New York City Tourism
Tourism is a major local industry, with hundreds of attractions and 39 million tourists visiting the city each year on average. Many visitors make it a point to visit the Empire State Building, Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Wall Street, United Nations Headquarters, the American Museum of Natural History, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Fifth Avenue, and the Brooklyn Bridge, among other attractions.
There are over 28,000 acres (113 kmē) of parkland found throughout New York City, comprising over 1,700 separate parks and playgrounds. The best known of these is Central Park, which is one of the finest examples of landscape architecture in the world, as well as a major source of recreation for New Yorkers and tourists alike. Other major parks in the city include Riverside Park, Battery Park, Bryant Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadow-Corona Park, Washington Square Park, and Forest Park. The city also has 578 miles (930 km) of waterfront and over 14 miles (22 km) of public beaches.
Maritime attractions include the South Street Seaport, site of a historic port, and the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, housed in a World War II aircraft carrier docked on the Hudson River.
Shopping is popular with many visitors, with Fifth Avenue being a famous shopping corridor for luxury items. Macy's, the nation's largest department store, and the surrounding area of Herald Square are a major destination for more moderately-priced goods. In recent years 23rd Street has become a major location for "big-box" retailers. In southern Manhattan, Greenwich Village is home to hundreds of independent music and book stores, while the East Village continues to prevail as purveyors of all things "strange" and unusual which you can't find anywhere else. The "diamond district" (located on 47th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues) is the city's main location for jewelry shopping, and SoHo, formerly the center of the New York art scene, is now famous for high-priced clothing boutiques, and the art galleries are now concentrated in Chelsea. There are also large shopping districts found in Downtown Brooklyn and along Queens Boulevard in Queens.
The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in New York on November 27, 1924. Since then this has been an annual event drawing tens of thousands of spectators and in later years millions of television viewers. Annually on New Year's Eve, hundreds of thousands of people congregate in Times Square to watch the ball drop as millions watch on television.
The World Trade Center was an important tourist destination before the September 11, 2001 attacks, which devastated the city and its tourist industry. The city was nearly devoid of tourists for months, and it took two years for the numbers to fully rebound with fewer international, but more domestic visitors. Now the World Trade Center site has itself become an important place for visitors to see.
Many tourists only think of New York in terms of Manhattan, but there are four other boroughs which, if they can't compete in skyscrapers, still offer other kinds of attractions. Brooklyn's old Coney Island is still a center of seaside recreation, with its beach, boardwalk, and amusement parks. Many enjoy the spectacular views available from the deck of the Staten Island Ferry. The Bronx Zoo is world-famous, and the Bronx Bombers don't play in Manhattan. Flushing, Queens is home to the legacy of the 1964 New York World's Fair (including the Unisphere), the U.S. Open in tennis and Shea Stadium