Tempe insights for Hawkeye fans

Iowa State University fans will soon wake up in the city that never sleeps.

With so much to see and do in new York City, where do you begin?

One easy way to take a bite of the big Apple is to jot down 10 sites off the top of your head. our picks, in no particular order:

The majestic Empire State Building.

The somber World Trade Center Memorial.

Decked-out Rockefeller Center.

Worlds of outdoor fun at Central Park.

A day or night at the museums: Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), Guggenheim, American Museum of Natural History.

Welcoming Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (hop the Staten Island Ferry for a free view from the water; Statue Cruises dock at both sites, www.statuecruises.com).

Wild and woolly zoos in Central Park and the Bronx.

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style, from Barneys’ and Bloomingdale’s to Lord & Taylor and Macy’s, it’s a window shopper’s paradise.

Each and every one of those are worthy diversions for Iowa State University fans donning their pinstripes for some football frenzy Dec. 30 in Yankee Stadium.

For details on must-see NYC, go to http://gonyc.about.com/od/bestofnewyorkcity/tp/topattractions.htm

But for the inside scoop on things to do and places to be and see, we turned to our Facebook friends to find current and former Iowans who live, work or play there.

Here’s what they had to say:

Michael Harrington, Cedar Rapids native, senior director at Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at new York University: Don’t neglect the outer boroughs. a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is definitely worth the time. Lots of great restaurants in Williamsburg and Park Slope. The new production of “The Nutcracker” by American Ballet Theatre is playing at BAM Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn).

At my own theater will be a terrific klezmer musical called “Shlemiel the first.” in (a recent) new Yorker, John Lahr said:“In its artfulness and eloquence, ‘Shlemiel the First’ is by far better than anything currently on Broadway. It returns the musical to its popular, playful roots. Miss it at your peril.” nyuskirball.org

A stroll around Rockefeller Center in the evening is lovely this time of year. Last bit of advice: bundle up. It gets cold when you’re walking everywhere.

Eric McGarvey, Cedar Rapids native, now living in Brooklyn: Off the beaten track, Holiday Train show at the Botanical Garden (2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx). Harrington seconds that notion, calling it a “must see” and not far from Yankee Stadium. “It’s less about the trains and more about the amazing things those artists build with plant life.” www.nybg.org

Gary Nell of Des Moines, Central College grad who lived in new York for 10 years: The Rockettes will still be performing (Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave., heart of Rockefeller Center). Katz’sDeli has the best pastrami sandwich in town (205 E. Houston St., Lower East Side, Manhattan; immortalized in “When Harry Met Sally”).

Fireworks in Central park at midnight on new Year’s Eve. and new York is ranked Number 1 for Christmas lights, so that’s (another) free thing to do.

Several Broadway stars stop in at Don’t tell Mama piano bar (343 W. 46th St.). Also, the Duplex in the Village has great cabaret (61 Christopher St., Greenwich Village, Manhattan).

Stay away from all the chain restaurants. you can eat that … anywhere. Carmine’s is a great family styled Italian restaurant in Times Square (200 W. 44th St.). Chinatown has great “authentic” restaurants and there is Indian food galore.

For cheap eats like a new Yorker, get a slice and a soda for around $4. “Coffee regular” means with cream and sugar. “Coffee light” means extra cream. for authentic German food, go to Heidelberg on second Avenue and 85th Street. take the 6 train up to 86th and walk over.

Skip St. Peters and go to the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine (1047 Amsterdam Ave.). Huge and people friendly.

Debbie Smith Ulstad of Mason City, frequent traveler to NYC for theater and more: a few of my favorite things: NYC Public Library (Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street) and Grand Central Station (87 E. 42nd St.). Free and fabulous. Bryant Park is just west of the library and you can ice skate. Free admission, skates $14 if you forget to take them along.

Take a walk on the Highline Railroad. The historic Highline has been turned into a park and it’s free (Manhattan’s West Side, from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 11th avenues).

My favorite museum is the Cooper Hewitt (closed for renovations, see exhibit at the United Nations Visitors Center, first Avenue and 46th Street), but the Henry Darger Collection at the Folk Art Museum is awesome (2 Lincoln Square). Free music Fridays at the Folk Art, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Tenement Museum is a must if you go to Ellis Island.

Patrick Hogan, SourceMedia reporter and new York native, offers up these entertainment and eatery suggestions: The Way Station bar, 683 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, a music and performance venue, http://g.co/maps/n8vwh; Craft, founded by chef Tom Colicchio, 43 E. 19th St., new York, www.craftrestaurantsinc.com; Salinas, 136 Ninth Ave., new York, Spanish cuisine in the Chelsea district, http://salinasnyc.com; St. Anselm, 355 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, American cuisine, http://g.co/maps/24aa9; Mile end, 97A Hoyt St., Brooklyn, Montreal Jewish delicatessen, http://www.mileendbrooklyn.com

Tempe, Ariz., is quickly becoming accustomed to an Eastern Iowa influx — a three-peat of sorts — for the Insight Bowl.

Iowa State fans flocked there in 2009 to see the Cyclones nudge Minnesota 14 to 13. University of Iowa fans followed suit last year to watch the Hawkeyes edge Missouri 27 to 24. Hawkeye loyalists will be swooping in again this year, as the UI faces the Oklahoma Sooners at 8 p.m. Dec. 30 (9 p.m. Iowa time).

With temperatures expected to reach the mid 60s this week, Iowans should be able to shed some outer layers to soak up the desert sun.

Check out these area attractions. for more, go to www.tempetourism.com

Deserts, buttes and lakes beckon with natural Southwest beauty and recreational opportunities.

Papago Park, surrounded by Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale, combines hiking trails with the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden. www.papagosalado.org

South Mountain Park/Preserve, 10919 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, has more than 16,000 acres of scenic hiking trails with 51 miles of primary trails for horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking for all ability levels. www.phoenix.gov/parks/hikesoth.html

 The Mill Avenue District is a downtown district with more than 100 shops, restaurants and bars. The district’s attractions include the ASU Art Museum, Tempe Town Lake and Tempe Beach Park. www.millavenue.com

Tempe Marketplace, 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, has 1.3 million square feet of retail space, restaurants, movie theaters, outdoor fireplaces and water features. www.tempemarket place.com

Arizona Mills, 5000 Arizona Mills Circle at the intersection of Interstate 10 and U.S. Highway 60, features more than 175 specialty stores, restaurants and entertainment venues under one roof. www.arizonamills.com

Las Noches de las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, through Dec. 30. Thousands of hand-lit luminarias will cast a glow on the Garden’s plant collection and David Rogers’ “Big Bug” sculptures. $25 adults, $12.50 ages 3 to 12, and free ages 2 and under. www.dbg.org

Zoolights at The Phoenix Zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, 6 to 10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 8. When the sun goes down, the zoo is transformed into one of the largest holiday lighting events with 2.5 million lights and more than 500 custom-made animal and nature light sculptures. $10 and $13 www.phoenixzoo.org

Tempe insights for Hawkeye fans

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