New York City also referred to as "New York", "NYC", "The Big Apple", or just "The City" by locals, is the most populous city in the United States. It lies at the mouth of the Hudson River in the southernmost part of the state, a center for media, culture, food, fashion, art, research, finance, and trade. It has one of the largest and most famous skylines on earth, dominated by the iconic Empire State Building. New York City has a population of approximately 8.2 million people. The New York Metropolitan Area, which spans lower New York, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut, has a population of 18.7 million and one of the 15 largest metro areas in the world.
New York City is an enormous city. Each of its five Boroughs is the equivalent of a large city in its own right and may itself be divided into districts. These borough and district articles contain sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings - consider printing them all.
At the center and western edge of New York City is the borough of Manhattan, a long, narrow island nestled in a natural harbor. It is separated from The Bronx on the north east by the Harlem River (actually a tidal strait); from Queens and Brooklyn to the east and south by the East River (also a tidal strait); and from the State of New Jersey to the west and north by the Hudson River. Staten Island lies to the south west, across Upper New York Bay.
Although Manhattan runs northeast to southwest, it is referred to as if it ran north-south. Thus, "uptown" means north, and "downtown" means south. Street numbers continue from Manhattan into the Bronx, and the street numbers rise as one moves farther north (however, in the Bronx, there is no simple numerical grid, so there may be 7 blocks between 167 St. and 170 St., for example). Avenues run north and south. In Brooklyn the opposite is true, as street numbers rise as one moves south. Queens streets are laid out in a perpendicular grid - street numbers rise as one moves toward the east, and avenues run east and west. Staten Island has no street numbers at all.
The term “the city” may refer either to New York City as a whole, or to the borough of Manhattan alone, depending on the context. The other boroughs, which are Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens, are sometimes referred to as “the outer boroughs.” The term "upstate" generally refers to any part of the State of New York north of the city limits of the Bronx, but not neighboring New Jersey or Connecticut.
New York City has a humid continental climate and experiences all four seasons, with hot and humid summers (Jun-Sep), cool and dry autumns (Sep-Dec), cold winters (Dec-Mar), and wet springs (Mar-Jun). Average highs for January are around 38°F (3°C) and average highs for July are about 84°F (29°C). However, temperatures in the winter can go down to as low as 0°F (-18°C) and in the summer, temperatures can go as high as 100°F (38°C) or slightly higher. The temperature in any season is quite variable and it is not unusual to have a sunny 60°F (16°C) day in January followed by a snowy 25°F (-3°C) day. New York can also be prone to snowstorms and nor'easters (large storms similar to a tropical storm), which can dump as much as 2 feet (60cm) of snow in 24-48 hours. However, snow rarely lies more than a few days. Tropical storms can also hit New York City in the summer and early fall.
The diverse population runs the gamut from some of America's wealthiest celebrities and socialites to homeless people. There are millions of immigrants living in the city. New York's population has been diverse since the city's founding by the Dutch. Successive waves of immigration from virtually every nation in the world make New York a giant social experiment in cross-cultural harmony.
The city's ethnic heritage illuminates different neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. Manhattan's Chinatown remains a vibrant center of New York City's Chinese community, though in recent years the very large Chinese community in Flushing, Queens, has rivaled if not eclipsed it in importance, and three other Chinatowns have formed in New York City: the Brooklyn Chinatown in Sunset Park; the Elmhurst Chinatown in Queens; and the Avenue U Chinatown located in the Homecrest section of Brooklyn. Traces of the Lower East Side's once-thriving Jewish community still exist amid the newly-gentrified neighborhood's trendy restaurants and bars, but there are Chassidic communities in Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Harlem has been gentrifying and diversifying and remains a center of African-American culture in New York. East (Spanish) Harlem still justifies its reputation as a large Hispanic neighborhood. Little known to most tourists are the large Dominican neighborhoods of Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. Brooklyn's Greenpoint is famous for its large and vibrant Polish community, and the Flatbush section - once home to the Brooklyn Dodgers - is today a huge and thriving Caribbean and West Indian section. Queens and Brooklyn are known for being home to many of New York's more recent immigrant groups, which since 1990 have included large numbers of Russians, Uzbeks, Nigerians, Chinese, Irish, Italian, French, Filipinos, Yugoslavians, Greeks, Indians, Sri Lankans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Japanese, Koreans, Thais, Kenyans, Arabs (from throughout the Middle East and northern Africa), Mexicans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Brazilians, Colombians and Jamaicans. Unlike most of the USA, New York City's Caucasian population who are native born New Yorkers are overwhelmingly descended from the previous centuries immigrants: Irish, Italian or Eastern European Jewish, a smaller percentage are Greeks, Yugoslavs, Albanians. Each of these groups have brought their cuisines with them, making NYC a city where authentic bagels, Pizza and Gyros are available everywhere. An important change has been taking place in the population recently. During the last 2 decades and especially since 2003, large numbers of young people, many of them recent college graduates and professionals from the rest of the USA have moved to New York City, mostly to Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the parts of Queens closest to Manhattan. They have changed things considerably and continue to add to New York's vitality and artistic output. They have completely changed their neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan, such as Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Lower East side, Manhattan. One important thing to note about New York City, is its never-ending change, new stores, businesses, buildings and even skyscrapers replace the previous structures, there is always new construction. Photographs of the same busy street 10 or 20 years ago are unrecognizable today.
New York City is home to 46 Fortune 500 companies. Its 2009 gross metropolitan product of $1.265 trillion was the largest of any American city and represented approximately 9% of the American economy. If it were a nation, the city would have the 16th-highest GDP in the world. New York's constantly expanding economy is the main reason why millions have immigrated to the city, from all over the world and all over the country over the past 2 centuries of the city's growth.
New York is the national center for several industries. It's the home of the two largest US stock exchanges (NYSE, NASDAQ) and many banks. The famous Wall Street is where the New York Stock Exchange (NYSC) is as well as the famous (or infamous) investment banks and financial investment firms. Wall Street is located in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan.
is the code for [wiki=3eba602f401a070e5274969862ac3cd2]all New York City airports[/wiki], and the city is extremely well connected by air with flights from almost every corner of the world. Three large airports, and several small ones, serve the region.
John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport (the latter in New Jersey) are large international airports, while LaGuardia Airport is a busy domestic airport. All three airports are run by the [url=http://www.panynj.gov/]Port Authority of New York and New Jersey[/url].
Teterboro Airport is popular for general aviation and business jet travellers out of New York City. Air taxi and air charter companies such as [url=http://www.theearlyairway.com]The Early Air Way[/url] and [url=http://www.jscharter.com]Jetset Charter[/url] fly a variety of private charter aircraft and jets, from charter luxury Gulfstream's down to economical piston twins for small groups and individuals.
Some buses offer Wi-Fi, power outlets and even business-class style luxury. Buses serve New Jersey, New York suburbs west of the Hudson River, and all cities along the east coast of the US.
Additionally, be aware that with private buses in New York City "you get what you pay for." Most buses are safe, however, bus companies that are offering very low fares often are riskier in that their drivers are not as cautious on the roads and often speed. Also, the level of service is frequently somewhat less. If you have to transfer between buses using these discount buses for example, their drivers may speak limited English and be less able to assist you in making the transfer. Obviously there are exceptions to this, but it is a consideration of which travelers should be aware when choosing a bus company.
The NY Port Authority Bus Terminal at 625 8th Ave in Manhattan (8th Ave & W 42nd St next to Times Square - '42nd St Port Authority Bus Terminal' subway stop) [http://www.panynj.gov/bus-terminals/port-authority-bus-terminal.html] serves as a central bus terminal for most major lines. Note that not all lines go into the NY Port Authority bus Terminal either. They can have stops (or their own office & terminal) on the streets around Times Square, around Penn Station, Wall St, Chinatown, the airport(s), and/or anywhere in the city instead. Others may serve the Port Authority Terminal and then several other places around the city. Check with them before departing.
New York City - as you would expect - enjoys a prominent position on the US Interstate highway network. Although the city can be easily reached by car from anywhere in the nation, driving within the metropolitan area is an experience definitely not for the faint hearted! It makes much more sense to use public transportation, but for those who insist on driving, the main routes into the New York City area are:
* I-76/I-78 from western New Jersey, the interior of Pennsylvania and beyond.
* I-80 is the main approach from much of the Midwest and Western United States; I-80 stretches across the continent from [wiki=f4334fdfa1c728eae375fe781e2e2d9d]San Francisco[/wiki], some 2,900 miles (4,700km) away on the opposite coast.
* I-87, the main approach from Upstate New York and Montreal, Canada.
* I-95 is the main route up the eastern seaboard of the United States, connecting [wiki=0f5de708d2f6808ffb0c3893b2b8964a]Miami[/wiki] to the Canadian border. Realistically, the main destinations along I-95 which are within reasonable driving distance to New York are [wiki=cb725823157e6b10da8fa376c2e1b013]Boston[/wiki] (374km) to the north, [wiki=3064b320cef260c8f077f7c12a080f33]Philadelphia[/wiki] (152km), [wiki=a85f0bc17a101dcb273fc2a841dc0646]Baltimore[/wiki] (302km), and [wiki=af2d21b994ceb580773abb07a8691b58]Washington DC[/wiki] (364km) to the south.
New York City has always been one of the world's most important passenger sea ports, and arriving by ocean liner or cruise ship still remains an extraordinary and stylish method of arrival. In addition to passenger service from the Cunard Line, many cruise ships start or end their voyages in New York City.
*[url=http://www.cunard.com/Ships/Queen-Mary-2/]The Cunard Line[/url] operates regularly scheduled passenger service between the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and [wiki=5a884401673693b0bdf379fefb7ec2b2]Southampton[/wiki], [wiki=64f607906be7598a02d75dbc1e979662]England[/wiki] as well as [wiki=35d7df6ed3d93be2927d14acc5f1fc9a]Hamburg[/wiki], [wiki=d8b00929dec65d422303256336ada04f]Germany[/wiki] aboard the RMS Queen Mary 2, the grandest, largest ocean liner ever built. The trip takes 6-7 days and costs $800-6,000 depending on the cabin and season.
For shorter distances, there is no better way of getting around New York than hitting the sidewalk. If you use the subway or buses, you will almost certainly need to walk to and from stations or stops. In all areas of New York a traveller is likely to visit, all streets have wide, smoothly-paved sidewalks. For long distances, walking is also fine and a great way to see the city.
To ride the buses and subways in NYC it's most likely you'll need a MetroCard from The Metropolitan Transit Authority or [url=http://www.mta.info/]MTA[/url] for use on the New York City bus and subway systems. While it is possible to pay bus fares using exact change (coins only), you must have a MetroCard to enter the subway system. Cards can be bought online, at station booths, at vending machines in subway stations, and at [url=http://tripplanner.mta.info/metrocardmerchants/]many grocery stores and newstands[/url] (look for a MetroCard sign on the store window). The vending machines in the stations accept credit cards; however, MetroCard vending machines will require that you type in your 5-digit zip code, or your regular PIN on international cards.
There is a $1 fee for a new MetroCard due to recent fare hikes.
The PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) subway system, which operates between New York and New Jersey, is not operated by the MTA and is therefore separate but with the same fare as the MTA. In addition, if you buy a new Metrocard in any PATH Station The $1 Fee also applies to all Metrocard Vending machines in all PATH Stations including station/commuter rail booths. Even though PATH accepts payment by MetroCard, no free transfers are available to or from MTA subways or buses, because PATH is separate. JFK AirTrain also accepts MetroCard, but again, is not operated by the MTA and no free transfers are available.
Metro-North Commuter Railroad, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), New Jersey Transit (NJT) Buses, Trains, and Light Rail systems, and Amtrak trains do not accept MetroCard.
Despite a (somewhat deserved) reputation for being dirty, the subway, which operates 24/7, is the fastest and best way to travel around the city. Fares are $2.75 (unless you use Single Ride MetroCard, which is $3.00), regardless of distance traveled. The much-feared subway crimes of the 1970s and 1980s are for the most part a thing of the past, and it is almost always completely safe. Just remember to use common sense when traveling late at night alone. Try to use heavily-traveled stations, remain visible to other people, and don't display items of value publicly. While violent crime is rare, petty crime - especially theft of iPhones and other expensive electronics - is more frequent, so be aware when using your phone on the train. Also, beware that hundreds of people have been arrested for putting their feet on a Subway seat or sitting improperly on a subway seat. Seven years ago, rule 1050(7)(J) of the city’s transit code criminalized what was once simply selfish behavior, such as standing too close to the doors. About 1,600 people were arrested in 2011 and had to wait long periods before seeing a judge and being sentenced.
PATH can be used to travel within Manhattan, from 33rd St along 6th Ave to Christopher St, and for less than the subway due to fare hike proposals from the MTA. It covers such a small territory but in theory you can use it if you have to travel its exact route. Note that Unlimited Ride Metrocards cannot be used on the PATH. PATH also accepts the SmartLink Card (similar to the MetroCard, but the SmartLink Card cannot be used on the subway). PATH fare is $2.75, Arround the same price as the New York City Subway, for now. The PATH train can be a great way to get around lower Midtown along 6th Ave. Like the subway, PATH operates 24/7. Usually, PATH trains arrive every 5-10 min (based on the time), but overnight, they may only come every 35 min.
Commuter rail lines are mostly used for traveling between the city and its suburbs; however, they can be used for intracity transit as well. A handful of destinations are closer to commuter rail stops but far from the subway. MetroCards are not accepted on commuter rail; separate single or period tickets must be bought. When purchasing commuter railroad tickets, it is advantageous to purchase them online or in railroad stations prior to boarding. While tickets are available for sale on trains, there is an on-board surcharge that makes them significantly more expensive.
The [url=http://www.mta.info/lirr/]Long Island Railroad[/url], often called the LIRR runs to/from Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, Flatbush Avenue/Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, and has limited rush hour service to/from Long Island City, Queens. The Port Washington Branch goes to [wiki=0ea70b45196484ba3b68fcd1e46e710a]Northeast Queens[/wiki] which, aside from Flushing and Citi Field, is not served by the subway system. The Main Line, which contains most of the branches to the different parts of Long Island, goes to [wiki=daeab6ebc305afc6a436a800c878b1b2]Southeastern Queens[/wiki], including Jamaica, Laurelton, and Rosedale. The Atlantic Branch, which ends in [wiki=cf3222e9af7ff78e20a95c09fff9118e]Downtown Brooklyn[/wiki], goes to [wiki=005663bfc5dbd657551e2073ebf65191]East New York[/wiki] and [wiki=7980146545ba473612c01107c88e1cfa]Bedford-Stuyvesant[/wiki], both in [wiki=3dfef114c7192d37e1c44efda34a9093]Brooklyn[/wiki]. This branch is not accessible from Manhattan, however. The LIRR is also the fastest way to get from JFK to Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens, and also runs to many popular getaways in [wiki=24162c2a259325de4e58f63a564695a5]Long Island[/wiki], such as Long Beach, Port Jefferson, and Montauk. The LIRR has a somewhat deserved reputation for poor on-time performance, however this is more of a problem in the farther eastern reaches of the railroad and not so much a problem in New York City and its immediate suburbs.
The [url=http://www.mta.info/mnr/]Metro-North Railroad[/url] provides services to/from Grand Central Terminal. Trains go to the Bronx and the northern suburbs of the city. The Hudson Line covers several parts of the Western Bronx, while the Harlem Line goes through the Central Bronx - an area with no subway service. It is the best way to get to Arthur Avenue and the New York Botanic Gardens. The Hudson and Harlem Lines are also your gateway to [wiki=cde212f50e1ef38c28356e8eaac3ef4b]Westchester County[/wiki] and beyond, with the Hudson Line running all the way to [wiki=99aee65cf78df381cf9db8f992657d7a]Poughkeepsie[/wiki]. The New Haven Line runs to Connecticut, terminating, logically enough, in [wiki=f4ad0ffaa43b052203fb670bd606a10b]New Haven[/wiki].
Even in Manhattan, with its dense subway network, buses can often be the best way of making a cross-town (i.e. east-west) journey, for example, crossing Central Park to go from the Metropolitan Museum to the Museum of Natural History. And outside peak hours, a ride by bus from the tip of Manhattan at Battery Park to Midtown is a good and cheap way of taking in the sights.
Yellow Cabs cruise in most of Manhattan and are available at dispatcher lines at airports, but are harder to find in the other four boroughs and Northern Manhattan where Green Boro taxis cruise. NYC taxis are yellow, have a metal seal on the hood ("medallion"), a rooflight with a taxi number, a meter for billing, stickers on the door stating "NYC T" and metered fare, special taxi license plates, and a partition inside the car. The previously ubiquitous Ford Crown Victoria sedan is slowly being phased out, although they still make up the majority on the roads - Toyota/Nissan hybrid sedans, and even some small SUVs and minivans are now commonplace.
* Green Boro Cabs cruise exclusively in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and northern Manhattan (north of East 96 St and north of West 110 St). They do not service southern Manhattan where yellow cabs predominate or any of the airports. They will take passengers into Manhattan and the airports but will not pick up in these areas as their GPS meters deactivate. Boro taxis are apple green, have a rooflight with a taxi number, a meter for billing, stickers on the door stating "NYC T Boro" and metered fare, special taxi license plates, and a partition inside the car.
* The fares are $2.50 plus a $0.50 state tax to start, plus $0.50 for each 1/5 mile traveled. There is a night surcharge 8PM-6AM of $0.50 and a rush hour surcharge of $1 from M-F 4PM-8PM. A trip between JFK Airport and Manhattan is a flat fare of $52.50. In addition, as in the rest of the United States, tipping your taxi driver is expected in New York. For more information, see [wiki=1f122dd19db580fd03635dd699fb49de#Tipping]Tipping in the United States[/wiki]. [url=http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/passenger/taxicab_rate.shtml]Info on fares, flat fares, group rides and rules[/url]. All yellow cabs accept VISA, MasterCard, and American Express for payment. In the unlikely event that the card reader is broken, the driver will let you know before you get into the taxi. To hail a taxi, stand visibly near the street (but away from moving traffic) with one arm raised over your head. The medallion numbers on the roof of the taxi will indicate the status of the taxi:
** If the medallion number is lit the taxi is available for hire.
** If the medallion number is unlit, then the taxi is already occupied or off-duty, but he or she may still pick you up if off-duty and you are traveling in the same direction as the driver. It's worth a try to hail it. However, a driver may still decline your fare even after stopping if you are going a different direction than them.
* Livery or Black Cars, known as car services or livery cabs, may only be called by phone, and are flat rate rather than metered. In most areas, they are not allowed to cruise the streets or airports for fares, although they will do so anyway. Ask for the fare in advance. Their license plates will say either "Livery" or "TLC" on the bottom.
In some areas, livery cabs can be flagged on the street. Though this is technically illegal (the driver, not you, could get into trouble), it is useful in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs and is accepted practice. The minimum fare in these cabs is about $7, and it is advisable to negotiate the fare before you get inside (again, tipping your driver is expected). Since yellow cabs are hard to come by in the outer boroughs, these cars are particularly useful for getting to the airport (your hotel can arrange one, or look up car services in the Yellow Pages).
[url=http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/ferrybus/statfery.shtml]The Staten Island Ferry[/url], runs from Battery Park in southern Manhattan to [wiki=fb649e80237e3d5f8745811c737e701e]Staten Island[/wiki]. The ferry carries passengers and bicycles only, runs every 30 minutes during rush hours, and is free (so don't be fooled by con artists trying to sell "advance tickets"). Not only does the ferry provide a means of transport, but it offers an amazing view of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor on its way. Even if you don't want to visit Staten Island, taking this trip is highly recommended and is very popular with tourists. Ride on the starboard side of the ferry (right side facing the front) from Manhattan and the port side from Staten Island for the best views (to the west). If you want to take good photographs, try to get on the ferry as soon as the gates open and walk briskly to an open window (few windows are open to the air and will populate quickly). The Manhattan-to-Staten Island route passes slightly closer to the Statue of Liberty than the return route.
*[url=http://www.nywaterway.com/]New York Waterway[/url], operates ferries that connect the city with the [wiki=25095ab19a09de4fe2c1f10ee6292e04]New Jersey[/wiki] Hudson River Waterfront, and with points in Brooklyn and Queens. These ferries are not free. Inquire as to fares before boarding.
*[url=http://www.nywatertaxi.com/]New York Water Taxi[/url] runs ferries between points within Manhattan, with some connections to Brooklyn and New Jersey. Their boats are painted to look like taxis.
A word of advice about driving in New York City: don't. A car is inadvisable - street parking is practically non-existent near crowded areas and tourist attractions, and garage parking rates range from very expensive to plain extortion. Traffic is almost always congested, parking rules are confusing, and many drivers are aggressive - as you will find out, Manhattan reverberates to the near constant sound of car horns being blown. The public transportation options are many and offer significant advantages and savings over driving a car. Many New Yorkers, particularly in Manhattan, don't own cars for this reason. If you are staying in a suburb and commuting to the city by car, think twice - driving to one of the Long Island Railroad, Metro North, or New Jersey Transit stations and taking the train into the city is a better option, and the parking fees at the station, train fare, and MetroCard combined are usually much cheaper than parking downtown. There are often secure parking areas in many stations. In Staten Island, parking near the ferry terminal and using the ferry will save you money and time.
If you do choose to drive, get a map, especially if driving outside of Manhattan. Good maps to use, if you are not driving, are the free bus maps which have each street, though the subway map can work in a pinch (also used for small boat navigation). In Queens, numbers identify not only avenues and streets, but also roads, places, crescents, and lanes, all of which might be near each other. Read the entire street sign. Outer borough highways are confusing and often narrowed to one lane, the potholes could trap an elephant, the signs are sometimes misleading, exits which should appear do not, and signs directing a highway approach drag you through miles of colorful neighborhood (in the wrong direction) before finally letting you onto the highway with a stop sign and six inches of merge space.
Traffic in New York City roughly follows a hierarchy of precedence, which is unwise to challenge. Fire engines, ambulances, and police cruisers are given priority, followed by other public service vehicles such as buses, road crews, and sanitation trucks. Beneath them are taxi cabs and delivery trucks. Below those are other cars. Note also that driving a car with out-of-state license plates (save for perhaps Connecticut or New Jersey) will instantly mark you as an outsider, sometimes resulting in other drivers being more aggressive around you than they would with a local. Suffice it to say, driving in New York is not for the timid, fearful, or otherwise emotionally fragile.
Cycling in New York City is becoming more and more commonplace everyday. The facilities have been expanding rapidly particularly in Brooklyn where you can see many people getting around on bicycle. Bike lanes cover most parts of the city and most bike shops are willing to rent out bicycles. It is also possible to bike across the many bridges of New York but be aware that pedestrian traffic can be intense, especially on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Recently, the city has begun offering a bike sharing program, known as CitiBike. Bikes can be rented from docking stations located throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens - each station contains an automated pay-station equipped with maps of the surrounding area. Each map approximates the riding time between other local stations, where the rider can drop off their bike at the end of their commute. Bikes are available to rent for single rides, with long-term rental agreements offered as well.
Most visitors rent and ride bicycles in Central Park. The Arthur Ross Pinetum has a collection of rare pines, including Japanese White Pines, which are not native to America. The North Meadow, with its baseball fields and rec center is also worthy of a cycling trip in the park. The Bethesda Fountain is also a sight to see.
Naturally, [wiki=1834cdf9bf35ea1d737c15eef72e18c7]Manhattan[/wiki] possesses the lion's share of the landmarks that have saturated American popular culture. Starting in [wiki=173f95c15f6aea63f341325a1fa6eea1]Lower Manhattan[/wiki], perhaps the most famous of these landmarks is easy to spot - the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of the nation standing atop a small island in the harbor, and perhaps also the most difficult attraction to access in terms of crowds and the long lines to see it. Nearby Ellis Island preserves the site where millions of immigrants completed their journey to America. Within Lower Manhattan itself, Wall Street acts as the heart of big business being the home of the New York Stock Exchange, although the narrow street also holds some historical attractions, namely Federal Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States. Nearby, the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center Site commemorates the victims of that fateful day. The 1776 foot tall One World Trade Center is the spiritual successor to the fallen Twin Towers and is now the tallest skyscraper in both New York and the United States. Connecting Lower Manhattan to [wiki=cf3222e9af7ff78e20a95c09fff9118e]Downtown Brooklyn[/wiki], the Brooklyn Bridge offers fantastic views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines.
Moving north to [wiki=a25d9f952364512f09dd03c0f97c7f25]Midtown[/wiki], Manhattan's other major business district, you'll find some of New York's most famous landmarks. The Empire State Building looms over it all as the second-tallest building in the city, with the nearby Chrysler Building also dominating the landscape. Nearby is the headquarters of United Nations overlooking the East River and Grand Central Terminal, one of the busiest train stations in the world. Also nearby is the main branch of the New York Public Library, a beautiful building famous for its magnificent reading rooms and the lion statues outside the front door; and Rockefeller Plaza, home to NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall, and (during the winter) the famous Christmas Tree and Skating Rink.
Still in the Midtown area but just to the west, in the [wiki=b08f85c06c3b6076853fc0aa18e05893]Theater District[/wiki], is the tourist center of New York: Times Square, filled with bright, flashing video screens and LED signs running 24 hours a day. Just to the north is [wiki=a02c0658894e0d8719fee59e4c42a740]Central Park[/wiki], with its lawns, trees and lakes popular for recreation and concerts.
New York has some of the finest museums in the world. All the public museums (notably including the Metropolitan Museum), which are run by the city, accept donations for an entrance fee, but private museums (especially the Museum of Modern Art) can be very expensive. In addition to the major museums, hundreds of small galleries are spread throughout the city, notably in neighborhoods like Chelsea and Williamsburg. Many galleries and museums in New York close on Mondays, so be sure to check hours before visiting. The following is just a list of highlights; see district pages for more listings.
Like all great cities, New York is made up of distinct neighborhoods, each of which has its own flavor. Many of the neighborhoods are popular with visitors, and all are best experienced on foot. See individual borough pages ([wiki=1834cdf9bf35ea1d737c15eef72e18c7]Manhattan[/wiki], [wiki=3dfef114c7192d37e1c44efda34a9093]Brooklyn[/wiki], [wiki=8201fb620aa05b660c09b2a2ac6298a1]Queens[/wiki], [wiki=1046ecca1bf740bddd6fb8d780795314]Bronx[/wiki] , and [wiki=fb649e80237e3d5f8745811c737e701e]Staten Island[/wiki]) for a comprehensive listing of neighborhoods.
Though the image many people have of Manhattan is endless skyscrapers and packed sidewalks, the city also boasts numerous lovely parks, ranging from small squares to the 850-acre Central Park, and there are worthwhile parks in every borough. From the views of the New Jersey Palisades from Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, to the grand Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx, and the famous Flushing Meadow Park in Corona, Queens, site of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, there is more than enough to keep any visitor busy. And almost any park is a great spot to rest, read, or just relax and watch the people streaming past. To find out more about New York City parks, look at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation website and the WikiTravel pages for each borough.
Note that except for special events, all NYC parks are closed 1AM-6AM. Also, as a reminder to youngsters, it is illegal to climb trees in the park in New York City.
Anyone can freely create, display, and sell art, including paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, DVDs, and CDs, based on freedom of speech rights. Thousands of artists earn their livings on NYC streets and in parks. Common places to find street artists selling their work are SoHo in Lower Manhattan and near the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 81st Street.
New York City has a number of retail outlet locations, offering substantial discounts and the opportunity to purchase ends-of-line and factory seconds. Century 21 in [wiki=1834cdf9bf35ea1d737c15eef72e18c7]Manhattan[/wiki] is one of the largest stores where New Yorkers get designer clothing for less.
Basic food, drinks, snacks, medicine, and toiletries can be found at decent prices at the ubiquitous Duane Reade [http://www.duanereade.com/], CVS, and Rite Aid stores. For a more authentically New York experience, stop by one of the thousands of bodegas/delis/groceries. Although sometimes dirty-looking in apparent need of repair, you can purchase groceries, water, inexpensive flowers, coffee, and cooked food -- typically 24/7.
Most shops in NYC airports are chain outlets, the same as can be found in most of large airports in the world--so it's pretty difficult to feel the spirit of the fashion capital if you only have 2 hours waiting for a connecting flight. At JFK airport, JetBlue Airways' new terminal 5 is populated with modern, cutting-edge restaurants and shops, but terminals 4 and 8 are also a good place for retail and duty free shopping.
From Newark, the best shopping can be found in United Airlines' main hub in Terminal C which has a massive selection of restaurants and shops with the offering from Terminal B being pretty poor in comparison (although the Port Authority is making improvements as of 2012), and almost non-existent from the domestic Terminal A.
In New York City it is common for street vendors to set up tables on the sidewalk, close to the curb, and sell items. They are required to obtain a permit to perform this activity, but it is legal. Purchasing from these vendors is generally legitimate, although buying brand name goods from these vendors (particularly expensive clothing and movies) is ill advised as the products being sold may be cheap imitation products. It is considered safe to buy less expensive goods from these vendors, but most will not accept payment by credit card, so you will have to bring money. Be particularly wary of any street vendor that does not sell from a table (especially vendors who approach you with their merchandise in a briefcase) as these goods are almost certainly cheap imitation products.
Maybe it's the size of New Yorkers' tiny kitchens, or perhaps it's the enormous melting-pot immigrant populations, but either way, this city excels at every kind of restaurant. There are fancy famous-chef restaurants, all ethnic cuisines and fusion/updates of ethnic cuisines (second-generation immigrants tweaking their family tradition), plus all the fashionable spots, casual bistros, lounges for drinking and noshing and more.
While most restaurants accept credit cards, some smaller restaurants, particularly in Chinatown and Williamsburg, do not. Others have required minimum purchase amounts for credit/debit purchases. Most establishments will prominently display this requirement, so keep your eyes open if you typically pay for meals with plastic.
As in the rest of the United States, tipping is expected in New York restaurants. New Yorkers often calculate the base tip by doubling the tax. For more information, see [wiki=1f122dd19db580fd03635dd699fb49de#Tipping]Tipping in the United States[/wiki].
Restaurants with entrees under $20 are unlikely to have any preference about what their customers wear. Of course, like most major cities, New York has some expensive, extremely fashionable restaurants that care about, and enforce, a certain level of dress among their customers - but "jackets only" restaurants are very uncommon nowadays.
If you're from elsewhere in the US and wish to "pass" as a local within Manhattan, pay attention to your shoes and coat. Most local exclusiveness is pretty understated, but where it exists it's generally from nightlife commuters from New Jersey and Long Island that supposedly threaten to rob bar-filled neighborhoods of their local color. Therefore, if your style doesn't fit in but is obviously from outside the US, you may find yourself as welcomed as graciously as any local, if not more so.
New York is a friendly place for vegetarians and vegans. There are many vegetarian only restaurants with offerings varying from macrobiotic food to Ayurvedic thalis or Asian Buddhist food. But, more importantly, almost every restaurant at every point on the price scale has vegetarian dishes that are more than an afterthought. Even Per Se, one of the most expensive and sought after restaurants in the city, has a seven course vegetarian tasting menu well worth the expense. DIY vegetarians will have no problem finding fresh vegetables, a wide variety of cheese, bread and prepared vegetarian foods in New York supermarkets.
Nothing differentiates New York more from other American cities than the astonishing amount of food cooked and served on the streets. Starting with the thousands of hot dog stands on almost every street corner (try Hallo Berlin on 54th and Fifth for the best rated sausages), the possibilities are endless. People trek to Jackson Heights in Queens for a nibble of the famous arepas of the Arepa Lady. Freshly cooked Indian dosas are served up for a pittance at the NY Dosas stand in Washington Square Park. The Trinidadian/Pakistani Trinipak cart on 43rd and Sixth. Danny Meyer, the famous restaurateur, has a burger stand ("Shake Shack") in Madison Square Park as well as a new location on the upper west side. The halal offerings in midtown are legendary (Kwik-Meal on 45th and Sixth; Chicken Guy/Halal Chicken on 53rd and Sixth and many others). Most carts serve lunch (from about eleven in the morning to five or six in the evening) and disappear after dark, so look for a cart near you, smell what's cooking, and enjoy a hot and often tasty lunch for a few dollars (a meal costs anywhere from about $2-8). Mornings, from about 6AM-10AM, the streets are dotted with coffee carts that sell coffee, croissants, bagels, and danish pastries and are good for a cheap breakfast: small coffee and bagel for a dollar or so. From 10AM to 7PM many vendors sell lunch and dinner choices, including hot dogs, hamburgers, gyros, and halal. Other street vendors sell italian ices, pretzels, ice cream, and roasted peanuts. Also, look around for the coffee truck (often found in Union Square), dessert truck, as well as Belgian waffle truck that roam around the city.
New York's many markets and grocery stores make preparing your own food interesting and easy. Almost every grocery store, deli, or bodega has a prepared foods section where you can make your own salad (beware, you are charged by the pound!) or buy ready to eat foods such as burritos, tacos, curries and rice, lasagna, pastas, pre-prepared or freshly-made sandwiches, and many other types of foods. Whole Foods has five New York City locations, all with a variety of foods, and a clean place to sit and eat but any supermarket will have enough to take away to the park or your hotel room for a low cost meal. If you have a place to cook, you'll find almost any kind of food in New York though you may have to travel to the outer boroughs for ethnic ingredients. Most supermarkets have Thai, Chinese, and Indian sauces to add flavor to your pot, and many, especially in upper Manhattan, have the ingredients necessary for a Mexican or Central American meal, but go to [wiki=580a4c159326749c77ccfa11c3b8e861]Chinatown[/wiki] for the best Chinese ingredients, Little India in Murray Hill for Indian ingredients, [wiki=7c95013795a6d9ea7023ad8b3995915e]Flushing[/wiki] for all things Chinese or Korean, Jackson Heights for Peruvian, Ecuadorian, and Indian, Flatbush and Crown Heights for Jamaican, Williamsburg for Kosher, Greenpoint for Polish, or Brighton Beach for Russian & Eastern European. Ask around for where you can get your favorite ethnic ingredients and you'll find traveling around in local neighborhoods a rewarding experience. There is also a Trader Joe's at Union Square for cheap but delicious supermarket buys. Western Beef Supermarkets offer more foods from different ethnicities than average supermarkets.
Last call is 4AM, although many establishments will let you stay beyond that, especially in the outer boroughs. It is not uncommon to be locked in a bar after 4AM so people can keep drinking.
Travelers from abroad should always follow local tipping customs when it comes to drinking at a bar. New York bartenders expect $1 for each drink served, even if it is a simple can of beer. The reason it's expected is that it represents the overwhelming majority of the bartender's wage. The bar owner typically does not pay the bar staff, with the exception of a symbolic "shift pay," which can be less than $5 an hour before taxes. The result is that on a slow night a bartender may make close to nothing, whereas on a busy Saturday they can walk out with a great deal of cash.
Seasoned bartenders will not hesitate to remind the drinker of this custom, and it is sometimes assumed that non-tipping foreigners are consciously withholding tips despite knowing better. A customer who does not tip may find the level of service drop precipitously.
While those not accustomed to this system may object to essentially bankrolling the salary of the staff, note that many bartenders will "buy back" your 3rd or 4th round (i.e. you get it for free), which can balance it out.
In short, happy bartenders make happy customers, and your generosity will usually be rewarded.
In New York State (this includes NYC), wine and liquor are sold at liquor stores, and are not sold at delis or supermarkets. Beer cannot be bought 4AM-8AM on Sunday morning (although if you look hard, you can get around this).
Liquor, wine and beer are almost always sold to you with a paper or plastic bag. Keep this bag on the alcohol. It is frowned upon to carry alcohol openly in the streets, as it is assumed you might be consuming it.
There are various local beers to try. Chelsea Brewing Company, Heartland Brewery, and Brooklyn Brewery are worth a visit.
In New York, as in most of the US, the legal drinking age is 21. Even if you're well over 21, make sure to keep your driver's license (sufficient for US & Canadian citizens), national ID card (usually sufficient for European citizens) or passport (sufficient for everyone else) at hand. Especially in touristy neighborhoods, it's not uncommon to be asked to prove your age as a matter of policy or court order - even at a restaurant. Outside of the touristy areas, and especially in Brooklyn, people tend to be more relaxed. However the State of New York allows under-age drinking provided that it is on private premises that do not retail alcohol and has parental consent. Under-age drinking is also allowed for religious purposes.
Room rates are typically quoted excluding taxes, so expect your actual bill to be higher than the quoted rate. Taxes include New York State and New York City sales tax (8.875%), a New York City Hotel Occupancy Tax (varies but, for rooms above $40, $2 + 5.875%), and a surcharge of $1.50. For a $100 per night room, expect to pay $117.75, after taxes are taken into account.
You can also find alternative accommodation such as short term apartments or hotels alternatives on the [url=http://www.newyorkstay.com]NewYorkStay website[/url].
Travellers with a very restrictive budget may prefer to share the amenities of an apartment with other travellers rather than spend hundreds of dollars in a hotel room they will use very little time. It's worth keeping in mind that you don't have to stay in Manhattan.
New York is by far the most expensive city in the United States in which to both live and visit, although from a tourist perspective, you can expect the costs to be comparable to other major "world cities" such as [wiki=59ead8d1e124ccfb79f3ace06f43e703]London[/wiki], [wiki=e20d37a5d7fcc4c35be6fc18a8e71bfa]Paris[/wiki] and [wiki=62413a57c5e3dc51177995fa175d3286]Tokyo[/wiki]. One of the biggest expenses when visiting New York is accommodation - the median rate for a decent hotel room in Manhattan seldom dips below $200 a night for example, although there are techniques (see the "[wiki=173dd5aa4b18dd51c4e294069fc84246]#Sleep[/wiki]" section above) to lower the cost. On the flip side, eating out in restaurants - is relatively inexpensive given the massive amount of competition and choice on offer. As with most major tourist destinations, New York has its fair share of "tourist traps" in terms of eating and drinking options, which can trap the unwary.
Citizen Service Center, tel 311 (lines open 24/7) - New York City's official non-emergency help line, available in 171 languages for questions (parade hours and routes, parking restrictions, transport problems) and complaints (litter, noise pollution, access).
[url=http://www.babysittersguild.com]Baby Sitters' Guild[/url], +1 212 682-0227 . Bookings daily 09:00-21:00, cash payments only. For stressed and busy parents visiting New York, round-the-clock baby-sitting is available short- or long-term from $20 per hour (4h minimum) and cab fare (approx. $10). Multilingual sitters are also available.
*[url=http://eclipse.barnard.columbia.edu/%7Ebbsitter/parents.html]Barnard Babysitting Agency[/url], +1 212 854-2035. Students of Barnard College babysit for around $16 an hour, minimum two hours, plus a $20 registration fee.
Smoking in public places is highly restricted. It is prohibited in indoor sections of bars, restaurants, subway stations and trains (all transit system property), public parks, public beaches, pedestrian malls, both indoor and outdoor stadiums and sports arenas, and many other public places. If you light up in any of these places, you are subject to a summons and fine, ejection, and/or indignant reactions from residents. There do remain a small number of legal cigar bars that are exempt, as are the outside areas of sidewalk cafes and the like, but these are very much the exception. If you need to smoke while eating or drinking, be prepared to take a break and join the rest of the smokers outside, whatever the weather; many establishments have large space heaters. As in most US cities, drinking alcoholic beverages on the street is illegal, so bars will not let you take your drink outside.
The Andorran embassy is in New York, not Washington D.C.
Not a complete list.