The magic of Manhattan: New York borough has attractions to thrill and delight – and a city pass makes it all so affordable

Aerial view of the New York skyline (Getty Images)

FAMOUSLY, it’s the city that never sleeps – and just as well.

With the number of new things always opening in New York, there’s no time for a kip!

The Bronx may be up and the Battery down, but it’s the beating heart of the Big Apple we’ve come to see.

Midtown Manhattan is where you’ll find world-famous attractions such as the Empire State Building, Grand Central Terminal, Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue and Times Square. Each and every one is an absolute must-see.

But the evolution – well in NYC it always feels more like a revolution – has been continuing apace with the “new Midtown” piling on the additions to your travel check list.

First up for a peek is Gulliver’s Gate on 44th Street, directly off Times Square.

It’s taken years of hard graft to bring it to fruition and we soon see why. It’s the world in magical miniature. You walk right into Manhattan, Grand Central, the iconic Public Library et al.

We spot a Spider-Man figure scaling the cables of the Brooklyn Bridge and that’s the way with this amazing attraction, the more you look the more you see.

It took thousands of model makers to create the quite astonishing tableaux.

We move on, country by country, at each stage using keys we’ve been given to bring individual elements to life – such as making Nessie pop up from the depths of Loch Ness.

The ships sailing in and out of the locks of the Panama Canal are another moment to make you stop and marvel.

And two other big new attractions are also about to open in Times Square.

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October sees the debut of National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey which promises a jaw-dropping, interactive undersea journey.

From November the NFL Experience will put you right in the action-packed heart of the American football game.

Of course, you want the place you stay to feel a part of the action, too, and our base was super-special.

The Best Western Hospitality House is on East 49th Street, a couple of minutes from Grand Central.

It has apartment-style suites, like having your own city pad. We felt like we were in an episode of Friends!

The rooms are massive with kitchens, fancy tellies and all the tech you could want. It combines the feel of self-catering with all the facilities of a hotel and is perfect for families and groups as well as couples.

There are so many great places to eat in the city – and the Hospitality House has free breakfasts which we enjoyed on the terrace.

Special mention has to go to the wonderfully-friendly boss Robert Gaeta – we could see why he recently picked up an award for New York General Manager of the year pipping more than 400 other competitors.

We had to check out some of Midtown’s enduring favourites as well.

Rockefeller Center (Getty Images)

We hit the heights at the double, going up both the Empire State Building and Rockefeller’s Top of the Rock.

Each is included on the New York CityPASS (citypass.com/new-york), which gives big savings on entries – and queuing time – at half a dozen gems.

Take a tip and use the pass to get back up the Empire State for a same-day night-time view you’ll never forget.

And you can’t come to NYC and not take in a Broadway show, another bit of Midtown magic.

Times Square (Getty Images)

In keeping with the new and enduring theme we doubled up on our delights here, too.

The Lion King, at the Minskoff Theatre, is celebrating its 20th anniversary – a colourful thrill-fest that had us gasping.

Our other show, School Of Rock, is at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway at Times Square. It’s one of the newer kids on the block, opening at the end of 2015, and is a brilliant, laughter-filled musical treat.

So whether it’s old faves or new arrivals, Midtown is definitely the place to be.


Facts

The Best Western Hospitality House on East 49th Street has one-bed suites from $200 + taxes and two-bed apartments from $300 + taxes. Go to hospitalityhouseny.com

Gulliver’s Gate’s adult admission is $36. gulliversgate.com

Book Broadway theatre tickets with superbreak.com or call 01904 420 470. See broadwaycollection.com

For all there is to do and see in NYC, visit nycgo.com

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