New York City

We’ve compiled the best of the best in New York City - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. 9/11 Memorial Plaza

    Financial District

    Opened in 2011 to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the somber memorial occupies a large swath of the 16-acre World Trade Center complex, forming...

    Opened in 2011 to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the somber memorial occupies a large swath of the 16-acre World Trade Center complex, forming the Memorial Plaza. It comprises two recessed, 30-foot-tall waterfalls that occupy the giant, square footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. Edging the memorial pools are bronze panels inscribed with the names of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks. Across the plaza are benches, grassy strips, and more than 400 swamp white oak trees harvested from within a 500-mile radius of the site, as well as from Pennsylvania and near Washington, D.C. The 9/11 Memorial is an open-access, free public plaza. Along Liberty Street on the south side of the site is the elevated Liberty Park, home to Fritz Koenig's The Sphere, which for three decades stood on the plaza at the World Trade Center as a symbol of peace. Damaged in the 2001 attack, the sculpture was installed in the park in 2017. On the park's east end stands the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine, erected to replace the church that was destroyed on 9/11. (At the time of this writing, the church's core structure was built, but finishes remain incomplete.)

    180 Greenwich St., New York, New York, 10007, USA
    212-266–5211
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  • 2. Afropunk Fest

    Fort Greene

    This annual multicultural fete brings artists like Macy Gray, D'Angelo, Big Freedia, and Chuck D to an urban park near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, at...

    This annual multicultural fete brings artists like Macy Gray, D'Angelo, Big Freedia, and Chuck D to an urban park near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, at the far north end of Fort Greene. The fashion scene is as fabulous as the music. Local food trucks provide sustenance and a thrift market keep fans occupied between sets.

    Commodore Barry Park, Flushing Ave., Brooklyn, New York, 11201, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 2 days in Aug.
  • 3. American Museum of Natural History

    Upper West Side

    With more than 40 exhibition halls and 34 million artifacts and specimens, the world's largest and most important museum of natural history can easily occupy...

    With more than 40 exhibition halls and 34 million artifacts and specimens, the world's largest and most important museum of natural history can easily occupy you for more than a day. The dioramas might seem a bit dated but are still fun; dinosaur fossils and exhibits, including a massive T. rex, are highlights for many people, especially kids. A 94-foot model of a blue whale, another museum icon, is suspended from the ceiling in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Attached to the museum is the Rose Center for Earth and Space featuring various exhibits, the Hayden Planetarium, a giant-screen theater, and the Worlds Beyond Earth space show, which takes you on a cosmic journey to the inner reaches of our solar system. Do your bling thing at the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, displaying giant geodes, giant diamonds and sapphires, and the Northwest Coast Hall, the museum's oldest gallery, just reopened in May 2022 after a major revitalization. At this time, the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Innovation, and Education is set to open in 2023 or 2024 with another 190,000 square feet of exhibit and learning space. Residents of New York State, New Jersey, and Connecticut pay "as you wish" admission; there are set admission prices for everyone else, and everyone pays extra for special exhibits and the Planetarium. Many family-friendly events, including storytelling and dance performances, are included with admission. Purchase timed entry tickets online to save time, and check the website for special programs, including sleepovers for kids.

    200 Central Park W., New York, New York, 10024, USA
    212-769–5100

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $23 includes admission to Rose Center for Earth and Space; $28 includes one special exhibition, giant-screen film, or space show, Closed Mon. and Tues.
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  • 4. Arthur Avenue (Belmont)

    Belmont

    Manhattan's Little Italy is overrun with mediocre restaurants aimed at tourists, but Belmont (meaning "beautiful hill"), the Little Italy of the Bronx, is a real,...

    Manhattan's Little Italy is overrun with mediocre restaurants aimed at tourists, but Belmont (meaning "beautiful hill"), the Little Italy of the Bronx, is a real, thriving Italian American community. Unless you have family in the area, the main reason to come here is for the food: eating it, buying it, looking at it fondly through windows, and chatting with shopkeepers about it—perhaps getting recipe advice. Nearly a century after pushcarts on Arthur Avenue catered to Italian American workers constructing the zoo and botanical garden, the area teems with meat markets, bakeries, cheese makers, and shops selling kitchenware (espresso machines, pasta makers, etc.). There are debates about which store or restaurant is the "best," but thanks to generations of Italian grandmothers, most vendors here serve fresh, handmade foods. Although the area is no longer solely Italian—many Latinos and Albanians share this neighborhood now—Italians dominate the food scene. The covered Arthur Avenue Retail Market ( 2344 Arthur Avenue) is a terrific starting point. It houses some dozen vendors, including the Bronx Beer Hall. Regulars mostly shop on Saturday afternoon; many stores are shuttered on Sunday and after 5 pm.

    Arthur Ave. between Crescent Ave./184th St. and 188th St., and 187th St. between Lorillard Pl. and Cambreleng Ave., Bronx, New York, 10458, USA
  • 5. Bethesda Fountain

    Central Park

    Few New York views are more romantic than the one from the top of the magnificent stone staircase that leads down to the ornate three-tiered...

    Few New York views are more romantic than the one from the top of the magnificent stone staircase that leads down to the ornate three-tiered Bethesda Fountain. The fountain, dedicated in 1873, was built to celebrate the opening of the Croton Aqueduct, which brought clean drinking water to New York City. The name Bethesda was taken from the biblical pool in Jerusalem that was supposedly given healing powers by an angel, which explains the statue The Angel of the Waters rising from the center. The four figures around the fountain's base symbolize Temperance, Purity, Health, and Peace. Beyond the terrace stretches the Lake, filled with swans, gondolas, and amateur rowboat captains. At its eastern end is the Boathouse, home of a deck bar, an outdoor café for on-the-go snacks, and a pricier restaurant for more leisurely meals.

    Midpark at 72nd St. transverse, New York, New York, USA
    212-310--6600
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  • 6. Brighton Beach

    Brighton Beach

    Just steps from the subway, this stretch of golden sand is the showpiece of Brooklyn's oceanside playground. Families set up beach blankets, umbrellas, and coolers,...

    Just steps from the subway, this stretch of golden sand is the showpiece of Brooklyn's oceanside playground. Families set up beach blankets, umbrellas, and coolers, and pickup games of beach volleyball and football add to the excitement. Calm surf, a lively boardwalk, and a handful of restaurants for shade and refreshments complete the package. That spit of land in the distance is the Rockaway Peninsula, in Queens. Amenities: toilets. Best for: people watching, sunsets, Russian food

    Brighton Beach Ave., Brooklyn, New York, 11235, USA
  • 7. Bronx Zoo

    Belmont

    With 265 acres and more than 10,000 animals representing 700-plus species, this is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, opened in 1899. See...

    With 265 acres and more than 10,000 animals representing 700-plus species, this is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, opened in 1899. See exotic creatures in natural settings that re-create native habitats; you're often separated from the animals by no more than a moat or wall of glass. Don't miss the Congo Gorilla Forest, a 6½-acre re-creation of a lush African rain forest with western lowland gorillas, as well as mandrills, okapis, and red river hogs. At Tiger Mountain an open viewing shelter lets you get incredibly close to Siberian tigers. As the big cats nap at midday, visit in the morning or afternoon. Madagascar! is a verdant re-creation of one of the world's most threatened natural habitats, with six species of lemurs and more. Go on a mini-safari via the Wild Asia Monorail, May through November, weather permitting. Here you can view Asian elephants, Indo-Chinese tigers, Indian rhinoceroses, and other species. Try to visit popular exhibits, such as Congo Gorilla Forest, early to avoid lines later in the day. In winter, some outdoor exhibitions have fewer animals on view, but there's plenty to savor indoors. Some exhibits have an extra charge; to see everything, consider purchasing the Total Experience ticket.

    2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, New York, 10460, USA
    718-220–5100

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $30.95, Last entry to exhibits is 30 mins before closing; check website for seasonal discounts available when purchasing tickets online; parking $17
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  • 8. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

    Prospect Heights

    A verdant, 52-acre oasis, the BBG charms with its array of “gardens within the garden,” including idyllic Japanese hill-and-pond, rose, and Shakespeare gardens. The Japanese...

    A verdant, 52-acre oasis, the BBG charms with its array of “gardens within the garden,” including idyllic Japanese hill-and-pond, rose, and Shakespeare gardens. The Japanese cherry arbor turns into a breathtaking cloud of pink every spring. There are multiple entrances, and a variety of free garden tours are available with admission; check the website for seasonal details and information on the many festivals held throughout the year, including the iconic Sakura Matsuri celebration during cherry blossom season.

    990 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, New York, 11225, USA
    718-623–7200

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $15, Closed Mon.
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  • 9. Brooklyn Bridge (Entrance)

    Brooklyn Heights

    Most visitors cross the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, but you'll get better views traversing the span from the Brooklyn side. It's a surprisingly long walk...

    Most visitors cross the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, but you'll get better views traversing the span from the Brooklyn side. It's a surprisingly long walk (more than a mile) that normally takes about 40 minutes, but the exhilarating views are good payment for your exercise. Many office workers commute this way, and a welcome recent addition is a separate bike lane carved out from a lane of traffic, making the walkway much less crowded during rush hour (7 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm). It's most magical and quietest in the early morning, but if you don't mind the crowds, it's worth making the trip at sunset in summer, when the lights of Manhattan come to life. There are two pedestrian access points for the bridge on the Brooklyn side. One is at the intersection of Tillary Street and Boerum Place, where it eventually splits to lead left for those on foot, right for those on two wheels; the second is the Washington Street underpass, which leads to a staircase up to the walkway.

    Brooklyn, New York, 11201, USA
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  • 10. Brooklyn Bridge (Manhattan Entrance)

    Financial District

    “A drive-through cathedral" is how the journalist James Wolcott once described the Brooklyn Bridge—one of New York's noblest and most recognizable landmarks—perhaps rivaling Walt Whitman's...

    “A drive-through cathedral" is how the journalist James Wolcott once described the Brooklyn Bridge—one of New York's noblest and most recognizable landmarks—perhaps rivaling Walt Whitman's comment that it was "the best, most effective medicine my soul has yet partaken." The bridge stretches over the East River, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. A walk across its promenade—a boardwalk elevated above the roadway, shared by pedestrians and (sometimes aggressive) cyclists—is a quintessential New York experience, and the roughly 40-minute stroll delivers exhilarating views. If you start from Lower Manhattan (enter from the east side of City Hall), you'll end up in the heart of Brooklyn Heights, but you can also take the subway to the Brooklyn side and walk back to Manhattan. From late morning through early evening, the narrow path gets very congested, especially when the weather is nice. Head here early in the morning to find the magical quiet hours.

    East River Dr., New York, New York, 10038, USA
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  • 11. Brooklyn Bridge Park

    Brooklyn Heights

    This sweeping feat of green urban renewal stretches from the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO to the Brooklyn Bridge and south all the way to Pier...

    This sweeping feat of green urban renewal stretches from the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO to the Brooklyn Bridge and south all the way to Pier 6, carpeting old industrial sites along the waterfront with scenic esplanades and lush meadows. The park has playgrounds, sports fields, food concessions, the wonderfully restored Jane's Carousel, and lots of grass for lounging. The newest addition called Pier 2 Uplands includes a splash pad and huge lawn. You can access the park at various points; just head down the hill toward the East River and you can't miss it.

    Brooklyn, New York, 11201, USA
    718-222–9939
  • 12. Brooklyn Heights Promenade

    Brooklyn Heights

    Strolling this mile-long path famous for its magnificent Manhattan views, you might find it surprising to learn that its origins were purely functional: the promenade...

    Strolling this mile-long path famous for its magnificent Manhattan views, you might find it surprising to learn that its origins were purely functional: the promenade was built as a sound barrier to protect nearby brownstones from highway noise. Find a bench, and take in the skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge; in the evening, the lights of Manhattan sparkle across the East River. Below are the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway (BQE) and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

    Between Remsen and Cranberry Sts., Brooklyn, New York, USA
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  • 13. Brooklyn Museum

    Prospect Heights

    New York’s second-largest museum (after Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum of Art) is also one of the largest in America, with 560,000 square feet of exhibition space....

    New York’s second-largest museum (after Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum of Art) is also one of the largest in America, with 560,000 square feet of exhibition space. The colossal Beaux-Arts structure houses one of the best collections of Egyptian art in the world, as well as impressive collections of African, pre-Columbian, Native American, and feminist art. In addition, you'll find works by Georgia O'Keeffe, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, George Bellows, Thomas Eakins, and Milton Avery. The museum is also well known for its contemporary, cutting-edge special exhibits. The monthly (except for September) First Saturday free-entry night is a neighborhood party of art, music, and dancing, with food vendors and several cash bars.

    200 Eastern Pkwy., Brooklyn, New York, 11238, USA
    718-638–5000

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $16 suggested donation, $25 combo ticket with Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Closed Mon. and Tues.
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  • 14. Bryant Park

    Midtown West

    This lovely green space spread out among landmarks and skyscrapers is one of Manhattan's most popular parks. Tall London plane trees line the perimeter of...

    This lovely green space spread out among landmarks and skyscrapers is one of Manhattan's most popular parks. Tall London plane trees line the perimeter of the sunny central lawn, overlooking stone terraces, flower beds, and snack kiosks. The garden tables scattered about fill with lunching office workers and folks enjoying the park's free Wi-Fi. In summer, there are free readings, live jazz, and "Broadway in Bryant Park" musical theater performances. Most popular of all is the summer film festival: locals leave work early to snag a spot on the lawn for the outdoor screenings each Monday at dusk. At the east side of the park, near a bronze cast of Gertrude Stein, is the stylish Bryant Park Grill, which has a rooftop garden, and the adjacent open-air Bryant Park Café, open seasonally. On the south side of the park is an old-fashioned carousel ($3) where kids can also attend storytellings and magic shows. Come late October, the park rolls out the artificial frozen "pond" (Oct.–Mar., daily 8 am–10 pm; skate rental starts at $22) for free ice-skating (bring your own padlock for the lockers). Surrounding the ice rink are the Christmas-market stalls of the holiday shops, selling handcrafted goods and local foods.

    6th Ave., New York, New York, 10018, USA
    212-768–4242
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  • 15. Celebrate Brooklyn!

    Prospect Park

    New York City’s longest-running summer outdoor performance festival began in 1979 and remains a top-notch crowd-pleaser with its diverse roster of mostly free (and some...

    New York City’s longest-running summer outdoor performance festival began in 1979 and remains a top-notch crowd-pleaser with its diverse roster of mostly free (and some benefit) star acts. There's ample band shell seating, but locals tend to favor arriving early with a blanket to get a good seat on the grassy slope. Acts range from artists such as Janelle Monáe, the National, Neutral Milk Hotel, and St. Vincent to the Shen Wei Dance Arts company and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Look for silent film nights accompanied by innovative live music as well as spoken word performances. Pack a picnic or buy food from local, on-site vendors.

    Entrance on Prospect Park W, Brooklyn, New York, 11217, USA
    718-683--5600

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: June--Aug.
  • 16. Center for Brooklyn History at Brooklyn Public Library

    Brooklyn Heights

    Four centuries' worth of art and artifacts bring Brooklyn's story to life at this marvelous space. Housed in an 1881 Queen Anne–style National Historic Landmark...

    Four centuries' worth of art and artifacts bring Brooklyn's story to life at this marvelous space. Housed in an 1881 Queen Anne–style National Historic Landmark building, the center surveys the borough's changing identity through interactive exhibitions, landscape paintings, photographs, portraits of Brooklynites, and fascinating memorabilia. The Othmer Library’s magnificent reading room, with its stained-glass windows and carved wooden columns, transports visitors to an earlier era.

    128 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn, New York, 11201, USA
    718-222–4111

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $10 suggested donation, Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 17. Central Park

    Central Park

    Central Park's creators, landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, had a simple goal when they submitted their plan in 1858: to design a...

    Central Park's creators, landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, had a simple goal when they submitted their plan in 1858: to design a place where city dwellers could go to forget the city. Even though New York eventually grew far taller than the trees planted to hide it, the park has always been an urbanized Eden that gives residents and visitors alike a bite of the apple. Indeed, without Central Park's 843 acres of meandering paths, tranquil lakes, ponds, and open meadows, New Yorkers (especially Manhattanites) might be a lot less sane. Olmsted and Vaux also designed Brooklyn's Prospect Park and the grounds of the White House. The busy southern section of Central Park, from 59th to 72nd Street, is where most people get their first impression. But no matter how many people congregate around here, you can always find a spot to picnic, ponder, or just take in the foliage, even on a sunny weekend day. Playgrounds, lawns, jogging and biking paths, and striking buildings populate the midsection of the park, from 72nd Street to the reservoir. You can soak up the sun, take in the public art, take pictures at Bethesda Fountain, visit the penguins at the Central Park Zoo, or join the runners huffing counterclockwise on the dirt track that surrounds the reservoir. North of the reservoir and up to 110th Street, Central Park is less crowded and feels more rugged. Not many people know about Lasker Rink & Pool in the northeast corner of the park, a swimming pool that becomes a skating rink in winter—and it's much less crowded than Wollman Rink in the park's southern part. To find out about park events and year-round walking tours, check the website of the Central Park Conservancy,  www.centralparknyc.org. If you're taking the subway to the park's southernmost parts, the stops at either Columbus Circle (southwest corner) or 5th Avenue–59th Street (southeast corner) are handy. If headed for points north, the A, B, C, and D subway lines travel along Central Park West (beware of local versus express stops); the 4, 5, and 6 lines travel along Lexington Avenue, three blocks east of 5th Avenue and the park. There are many paved pedestrian entrances into the park from 5th Avenue, Central Park North (110th Street), Central Park West, and Central Park South (59th Street). Four roads, or transverses, for cars and city busses cut through the park from east to west—66th, 79th, 86th, and 96th Streets. The East and West drives are both along the north–south axis; Center Drive enters the south edge of the park at 6th Avenue and connects with East Drive around 66th Street. Cars are no longer allowed on the drives, which are exclusively for pedestrians, cyclists and horse-drawn carriages. Along the main loop, lampposts are marked with location codes that include a letter—always "E" (for east) or "W" (for west)—followed by numbers, the first two of which tell you the nearest cross street. For example, E7803 means you're near 78th Street; above 99, the initial "1" is omitted, so W0401 is near West 104th Street. Download the Central Park Conservancy's free app for a GPS-enabled map to help you navigate the park. The app also includes an audio guide, self-guided tours, and current events in the park. Central Park has one of the lowest crime rates in the city. Still, use common sense: stay within sight of other park visitors, and, in general, avoid the park after dark. If you haven't packed a picnic and you want a snack, you can usually find one of those rather tired-looking food carts selling hot dogs, pretzels and ice-cream sandwiches. Specialty food carts are often around, too, mostly in the park's southern half, especially when there are concerts or other major events—your taste buds will thank you. Other reliable options include the café next to the Boathouse Restaurant (midpark at 74th Street), or the park's branch of Le Pain Quotidien (midpark at 69th Street). Both serve sandwiches, soups, pastries, and other satisfying on-the-go grub (and Le Pain also has free Wi-Fi). For something a little more elegant, you can stop for brunch, lunch, or dinner at the Tavern on the Green. As part of a parkwide restoration project named Plan for Play, all 21 playgrounds have undergone (or are still scheduled to receive) updates. Most have seen renovations to play structures, plus other improvements that will ensure each one's structural stability and ongoing maintenance for years to come.

    New York, New York, USA
    212-794–6564-for Dairy Visitor Center
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  • 18. Chelsea Market

    Chelsea

    This former Nabisco plant—where the first Oreos were baked in 1912—now houses more than 50 shops, food vendors, and sit-down restaurants. Probably the biggest draw...

    This former Nabisco plant—where the first Oreos were baked in 1912—now houses more than 50 shops, food vendors, and sit-down restaurants. Probably the biggest draw are the food kiosks (some with counter seating), including favorite taco spot Los Tacos No. 1, Israeli-based sandwich spot Miznon, Amy's Bread, Berlin Currywurst, Ninth Street Espresso, and so much more. Also look for an Anthropologie store, an outpost of Pearl River Mart, a wine bar, upscale groceries, teas, spices, gift baskets, kitchen supplies, and one of New York City's last independent bookstores (Posman Books). The market's funky industrial design—a tangle of glass and metal for an awning, a factory pipe converted into an indoor waterfall—complements the eclectic assortment of shops, but the narrow space can get very crowded. A downstairs level has a few additional food stands as well as bathrooms. There is some seating inside and outside along W. 15th St., but if the weather's nice, take your goodies to the High Line.

    75 9th Ave., New York, New York, 10011, USA
    212-652–2117
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  • 19. Citi Field

    Flushing

    Opened in 2009, the Mets' stadium was designed to hark back to Brooklyn's Ebbets Field (where the Dodgers played until 1957), with a brick exterior...

    Opened in 2009, the Mets' stadium was designed to hark back to Brooklyn's Ebbets Field (where the Dodgers played until 1957), with a brick exterior and lots of fun features for fans of all ages, from a batting cage and Wiffle-ball field to the original giant apple taken from the team's old residence, Shea Stadium. Even those who aren't Mets fans but simply love baseball should come to see the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, a soaring multistory entrance and history exhibit dedicated to the Dodgers player who shattered baseball's color barrier. While here, don't miss the chance to taste your way through the fabulous food court, set behind center field (on the Field Level), where you'll find Shake Shack burgers and Blue Smoke barbecue. Still feeling nostalgic for the old Shea? Stop by the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum. Ballpark tours ($20) are available year-round; see mlb.com/mets/ballpark/tours for schedule and ticketing info.

    123-01 Roosevelt Ave., Queens, New York, 11368, USA
    718-507–8499
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  • 20. Clinton Hill Architecture Walk

    Part of the National Register of Historic Places, the buildings along Clinton and Washington avenues were originally lavish summer homes for turn-of-the-20th-century industrialists like Charles...

    Part of the National Register of Historic Places, the buildings along Clinton and Washington avenues were originally lavish summer homes for turn-of-the-20th-century industrialists like Charles Pratt. Federal, French Second Empire, Romanesque Revival, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and neo-Grec mansions line the streets, serving as university buildings, community centers, and private residences. There are also quintessentially Brooklyn brownstones and Italianate row houses, with mansard roofs as far as the eye can see.

    Clinton and Washington Aves., Brooklyn, New York, 11205, USA

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