Walking through Manhattan for the first time is an eye-opening experience. Especially for those who grew up in the wide open spaces of the western United States, Manhattan is like another world, one where people and taxis speed around in a mad rush and around every corner is another giant building, even more massive than the one before, or another fancy restaurant, or another glitzy hotel. Those who have never been to Manhattan still feel a connection to the city, through countless TV shows and movies based in the iconic neighborhoods of the most famous of boroughs. And your eyes are naturally turned up as you walk, examining the high-rises and towers.
And then, unexpectedly (even if you knew it was there), you spot the Angel Moroni, blowing his trump and watching over one busy intersection of this enormous city. The temple feels out of place and right at home at the same time. The building is classy and understated, with the Moroni statue and the gold-lettered name of the church being the only real acknowledgements that this is not just another building. The sidewalk is wide here, so you may see cheerful groups of well-dressed people congregating outside. Or maybe no one is there, and you can just stand there, imagining how many people walk by this place every day and have no idea of its significance.
This is the only temple in the New York Metropolitan area, of course, and real estate prices in Manhattan insist that it have as small a footprint as possible. However, if Manhattan Island had the same number of temples per capita as Utah does (counting announced temples: 16), there would be 9 temples just in Manhattan. And there would have to be 108 temples to cover the tri-state area. There are a lot of people in New York City, and a lot of places to see, things to do, and food to eat. But here are a few places worth checking out, all within 15 minutes walking distance of the temple itself (except for the Children's Museum, which is a little further).
There are so many great places to eat, but just a few suggestions include the famous Shake Shack and it's tasty burgers and frozen custard. Get a taste of real New York pizza at Luigi's Gourmet Pizza. Or get a tasty and unique meal at Le Pain Quotidian or Fluffy's Cafe. If you are looking for an elegant night out (and not worrying about price for a night), try Robert, a beautiful restaurant with a great view of Central Park. Then prepare your tastebuds for an amazing cookie experience at Levain Bakery.
To keep busy, of course everyone knows Central Park, and the plethora of fun to be had there. Also try out the American Museum of Natural History or the Children's Museum of Manhattan for kid-friendly and educational fun. For something a little different and off the beaten path, make a quick stop at the Museum of Biblical Art. Or expand the culture in your life with a world-class musical performance of the New York Philharmonic, located across the street from the temple. New York City is a place unlike any other, and a place everyone should visit at least once. Make the most of your visit.