NEW YORK -- The bright lights and the hustle and bustle, CUNA's America's Credit Union Conference and Expo brings you right to the center of it all.
The Hilton provides a New York City location right at the door of Rockefeller Center giving you the perfect opportunity to explore some of the great things this city has to offer. Some may say there is too much to do here, as the long list of places to see and things to do can get overwhelming. To help narrow it down here's some suggestions on attractions right in this area that are great to see and easy to get to.
Rockefeller Center stretches from Fifth Avenue to Seventh Avenue and from West 47th to 51st Streets, just three blocks from the Hilton. While the centers ice skating rink and Christmas tree attraction don't fit with this time of year the center still has plenty to offer. The observation deck 70 floors up at the top of Rockefeller Center provides the opportunity to get a 360 degree view of Manhattan. A visit to the top includes the multimedia theatre exhibit, which has educational displays and a trip on the sky shuttle that takes you from the mezzanine to the 67th floor observation deck. The deck is split into an enclosed level and two open-air terraces. The third level, the 70th floor, has an all around view of the borough.
Radio City Music Hall offers a one-hour walking tour of the interior of the building. The tour shows the Great State, the art deco design and the Wurlitzer organ.
NBC also offers a tour of the studio that takes you through the Sharp History Theatre and visits the studios of "The Today Show," "Dateline NBC," "The NBC Nightly News," "The Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "Football Night in America" and "Saturday Night Live." This year NBC has also teamed up with On-Location Tours to offer a combined tour of NBC Studios and the New York TV and movie sites guided bus tour that takes you to see over 40 sites from over 60 televisions shows and movies.
The center also offers a great number of shops and restaurants to visit, which includes the Rainbow Room.
From its dark and seedy past, Times Square is the place every visitor to New York City must see. At the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue Times Square covers from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. Take a walk down the streets just to view the billboards and familiar sights or even stop to pose for a picture with the well-known Times Square fixture the Naked Cowboy. Landmarks that bring in the crowd to Times Square are the Times Square Studios, which houses ABC and the shows "Good Morning America," "Nightline," "Primetime" and "20/20." One Astor Plaza is the headquarters for Viacom and MTV studios. The studio is well-known for MTV's show "Total Request Live." The Virgin Megastore's Times Square location has been a landmark for years and recently reported that it will close its doors in the first quarter of 2009. Times Square is the place to go for souvenirs with street vendors and a souvenir shops every few steps. To satisfy your sweet tooth, visit Dale and Thomas Popcorn store, Hershey's Time Square Store and M&M's World.
The Theatre District is the home to many Broadway theatres and shows. It includes Times Square and stretches from 42nd Street to 53rd Street from Sixth Avenue to Ninth Avenue. (Only tourists call Sixth Avenue by its official name: Avenue of the Americas.) Shows currently on Broadway include: "Chicago," "Grease," "Wicked," "The Little Mermaid," "The Phantom of the Opera," "The Lion King," "Rent," "Mary Poppins," "Spring Awakening," "Legally Blonde," "Hairspray," "Jersey Boys," "Mamma Mia!" and many others.
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is just steps away located at 11 West 53rd Street, less than a block away from the Hilton. The museum has two exhibitions that open this week. Dal?- : Painting and Film opened on June 29 and features more than 130 paintings, drawings, scenarios and films by Salvador Dal?-. Films that are currently on exhibition include: The Films of Bahman Ghobadi, who filmed short documentaries on 8mm film as he traveled Iranian Kurdistan, and "Dal?- Laughs," which is being shown in conjunction with his exhibition and illustrates his critical philosophy of cinema.
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Located just a few blocks away, facing Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral is one of the most famous churches in the world. The construction of the Neo-Gothic Catholic cathedral was completed in 1878 and dedicated in 1879. The cathedral and buildings associated with it where declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976. It can accommodate 2,200 people and is the resting place for eight past archbishops of New York, which are buried in a crypt under the former high altar. The cathedral has two organs, the Chancel Organ, installed in 1928, and the Grand Gallery Organ, installed in 1930. Famous funeral Masses that have taken place at the cathedral include those for Babe Ruth, Billy Martin, Vince Lombardi, Celia Cruz and Robert F. Kennedy.
Statue of Liberty And Ellis Island
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are located in the lower New York Harbor and are accessible from the city by a ferry service that leaves from Battery Park. The ferry operates on a loop that stops first at the Statue of Liberty and then at Ellis Island. The statue is located on a 12-acre island and as many know was dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886, was designated as a National Monument in 1925 and was restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986. The current torch on the statue is a replacement of the original that was added during the restoration. The original torch now sits in the lobby. Ellis Island is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and was added to the National Park System in May 1965. The main building on Ellis Island was opened in 1990 as a national museum of immigration. The American Family Immigration History Center is also located on Ellis Island and contains the manifests of 25 million immigrants, passengers and crew members who entered New York Harbor between 1892 and 1924. Records can be searched at Ellis Island and also online at www.ellisisland.org.
Empire State Building
One of the most recognized symbols of New York City and Manhattan, the Empire State Building is located at 350 Fifth Avenue. The construction of the Empire State Building began on March 17, 1930, and was the result of a competition between Walter Chrysler and John Jakob Raskob to see who could build the tallest building. The 86th floor observatory has both glass and enclosed areas with outdoor promenades on all four sides of the building. To visit the 102nd floor observatory, tickets can be purchased upon arrival. Photos of famous visitors to the Empire State building are on display in the observatory and include Queen Elizabeth II, Fidel Castro and Nikita Krushchev.
History of the Rainbow Room
As many of you attended CUNA's Power Up Party at the Rainbow Room last night, here's a look at the history behind the famous upscale hotspot.
Located on the 65th floor of the 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the Rainbow Room was designed to represent the captivating sophistication of New York City nightlife. The room opened on Oct. 3, 1934, and was created to be a formal supper club where the rich and famous of New York could gather and dance on the revolving dance floor.
In 1974, the Rainbow Room underwent a $25 million restoration and expansion headed by David Rockefeller. In 1998, the Rockefeller family passed the operation of the famous restaurant on to the Cipriani family.
In 1918, Giuseppe Cipriani started as a chef de rang at the Hotel des Alpes in Madonna di Campiglio. He then went from hotel to hotel learning everything he could about upscale service. In 1931, he partnered with Harry Pickering to open what they called Harry's Bar in Venice Italy. The restaurant soon become world famous for its service to aristocrats, film stars, artists and poets. In 1958, Giuseppe left Harry's Bar to his son Arrigo and opened the Hotel Cipriani. There are now several Cipriani restaurants located in New York, Hong Kong and London. The restaurants in New York include: Harry Cipriani on Fifth Avenue, Cipriani Dolci in Grand Central, Downtown Cipriani in Soho, Cipriani 42nd Street and now the Rainbow Room.