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New York City, New York

Local Details

Learn more about New York City, New York using the City Guide below. Plan a trip, find local shopping centers, or just discover what makes New York City, New York so great!

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  • 11:53 PM CST Dec. 17

City Guide

The metropolis of New York (also referred to as "New York City" or "the Big Apple") is at the bottom of the Hudson Valley in New York state. It is part of the Mid-Atlantic region on the Eastern Seaboard of the USA. The New York Metropolitan Area extends across three states—including lower New York (including parts of Long Island), northern New Jersey and parts of southwestern Connecticut.

It is the USA's largest metro area, with a population of 18.7 million. As of 2007, it was ranked 5th in the world, after Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Mexico City and Seoul. 1.6 million people live within Manhattan.

New York is easily one of the world's greatest cities, and is a major center for media, culture, food, fashion, art, research, finance and trade. It also has one of the largest and most famous skylines on earth, dominated by the iconic Empire State Building.

Districts

New York City is divided by its residents into various districts and quarters, as well as into several official governmental divisions. New York City proper consists of five boroughs, which are actually five separate counties. Each borough has a unique culture—each could be a large city in its own right. Within each borough individual neighborhoods—some only a few blocks in size—have "personalities" lauded in music and film. Where you live, work and play in New York says something to New Yorkers about who you are.

The five New York boroughs are:

  • Manhattan (New York County) — located on the famous island between the Hudson and East Rivers; includes many diverse and unique neighborhoods and is the most-visited area of New York City.
  • Brooklyn (Kings County) — the most populous borough, at one point a separate city. Located south and east of Manhattan across the East River.
  • Queens (Queens County) — U-shaped, located to the east of Manhattan, across the East River, and north, east, and south of Brooklyn.
  • The Bronx (Bronx County) — located immediately north of Manhattan Island. This is the only part of New York City that is physically connected to the continental U.S.
  • Staten Island (Richmond County) — a large island situated within New York harbor, south of Manhattan and just across the narrow Kill Van Kull from New Jersey.

Understand

New York City is one of the global centers of international finance, politics, communications, film, music, fashion, and culture, and is among the world's most important and influential cities. It is home to many world-class museums, art galleries, and theatres. Many of the world's largest corporations have their headquarters here. The headquarters of the United Nations is in New York and most countries have a consulate here.

Immigrants (and their descendants) from over 180 countries live here, making it one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Travelers are attracted to New York City for its culture, energy and cosmopolitanism.

Orientation

The focus of interest for most travelers are the areas in and around Manhattan island. When most people think of New York, they think of Manhattan and in fact, Manhattan is generally referred to as "the city", while the other four boroughs are typically called "the Outer Boroughs". The island of Manhattan is long and narrow, positioned squarely within the harbor of New York and separated from the Outer Boroughs and New Jersey by the Hudson River (to the west), the East River (actually a tidal strait between Manhattan and Long Island) and the Harlem River (actually a tidal strait between Manhattan and the Bronx).

Climate

New York City has a humid continental climate and experiences all four seasons with hot and humid summers (June-Sept), cool and dry autumns (Sept-Dec), cold winters (Dec-Mar), and wet springs (Mar-June). 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 10°F (-12°C) and in the summer, temperatures can go as high as 100°F (38°C). The temperature in any season is quite variable and it is not unusual to have a sunny 70°F (21°C) day in January followed by a snowy 25°F (-3°C) day. New York can also be prone to snowstorms and nor'easters, which can dump as much as 2 feet of snow. Hurricanes can also hit New York City in the summertime, although they tend to be weak. Overall, New York is warmer than inland cities like Chicago and Cleveland, but, in winter, it can seem a lot colder because you spend a lot more time outdoors.

History

People

The diverse population includes some of America's wealthiest celebrities and socialites, as well as hundreds of thousands of immigrants. New York's population has been diverse since the city's founding by the Dutch. Successive waves of immigration—first Dutch, then British, African, Irish, German, Italian, Jewish, Eastern European, Jamaican, Chinese, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, Haitian, Korean, Indian, Arab—make New York a giant social experiment in cross-cultural harmony.

The city's ethnic heritage illuminates different neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. In Manhattan, Little Italy remains an operating (if touristy and increasingly Chinese) Italian enclave, though many New Yorkers consider Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to be the "real" Little Italy. Chinatown remains a vibrant center of New York's Chinese community, though in recent years the much larger Chinese neighborhood of Flushing in Queens has rivaled if not eclipsed it in importance, and two other Chinatowns have formed in 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 lately but 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 West Harlem and Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. Brooklyn and Queens are known for being home to many of New York's more recent immigrant groups, which since 1990 have included large numbers of Russians, Chinese, Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis, Africans, Mexicans, Jamaicans, Koreans and Japanese, amongst others.

Economy

Home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other place in the country, the Big Apple is the engine of the US economy. Its gross metropolitan product of US$488.8 billion in 2003 was the largest of any city in the United States and the sixth largest compared to US states. If it were a nation, the city would have the 16th highest GDP in the world, exceeding that of Russia.

New York is the national center for numerous industries. It is the home of the three largest American stock exchanges (NYSE, NASDAQ, and AMEX) and a wide array of banking and investment firms. Though these companies have traditionally been located in the area around Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, many can also be found in Midtown and other parts of the city. In recent years, much of the financial sector's growth has centered around hedge funds, which are largely located in Greenwich, Connecticut, an extremely wealthy area 25 miles north. In addition to the financial sector, New York is also the hub of the country's publishing, fashion, accounting, advertising, media, and legal industries. The city also has an impressive collection of top-tier hospitals and medical schools, which provide more training to physicians than any other city in the world.

Get in

By plane

New York City is 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 are large international airports while LaGuardia Airport is a busy domestic airport. All three airports are run by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

All airports. It would be wise to allow a minimum of 90 minutes for trips between midtown and the airports whether you use public transport or a taxi. Rush hour traffic in New York is notorious, especially on the congested Van Wyck Expressway to Kennedy airport. The lack of elevators at subway stations make lugging luggage up and down subway stairs difficult. Suburban shared ride vans are available: use the phones provided near baggage claim for information. If taking a taxi, go to the taxi dispatcher. Do not accept offers of rides from people hanging around in the terminal because there is a high risk of being cheated. Since only the subway runs 24 hrs, if leaving for an early flight with a two-hour check in, you may need to take a taxi. Check bus schedules carefully if your flight leaves during the wee hours.

Connection to Other Airports Connections between airports are poor at best. New York New York Airport Express runs buses between LGA and JFK. ETS Air Shuttle runs (very infrequent) buses between LGA and Newark Airport. A taxi is your best, if expensive, option when changing airports in New York - unless you have plenty of time!

John F. Kennedy International Airport

John F. Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK) is in the borough of Queens to the east of the city. Many international airlines fly into JFK and it is a major international hub for Delta Airlines (Terminals 2 and 3) and American Airlines (Terminal 8 and 9). Air France (Terminal 1), Lufthansa (Terminal 1), British Airways (Terminal 7) each provide several flights daily into JFK. Jet Blue, a large low-cost carrier in the US, occupies Terminal 6. A free AirTrain connects the terminals. Always make sure you know which terminal your flight arrives at or departs from.

Left luggage services are available in the arrivals areas of Terminal 1 and Terminal 4. There are plenty of ATMs (almost all charge a small fee). Luggage trolleys are available either for a fee of $3 (Terminals 2, 3, 7,8, 9 and all departures) or free (Terminals 1 and 4). There are many hotels in all categories close to the airport and most run shuttle buses to/from the airport.

Taxi The most flexible route into the city from JFK is a taxi, although the wait for one can be long when many flights arrive simultaneously. Cab fare runs a flat $45 anywhere in Manhattan, not including tolls (upto $4) or tips (15-20% depending on the level of service). Follow signs "Ground Transportation" and "Taxi" to the taxi line outside the arrivals area and look for the taxi despatcher. Taxis to points other than Manhattan and taxis to the airport from anywhere use the meter (see taxis in Getting Around). Note that the arrivals terminals are filled with drivers hawking illegal livery rides at grossly inflated prices that prey on newly arrived tourists, so beware. But if you don't want to wait a half hour for a Yellow Cab and the black livery car has a sticker of a car service name - you can usually bargain down the price to $35 - 40.

"Car Service/Limousines" Are a useful way of getting to the airport (see the Getting Around section) because it is not always easy to find taxis in Manhattan. You can always call ahead and have a car service pick you up from the airport ($60+ for points in Manhattan) if you want that convenience.

Coach services that provide bus service from JFK and La Guardia to Grand Central Station and Penn Station. New York Airport Express provides services into Grand Central Station, Penn Station, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal for $15/person. Trans-Bridge Lines provides infrequent service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal for $12. SuperShuttle with blue vans provides service to Manhattan hotels for about $25.

Commuter rail The JFK AirTrain runs to Jamaica station, from which you may connect to Long Island Rail Road trains to Long Island or to Penn Station. You may also get trains to Downtown Brooklyn or to Hunterspoint Ave in Queens. This last option is useful if your destination is in downtown Queens or on the east side of Manhattan. The Hunterspoint and Brooklyn trains are less frequent than the Penn Station trains. Taking the train can be significantly faster than a taxi if your ultimate destination is in Midtown Manhattan, especially during peak travel times. This route is less attractive if you have a lot of baggage, however. You can also save a lot of money over a taxi if you are travelling alone or with one other person. You may also take trains to Ronkonkoma, where you can get shuttles to Islip airport, useful for catching flights on Southwest Airlines. The Long Island Railroad is sometimes substantially more expensive than the Subway—it costs $7.50 to travel from Jamaica to the city center during peak periods. On weekends, any travel within city borders on any MTA railroad is $3. Other times, the fare is $5. The JFK Airtrain to the station costs $5.

Subway: From the Airport: JFK AirTrain runs to Howard Beach station to connect with the "A" subway and to Jamaica station to connect with the "E" and "J/Z" subways (Sutphin Blvd station), the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and buses. If you are travelling to the downtown area (the financial district), use the "A" train from Howard Beach. If heading to the midtown area (including Times Square) use the "E" train. However, as the E train makes so few stops in Queens, it could be faster to take the E regardless. Late nights, the A runs as a local in Brooklyn and can be significantly slower than the E from anywhere in Manhattan. The JFK AirTrain costs $5; the subway costs $2.

Subway: To the Airport: Take the E Train to Sutphin Blvd, or the A Train to Howard's Beach. If catching the A, board trains with destination signs marked with Far Rockaway via JFK Airport or Rockaway Park via JFK Airport. If you catch a Ozone Park-Lefferts Blvd A, you will need to transfer to a train headed to the Rockaways. If you do end up on a train to Lefferts and miss an opportunity to transfer, IT IS OKAY. At Lefferts Boulevard, transfer to the Q10 bus on street level, which travels to JFK Airport. Or you can backtrack as well. When taking this route into or out of Manhattan during the overnight hours be alert of your surroundings as you will be passing through some rough neighborhoods.

The Cheap Option If you really want to slum it and avoid the $5 AirTrain ticket, you can take NYCT buses ($2 or a free transfer from the subway) to Lefferts Boulevard station where you can catch an A train, or to New Lots Avenue, in Brooklyn, where you can catch a 3 train. Note that the latter option is right in the middle of East New York, which may not the best place to be if you're not a local. You may also remain on the bus, and transfer to either the "L" train at Van Sindren Avenue (New Lots Avenue station), the (C) at Fulton Street (Kingston-Throop Avenues station, roughly two blocks west) or the (J) or (M) trains at Flushing Avenue, the last stop on the bus. 'Transferring between bus and subway requires a MetroCard; the single ride ticket does not allow transfers so this is likely to cost you $4 unless you have a multiple ride metrocard, in which case it will cost you $2. You won't pay anything if you have a day, week, or 30 day pass. Metrocards are available for sale at Hudson Newsstands in Terminals 1 and 6.

Newark Liberty International Airport

Newark Liberty International Airport (IATA: EWR) (1-800-EWR-INFO) is located to the west of the city in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The airport has three terminals labeled A, B, C. Terminal C is the home of Continental Airlines which has a major hub at Newark. Most other international airlines use Terminal B while domestic flights are from Terminal A but there are exceptions, so check your terminal before you head for the airport.

Taxi Taxis are available outside the terminals (look for signs labeled 'Ground Transportation' and 'Taxi' when leaving the arrivals area). Travelers to New York City are charged a flat rate based on the destination (the dispatcher will note the fare and destination on the taxi form). Tips (15%-20%) and tolls are extra (except for destinations to Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, expect to pay $6 for bridge or tunnel entry into Manhattan. You may also pay a small toll, under $2, if the driver uses the New Jersey Turnpike).

Train From Newark Airport, take the AirTrain (easy elevator and escalator access from Terminals) to the Newark Airport Train Station (about 10 minutes) to connect to a NJ Transit or Amtrak train running along the Northeast Corridor line for connecting service to New York Penn Station (42nd Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan). Expect to spend at least 15 minutes getting ticketed and changing trains. One-way fares to Penn Station are $14.00 if you take a NJ Transit train, and between $20 and $30 on Amtrak. Note that if you take the NJ Transit train there is also a stop at Penn Station, New Jersey - stay on till Penn Station, New York. The NJ Transit train from Newark Airport to Penn Station, New York takes about 30 minutes. Note that NJTransit tickets are not valid on Amtrak so, if you are going to Manhattan, try not to get onto an Amtrak train at the Newark Airport Rail Station. The Amtrak connection is only useful if you are traveling away from the New York Metropolitan Area to areas not served by NJTransit (New Haven, Philadelphia, or even Washington D.C. and Boston).

Airport Bus Olympia Trails ($14 one way, $23 round trip) runs buses every 15 minutes to Manhattan, with stops at the Port Authority Bus Terminal (34th Street. & Eighth Avenue), Bryant Park, and Grand Central Station. One-way trip time is about 40 minutes depending on traffic.

Public Transit For the most inexpensive option possible, however, take the New Jersey Transit bus #62 to Newark Penn Station (one-way fare $1.25). From there, you may take a PATH subway train either to World Trade Center station in lower Manhattan, or, by transferring at the Journal Square station to the 33rd St. train (across the platform), to the following stops along Sixth Avenue: Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, 9th Street, 14th Street, 23rd Street, and 33rd Street. Note that transfer to the New York Transit subway system almost always requires an exit onto the street. The combined fare for the bus/PATH option ($2.75) is significantly lower than the EWR AirTrain with NJTransit, but will take longer —plan on 1.5–2 hours — and requires 1-2 transfers. As a word of caution, note that this is not a well-publicized option; you may well find yourself to be the only tourist on the bus, so don't expect much help or companionship in finding your way.

Since public transport will drop you off at only a couple of points in Manhattan, you should make your choice of transport depending on where you are headed and how much luggage you are carrying. For points near New York Penn Station, the AirTrain/NJ Transit option works well. For points downtown, it may be faster to take the NJTransit bus and then a PATH train. For places on the east side, near Grand Central Station, the airport bus would be perfect. Be aware that, if you have luggage, getting into Manhattan and then looking for a taxi, while cheaper, won't be easy during rush hour.

LaGuardia Airport

LaGuardia Airport (IATA: LGA) is a smaller, older airport providing many of the domestic services for the city including the shuttles to Boston and Washington (D.C.). The Marine Air Terminal, currently the terminal used by Delta Airlines for shuttle services to Washington D.C. and Boston, is one of the oldest, still-in-use, airport terminals in the world. LaGuardia is conveniently located for getting to and from the city and is well connected by public transport.

Taxi Taxis to and from most points in Manhattan cost $20-$30 plus tips and tolls. You can save on tolls by asking the driver too use Queensboro Bridge for points midtown and on the upper east side, the Williamsburg Bridge for the Village and downtown, or Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges for points downtown. If going above about 72nd street, it is better to pay the toll and take the triboro bridge into Manhattan.

Public Transport LaGuardia is served by three city bus lines. The M60 bus connects with N and W trains at Astoria Blvd., and crosses Manhattan using 125th St. It connects with the Lexington Line (4, 5, and 6 trains) at Park Avenue, the 8th Avenue (the A and C) and 6th Av. (B, D) Lines at St. Nicholas Av. (approx. 8th Ave.), and the IRT Seventh Avenue Express 2 and 3 at Lenox Avenue (Sixth Avenue), and Broadway (for the 1). This is a useful service if you are staying in Harlem, the Columbia University area or Hostelling International New York, as it goes south on Broadway (west side) to 106th St. The Q33 and the Q47 bus to Roosevelt Avenue/Jackson Heights connect to the E, F, G, R, 7, V. For points downtown, use the Q33/Q47 and then the E. For points on the upper east side, connect to the 4,5,6 from the M60. For the upper west side, take the M60 and connect to the 2,3. For Morningside Heights/Columbia University, stay on the M60 all the way. For midtown/Times Square, the Q33/Q47 and then the 7 train is the best option. For all buses you need $2 in coins or a Metro Card. There is a change machine in the airport terminal and Hudson News, the newsstand operator for LaGuardia, has some types of metrocards for sale.

Airport Bus New York Airport Express runs buses to Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station for $12. There are also shuttle buses that will take you straight into Manhattan and cost $12. These run about every 10-15 minutes from LGA and stop off at Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station.

Other Airports

MacArthur Airport in Islip on Long Island is served by Southwest Airlines, a major discount carrier in the US. ATA and US Airways have a minor presence at the airport. MacArthur Airport can be reached by rail from Penn Station in Manhattan by Long Island Railroad to Ronkonkoma (1.5 hours, $6.50) and then a shuttle to the airport (10 minutes, $5); by bus on the Hampton Jitney ($25) and a taxi ($10).

Stewart International Airport is served by a number of airports and can be reached by rail from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan by Metro North to Newburgh and then a shuttle.

New York City is also served by Teterboro Airport, in Teterboro, NJ and Westchester County Airport, in White Plains, NY.

By train

Amtrak

Amtrak operates from New York Penn Station, its largest hub in Amtrak's east-coast system, with dozens of arrivals and departures daily. Amtrak's Acela express train provides regular fast commuter service between major points on the east coast from Washington, DC up to Boston, with stops at Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Haven. Direct Amtrak services are available to points along the East Coast down to Florida; to points between New York and Chicago (including Pittsburgh, and Cleveland); to New York State (including Albany, Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls); and to Toronto and Montreal in Canada. Service to California (three days) requires a change of train in Chicago. Popular trains leaving near rush hours can fill up quickly: it's a good idea to make reservations online and pick up your ticket at one of the electronic kiosks.

Amtrak's Metropolitan Lounge, located near the big security desk in Penn Station, offers Airline Business Class lounge amenities (and clean bathrooms!). Travelers with sleeper tickets, First Class Acela tickets, or Continental Airline Business First tickets (for travel from Newark to Hawaii, Guam, Tokyo, HongKong, or Transatlantic destinations) can use this lounge.

Tickets for Northeast corridor trains can be purchased from QuikTrack machines with a credit card. Tickets booked online can be collected at these machines (keep the credit card or reference number handy). It is best to buy your tickets in advance for popular services.

Commuter Rail

New York City is served by three commuter railroads.

  • Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) operates from New York Penn Station with service to points in Long Island with stops at Jamaica Station, Long Island City, Hunters Point, and others in Queens and Atlantic Avenue station in Brooklyn. The main LIRR lines include services to Port Jefferson, Montauk, Oyster Bay, Port Washington, and Greenport; with a number of branch lines to other points on Long Island.
  • Metro-North Rail Road (Metro North) operates from Grand Central Station to points north and east of the city (Westchester, Putnam, Duchess Counties in New York, and points in the state of Connecticut). The New Haven line serves cities along the coast with a branch line to Danbury. The Hudson Line serves points along the Hudson River to Poughkeepsie. The Harlem Line serves Westchester, Duchess and Putnam Counties to Pawling and Wassaic. Trains also stop at the Harlem station on 125th street and Park Avenue in Manhattan. At New Haven, passengers may transfer to Amtrak or to the Shore Line East (Shore Line East provides weekday service only), providing local service between New Haven and New London, Connecticut.
  • New Jersey Transit operates from New York Penn Station to points in New Jersey. The Northeast corridor line goes to Princeton and Trenton. Services are also available for points along the Jersey Coast and along the Hudson River to points north of the city. Connecting service is available from Trenton to Atlantic City and (on SEPTA) to Philadelphia. Connecting service to Newark Liberty International Airport is available from some North-east corridor trains.

By bus

Greyhound is the largest and oldest private bus company in the US, and operates its east-coast hub out of Manhattan's Port Authority Bus Terminal. Recently Peter Pan Bus Company has come to dominate bus travel from New York to Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, coordinating some schedules with Greyhound, while competing vigorously against Greyhound on many routes. The terminal operates on a 24-hour schedule, with regular departures to practically every city in the country, as well as to Toronto and Montreal, Canada. Big cities like Boston, DC, Chicago and LA will have multiple departures daily—smaller cities may only have one or two, so be sure to check the schedules in advance! Remember that distances in the USA are large and you could be on the bus a long time—a very long time.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal also hosts a dozen or so smaller bus companies, which generally offer service along the Boston-to-DC regional axis.

Limoliner is a bus service geared to the high end and business travelers with on board attendant, on board food service and Internet connectivity. It travels between New York and Boston daily.

Super cheap buses

A cheaper group of bus companies known as the "Chinatown Bus" go to Boston, Washington, Philadelphia and a few other destinations, usually picking up and dropping off passengers in ethnic Chinese neighborhoods (though in Boston the buses stop at the main bus station). Fares listed are one-way unless otherwise noted:

  • The Fung Wah Bus, granddaddy of all Chinatown buses, with service to and from Boston at the corner of Canal and Bowery streets. $15. Departures: hourly M-Th 7AM-10PM, F-Su 7AM-11PM (4.5 hrs).
  • The Vamoose Bus to and from Bethesda, MD, and Arlington, VA. Pickup location is at 255 W. 31st St. at Penn Station. $25. Departures: M-Th 2 daily, F & Su 6 daily.
  • The Today's Bus and Apex Bus service Washington D.C. ($20), Philadelphia ($12/20 return), Richmond ($40) and Atlanta ($105).
  • The Boston Deluxe, connecting New York with Boston and Hartford. $15.
  • The Washington Deluxe from Washington D.C.

Parking in the city

If you are thinking of coming to New York by car, you may want to consider that traffic in Manhattan is very bad, and parking is quite expensive (up to $40 per day) and extremely difficult to come by. Parking tickets if you park illegally can be $150; if towed $300. When entering New York from New Jersey, as well as with many bridges and tunnels within New York City, you will incur tolls (up to $6) and associated traffic delays. Most New Yorkers don't even own cars, and driving from one attraction to another in Manhattan is all but unheard of. Driving to one of the stations served by the Metro North railroad, New Jersey Transit, or Long Island Railroad (see above) and taking the train in is a better option. There are often secure parking areas in some of these stations.

As a general rule, hotels in New York do not supply parking. The few that do will charge you handsomely for the privilege. It is suggested that you look at the following three websites:

http://www.NYCGarages.com is a free service that allows users to search and compare all daily and monthly rates and locations for parking facilities in Manhattan, NYC. The website's instant rate comparison clearly displays the rates on a Google map and the interface is extremely user-friendly. Regular rates, early bird specials, weekend specials, night Specials, SUV/oversize/luxury vehicle rates, motorcycle rates, and all additional posted charges are included in their instant rate comparison. Cheap parking can be found in all areas of Manhattan and parking in New York City doesn't have to be expensive.

At http://www.iconparking.com/ you can book your parking time (if you know it) by the block, date, time, and even choose which garage within the iconparking system has space and they MUST honor it. One traveler says, "I've gone into garages that have initially said they're full up and then I said I booked it online and they shrugged and honored it." A hint, when you book online with this company take the printout with you. Most times the attendants/valets will assume you know what you're talking about, but sometimes they want to see the printout. Also, when you pay, they may feign ignorance as to the price you were quoted online. This is another reason to print out the reservation. Utilizing this service, it is possible to pay $10 on a weekday for 8 hours of parking on John Street in the Financial district showing up at 10am and leaving at 6pm. If initially the valet says they don't have to honor that rate, be persistent and you should get it.

The third site is http://www.parkfast.com. This site is for Edison Parkfast. The site isn't as feature-rich and you can't pick your hours or dates, but at least they have some basic rates and locations.

Get around

Left luggage long gone

Note that, due to security concerns, there is no longer any left luggage, storage lockers, or coatcheck service at any New York train station. This includes Penn and Grand Central stations; however the Amtrak checked luggage point at Penn Station is still operating, and while their policy is to only take baggage from ticketed passengers, they will often overlook this. There are left luggage services in the Arrivals area of Terminals 1 and 4 at JFK Airport. The left luggage office in Terminal 4 is open 24 hours. There is also a luggage storage at Building 4 of JFK, which will require photo id. There is also a store J & S Rent-A-Locker, Located on 147 W. 35th St., between 7th Ave and Broadway in Midtown, where you can store your baggage for $5 a day. However, the website for J & S now states that it is closed, so contact them before planning on using it. Most hotels will store luggage for customers who have checked out of the hotel.

Most of Manhattan is laid out in a grid. Accounting for Manhattan North, which is the convention stating that the island of Manhattan is oriented exactly north to south (it's actually northeast to southwest), streets run east to west and avenues run north to south. This makes it relatively easy and straightforward to find your way. Streets are numbered (except in downtown Manhattan) and the numbering rises as you go north. Most avenues are numbered from East to West (so First Avenue is east of Second, etc.) below 59th Street. Building numbering on avenues starts at the south end of the avenue and rises as you move north. Above Washington Square, Fifth Avenue divides Manhattan into east and west; numbering starts at Fifth Avenue on each side (except where Central Park interrupts) and increases in either direction. Addresses west of Fifth are written as, for example, 220 W. 34th Street, while those east of Fifth are written as 220 E. 34 Street. However, for numbered streets below Washington Square (fortunately, there are only two, 3rd and 4th streets), Broadway divides the streets into East and West. Because of this dual-numbering system, it is always advisable to keep in mind the closest intersection to your destination (6th Avenue and 34th Street, Broadway and 51st, etc.). In Greenwich Village and downtown Manhattan (generally considered as below Houston (HOW-ston) Street), all bets are off as streets meander, dead-end and intersect themselves. Streets in Greenwich Village are particularly notorious for defying logic. For instance West 4th Street intersects with West 10th Street and West 12th Street, and you can stand on the corner of Waverly Place and Waverly Place. As a convenient guide to distance, there are 20 blocks per mile along the avenues (walking North/South). The average person can walk roughly 1 block per minute. Walking East/West on the streets, the blocks are generally much longer.

On foot

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 traveler 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.

Jaywalking is extremely common among New Yorkers, but can be extremely dangerous. If you cannot properly gauge the speed of oncoming cars it is recommended you wait for the walk signal. An average New Yorker typically jaywalks 10-15 times a day, so do not blindly follow one as they are quite adept at making split-second choices. If you do jaywalk, driving is on the right-hand side of the road on two-way streets so remember to look left to check for on-coming traffic on your side of the road. Be aware that most streets are one way, so you may have to look right. Most New Yorkers who know which streets go which way will only look in the direction traffic is coming from rather than looking in both directions. A useful mnemonic to remember which way streets (not avenues) go is "evens go east". This helps about 98% of the time. Be aware of any bicyclists unlawfully going against the proper flow of vehicular traffic.

If you do not wish to jaywalk, be considerate of New Yorkers by not blocking them from crossing at an intersection while you are waiting for your signal.

MetroCard

The New York City Transit Authority issues MetroCards for using the bus and subway system in the city. While it is possible to pay for a bus using exact change (in coins) you must have a MetroCard to enter the subway system. Cards can be bought online, at stations (either from a vending machine or from a token booth), or at many grocery stores and newstands (look for a MetroCard sign on the store window). Information on types of MetroCards and fares can be found at.

Which MetroCard is right for you? It depends on how long you plan to stay, how you intend to use the system, and how often you intend using the system. The base fare is $2 which you pay when you enter a bus or pass through a station turnstile for the first time. However, most MetroCards discount this fare:

  • The Single Ride MetroCard available for $2 at stores and at MetroCard vending machines in stations. You cannot buy this card at a token booth.
  • Pay-per-ride MetroCards available for $10 and $20 (or more) at vending machines and token booths. Every $10 gives you an extra $2, i.e., you buy five rides and get a sixth for free. Transfers between bus and subway are available. This is the best option if you are spending a few days in New York and plan on using public transportation intermittently.
  • One day funpass available for $7 from stores and MetroCard vending machines (but not at token booths). Unlimited use of subways and buses from the time you buy the card till 3am of the next day. A great deal if you plan on using the transportation system heavily over a day.
  • Seven day unlimited ride MetroCard available for $24 from token booths and vending machines and valid from the time you buy it to midnight of the seventh day. At under $3.50 a day, this is an amazing deal for anyone spending a week in the city. Even with moderate use of the transport system, you'll break even in five days.
  • Thirty day unlimited ride MetroCard available for $76 and valid from the time you buy to midnight of the 30th day. If you pay by credit card, MTA will replace the card if you lose it.

Navigating the Subway

The New York City subway is easily the best way to travel around it. It may look grungy and dirty, but few New Yorkers will trade their 24 hour, extensive, and fairly reliable subway system for a better looking one. The much-feared subway crimes of the 70s and 80s are, for the most part a thing of the past, and it is almost always completely safe. Just use common sense when traveling late at night alone and try to use heavily traveled stations.

Subway basics:

  • Every line is identified by either a letter or a number. Ignore the colors; unless you restrict your subway use to the midtown area, relying on colors is a sure way to get lost.
  • uptown/downtown in Manhattan: Almost all lines in Manhattan go North South and the direction is always clearly noted on the platforms and in train announcements. In general, 'Bronx Bound' and 'Queens Bound' are synonymous with uptown, while 'Brooklyn Bound' is synonymous with downtown. Station entrances will also indicate the direction (e.g., "uptown and the Bronx") so be careful when entering the station. If no direction is indicated, then you can use that entrance for both uptown as well as downtown tracks.
  • Important lines in Manhattan:
    • The Lexington Avenue Line (4, 5, 6) are the only trains on the East Side. Useful for the Metropolitan, Guggenheim, and other east side museums (any to 86th or the 6 to 77th). Also for the Statue of Liberty (4, 5 to Bowling Green) and Chinatown (6 to Canal Street).
    • The IRT Seventh Avenue Line (1, 2, 3) serve Broadway above 42nd Street, and Seventh Avenue between 42nd and 14th. Useful for the west Village, Chelsea, and the Staten Island or Statue of Liberty ferry (1 to South Ferry) and Columbia University (the 1 to 116th).
    • The IND Eighth Avenue Line (A, C, E) go up and down Eighth Avenue between 14th and 50th streets. Useful for the Natural History Museum (C to 81st), the west side of Central Park (C makes local stops on Central Park West), Cloisters Museum (A to 190th), JFK Airport (A to Howard Beach or E to Jamaica).
  • Transfers: With a metrocard, you can transfer from subway to bus or bus to bus (but not to the same bus route) during a two hour period for free. You can transfer from one subway line to another for free as often as you like at designated transfer stations (any station where you can cross over to a different line/direction without exiting through a turnstile).
  • Local/Express: Some lines are express, i.e., trains don't stop at every station so make sure you get on the right train. Local and express lines use different tracks and there is always a local line accompanying the express. For example, the 2, 3 are Express between 96th Street and Chambers Street in Manhattan and the 1 runs as a local alongside.
  • Metro Cards: You must have a metro card to enter the subway system but, once you enter, you can spend the rest of your life there as long as you don't leave the system. Most stations have either (or both) a metro card machine or a token booth where you can buy cards. Single rides are $2 (single ride cards must be purchased at a machine). To pass through the turnstyle simply swipe your metrocard with the logo facing you and the arrow facing toward the turnstyle.
  • Maps: A subway map can be found at http://mta.info/nyct/maps/submap.htm. There is also a subway map that has been overlaid on top of google maps. This version can show you exactly where the train stops (and entrances/exits for Manhattan). Free subway and bus maps are available at staffed token booths, so do pick one up. A useful map that finds the closest subway to any given address in New York City is available at http://www.cmap.nypirg.org/netmaps/Straps/Straphangers.asp. Alternatively, use http://www.hopstop.com/ for directions on how to travel between two addresses in the city.
  • The off-hour/weekend mess: Be aware that while most of the subway is available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, trains take on a life of their own during the weekends and late nights. Some trains don't run with other trains picking up the slack. Express trains often run local and some entrances to the subway are closed. For a detailed look at what exactly each train line does during the different hours of the day, consult the individual line maps located on the MTA website. http://www.mta.info. Track work notices are also clearly posted at stations so, if you expect to be out late, look out for them. Before leaving on weekends, check the MTA website for diversions that might get you sidetracked. It's better to know before getting lost somewhere. Remember: If you do feel confused, ask someone for help. And, that there's always more than one way to get somewhere, especially here.

Buses

There are many different bus lines, which provide good transport away from the subway. Bus lines are identified by letters followed by numbers. The letters indicates the borough in which the line mostly operates (M=Manhattan; Bx=Bronx; B=Brooklyn; Q=Queens; S=Staten Island). Bus maps for each borough can be found at http://mta.info/mta/maps.htm.

Even in Manhattan, with its dense subway network, buses can often be the best way of making a cross-town (i.e. east to west or vice versa) journey. And outside peak hours, a ride by bus from the tip of Manhattan at Battery Park to the Midtown district is a good and cheap way of taking in the sights.

Buses are particularly useful when going across Central Park (e.g., going from the Metropolitan Museum to the Museum of Natural History). The buses that traverse the park are the M66, M72, M79, M86, and M96. These generally operate on 66th, 72nd, 79th, 86th, and 96th Streets respectively, however the eastbound M66 runs on 65th St, and the M79 uses 81st to go around the Museum of Natural History on the west side.

When boarding a bus with a MetroCard, insert the card into the card slot in the top of the farebox by the driver. The farebox will swallow the card, read it and return it to you. You should see the front of the MetroCard and the magnetic strip will be facing you and on the right side as you stick it in the machine. It will be vertically oriented. This is different from entering the subway where you don’t stick it in as much, but slide it horizontally oriented through the swipe device, with the front toward you and the magnetic strip on the bottom.

The fareboxes also accepts coins but not paper money as the fareboxes are unable to read paper money, and even so would be shredded in the "fare collection vacuum". As a safety precaution, drivers do not handle money. Change is not given, so exact fares must be paid. The fareboxes accept dollar coins, and will also add up your pennies, even though it says not to use pennies. Rarely used half-dollar coins cannot be used because the coin slots on the fareboxes are not big enough.

Ferries

Ferries provide an interesting alternative to getting around New York. The most famous ferry is the Staten Island Ferry, running from the tip of Manhattan at Battery Park to Staten Island. The ferry carries passengers and bicycles only, runs every 15 minutes during rush hours, and is free. As it gives a really good view of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor on its way, this is a very popular trip for visitors. Ride on the starboard (right facing forward) side of the ferry from Manhattan and the port side from Staten Island for the best views (to the west).

Most of the other ferries you will see are operated by New York Waterway, connect the city with the New Jersey Hudson River Waterfront and are not free. Enquire as to fares before boarding.

New York Water Taxi runs ferries between points within Manhattan, with some connections to Brooklyn and New Jersey. Their boats are painted to look like taxis.

Taxi

Yellow Cabs Real NYC taxis are yellow, have a metal seal on the hood ("medallion"), a light with a taxi number on the roof, a meter for billing, stickers on the windshield for various licenses, special taxi license plates, and a divider in the car. If only the medallion number on the roof is lit, the taxi is available for hire. If the medallion number on the roof is not lit or the off-duty sign on the roof is lit, the taxi is not available for hire. The meter starts at $2.50 (as of 2004), and then $.40 for each 1/5 mile afterwards. There is a night surcharge of $0.50 (8pm to 6am) and a rush hour surcharge of $1.00 (4pm-8pm M-F). A tip of 10-20% is expected and passengers must pay all tolls. "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. Info on fares, flat fares, group rides and rules is at. Credit card acceptance is being phased in, but, currently, very few accept credit or debit cards. Expect to pay cash.

Livery or Black Car (limousines) Known as limousines or limos, these cars may only be called by phone, for a trip and are flat rate rather than metered (ask for the fare before getting in), and are not allowed to cruise the street or airports for fares. Since yellow cabs are hard to come by during rush hours, limos are particularly useful for getting to the airport (your hotel can arrange one or look up the yellow pages). In some areas, livery cabs can be flagged on the street. Though this is technically illegal (the cabbie, not you, can get into trouble), it is useful in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs and is accepted practise. Negotiate the fare before you get inside. A tip of 10-20% is expected and passengers must pay all tolls.

Tipping Tips of 10-20% are expected in both yellow cabs as well as livery cabs. A simple way of computing the tip is to add 10% of the fare and round up from there. Thus, if the meter reads $6.20, you pay $7 and if the meter reads $6.50, you pay $8. Always tip more for better service (for example, if the cabbie helps you with your bags or stroller). Don't tip at all if the service is lousy (for example, if the cabbie refuses to turn on the AC on a hot day). Tip higher for trips from the airport (because the cabbie has probably been waiting a couple of hours for a fare back to the city). For livery cabs, tip 10-20% depending on the quality of the service but you don't need to tip at all if you hail the cab on the street and negotiate the fare in advance (leave an extra dollar or two anyway!).

All licensed taxis and sedan limousines are authorized to take 3 passengers in the backseat and 1 in the front seat for a total of 4. However, some of the newer minivan and SUV yellow cabs can seat more passengers and may take more than four passengers (even though the licensed limit is posted in the cab). Larger than sedan limousines can be reserved, also useful for airport trips with lots of luggage, by calling any of the dozens of companies in the yellow pages.

Be wary of unlicensed cars (known as 'gypsy cabs') cruising for passengers, especially near the airports. While drivers may claim to offer you a cheaper rate than an actual taxi, your chances of actually getting this rate (not to mention getting to your destination safely and quickly) are slim. If you are in doubt, ask an airport staffer for help finding a cab or cabstand. Major airports have taxi information cards for passengers.

For all cabs, you pay the tolls for bridges, tunnels and highways, even if the cab has an E-ZPass to use the express toll lane. Be careful of being overcharged by cabbies for toll crossings—on some bridges and tunnels (like the Queens-Midtown Tunnel) rates are not posted in plain view. So, a crossing which actually cost the cab driver $4 is easily passed onto the unsuspecting passenger as a $5 charge. Outside the city, other than flat fare destinations and Newark Airport, meter rates are doubled (when going to Westchester or Nassau County).

There are also bizarre van and shuttle services in different parts of the city. You will have to ask where it is going and how much it costs. Usually, you will see people lining up and some mysterious van will appear and they will board. There are services between Chinatown and Queens (you won’t have to make any transfers if it goes where you need to go!), and also there are separate services in Brooklyn, and Queens. Many of these services are branded as "Dollar Vans" (actually costing $1.25), and follow major bus routes. One should use good judgment before using these vans to prevent getting cheated out of money, or something considerably worse than losing money.

Car

Best advice is that a car is not only unnecessary but also inadvisable; street parking is practically nonexistent near crowded areas and tourist attractions, and garage parking ranges from very expensive to prohibitively expensive. Note that a large percentage of city cab drivers are aggressive drivers. Traffic can be mind-blowing for the uninitiated, especially in midtown and around rush hours. Manhattan is compact and has excellent public transportation. While this is somewhat less true of the other boroughs (particularly Queens and Staten Island, the only boroughs to be developed with auto and expressway in mind), visitors to New York do not need a car and indeed will be hampered by having one.

Traffic in New York City roughly follows a hierarchy of precedence, which is unwise to challenge. Fire engines, ambulances, and police cruisers are at the top of the heap, followed by other public service vehicles such as buses, road crews, and sanitation trucks. Beneath them are the cabbies and the delivery trucks. Below those are the locals and the "bridge & tunnel" crowd, but even they will devour you alive if you don't know what you're doing. Driving in New York is not for the timid, frightful, or otherwise emotionally fragile.

The major car rental agencies have offices throughout the city. Smaller agencies are also well represented. Be warned that car rentals in New York are generally more expensive than elsewhere in the United States, and frequently require a deposit of up to $500, if you do not have a credit card. Insurance rates also tend to be higher in New York than in most other cities.

While cheap or free parking can be found in some parts of New York at some times, parking is generally extremely expensive. Paying $40 a day is not at all uncommon. Street parking can be free or at least much cheaper, but can be extremely hard to come by. Note also that New York has "alternate side of the street" parking rules, which may require street parkers to move their cars at different times of the day (such as early morning, or overnight in a few business districts). Alternate side rules are suspended on many obscure holidays, while parking meters and other weekday restrictions are only suspended on a few major holidays (not even on all Federal holidays). Parking enforcement officers are very efficient in New York and quite enthusiastic about their jobs - trying to leave a car parked illegally for very long will often end with a ticket, and a vehicle illegally parked in an overcrowded place is very likely to be towed away. In fact, the whole of the city is a Tow Away zone, so if you're parked illegally, it's safe to assume your car probably won't be there when you come back, especially if a sign reading "TOW AWAY ZONE" or showing a tow truck towing a car (symbolic sign) is posted. The New York Police Department operates the tow pounds.

Also, note that gas stations are few and far between, especially in Manhattan, where only a handful exist around the perimeter of the island. Be prepared to pay much higher prices than in the surrounding suburbs, sometimes up to 50 cents per gallon more.

Words of Warning

Unlike other places in the United States, right turns on red lights are illegal within New York City limits, except where otherwise posted, like a sign reading "AFTER STOP RIGHT TURN PERMITTED ON RED". Given the number of pedestrians on the streets, they are also dangerous, and will be met with a hostile reception and possibly a kick to the side of your beloved vehicle. However, as gateway signs reading "NYC LAW - NO TURN ON RED - EXCEPT WHERE POSTED" are sometimes but not always posted when entering the city limit, do be aware of vehicles driven by out-of-state drivers who have not known this.

Talking on hand-held cell phones (without a hands-free device) while driving is also illegal and punishable in New York State, and very dangerous, though this regulation is still fairly new and spottily enforced, and you will see other drivers doing this. But don't even think of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drug! And please, if there is an emergency vehicle trying to get through with its siren blaring, pull over to the right and move forward as necessary. Pedestrians understand the need for emergency vehicles to go through red lights and are usually cooperative, mostly because dashing in front of a fire truck is a great way to leave your mark on the city (in a manner of speaking). There are red light cameras at a 100 intersections in New York City used for issuing summonses, officially the Notices of Liability, for running red lights, but they take the pictures of vehicular license plates only without attempting to identify the drivers, so the summonses, which can be paid or disputed in person or by mail, are sent to vehicular owners without any points against driver licenses.

Also, check all parking signs carefully, especially if you're lucky or persistent enough to score a parking spot in Manhattan. Parking meters demand constant feeding, and are hungry late into the night in some areas. In some parts of Midtown Manhattan, there are pay-and-display meters which are only in effect from 6 pm to midnight on weekdays (and all day on weekends) -- during the workday, parking is prohibited except for commercial trucks. It is a good idea to keep a roll of quarters in your glove compartment. Parking is permitted at broken meters, but only for one hour, even if the meter would have let you park longer. Parking is prohibited in bus stops and within 15 feet of fire hydrants. Yellow lines on the curb have no legal meaning in NYC, so they cannot be relied upon to tell you if you are parked far enough from a hydrant. Many motorists simply pay garaging fees to relieve the anxiety of finding a parking spot and avoid the risks of parking tickets, which can be expensive (especially if a vehicle is towed away) and serve as a major source of income for the city treasury!

Some avenues and many streets in Manhattan have only one-way traffic.

Buy a map

This advice is even more important for intrepid travelers to the outer boroughs, where the street patterns seem to have been designed by drunks playing pick-up-sticks. There is no north-south or east-west. In Queens, numbers identify not only avenues and streets, but also roads, places, 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; 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.

That said, there are several points of entry/exit into the city from the New Jersey side: the Lincoln Tunnel (midtown/41st Street), the Holland Tunnel (downtown/Canal Street), and the George Washington Bridge (way uptown/178th Street) — all are accessible from the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95) and from I-80. The Midtown Tunnel under the East River is convenient for Long Island travelers, as it becomes the Long Island Expressway. The Queensborough Bridge (aka The 59th Street Bridge) also crosses the East River into Queens, is toll-free, and lands near the mouth of the Midtown Tunnel but requires some automotive manipulation to get onto the Long Island Expressway. Other routes head north and east out of the Bronx, including Interstates 87 (north to Albany) and 95 (northeast to Boston) and the Henry Hudson Parkway, which is along the Hudson River.

Travelling at off-hours makes sense to avoid rush hour traffic, but some highways and roads are surprisingly packed even so. The Cross Bronx Expressway, which is part of I-95 and leads to the George Washington Bridge, is almost always choked with traffic. The Long Island Expressway has heavy eastbound traffic between the morning and evening rushes. The Holland and Lincoln Tunnels are 10 minute waits on good days. The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) is notorious, and an accident on the Verazzano Bridge without shoulders can cause a backup all the way through the northern part of Staten Island into New Jersey. It is a good idea to check radio traffic reports, especially before crossing a bridge or tunnel. Three different stations have reports every 10 minutes around the clock: 880 AM (on the 8's), 1010 AM (on the 1's), and 1130 AM (on the 5's).

Driving cross-town (east-west) in Manhattan during rush hours is especially troublesome because the street lights are optimized to move traffic along the north-south roads. Your best bet is to avoid driving in Midtown Manhattan (between the 30s and 50s) whenever possible. If you do drive in Midtown Manhattan cross-town, posted Midtown Thru Streets may reduce delays.

Bicycle

Cycling in Manhattan can often be quicker than taking the subway or a taxi, but it isn't for the fainthearted. New York City's tumultuous traffic makes biking difficult. Aggressive cab drivers, jaywalking pedestrians, potholes and debris on the roads create a cycling experience that might just as well have been taken from Dante's Inferno. If you do venture into the concrete jungle on a bike, make sure you wear a helmet and have sufficient experience in urban cycling. Despite the hazards, around 100,000 New Yorkers commute to work by bicycle every day, taking advantage of the reasonably flat geography and compactness of the island. Conditions are likely to improve in future, as the city expands the cycle lane network and completes the traffic-free greenway encircling the whole of Manhattan.

PATH to Jersey City, Newark, and Hoboken

PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) is a subway type system connecting Newark and various points on the New Jersey shore of the Hudson River with New York City. Two lines pass under the Hudson and enter the city, one terminating at a temporary World Trade Center site station in downtown, the other at 33rd Street in midtown. The 33rd Street Station was once connected underground to Penn Station, but now, presumably due to security concerns, the underground passage is closed and you must walk a block west on the surface of 33rd.

See

Like most of the great world cities, New York has an abundance of great attractions.

A number of multi-attraction schemes give reduced prices and line-skipping privileges.

  • CityPass, Gets you into 5 top New York attractions within 9 days of first use for a much reduced rate. The attractions are American Museum of Natural History, Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises and Empire State Building Observatory. $53 adult, $41 youth aged 6–17 (reduced from combined regular admission of $105.50 and $82.50 respectively) Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum has been closed for renovation till May 2008.
  • New York Pass, Admission to over 40 attractions. Passes for 1 day $65 (child 2–12 $45), 2 days $95 (child $75), 3 days $120 (child $95), 7 days $155 (child $120). Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum has been closed for renovation till May 2008.
  • Historic House Trust of New York is a non-profit organization founded in 1989 to preserve and promote the historic houses located in New York City parks.

See also the district pages for detailed information about attractions. Detail is gradually being moved from this page to the district pages.

Landmarks

  • Statue of Liberty. The ferry ($10) leaves every 25 minutes from Battery Park and stops at Liberty Island and Ellis Island. You must (in advance) reserve a time slot to enter the museum at the base of the statue, and then undergo cumbersome security procedures to actually enter the museum in the statue's pedestal (visitors are no longer allowed in the crown, much less the torch). The Immigration Museum at Ellis Island is worth a visit, and it is free. Both Liberty Island and Ellis Island are open every day of the year except December 25 from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (with extended hours in the summer).
  • Brooklyn Bridge, You may walk across this historic bridge in either direction (takes about 30 minutes each way), or bike across it, for no toll. The view is quite nice going into Manhattan. On the Brooklyn side, you can get pizza, or dine by the waterfront in the DUMBO (Down Under [the] Manhattan Bridge Overpass) area, which is gentrifying with lofts and cool dining places. You can also take the F train to York St, hang out in the DUMBO area and then walk across the bridge back into Manhattan.
  • Central Park with its lawns, trees and lakes is popular for recreation and concerts and is home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park Zoo.
  • Times Square, centered on 42nd Street and Broadway—a place filled with video screens and LED signs. A world wonder or a tourist nightmare depending on your perspective, the "New" Times Square is a family-friendly theme park of themed restaurants, theaters and hotels, as well as a developing business district. Those looking for the seedy Times Square of old will find it around the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and around Broadway several blocks to the south.
  • Lincoln Center, Broadway at 64th Street.The world's largest cultural complex. See theater, symphonies, ballet, opera, movies, art exhibits or just wander the architecturally beautiful buildings. Subway: 1 to 66th St. or walkable from A, C, and E trains at 59th St. or the 2 and 3 trains to 72nd St. The buildings are modern, and even have modern chandeliers. There are two opera companies, and the famous Julliard School of Music is also here. Within a few blocks are a large Barnes and Noble Bookstore, three "art-house" movie theatres and an AMC movie theater which includes New York's only commerical IMAX screen.
  • Rockefeller Plaza, 630 5th Avenue. The Christmas Tree, the Skating Rink, the shops and hubbub—you can't miss it. The Christmas Tree and the Skating Rink are not year round. You may take skating lessons. There are several dining establishments overlooking this area. The art deco buildings of Rockefeller Center are quite cool. Saks Fifth Avenue is across the street, and there are many other stores throughout the complex. Subway: B, D, F, V to 47–50th Streets-Rockefeller Center.
  • The United Nations, 1st Avenue at 46th Street offers a park overlooking the East River and tours of the general assembly and secretariat.
  • Empire State Building Fifth Avenue at 34th Street.
  • World Trade Center Site Trinity Place and Fulton Street. The site of the September 11th terrorist attacks has become popular with visitors. Various plaques are on display documenting the history of the WTC.
  • New York Stock Exchange 20 Broad Sreet (at Wall Street). The most important stock exchange in the world, the NYSE is the most watched indicator of economic performance in the global economy. The activity on the trading floor is astonishing. Visitors should beware, however, that security is tight, and sudden closures are a possibility. Visitor admittance to the interior has been suspended indefinitely. Subway: 4, 5 to Wall Street; J, M, Z to Broad Street (weekdays only)
  • New York Public Library Corner of Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets. After the Library of Congress, this is the largest non-academic library in the United States. It is housed in a beautiful building by Carrer and Hastings, which is seen as the greatest example of Beaux Arts architecture. The main reading room is magnificent, and the library contains numerous important rare items, like Jefferson's handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Grand Central Terminal 42nd Street and Park Avenue. One of the busiest train stations in the world, Grand Central is also a must for architecture lovers. Its vaulted ceiling, covered with a medieval zodiac design, is staggering.

Museums and galleries

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. Many galleries and museums in New York close on Mondays, so be sure to check hours before visiting.

Arts and Culture

  • Brooklyn Museum of Art, on Eastern Parkway (Eastern Parkway stop on the 2, 3 or 4 train) is a large museum which contains excellent collections of Egyptian art, Assyrian reliefs, 19th-century American art, and art from Africa and Oceania, among other things. Right past the museum are the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (separate admission charge), so you can easily visit both in one pleasant afternoon.
  • The Cloisters, Located on four acres overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park, the building incorporates elements from five medieval French cloisters—quadrangles enclosed by a roofed or vaulted passageway, or arcade—and from other monastic sites in southern France. Its gardens are a great way to spend a nice afternoon. Pay for the Cloisters or the Metropolitan Museum and see both for the price of one.
  • International Center of Photography 1133 Sixth Avenue (at 43rd Street)—devoted solely to photography, this museum a block from Times Square always has interesting exhibits running
  • Museum of Sex 233 Fifth Avenue (at 27th Street) - is a museum which relates to the evolution of sex. It features images, films, and sex devices being used since past till today. They also sell some adult collections.
  • Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53 St (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Subway: E or V to Fifth Ave/53 St; B, D, or F to 47–50 Streets/Rockefeller Center), (212) 708-9400. Sa–M, W–Th 10:30am–5:30pm, F 10:30am–8pm, closed every Tu and Thanksgiving Day and 25 Dec. In Nov 2004 the museum reopened after expansion and renovation. $20 adult, $12 student, free for under 17s; free for all Fr 4–8pm. Quite lengthy queue to get one's baggage checked. Moreover, all expensive items must be carried on person (laptops, phones, cameras) as the staff refuse to check such items. This is the most comprehensive collection of modern art in the world, and, like the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is so large as to require multiple visits to see all of the works on display. If you are in a hurry and want to see only the crowd-pleasers, head to the fifth floor, where you'll find works like Van Gogh's Starry Night and Picasso's Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Also make sure to take time to visit the museum's extensive (and sometimes whimsical) industrial design collection.
  • PS1 Contemporary Art Center 22–25 Jackson Avenue (Queens). (718) 784-2084. Open noon–6pm Thursday through Monday.

Science and Technology

  • American Museum of Natural History in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Visits to the museum are by donation, You do not have to pay the recommended fee so you can only give them 2 dollars. Hayden Planetarium, immediately to its north on 81st St., charges a separate admission fee.
  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86, 12th Ave & 46th St, (212) 245-0072. Apr–Sep M–F 10am–5pm, Sa–Su 10am–6pm; Oct–Mar Tu–Su 10am–5pm. $16.50 adult. The museum will close beginning Oct 1, 2006 until mid 2008 for renovations.
  • Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (Museum at FIT), 7th Avenue at 27th St, (212) 217-5970. Open Tu–F noon–8pm; Sa 10am–5pm. Free.

Neighborhoods

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 for a comprehensive listing of neighborhoods. The following is a list of New York City neighborhoods popular with tourists:

  • Financial District Lower Manhattan below Chambers Street. Long the center of the American economy, the Financial District is full of impressive turn-of-the-century buildings and is a hive of activity during the day. The New York Stock Exchange, The World Trade Center site, and the Statue of Liberty are some of the key attractions.
  • Chinatown and Little Italy Centered around Mott Street. This is the largest immigrant enclave in the United States, and it is still growing. Restaurants and groceries from all parts of Asia, and the area still retains a authentic Hong Kong flavor though the immigrants are now from mainland China, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia. It's also a bargain center for shoppers, and haggling is de rigueur, especially on Canal Street. Mulberry Street north of Canal Street is the center of Little Italy. Though not much of Italy is left there, lunch in Chinatown followed by coffee and dessert in Little Italy is a time-honored tourist tradition!
  • Lower East Side South of Houston, East of Bowery, North of Canal. Formerly the center for Jewish life in New York, the Lower East Side fell into disrepair in the middle of the 20th century, only to be rejuvenated by the Hispanic community (visitors may hear the neighborhood referred to as 'Loisaida'). It is increasingly becoming a trendy nightspot, with hipsters living cheek-by-jowl with aging Puerto Rican immigrants. Unlikely though it may seem during the day time, at night the LES is filled with gourmands and partygoers.
  • SoHo South of Houston, West of Centre, East of West Street. The ultimate urban gentrification story, SoHo was a rundown industrial area until the 1960s, when artists began inhabiting its spacious and then-cheap lofts. After the artists came the galleries, then the celebrities, then the shoppers, and now the visitors. Filled with gorgeous cast-iron architecture (Greene Street especially), SoHo is a great shopping and dining destination, even if many of the artists have moved on.
  • Greenwich Village South of 14th, West of Broadway, North of Houston. One of New York's most famous neighborhoods (along with Harlem), Greenwich Village (also known as the West Village or just the Village) has maintained its charming bohemian character despite becoming incredibly expensive. Home to New York University and countless twenty-somethings, the Village is also popular with families. Its crooked and narrow streets are full of beautiful brownstones, great stores, and fabulous restaurants. The crooked streets are a result of the fact that the area developed before the City's grid system was instituted in the early 1800s.
  • Meatpacking District A part of the "West Village". Its boundaries run from 16 street and 8th avenue on the north-east corner (below lower Chelsea), going down to Gansevoort street which is where streets become irregular. As the name implies, this area was dominated by heavy industry, including Poultry. Located on the far northwest of the Greenwich Village, "Meatpacking" has become the neighborhood people love to hate, as it is full of trendy restaurants, upscale shopping, and suburbanites in for a good time. The former warehouses are now home to exclusive clubs and lounges that make it a magnet for celebrities. It is very expensive to live in this area, and it has somewhat of a faster pace than its neighbors, SoHo and the Village, due to the better flow of motorized traffic.
  • East Village South of 14th, East of Broadway, North of Houston. The East Village is one of the most infamous and historical neighborhoods in the world, giving birth to everything from advanced education, organized activism, and experimental theater, to the Beat generation, Folk music and Punk Rock. The East Village is now popular with college students and suburban teenagers who patron the area's hip bars and nightclubs each weekend. Despite that, it's still a great community neighborhood, with many delicious restaurants from dozens of cultures, vintage boutiques, off-beat novelty stores, and art galleries. St. Marks Place, The Bowery, and Astor Place are the most visited streets. Tompkins Square Park, formerly a homeless shantytown, is charming.
  • Gramercy/Flatiron/Union Square North of 14th, South of 34th, East of Broadway. Centered around three parks—Union Square, Gramercy, and Madison Square—this area is full of lovely little pockets. Park Avenue South has become a restaurant hotspot, while Irving Place maintains its quiet and charming atmosphere. Third Avenue is popular with the bar crowds.
  • Chelsea North of 14th, South of 34th, West of Broadway. The city's gallery scene has left SoHo for Chelsea and is now centered around 10th Avenue in the 20s. While Chelsea has gone upscale in recent years, it retains its vibrant gay scene, and boasts many great restaurants.
  • Murray Hill North of 34th, South of 42nd, East of Madison. Probably the quietest neighborhood in all of Manhattan, Murray Hill has many lovely townhouses inhabited by Midtown office types and UN diplomats. Not a whole lot happens in Murray Hill, which is just how its residents want it.
  • Midtown North of 34, East of 8th, West of Madison, South of 59th. Midtown is probably the only area of Manhattan that cannot be said to be residential. It is full of offices, theaters (Times Square is here, after all), and shopping, and the real estate is so expensive that only corporations or people with pied-a-terres can live here. That said, an increasing number of condos are popping up in the area, though it's too soon to tell how that will impact its character.
  • Hell's Kitchen North of 34th, South of 59th, West of 8th. Though real estate brokers tried to change the name of the neighborhood to 'Clinton,' New Yorkers have wisely stuck with the more appealing Hell's Kitchen. A fairly derelict area until recently, Hell's Kitchen is undergoing major gentrification, and has numerous restaurants and nightspots on 8th and 9th Avenues.
  • Upper West Side North of 59th, South of 110th, West of Central Park. Home to countless registered Democrats and baby strollers, the Upper West Side is packed with gorgeous brownstones and magnificent pre-War apartment houses. If you are a regular reader of the New York Times or have ever made a reference to Visconti in casual conversation, the Upper West Side is for you.
  • Upper East Side North of 59th, South of 96th, East of Central Park. This is the ritziest neighborhood in New York, where all of blue-blooded high society (as well as wealthy upstarts: P.Diddy lives here) calls home. The buildings are beautiful, the stores are expensive, and kids are away at Choate and Andover.
  • Manhattan Valley North of 96th, South of 110th, and bounded by Central Park on the East and Broadway on the West. Often clubbed with the Upper West Side.
  • Bloomingdale North of 96th and South of 110th, and bounded by Broadway on the East and Riverside Park on the West. The stretch between 96th and 106th had been fairly quiet until recently, when real estate brokers began pouncing on it. Often clubbed with the Upper West Side.
  • Morningside Heights North of 110th, South of 125th, West of Morningside Park. Home to Columbia University and several other schools, Morningside Heights has a distinctly shabby genteel intellectual atmosphere.
  • East Harlem/El Barrio North of 96th, South of 125th, East of 5th Avenue. A jarring contrast from the patrician Upper East Side to the south, East Harlem is a major center of Hispanic culture in New York, and is full of great Latin American restaurants. Like Harlem proper, it is increasingly becoming populated by wealthier types on the lookout for the next big real estate deal.
  • Harlem North of Central Park, East of Morningside Park, West of Fifth, South of 145th. The center of black cultural life for most of the twentieth century, Harlem is a vibrant and energetic neighborhood that has become popular with West African immigrants in recent years, resulting in a variety of good and inexpensive restaurants. The beautiful brownstones of Harlem have become popular with real estate investors.

Parks

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 most 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.

Do

Tours

  • Gray Line, 777 Eighth Avenue (Between 47th and 48th Streets), 1-800-669-0051 (GRAYLINENEWYORK@COACHUSA.COM, fax: +1-(212)-445-0850), offers open-top, double-decker bus tours. The traffic congestion makes this tour a bit slow at times. But you may want to take the tour to get the lay of the land and discover what you want to visit later.
  • Big Apple Greeter, 1 Centre Street, +1-(212)-669-8159 (visitrequest@bigapplegreeter.org, fax: +1-(212)-669-3685), is a non-profit organization that matches visitors with friendly and enthusiastic New Yorkers who are happy to share the city they love. Services are offered FREE OF CHARGE.
  • HI Hostel, 891 Amsterdam Avenue, +1-(212)-932-2300 (reservation@hinewyork.org, fax: +1-(212)-932-2574), offers some unique tours to people staying there (see Hostels section), such as an interesting Harlem Gospel walking tour—a Sunday morning tour of south Harlem ending with a church experience in a Harlem church. Cost is $7 and the guide is quite knowledgeable. Try 'Jerry's Grand Tour', a full 16 hour tour of New York. They also often have discount coupons for various activities such as Broadway shows—check at the front desk.
  • Big Onion Walking Tours, 476 13th Street, +1-(212)-439-1090 (info@bigonion.com, fax: +1-(718)-499-0023), an inexpensive and engaging way to gain historical perspectives on several neighborhoods
  • New York Fun Tours, Greenwich Village, 1-800-979-3370 (info@newyorkfuntours.com), private exclusive chauffeured New York City Tour in a Classic Chevrolet Convertible. $125.
  • The Brooklyn Tour, Greenwich Village, 1-800-979-3370 (info@thebrooklyntour.com), includes round trip transportation from Manhattan and a comprehensive 3 hour tour of Brooklyn's unique history, food and culture. $75.
  • Foods of New York Tours, Inc., Greenwich Village, 1-800-979-3370 (todd@foodsofny.com), Explore the winding tree-lined streets of the historic West Village. Seek out classic "mom and pop" specialty food shops, Italian eateries, and charming neighborhood restaurants. $40.
  • East Village Tours, East Village, 646-810-2576 (tour@evcm.org). Tuesday thru Sunday at 11:00 AM. Tour one of the most infamous and historical neighborhoods in the world with an experienced and knowledgeable guide from East-Village.com. Native Americans, Dutch settlers, the Stuyvesant farm, the "melting pot", immigration, tenements, architecture, street gangs, social clubs, Yiddish Theater, cultural expansion, industrialization, labor movements, protests, riots, jazz, poetry, the beat generation, folk music, experimental theater, yippies, punk rock, urban art, pop-culture, squatting, Loisaida, community gardens, and much more. $5-$12.

Entertainment

New York is the entertainment capital of the world, and no other city can match the number, range, and quality of its entertainment options. Be sure to check out Time Out New York (available at newsstands all over the city) for the latest listings information.

Theater and Performing Arts

New York's Broadway is famous for its many shows, especially musicals. You might want to visit TKTS that offers tickets for shows the same night at discounted prices, usually 50% off or visit BroadwayBox.com a community site posting all recent Broadway discounts. TKTS has two offices, one at Times Square with lines often hours long, and a much faster one (sometimes minutes) at South Street Seaport (Corner of John St., just south of Brooklyn Bridge). Note that only cash is accepted at South Street. Show up at opening time for best selection.

New York boasts an enormous amount and variety of theatrical performances. These shows usually fall into one of three categories: Broadway, Off-Broadway, or Off-Off-Broadway. Broadway refers to the shows near Times Square that usually play to theaters of 500 seats or more. These include the major musicals and big-name dramatic works, and are the most popular with visitors. Tickets for Broadway shows can run to $100 a seat, though discounters like TKTS (above) make cheaper seats available. Off-Broadway indicates performances that are smaller, not located in or near Times Square, and usually of a certain intellectual seriousness. Tickets to Off-Broadway shows tend to range from $25–50. Off-Off-Broadway refers to those shows that play to very small audiences (less than 100 seats) with actors working without equity. These can be dirt cheap and often very good, but some may be sufficiently avant-garde as to turn off conservative playgoers.

For current and upcoming Broadway and Off-Broadway info and listings, visit Playbill.com. This site also has lots of articles on what's going on in the NY commercial theatre scene. Broadway.comand Newyorkcitytheatre.com also has plenty of info, as well as some videos and photos. Theatermania has many discounts to the bigger shows, and also provides listings for the Off-Off scene. If visiting in the summer, brave the huge lines and attempt to get tickets to the Public's annual "Shakespeare in the Park," which often features big-time stars of stage and screen. Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Natalie Portman, and Liev Schrieber are just a few of the actors to have appeared here in recent years. Oh, and it's free. Just get to one of the box offices ridiculously early, especially the one at the Park.

It's possible to purchase tickets to The Tony Awards, Broadway's biggest award ceremony and the culmination of the theatrical season in the city. These aren't cheap, but if you're into the theatre scene and know something about the various performers being honored, it can be an exciting night. In any case, the performances are always fun, and you can catch moments that aren't in the broadcast. Always the first or second Sunday night in June, visit The Tony Awards for the most current details.

New York has a wide variety of musical and dance companies, including several that are among the world's most renowned. There are also numerous small companies putting on more idiosyncratic shows every night of the week. The following are just a few of New York's most high-profile music and dance options.

  • Brooklyn Academy of Music 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn. Home to the impressive Brooklyn Philharmonic, BAM is one of the best places in the country to attend cutting-edge new musical and dance performances. The Next Wave Festival every autumn is a much-anticipated event of the New York performance scene.
  • Carnegie Hall 881 Seventh Avenue. The premier venue for classical music in the United States, Carnegie Hall is famous around the world for its dazzling performances. Playing at Carnegie Hall is, for many classical musicians, the epitome of success. Carnegie Hall houses three different auditoriums, with the Isaac Stern auditorium being the largest venue.
  • Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street (at Broadway). The Chamber Music Society is the most prestigious chamber music ensemble in the United States, playing in the acoustically impeccable Alice Tully Hall.
  • Metropolitan Opera at Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street (at Broadway). The Met (as it is known) is one of the greatest opera companies in the world. The company performs seven days a week during the season (September to April) and always lands the greatest singers from around the globe. Though you can pay a small fortune to see the Met, you can also land upper-tier seats for as little as $25.
  • New York City Opera at New York State Theater in Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street (at Broadway). The slightly more accessible and energetic younger sister of the Met, the NYCO is a world-class company that puts on a dynamic range of performances. Plus, tickets can go for as little as $16.
  • New York City Ballet at New York State Theater in Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street (at Broadway). Founded by George Balanchine, the New York City Ballet is among the world's best dance companies. Their performances of the The Nutcracker are enormously popular.
  • New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street (at Broadway). One of the premier orchestras in the United States, playing a wide variety of concerts (more than 100) every year to sold-out crowds, the Philharmonic is well-known for its standard-setting performances of the classical canon. The season runs from September to June, and in the summer they play in parks around the city.
  • Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas (212) 632-3975 http://www.radiocity.com/ See the Rockettes, another show or just tour the famous Art Deco masterpiece.

Film

New York is one of the world's greatest film cities, home to a huge number of theaters playing independent and repertory programs. Many major US studio releases open earlier in New York than elsewhere (especially in the autumn) and can be found at the major cineplexes (AMC, United Artists, etc.) around the city. Be advised that, as with everything else in New York, movies are quite popular, and even relatively obscure films at unappealing times of the day can still be sold out. It's best to get tickets in advance whenever possible.

As many films premiere in New York, you can often catch a moderated discussion with the director or cast after the show. Sometimes even repertory films will have post-screening discussions or parties. Check listings for details.

In addition to the more than 15 commercial multiplexes located throughout the city, some of the more intriguing New York film options include:

  • Film Forum 209 West Houston Street. A stylish theater in Greenwich Village that runs two programs—contemporary independent releases and classic repertory films. While the current releases are almost always interesting and worth seeing, it's the repertory programming schedule that filmlovers anticipate eagerly.
  • American Museum of the Moving Image 35th Ave and 36th Street, Queens. AMMI contains a museum devoted to, literally, moving images, so visitors will find exhibits on zoetropes and video games in addition to film and television. They also put on a terrific screening program, with films showing continuously throughout the day.
  • Angelika Film Center 18 West Houston Street at Broadway, (212) 995-2000. Just down the street from Film Forum, the Angelika plays new independent and foreign films, many of which are only screened in New York. The cafe upstairs is something of a hotspot as well.
  • Anthology Film Archives 32 Second Avenue (at East 2nd Street) has a varied program of unique films, both repertory and new, most playing for only one or two screenings. Many of the films shown here can't be seen anywhere else (for better or worse). It also plays host to several film festivals yearly.
  • Film Society at Lincoln Center Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street (at Broadway). The Film Society always puts on a terrific repertory program and shows a wide variety of experimental and foreign films. In addition, numerous talks and panels are held here, many featuring bold-named directors, screenwriters, and actors.
  • MoMA 11 West 53rd Street. In addition to being the crown jewel of modern art museums, MoMa puts on a terrific repertory program in a nicely renovated theater below the museum. And compared to other New York movie theaters, tickets to films at MoMa are a steal.
  • New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. Running in October, the New York Film Festival is one of the country's best, with great films from around the world accompanied by interesting discussions, lectures, and panels. Be advised that tickets usually sell out at least a month in advance.
  • Tribeca Film Festival Throughout May the movie theaters of Lower Manhattan are taken over by the Tribeca Film Festival, which puts on a truly enormous amount of screenings and talks. Just a few years old, the Tribeca Film Festival has already secured a prominent place in New York's film calendar

Parades

New York City hosts many parades, street festivals and outdoor pageants. The following lists these by date.

  • New York's Village Halloween Parade Each Halloween (October 31) at 7 p.m., this parade and street pageant attracts 2 million spectators and 50,000 costumed participants along Sixth Avenue between Spring Street and 21st Street. Anyone in a costume is welcome to march; those wishing to should show up between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Spring Street and 6th Avenue.
  • Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade The morning of each Thanksgiving on Central Park West, this parade attracts many spectators and is broadcast on nationwide television.
  • St. Patrick's Day Parade The largest St. Paddy's parade in the world! Route is up 5th Ave from 44th Street to 86th Street and lasts from 11 am to about 2:30. Celebrations in pubs citywide happen the rest of the day and night til the green beer runs out.

Eat

New York has, as you might expect of the Big Apple, all the eating options covered and you can find almost every type of food available and every cuisine of the world represented. There are literally tens of thousands of restaurants, ranging from dingy $2-a-slice pizza joints to the $500-a-plate prix fixe sushi at Masa. Thousands of delis, bodegas, and grocery stores dot every corner of the city and DIY meals are easy and cheap to find. Street food comes in various tastes, ranging from the ubiquitous New York hot dog vendors to the many middle eastern carts at street corners in mid-town. Fruit stalls appear at many intersections from Spring to Fall with ready to eat strawberries, bananas, apples, etc. available at very low cost. Vegetarians will find New York to be a paradise with hundreds of vegetarian-only restaurants and good veggie options in even the most expensive places.

Don't leave without trying

  • The New York Bagel There is no bagel like the New York Bagel anywhere else in the world. Bagels arrived from the old world with Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and have become utterly New York in character. You can get bagels anywhere in the city but, for the best bagels you may have to trek away from the main tourist sites. Absolute Bagels at Broadway and 107th street; H&H Bagels at Broadway and 80th street. For the best bagels, go early when they are warm and straight from the oven.
  • The New York Hot Dog Vendors all over the city sell hot dogs from carts. Choose your toppings from mustard, ketchup, and relish (or just ask for everything), wrap the dog in a paper napkin, and walk along the sidewalk trying not to let the toppings slip and slide all over your hands. Or, head out to Coney Island for the famous Nathan's hot dog.
  • The New York Pizza A peculiarly New York thing, you can buy pizza, with a variety of toppings, by the slice from almost every pizzeria in the city. A New York pizza has a thin crust (sometimes chewy, sometimes crisp) well lathered with cheese. Buy a slice, mop the oil off with a fistful of napkins, and enjoy. Pick up one with pepperoni (a kind of salami) toppings and that's the quintessential meal on the go in New York.
  • The New York Cheesecake

Restaurant basics

  • What should I tip? A tip of at least 15% is expected in every restaurant with table service in the city but most New Yorkers tip closer to 20%, and often much higher. For average service, the easiest thing to do is to double the tax on the bill for an approximately 17% tip and then round up to the nearest dollar on the bill. You can tip less for poor service but do note that, especially in a tourist area, the waiter might confront you and demand his or her 15%. Waitstaff are typically paid less than the minimum wage with the assumption that the tip will make up the difference, so do tip the minimum of 15% except for atrocious service. Warning Many restaurants in tourist areas include a service charge (15% or 18%) on the bill and most restaurants in the city do that automatically for parties of six or more. So do check the bill carefully. If the service charge is included, you don't have to tip.
  • What should I wear? As you might expect, restaurants in New York are incredibly casual and you can show up in shorts, t-shirt, and flip flops in almost every neighborhood restaurant. At mid-range and expensive restaurants, trendy casual is probably the best way to fit in. A few, very few, expensive restaurants require a jacket but even these have a couple of spares on hand if you show up without one.

Vegetarians

New York is a friendly place for vegetarians. 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.

Street Food

Nothing differentiates New York more from other American (and European) 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 chef, has a cart in Bryant Park. The halal offerings in midtown are legendary (Kwik-Meal on 45th and Sixth; Halal Chicken on 53rd and Sixth and many others). Most carts serve lunch (from about 11am to 5 or 6 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 to $8). Mornings, from about 6AM to 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. Other street vendors sell italian ices, ice cream, and roasted peanuts.

Do It Yourself

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 four (soon to be 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 delicious 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 Chinatown for the best Chinese ingredients, Little India in Murray Hill for Indian ingredients, Flushing for all things Chinese or Korean, Jackson Heights for Peruvian, Ecuadorian, and Indian, Williamsburg for Jamaican. Ask around for where you can get your favorite ethnic ingredients and you'll find traveling around in local neighborhoods a rewarding experience.

Drink

The only thing about New York City that changes faster than the subway map or the restaurants is the bar scene. While some established watering holes have been around for decades or centuries, the hot spot of the moment may well have opened last week and could likely close just as quickly. The best way to find a decent bar is to ask the advice of a native dweller with trustworthy taste, but barring that a copy of Time Out New York, the Voice, or some other nightlife guide will help you find a den of iniquity tailored to your personal needs.

A few old favorites worthy of note:

  • McSorleys Old Ale House, 15 East 7th Street (Between 2nd and 3rd Avenues; Subway: 6 - Astor Place, N or R - Eighth Street), +1-(212)-474-9148Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11:00 – 01:00, Sunday: 13 – 1:00. Manhattan's fourth oldest continuously operating bar, McSorleys is famous for three things: sawdust-strewn floors, surly service, and serving only two varieties of beer (McSorleys and McSorleys Dark). Long ago the hub of the East Village's Irish community, now a local landmark where the staff and old regulars rub shoulders (sometimes grudgingly) with the local hipster population.
  • Revival, 129 East 15th Street (between Irving Place and 3rd Avenue, just east of Union Square.), +1-(212)-253-8061 (info@revivalbar-nyc.com). Hidden two-story bar with an outdoor patio you can smoke at. Popular with film students from nearby NY Film Academy and Burningman adventurers. You'll always meet interesting people here.
  • KGB, 85 East 4th Street (Between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue), +1-(212)-769-6816. In a space that was once the New York headquarters of the Communist Party USA, and is still decorated with Soviet-era agitprop memorabilia, KGB alternates between being a quiet, atmosphere-drenched local hangout bar, a site for regular poetry readings and other performances, and on some Saturday nights a boisterous boho pickup scene.
  • White Horse Tavern, 567 Hudson Street, +1-(212)-989-3956. On November 3rd, 1953, the poet Dylan Thomas stopped in here for a drink... and stayed for seventeen more drinks, precipitating his death the next day. Although made famous by its posthumous customer, the White Horse has been serving up non-fatal portions of beer and pub food since 1880.
  • The Fat Black Pussycat, 130 West 3rd Street, +1-(212)-533-4790 (owner@thefatblackpussycat.com). offers a great happy hour Monday–Thursday, with all drinks, including their signature martinis and wide selection of beers, at half price.
  • Bar None, 98 Third Avenue (Between E. 12th and 13th Streets; Subway: 6 - Astor Place, N or R - Eighth Street), +1-(212)-777-6663. Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:30 – 04:00,. A favorite NYU hangout for nearly twenty years, and for nearly a century, the site of several infamous working class neighborhood saloons, dives, rock clubs and after hours clubs from the early 1900's until the mid 1980's.

And in case you're looking for a good drink to sober you up:

  • Zibetto Espresso Bar 1385 6th Avenue (NW corner of 56th Street). The best espresso based drinks in North America, this stand up coffee bar also offers delicious panino and cornetto all at incredibly affordable prices. Fast service, great quality, amazing ambiance.

Sleep

New York has some of the most expensive hotels in the world. Expect to pay upto $50 for a hostel style hotel; around $90-$120 for a budget room with attached bath; $150-$250 for a mid-range hotel with a decent room and a restaurant and/or room service; and much higher in the many high end hotels in the city. In the mid-range and splurge hotels, it often pays to ask for a corporate rate.

Buy

Shopping

New York is the fashion capital of the United States, and is a major shopping destination for people around the world. The city boasts an unmatched range of department stores, boutiques, and specialty shops. Some neighborhoods boast more shopping options than most other American cities and have become famous in their own right as consumer destinations. Anything you could possibly want to buy is found in New York, including clothing, cameras, computers and accessories, music, musical instruments, electronic equipment, art supplies, sporting goods, and all kinds of foodstuffs and kitchen appliances. See the borough pages and district sub-pages for listings of some of the more important stores and major business districts (of which there are several).

Buying Art

In New York City street artists have an advocacy group ARTIST that has won numerous Federal lawsuits on their free speech rights. Based on their lawsuits anyone can now freely create, display and sell art including paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, DVDs, CDs etc. based on First Amendment freedom of speech. Thousands of artists now earn their livings on NYC streets and in parks. Among the areas where many can be found are SoHo in Lower Manhattan and near the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 81st Street.

Outlets

New York City has a number of retail outlet locations, offering substantial discounts and the opportunity to purchase ends-of-line and factory seconds. See the Manhattan page for descriptions of Century 21 and Filene's, where many New Yorkers get designer clothing for less.

Convenience Stores

If you need everyday items such as bottled water, packed snacks, photo developing and medicine, you can go to a Duane Reade convenience store. They are located virtually everywhere in Manhattan and in a few instances, particularly in Midtown, there may be more than 1 Duane Reade per block. There are some CVS and Rite Aid pharmacies in the city as well.

Contact

Find free wireless hotspots across the city at openwifinyc, NYC Wireless and WiFi Free Spot. Wireless is available in city parks and quite a few public libraries. The Apple store has dozens of computers setup and doesn't seem to mind that many people use them for free internet access, but they can be pretty busy at times. Easy Internet Cafe and FedEx Kinkos are just some of the internet cafes which offer broadband internet at reasonable prices. Finding a store with a open power outlet may be difficult.

Public phones are found all over the city so get ready with quarters if you plan to use them. Remember to include the 1 and area code when dialing as 11-digit dialing is in effect.

Cope

Information

  • Citizen Service Centre, 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)

Babysitting

  • The Baby Sitters' Guild, +1 212 682 0227. Bookings daily 9AM–9PM, 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 (4 hour minimum) and cab fare (approx. $10). Multilingual sitters are also available.

Smoke?

Smoking in public places is highly restricted. It is prohibited in indoor sections of bars, restaurants, subway stations and trains, and other public places. It is prohibited in both indoor and outdoor stadiums and sports arenas in the city. If you light up in any of these places, you may be subjected 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 in the weather. (Many establishments have large space heaters.) Drinking alcoholic beverages on the street is illegal, so bars will not let you take your drink outside with you.

Stay Safe

Despite common belief that it is very dangerous, New York is the safest large city in the United States, and its crime rate has fallen so low that it is comparable to many American small towns (in some areas - other areas are still considered to be quite dangerous). In fact, the crime rate in New York is now below the average crime rate for the nation as a whole, and the city is statistically much safer than other popular tourist destinations like Orlando or Las Vegas. Though it is true that more crimes are reported in New York City than in any other city in the United States, due to New York's large population, the crime rate per capita is incredibly low. New York City averages a dozen shootings per day out of a population of over 8 million residents, plus commuters and tourists.

That said, it is always a good idea for visitors to remain alert and aware of their surroundings. Late at night, visitors should be cautious about traveling outside of well-lit areas. As always, it is safest to stay in groups (or pairs, at least), and to avoid becoming too intoxicated, as inebriated persons and those out alone are often viewed as easy targets by would-be criminals. Use your common sense and avoid extremely poor, run-down neighborhoods at night. It should be noted outside of Manhattan (and also in parts of Manhattan north of 130th Street) people are much more working class, and the environs may reflect that. While gentrification has improved many areas, the city does maintain some very rough neighborhoods, especially certain areas of the Bronx and Brooklyn. In addition, be alert when traveling to and from JFK Airport if you are taking the (A) train or the B15 bus in the overnight hours as both modes travel through East New York, a somewhat dangerous area for the uninitiated or unwitting tourist. The path is otherwise fine during daylight hours. However if overnight travel must be done, always remember the key is "safety in numbers". Travel in a group. And remember that common sense will allow even the most "touristy" person to move about safely and with minimal cause for worry.

Get out

Visit the neighboring areas of New York state outside the city limits such as Long Island and the Hudson Valley or the neighboring states of New Jersey and Connecticut.

  • Long Island—when you travel to NYC in the summer, a great idea is to check out Long Island. With its beautiful long white sanded beaches you can have it all: the big city and the summer holiday. Many New Yorkers do that every Friday, Saturday and Sunday if it is hot. Take the Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station to Long Beach ($7 one way) and from there go south to the beach itself.
  • Fire Island - an all pedestrian summer resort island located off the coast of Long Island. Fire Island is home to many vacation communities on the western part of the island (Ocean Beach being the most populous, with the most restaurants and bars that make an excellent day trip). The eastern part of the island is home to the largely gay communities of Cherry Grove and the Fire Island Pines. Fire Island is reachable by ferry from Bay Shore on Long Island. Bay Shore is about a 45 minute train ride on the Long Island Railroad from Manhattan, and the ferry ride from Bay Shore is another thirty minutes. Ferries to Ocean Beach from Bay Shore run about once every hour during the summer.
  • Jersey City, New Jersey- Directly across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan is New Jersey's second largest city. Jersey City is a diverse city with lots of multicultural shops and restaurants. It can be reached from Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel or the PATH trains (the bi-state subway)
  • The Palisades- On the western bank of the Hudson river, there are cliffs that rise sharply, Picture. These cliffs are known as the majestic Palisades. They range from 300 to 500 feet. They start in the Northern portion of Jersey City, New Jersey and stretch all the way to Nyack, New York. There are numerous number of look outs, trails and camp sites located along the Palisades. The palisades can be easily reached from Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge. Palisade Interstate Parks start north of the Bridge.
  • Jersey Shore, New Jersey- Just a few miles south of New York City, the Jersey shore starts. The Jersey shore stretches for about 127 miles and along it are private and public beaches. There are numerous activities along the Jersey Shore.
  • Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey- Just a 80 minute drive from Manhattan sits the largest regional theme park in the world. Six Flags Great Adventure features 12 monster roller coasters and is located right next to the Wild Safari (one of the largest drive through safaris in the world). There is also Six Flags Hurricane Harbor just right next door (the largest water park in the North East). New Jersey Transit also provides bus service from the Port Authority when the park is open. (it is closed from November to April)
  • Princeton, New Jersey- Also an easy train ride on New Jersey Transit, Princeton offers a quiet and tree-lined, if boring, town good for strolling or visiting the Princeton University campus. Take the Northeast Corridor line to Princeton Junction, then transfer on to the shuttle train (known locally as the "Dinky") to ride directly into campus.
  • New Haven, Connecticut— Just 65 miles away, New Haven is an easy day trip via Metro North Railroad, and home to Yale University.
  • Woodbury Commons Located 45 miles north of Manhattan, Woodbury Commons is a large shopping outlet. With hundreds of great stores, many tourists find themselves shopping here.

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