - The Statue of Liberty, America's symbol of Freedom, was given to our nation by the French for the celebration our country's centennial in 1876. The 305 foot statue, whose base is engraved with the words, "Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free", was the first thing immigrants to our nation saw. Today boats leave from New Jersey and New York to Liberty Island (and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum) to see this marvelous icon of freedom. Visitors can climb the 354 stairs inside the statue to her crown and peer out one of the 25 windows at New York's Upper Bay.
New York, NY
Ground Zero Memorial
World Trade Center/Ground Zero - Ask any American where they were or what they were doing on September 11, 2001 and they will be able to tell you. That day, al-Qaeda extremists hi-jacked four airplanes and two of them were crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. 2,752 people died as a result of the NYC attacks and the subsequent collapse of the towers. The site of the former towers, now known as Ground Zero, currently has impromptu memorials and they will dedicate the official Memorial on September 11, 2011.
New York, NY
Giving You the Crooked Eye
Seinfeld - The TV show Seinfeld which ran from 1989 to 1998 was set in the City's Upper West Side and all of the show's locations are yours to find. There's the restaurant of the Soup Nazi, H&H Bagels where Kramer worked, the apartment where Elaine lived, and the Hotel Edison where George was tied up by a women. To see where they all hung out at one time or another visit Monk's Restaurant (Tom's Restaurant in real life). The interior is different than what was shown on TV, but you can still go in and be a "low talker", give people the "crook eye" and "double-dip" with all your friends. Of course after a long day of walking around, you may have the "jimmy-legs" that night.
New York City, NY
Symbol of Wall Street
Wall Street - Wall Street, an actual street running through Lower Manhattan, has become synonymous with New York's Financial District. This is home to the New York Stock Exchange (the world's largest stock exchange) and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, among others. Tours of the NYSE are currently closed for security reasons, but be sure to drop by the 7,000 lb bronze "Wall Street Bull" that has become the symbol of the stock market. This larger-than-life sculpture was created by Arturo Di Modica and "loaned" to the city of New York in December of 1989.
Newburgh, NY
First Publically Owned Historic Site
Washington's Headquarters - Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site preserves the location where General George Washington (1732-1799) directed his Continental Army during the American Revolution. The privately owned fieldstone farmhouse was used by the Commander-in-Chief from April 1782 to August 1783. This was the longest he stayed at any headquarters during the war. The site holds the distinction as the first publically owned historic site in the nation. Guided tours of the headquarters are available along with self-guide tours of the grounds featuring the "Tower of Victory".
Niagara Falls, NY
Niagra Falls - Slowly I Turn...
Niagara Falls - One of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring natural attractions in the nation are the three falls (American, Bridal and Horseshoe) that make up Niagara Falls. Every second nearly a million gallons of water crashes over the rocky falls producing a rainbow-filled mist that envelope the senses. Start your USA excursions at the Falls State Park's observation tower, then head to the Cave of the Winds just below, and don't miss a boat ride on the Maid of the Mist. After you're done on our side, head on over to Canada for a double-decker bus tour and catch all of their sights. At night the falls are illuminated in hues of alternating colors which are best observed from the rotating Skylon Tower.
Rochester, NY
Kodachrome Home
George Eastman House - George Eastman (1854-1932) founded the Eastman Kodak Company and was the inventor of roll film and the first Kodak camera to use it. His inventions opened up the art of photography to the entire world His home, a 35,000 square foot Colonial Revival built in 1905 is now a now the oldest photography museum in the world. The permanent collection contains photographs from the dawn of photography and artistic works from hundreds of artists including Ansel Adams.
Syracuse, NY
Erie Canal National Corridor
Erie Canal - The Erie Canal is an engineering marvel that connected the Great Lakes (Lake Erie) in the western part of the state to the Hudson River in the eastern part. The 40 foot wide canal, built between 1817 and 1825, consisted of a series of locks and aqueducts that stretched for 363 miles across the state. The canal was traversed by barges carrying supplies and people, which were pulled by ox and horses. The Erie Canal National Corridor follows the route of the canal and highlights museums, barge rides and recreational activities on the canal.
Watkins Glen, NY
Gorgeous Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen State Park - To truly see the beauty of Upstate New York, drop in to Watkins Glen State Park and hike the Gorge Trail. The 1.5 mile trail winds through a 400 foot water-carved gorge, over elevated bridges and behind cascading waterfalls all the time remaining under a nearly sun-proof canopy of green. The trail starts off a little difficult, there are more than 800 slippery stairs to climb at the entrance, but if you're a semi-fit monkey you can do it. Then once you're to the end of the trail, you can hop on a shuttle to take you back to your car (you can hike back too).
West Point, NY
Exhibit in the West Point Museum
West Point Military Academy - Many famous people have graduated from the West Point Military Academy including Ulysses S Grant, George S Patton, Douglas MacArthur, and Robert E Lee to name a few. West Point was founded in 1802 on the location where George Washington created military fortifications during the American Revolution. It is the nation's oldest continuously occupied military post. For a glimpse into the proud history of the academy visit the West Point Museum which contains a collection of military artifacts, paintings, and exhibits on the evolution of warfare.