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Neighborhood Guide: The Time Warner Center

They said it could never work here; that it was impossible to excite and delight New Yorkers with a “vertical mall”.

The Time-Warner Center, a sprawling, magnificent structure anchoring the Upper West Side, proved them wrong.

The interior design is reason enough to visit the four lower stories that comprise the building’s public areas. Start with the award-winning glass facade, which not only brings light and space to the interior, but also affords a beautiful view out over the newly refurbished Columbus Circle, and the south end of Central Park. A pair of colossal bronze statues by Fernando Botero greet you in the soaring, 150-foot-high main atrium. And great hanging stars add a festive feel to the place during the holiday season.

Once you’ve enjoyed the view, it’s time to browse. And to eat. Two internationally renowned restaurants, Thomas Keller’s Per Se and the hallowed sushi temple Masa make the “food court” on the fourth floor a destination for food lovers the world over, but there are also of plenty of other, more accessible options as well, most notably Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, where you can sit and enjoy sandwiches, soups and salads overlooking 59th Street or grab a coffee and one (or three) of the outstanding desserts–the nutter butter cookie is a personal favorite–at the take-out bar.

As far as shopping goes, the choices are many and varied, from Williams-Sonoma, Borders, Coach, Pink, and Tumi to Kee-Ka Organics, The Art of Shaving and True Religion. And the entire subterranean floor houses a huge Whole Foods, where you can either get your weekly grocery shipping done or gather a perfect picnic lunch at the dizzying array of prepared food counters and salad bars.

The Time Warner Center, featuring the Shops at Columbus Circle, is located at 59th Street and Broadway.

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