It'd be nice to think (and some of us do) that New York had everything a tourist needs to see in the world.
As it turns out, there are (gasp!) other sites in (gasp!) other cities that compare to -- and even outshine -- America's big landmarks.
The Times Square of London is…
It’s just a title derived from the Latin word for circle, but this chaotic intersection is best described as an actual three-ring circus. By day, tourists flock to the statue of Eros, God of love, in the middle of the square. At night, Piccadilly becomes a neon light show of advertising billboards-– Coca Cola has held the big spot since 1954. But the British sign doesn’t shine as bright as his American brother: a $6.5 million, electro-kinetic Coke sculpture that debuted in Times Square in 2004.
The Central Park of Madrid is…
The Buen Retiro Park
The “park of pleasant retreat” is a retreat indeed: a lush, bushy archway leads to beds of pink roses, and you’ll find happy couples paddling Notebook-esque rowboats on the embarcadero, which is like Central Park -sans-algae. With so many artificial waterfalls, you’d never know you were in the most crowded city in Spain.
The 5th Ave. of Paris is….
If New York’s major shopping street is considered haute, its counterpart in Paris is hauter than haute. Champs-Elysees is the fancy French translation for Elysian Fields, the mythical resting place of blessed ancient Greeks. Greek god or otherwise, anyone would be happy spending eternity here-- there’s a Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Cartier… and Abercrombie & Fitch. Hey, even Aphrodite needs some good low-rise jeans.
The Brooklyn Bridge of Hong Kong is…
The Tsing Ma Bridge
This little bugger is the ninth longest suspension bridge in the world (the Brooklyn Bridge checks in at number 82). Both structures have six traffic lanes, but the Tsing Ma has two rail lanes and two traffic lanes sheltered beneath, which people can use to evacuate even if a typhoon shuts down the rest of the bridge.
The Empire State Building of Dubai is…
The Burj Khalifa
Ok, there’s not really even a comparison here. As the world’s tallest building (for now), the Burj Khalifa is more than 1,000 feet taller than its New York counterpart. Completed in 2010, the skyscraper holds offices and about 900 apartments. It blows the American version away with an observation deck on the 124th floor-- the Empire State’s visitors peer down from the 102nd floor.
The Wall St. of Sydney is…
The high-rises aren’t quite as towering as the ones in New York, but then again the Aussies aren’t quite as serious as we are, either. Their version of our major commerce zone boasts the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Unlike Wall St., though, non-business folk are welcome: every December, the street celebrates the lighting of Sydney’s tallest Christmas tree with a concert for kids.
The Statue of Liberty of Russia is...
The Motherland Calls
This towering beauty in the town of Volgograd commemorates the Battle of Stalingrad, when Soviets defeated the Germans in one of the bloodiest battles ever. Rumor says the Statue of Liberty was designed with the sculptor's mother in mind. But Russia's version was inspired by a definite model: a local girl named Valentina Izotova.