The problem with visiting New York is knowing where to begin, but even if you don't immediately rush off to view the world-famous sights and icons of this most dynamic of cities, just being there is enough: the wonder of New York is in the energy and the diversity that emanates from its densely packed, multi-cultural population. The city vibrates with colliding cultures, languages and nuances; here high-life and low-life rub shoulders, and whoever you are and whatever your taste, there will be something to amuse and stimulate you 24-hours a day.
Whether lolling on a bench in leafy Central Park, watching the world go by from a French bistro in Soho, or gazing up at 'Lady Liberty' from the deck of the Staten Island Ferry, most visitors will feel they've done it all before, simply because New York is so familiar to anyone who has ever seen a movie or watched television. There is something special however in actually seeing the familiar landmarks and experiencing the pulse of the clichÃ©d, but true, 'city that never sleeps'.
New York City is made up of five boroughs: Staten Island, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, but many visitors never leave Manhattan. There is a lot packed into this tiny area: the 24-hour pasta restaurants of Little Italy and the bustling sidewalks of Chinatown, the jazz clubs of Greenwich Village and the theatres of Broadway; and of course the iconic sights of the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Times Square.
New York has been described as the best three-day city in the world, and that's about right. After a frenzy of museums, galleries, bars and clubs, many visitors are ready for a break. Fortunately there's a lot of choice in excursions, from the National Parks of Upstate New York, to the beaches of Long Island or simply the leafy oasis of Central Park. Whatever you're after, New York is ready and waiting to bewitch, bother and bewilder.
New York's public transport system is relatively good and cheap, including buses and the subway. There are also the ever-present, although more expensive, yellow cabs. Unlicensed gypsy cabs should be avoided. It is possible to get around the city using a combination of these, or simply on foot. Walking is often the best way to experience the city, and during rush hours, when buses and taxis are caught up in the gridlock and the subway is overcrowded or delayed, it can also be the fastest way to get around. Generally though, the most efficient way to get around is the 24-hour underground system with most of Manhattan's sights near subway stations, although it can be confusing at first. Much simpler but slower, is the bus system, which is a good option for shorter distances or for travelling across town. The subway and bus fare are standard ($2); note that buses require the exact change in coins, not dollar bills. MetroCards allow free transfer between buses and the subway within two hours. Driving in New York is not recommended as traffic is heavy, drivers aggressive and parking exorbitant.
Chinese New Year
New York City's Chinatown is the largest in the United States and the site of the largest concentration of Chinese in the western hemisphere; a visit here feels like being in the country itself. It is a must-see on the opening day of the Chinese New Year celebrations when performers dance in the street in colourful costumes followed by a parade of dragon floats. Traditionally, the New Year marks the beginning of the spring and the rebirth of the Earth. It is a time for family togetherness, and begins with the 'sweeping of the grounds' - a spring clean to sweep out the old and evil, which is followed by festivities and feasts. Chinatown has over 200 restaurants representing cuisine from all the regions of China, and at New Year the suspicious should eat a whole fish as, to the Chinese, this represents togetherness and abundance; also don't chop up your noodles, as their length represents long life! Colour is also important at New Year. The luckiest colours are red, orange, yellow, gold and pink. Black and white are unlucky. In 2009 the year of the Ox begins.
Central Park SummerStage
Summer Stage is one of New York's greatest institutions, and every summer Central Park is filled with music, theatre, opera and dance. There is a different performance every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, and also usually on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings, and most are free. Bring a picnic if you don't want to pay for overpriced beer and French fries. For a list of events visit the Summer Stage website.
ING New York City Marathon
As the world's largest marathon with more than 35,000 runners from around the world, only London ranks alongside New York in terms of prestige. The race passes through all of New York City's five boroughs before finishing in Central Park and is an entertaining spectacle with many runners in fancy dress; it is also a good opportunity to see some celebrities offer their best.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Thanksgiving (originally a harvest festival) is celebrated across the United States as families get together and feast on huge helpings of roast turkey. Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is one of the Big Apple's most dynamic and colourful events that takes the celebrations one stage further. Its origins date back to the 1920s when the city's European immigrants decided to celebrate the American Thanksgiving Day holiday with the sort of festivities they had known in their homelands. Hundreds of people marched from 145th Street to 34th Street in costume; accompanied by floats, live animals (on loan from the zoo) and musicians. The parade attracted over 250,000 spectators and quickly became an institution. Today the colourful parade features clowns and marching bands, but the biggest attraction are the Floats and Falloons (a Macy's hybrid of a cold air balloon and float) that tower over the crowds; they usually include Angelina Ballerina, The Statue of Liberty and of course, the man of the season, Santa Claus on his sleigh. The parade starts on 77th Street and proceeds down Central Park West to Columbus Circle, then down Broadway to Macy's at 34th St, finishing on Seventh Ave. Good places to watch it include Times Square and Columbus Circle, but get there early as by the afternoon the crowds are thick.
St Patrick's Day Parade
On St Patrick's Day every year thousands of Irish Americans head down 5th Avenue in New York's largest street parade. The day begins with a morning mass in St Patrick's Cathedral, after which the parade marches up 5th Avenue, clan by clan, from 44th to 86th streets. Green face paint, green nail polish, and green clothes are on display in the crowds but the parade itself is marked by more formal Irish pageantry, led by the 165th Infantry (originally the 69th Regiment of the 1850s). The annual parade honours the patron saint of Ireland and is a New York tradition that dates as far back as 1766, many years before the Declaration of Independence was adopted. After the parade New Yorkers of all origins dress in green and head to the nearest bar for a pint of the black stuff.
Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular
Independence Day is celebrated throughout the States, but nowhere more than in New York City. Although many locals leave to spend the holiday on Long Island or in Upstate New York, thousands of others stay behind to watch Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular. This is probably the biggest and best firework extravaganza in the country, culminating in a massive party. More than 10,000 fireworks explode from barges along the west side of Manhattan, synchronized and choreographed to music. It starts at sunset and the best place to watch is from the banks of the East River.
Commerce Bank Five Boro Bike Tour
The biggest cycling event in the USA, the bike tour sees 30,000 cyclists pedalling through the five boroughs of New York City on 42 miles (68km) of traffic-free avenues, highways and bridges, including the world's longest single-span suspension bridge, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The route travels through Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. The day ends with a festival at Fort Wadsworth featuring live music, food and exhibitions.
Gay Pride Week and March
Rainbow flags flutter in Greenwich Village during New York's Lesbian and Gay Pride Week, with numerous events arranged to commemorate the Stonewall Riot. Highlights of the week's festivities are a massive rally, the dance on the pier and the culminating march.
Broadway on Broadway
A quintessential New York City event, Broadway on Broadway is the theatre season's annual kick-off event where live shows from almost every play and musical on Broadway, as well as sneak previews of shows for the new season, are performed on a giant outdoor stage to an audience of more than 50,000.
Times Square New Yearï¿½s Eve Celebrations
Times Square boasts one of the largest New Year's Eve celebrations in the world and the biggest party in New York. The famous lowering of the New Year's Eve Ball signifies the 60-second countdown to midnight and the tradition has become a worldwide symbol of welcoming in the New Year, viewed by millions across the globe. The festivities include the raising and lighting of the Ball, music, an hourly big screen video countdown, the lowering of the ball and a spectacular burst of fireworks. Revellers are showered with colourful confetti and are given celebratory hats, pom-poms and balloons to welcome in the New Year.
US Open Tennis Tournament
The top names and seeds vie for victory in the final Grand Slam event of the season in New York each year. Singles, doubles, men's and ladies, and mixed doubles make up the five separate tournaments within the championship. Held annually at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, the event dates back to 1881 when it was played in the State of Rhode Island as a men's singles event only and it was not until 1968 that The US Open took the shape and structure that it has today.
Ninth Avenue International Food Festival
More than a million hungry people descend on the Hell's Kitchen neighbourhood for two days each May to sample the delights offered at one of New York's finest street fairs. Ninth Avenue's restaurants and food stores cover a vast range of ethnic cuisines, which have made it the city's most famed food district.
Pier Antiques Show
The internationally renowned Pier Antiques show is attended by celebrities, major designers and decorators from around the country, as well as shoppers from around the world. Over 500 exhibits completes the largest art and antiques event in New York, while Fashion Alley holds a huge selection of vintage fashions. It has been said that 'if you can't find it at Triple Pier it doesn't exist'!
Village Halloween Parade
What started out as a walk from house to house in the neighbourhood for friends and family by a mask maker and puppeteer in 1973, is today the largest celebration of its kind in the world, and one of New York's most colourful annual parties. Listed as one of the 'Top 100 Things to do Before you Die', the lively event attracts millions of spectators and participants every year who take part in a parade featuring huge papier-mÃ¢chÃ© puppets, jugglers, stilt-walkers, bands and dancers, and plenty of outrageous costumes.
Winter Solstice Concert
Making use of the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, the interior is turned into a stage for the musical, theatrical, dance and environmental spectacle that is an annual holiday tradition in celebration of the shortest day and longest night of the year. The performance is one of the city's biggest and showiest Christmas events and takes the audience on a symbolic journey, each year with its own unique style and special affects. For more information contact the cathedral on +1 212 316 7540.
New York Fashion Week
The fashion gurus, gorgeous models and Hollywood brass pop into the Big Apple to check out the latest on the catwalk for next year's Spring Collection. All the top names will be displaying their stuff but it is almost impossible for the general public to gain access to the event.
Forty miles (64km) north of New York City is Tarrytown, known to Washington Irving fans as Sleepy Hollow, setting for the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The town is packed with historic homes including the impressive Rockefeller residence; Irving's home can also be visited. Over of the east bank of the river is Hyde Park, where President Franklin D Roosevelt was born and spent much of his adult life. The Franklin D Roosevelt Home and Library contains hundreds of photos and artefacts, including the specially made car he drove after being struck with polio in 1921, and the letter from Einstein that led to the development of the atomic bomb. Two miles (3km) outside Hyde Park is the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site - a spectacular Beaux Arts mansion.
The Statue of Liberty
The universal symbol of freedom and democracy, the Statue of Liberty was the first sight to be seen by the 12 million immigrants who passed through the Ellis Island Immigration Centre. Sculpted by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi and modelled on the Colossus of Rhodes, the statue was donated by the people of France in 1886 to commemorate the alliance between the two countries during the American Revolution. The interior of the statue itself is closed for renovation. The ferry calls at both Liberty and Ellis Islands, and tourists can visit Ellis Island Museum, which documents the experiences of the immigrants.
World Trade Center - Ground Zero
The six-hectare (16-acre) work site that has emerged from the rubble of the twin towers has come to symbolise the dreadful events of September 11, 2001 when almost 3,000 people lost their lives. The 1,350ft (411m) World Trade Centre towers were the tallest buildings in New York and symbols of the city's skyline. Millions now come to pay tribute at the site and witness the devastation from one of the viewing sites. In April 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation launched a worldwide competition to design a memorial at the World Trade Center site to honour the victims of September 11. The LMDC received 5,201 memorial design submissions from 63 nations and 49 states making this the largest design competition in history. In January 2004 ' Reflecting Absence'by Michael Arad and Peter Walker was unveiled as the design for the World Trade Center Memorial, and will feature a landscaped civic plaza with two massive voids aligned with the footprints where the twin towers once stood. Currently the perimeter of Ground Zero is accessible to the public. The Tribute Center, across from Ground Zero, offers tours around the perimeter, and provides visitors with an accurate account of what the community endured during the attacks. The Memorial and Museum are scheduled to open to visitors in September 2012.
Radio City Music Hall
Located in Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall is one of the most famous theatres in the world. The home of the Rockettes chorus line, the theatre's interior was declared a New York landmark in 1978. The Hall's beautiful cinema, while not in regular use anymore, still hosts premieres and shows selected feature films. The Hall's most popular event is the annual Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, which attracts more than a million people and has been running since 1933. Tours of Radio City Music Hall run daily.
Empire State Building
One of the enduring symbols of New York, and once again the city's tallest structure, the Empire State Building stands 436 feet (145m) tall. Completed in 1931, this Art Deco behemoth remains one of the most impressive engineering feats of all time; it was built in just 410 days and remains the fastest rising major skyscraper ever built. The building has been immortalised in many films - most famously the classics King Kong and Sleepless in Seattle. The observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors offer magnificent views of the city.
With great foresight, the founders of New York set aside 340 hectares (840 acres) of central Manhattan as a public space. Central Park was officially opened in 1873 and today provides an essential 'green lung' within the concrete jungle that is New York. Originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the park contains themed gardens, tennis courts, lakes and even a small zoo. Much of the park is infused by the city's bustle and on nice days swarms with joggers, skaters, buskers and tourists, but there are areas beyond the range of baseballs and frisbees where tranquillity can be found in this beautifully landscaped park. It also hosts performances of everything from rock music to Shakespeare. During winter, two ice-skating rinks open up in Central Park, the Wollman Rink (mid-Park at 62nd St) is one of the most picturesque in the world, set among the trees and rolling hills and against the backdrop of Manhattan's skyscrapers.
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), founded in 1929, owns the most important collection of modern art in the USA including works by Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Max Beckman, Ansel Adams, and Kiki Smith. What started as a gift of eight prints and one drawing has developed to a vast and varied collection of 150,000 paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs and other media, and the Musuem's Library and Archives boast an impressive collection of books, historical documents and photographs. Priding itself as an educational institution, the Museum of Modern Art offers various activities and programs for the general public, as well as special segments thereof, in order to broaden the community's knowledge of, and approach to, the exciting and puzzling world of modern art.
The Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum was designed by US architect Frank Lloyd Wright and was completed shortly after his death in 1959. It is well worth a visit just to see this icon of Modernist architecture, which was designed specifically to showcase the modern art within. Inside, it features a highly commended collection of late 19th- and 20th-century art works, as well as touring exhibitions. From beneath the huge glass dome, a quarter-of-a-mile-long ramp spirals down the inside of the building, past the collection of art, including works by Pissarro, Kandinsky, Klee, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, CÃ©zanne, Mapplethorpe and Gober.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum possesses one of the greatest, and largest, collections of art in the world; it is a cherished New York institution and a must see for any visitor. Banners above the Met's Fifth Avenue entrance herald the current attractions; there are always a few exhibitions on-the-go displaying masterpieces from around the world alongside the Metropolitan's own collection. The highlights of the permanent collection are numerous, American collectors having had the foresight, and cash, to buy up a large number of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces from Europeans at the end of the 19th century. The Metropolitan Museum's collection now contains more than two million works of art from all points of the compass, from ancient through modern times, including great works by Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet and CÃ©zanne to rival any gallery in the world.
American Museum of Natural History
Possibly with the exception of its counterpart in London, the American Museum of Natural History is the largest and most important museum of its kind in the world. More than 30 million artefacts are packed into 42 exhibition halls - quite enough to keep anyone busy over a rainy afternoon. The most popular exhibit is a 50ft (15m) tall skeleton of a barosaurus in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, and there are three more spectacular dinosaur halls on the fourth floor. Other halls include the Hall of Biodiversity, the Hall of Ocean Life, the Hall of Human Biology and Evolution and the fabulous Hayden Planetarium: a 90ft (27m) wide aluminium sphere that seems to float inside a massive glass cube, which in turn is home to the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Those tired of walking can check out the Museum of Television and Radio.
The 11 narrow lakes that stretch north to south below Lake Ontario are known as the Finger Lakes. The lakes are popular for boating and fishing, and the rolling hills in-between are interspersed with waterfalls, gorges and parks ideal for hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing. The Native Americans believed the Finger Lakes were formed when one of their Gods reached out to bless their region and left behind an imprint of his hand; but it is more likely that they were formed by glaciers during the Ice Age. The Finger Lakes are one of the most important wine growing regions in the United States; most of the vineyards are located on the rolling hills of the Cayuga Wine Trail, overlooking the Cayuga Lake, and many offer tours and tastings.
Going to the theatre is one of the most popular tourist events in New York and the shows on Broadway are world famous, boasting some of the best productions in the world from blockbuster musicals to intense and intimate dramas. There are ongoing shows that have been running for years, such as The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Chicagoand A Chorus Line. Newer, edgier shows play off-Broadway, and may provide just as much entertainment at slightly lower prices. This is one way to experience part of the American dream, even if only on vacation.
Though it's just an intersection at the corner of Broadway and 42nd Street, Times Square has achieved iconic status, representing, in a single frame, the hive of activity that is New York City. Flashing advertisements and huge billboards produce a headache-inducing but memorable sight. Times Square has been used in countless films, television and literature. It is the base for ABC's Good Morning America programs and MTV's popular Total Request Live. Annually hundreds of thousands gather on New Year's Eve in the square to revel and see the infamous ball-dropping ceremony. In 2009 Times Square was closed to traffic, and visitors can now enjoy strolling and sitting at their leisure, without worrying about getting hit by New York City's notorious taxis.
Named for the man who developed the space, the world's first dollar billionaire, John D Rockefeller, this 22 acre (8ha) land houses a plethora of iconic New York City attractions. Radio City Music Hall used to be the most popular tourist venue in the city and still ranks highly among visitors. Radio City has hosted multiple awards shows such as the Grammies, Emmies and MTV Music Awards. It is also a concert venue frequented by today's popular performers. The GE Building, the address for which the popular TV series 30 Rockis named, is the home to Saturday Night Liveand the site from which the eerie 'Lunchtime atop a skyscraper' photograph was taken. At the base of the GE building is the Rockefeller Ice Rink with the golden statue of Prometheus at its head. Underneath Rockefeller Plaza is the Concourse, an underground pedestrian mall boasting designer brands and food outlets.
The sheer scope of New York City is hard to understand until your traversed the Brooklyn Bridge, inaugurated in 1883, which crosses 5,989 feet (1,825 m) of the East River and connects two of New York's biggest metropoles, Manhattan and Brooklyn. At the time the construction of the bridge was a feat of engineering ingenuity, the longest suspension bridge at the time. Today it is a treasured landmark of the city, colourfully illuminated at night to highlight the architectural towers and hangings. There is a pedestrian walkway from which visitors can savour vistas of both Manhattan and Brooklyn.
St Patrick's Cathedral
St Patrick's Cathedral is a magnificent example of the geometric style of Gothic architecture that was popular in Europe in the 13th century. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York and the largest Catholic cathedral in the United States. With its spires soaring 330 feet (100m) into the air, and the ornately detailed entrance, this is undoubtedly one of the city's most spectacular buildings. St Patrick's was built between 1850 and 1878; its giant organ has over 7,300 pipes. To most New Yorkers and harried tourists, St Patrick's is most valued for its peace and tranquility - rare qualities indeed in this most frenetic of cities.
Grand Central Station
One of New York's most famous and best loved landmarks, Grand Central was opened in 1913 opposite Rockefeller Center. It is the world's largest train station with 44 platforms, but true distinction, however, is its magnificent architecture and striking ambiance, anchored by enormous windows and the refurbished ceiling, covered by a detailed astronomical fresco. The Terminal houses five good restaurants, twenty value and lunch time eateries, and about fifty specialty shops. The 12,000 sq ft Vanderbilt Hall regularly houses public events. Don't miss the one-hour guided tour; book several weeks ahead in peak season to avoid disappointment. Grand Central sees around 250,000 commuters per day, but over 500,000 visitors.
Central Park Zoo
Home to some exotic and beautiful animals the Central Park Zoo is a must for all children and animal lovers visiting the city. Residents at the zoo include the elusive red pandas, polar pears, snow leopards and snow monkeys to name a few. The Tisch Children's Zoo is a great place for young kids, where goats and peacocks can be viewed and children can even pet the goats, sheep, alpacas, potbellied pigs and other barnyard animals on display.
Toys 'R Us, Times Square
Kids love nothing more than a toy shop, and Toys 'R Us in Times Square just happens to be the centre of the toy universe with an indoor 60-foot (18 metre) tall Ferris wheel, life-size Barbie's Dollhouse filled with Barbie dolls and other Barbie paraphernalia, and a 5-ton, 20-foot tall (7 metre), 34-foot-long (10 metre) T-Rex animatronic to thrill and terrify children. With so much to see and so many toys to choose from, kids will love Toys 'R Us in Times Square, but parents should be advised to bring their wallets!
New York Aquarium
The New York Aquarium is located on Coney Island and boasts over 350 species of marine life. Children will love learning about the aquatic life here, with predators such as reef sharks, nurse sharks, and sand tiger sharks, or fuzzier creatures, such as sea otters, sea lions, penguins and walruses. The New York Aquarium makes a great day out for the whole family.
Trump Wollman Rink
This public ice rink located in Central Park, and made famous by many movies, is a fantastic place to take the kids for the day during the winter months in New York City. The setting is beautiful, surrounded by trees with the New York City skyline above them. Children can even attend skating school or host a party or event here, guaranteeing an unforgettable experience. The rink is not just for adults however, and is a popular spot for dates in New York City.
Brooklyn Children's Museum
The Brooklyn Children's Museum is a great place to take the little ones while o holiday in New York City. It was founded in 1899 and was the first museum in the United States. Its collections and exhibits include hand-on activities, role-playing opportunities, resident animals and thousands of artefacts to teach children about science, the environment, culture, and the arts. There are no 'Do Not Touch' signs here!
The Frick Collection
The Frick is quite possibly New York's most underrated art gallery, a collection of exceptional paintings featuring important works from Vermeer, Manet, Rembrandt, Whistler, Goya and Van Dyk. A highlight of the collection is the renowned pair of Holbein paintings of Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell, and the group of small bronze sculptures, rated the finest in the world. This was the New York residence of Henry Clay Frick who transformed a fortune made in the coal business into this sublime building, facing onto Central Park. The interior courtyard is a tranquil retreat from the busy world outside.
Staten Island Ferry
A must-see attraction that doesn't cost a dime? The ferry from Battery Park to Staten Island and back is a great way to see the Lower Manhattan skyline and Hudson river life while resting your feet. The ferry also skirts the Statue of Liberty affording decent views of this iconic structure. Most tourists stay onboard for the return leg, but it's worth hoping off and exploring a bit of Staten Island while you're there. The ferry leaves every 30 minutes and takes 25 minutes each way.
Top of the Rock
Best views of New York City? The Rockefeller Center's eight level viewing platform and the pinnacle of the Empire State building duke it out for top honours in this contest. The winner might be the Rock because it alone offers great views of the iconic Empire State building among its 360 degree vistas of the city below! There are both indoor and outdoor viewing areas, so it's suitable to visit in all weather. The best and most popular time to visit is half an hour before sunset when one can experience both the day and night time views. Book ahead online and skip the queue for your slot.
Greenwich Village (affectionately referred to as 'The Village') started out as an industrial park, but was taken over by artists, poets, beatniks, radicals, and other bohemians that founded a vibrant arts community. These days the area has been gentrified and rents are sky-high. You'll see more yuppies than squatters. The area was also the setting for the popular sitcom Friends. Greenwich Village is home to New York University, and the famous Washington Square Park. It has retained a bit of artistic flair though, and contains a number of great off-Broadway theatres and historic music clubs like Bitter End, Village Vanguard, Small's, and the Blue Note. You'll also find an eclectic mixture of international restaurants and cafes.
Home to the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street has attained near-mythical status at the financial heart of the world. The narrow street runs from Broadway to the East River, and is home to landmarks like Federal Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as the first US President; and 23 Wall Street, which still has shrapnel holes in its limestone facade from the 1920 Wall Street Bombing. One of the iconic symbols of Wall Street is the Wall Street Bull (or Charging Bull) a 7,100 pound (3,200kg) bronze sculpture by Arturo Di Modica in Bowling Green Park. The sculpture is a popular photo opportunity in New York, symbolising financial optimism and prosperity.
Coney Island has been a tourist attraction in New York City since the 1830s, when New Yorkers would flock to the beaches. Its movie theatres, amusement parks, museums, circus, aquarium and restaurants still attract crowds each summer, and each Friday there is a fireworks show at 9:30pm. Coney Island claims to be the birthplace of the hot dog, and no visit is complete without sampling the street cart fare along the boardwalk. The activities and amusements at Coney Island are in full swing from May to September. There is no accommodation in Coney Island, but it makes a great day out for the whole family.
Live TV Show Tapings
Many popular television shows are recorded in New York City, including morning programmes like Live with Regis and Kelly, the Today Show, and Good Morning America; as well as late night programmes like David Letterman, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show and the Colbert Report, and Saturday Night Live. Attending these shows as an audience member is a popular New York City activity, and while the tickets are free, getting your hands on them can be difficult. Many of the shows allow you to request tickets via their official website, while some allow you to queue for standby tickets. The easiest shows to get into are The Today Show and The Early Show, whose audiences simply gather in the plazas next to the studios.
From 1892 to 1924, nearly every immigrant (totaling more than 20 million) moving to the US was funneled through the crowded halls of Ellis Island, just off the coast of New York. No longer in use as an immigration port, today the island draws millions of people each year as one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum offers multimedia exhibits showcasing the island's crucial role in the history of the US through the stories of various immigrants that passed through. An interesting exhibit is the American Family Immigration Center, which allows visitors to access passenger records to find relatives. A 45-minute audio tour (available in nine languages) offers visitors the chance to experience the island as an immigrant, and is a good option for those with limited time, while special children's tours are also available. Getting to Ellis Island involves a crowded ferry ride (be sure to bring a jacket) from Battery Park. The ferry also stops at Liberty Island (home of the Statue of Liberty), making it a convenient way to see two of New York City's most popular attractions in a single morning. It is best to buy tickets ahead of time, as ferry queues can take several hours.
Cuisine style: American
This aptly named restaurant, with gorgeous patio seating, produces wonderful home-style cooking and is a favourite with locals. The cuisine takes comfort food to an entirely new level, while steak, pork chops, quail and seafood preparations excel. Signature dishes include a rich, creamy blue cheese fondue and the wine list gathers a number of bottles from Long Island vineyards. Open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday, lunch Monday to Friday, and dinner nightly.
Address: 20 Cornelia Street, between Bleecker and West 4th Street
Cuisine style: American
Located in Tribeca's Washington Market area, Tribeca Grill radiates excitement and energy. Co-owned by Robert DeNiro, 'The Grill' is a classic New York social venue. It is a massive restaurant with high ceilings and exposed brick walls - not the place for a romantic dinner, but great for celebrity spotting. The menu includes enticing grilled and sautÃ©ed selections with cross-cultural creative influences of many different cuisines. Favourites on the menu include short ribs braised in red wine, the grilled duck and the pan-roasted cod. Open for dinner nightly, lunch during the week and brunch on Sundays.
Address: 375 Greenwich Street
Cuisine style: Seafood
Le Bernardin, New York's internationally acclaimed seafood restaurant, opened in New York in 1986 and in no time became a four-star restaurant that is renowned for setting standards in the cooking of seafood in America. The sliced conch in a Peruvian marinade is delicious, and the crispy black bass with Masala spice is also very good. Open for lunch Monday to Friday and dinner Monday to Saturday, closed Sundays. Reservations are essential.
Address: 155 West 51st Street (Midtown West)
Cuisine style: American
This attractive Wall Street landmark first opened its doors in the 1830s as the first restaurant in America and has an impressive history, even providing the setting for Mark Twain's birthday party. Serving up delicious steaks in a leather and mahogany setting, it attracts a loyal crowd of businessmen, who feel at home sitting at the low-key bar. Signature dishes include the 'Delmonico Steak' and 'Lobster Newberg'. Reservations recommended, open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner.
Address: 56 Beaver Street, near Wall Street
Cuisine style: French
Since its 1997 opening, this SoHo bistro has retained its buzz and irresistible allure. It exudes the look and atmosphere of an aged Parisian brassiere with pastel colours, oversized mirrors and powdery homemade bread. Nightly specials are based on classic French dishes, such as duck confit with wild mushrooms. Open for breakfast and dinner all week, lunch Monday to Friday and brunch on weekends. Reservations recommended.
Address: 80 Spring St, SoHo
Cuisine style: American
This iconic Union Square eatery's spacious, rustic-looking interior includes a casual street-facing tavern, a lively bar and a series of formal dining areas. The dining room menu offers inventive American cuisine such as lobster salad, and venison with onion marmalade, while the tavern is good for seafood chowder or pork sandwiches. The tavern is open for lunch and dinner daily, and the dining room is open for lunch Monday to Friday and dinner all week. Reservations recommended.
Address: 42 East 20th Street (between Broadway and Park Avenue)
Nobu New York
Cuisine style: Japanese
Nobu opened in 1995 bringing innovative 'new style Japanese cooking' to New York City. The restaurant is a visual and culinary delight - tall birch tree columns rise into the ceiling, which is painted copper with patches of open brickwork showing through, giving the effect of a Zen mountain retreat. Nobu's new style Japanese cuisine weds South American sensibility with Japanese traditions. Try the mussels with the signature Nobu salsa, or the yellowtail with jalapeÃ±o. Open Monday to Friday for lunch and all week for dinner, reservations essential.
Address: 105 Hudson Street (Tribeca)
Cuisine style: French
One of the city's best venues for classical French fare, this restaurant has been restored to its original 1920s Renaissance splendour. Using the freshest ingredients, seasonal masterpieces include squab with swiss chard barbajuan, radish and artichoke barigoule. Leave room for the huckleberry sorbet... Jacket and tie are required for gentlemen. Open for dinner Monday to Saturday, closed on Sundays. Reservations recommended.
Address: 60 East 65th Street (between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue)
Cuisine style: American
With each season, this innovative restaurant changes its dÃ©cor and menu to suit the changing temperatures and sensations of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Fresh summer greenery gives way to winter white with silver accents, while menus change from fresh lobster salad and fried chicken to filet mignon or grilled veal chops. Desserts include seasonal fruit with homemade ice-creams or sorbets, and warm chocolate cake. Open daily for lunch and dinner, with brunch served on weekends. Reservations recommended.
Address: 100 East 63rd Street at Park Ave
Cuisine style: American
For a thick cut of New York steak, one of the best places to go is Keen's Steakhouse. The buzzing dining room has an old-fashioned charm with classic elegance, and though it can be loud, there's always a great atmosphere. Don't expect vegetarian options on this menu, as it focuses on meat and seafood. Reservations are recommended.
Address: 72 West 36th Street
Momofuku SsÃ¤m Bar
Cuisine style: Oriental
Chef David Chang has created a highly sought-after and authentic venue, serving small-plate cuisine with a menu that changes constantly. The food bar's specialty is Asian food, and dishes vary from grilled branzini and ssÃ¤m (steamed buns with meat fillings) to poached Mayan prawns or caraquet oysters. Open daily for lunch and dinner, no reservations are taken.
Address: 207 Second Avenue
Acme Bar & Grill
Cuisine style: Southern
With its exposed brick interior, the world's largest collection of hot sauce and catfish and hickory chips delivered fresh from Mississippi, Acme Bar & Grill is as far south you have to go to enjoy the cuisine of the Deep South. Creole delights, such as Louisiana seafood gumbo, Creole jambalaya and 'Catfish Po-Boys' (a traditional submarine sandwich originating from Louisiana) are in abundance - the mashed potato is famous! Open daily for lunch and dinner, and brunch on weekends.
Address: 9 Great Jones Street
Cuisine style: Delicatessen
When you're eating on the run in New York City, there's nothing like a big chewy bagel to sink your teeth into. One of the most popular bagel shops in town is Ess-a-Bagel, which serves fresh-boiled bagels with nearly any filling you can think of... far beyond the usual 'lox and schmear' (salmon and cream cheese. They even have a selection of tofu bagels for vegetarians. You can grab one on the go, or sit inside and relax. Great for breakfast and lunch, or a cheap dinner in New York.
Address: 359 1st Avenue
Cuisine style: American
Sometimes in life, and frequently in New York, it is essential to eat a truly great burger. Satisfy this urge in the most complete and delicious way possible at Paul's Place, an East Village classic famous for its huge variety of perfectly prepared burgers. The decor is wonderfully kitsch, and the joint is staffed by eccentrics and wacky waiters. As one customer described Paul's Place, 'It's vintage New York!'. Open daily from 11am till late.
Address: 131 2nd Ave
John's Pizzeria in Bleeker Street
Cuisine style: Pizzeria
New York-style pizza is world-famous for being thin, crispy, and humongous! John's Pizzeria is consistently rated the top in New York City, and their coal-fired brick-oven pizzas are sure to fill your stomach. They don't take reservations, so you can expect to wait at peak times. A real slice of New York!
Address: 278 Bleecker Street,
John F Kennedy International Airport
Location: The airport is located 15 miles (24km) southeast of central Manhattan.
Contacts: Tel: +1 718 244 4444.
Time Zone: GMT -5 (GMT -4 from March to November).
Departure tax: Passenger Facility Charge US$4.50
Transfer between terminals: Passengers can travel between JFK's nine terminals on the free AirTrain. Terminals 2 and 3 are connected by a walkway, and terminals 8 and 9 are connected by an interior concourse. The entire loop takes eight minutes.
Facilities: All terminals have ATMs, bureaux de change, bars, restaurants and a wide selection of shops. There is a cellular phone rental facility in the arrivals area of Terminal 3. Travellers will be able to find most services in the terminals, including wireless Internet access, medical facilities, information counters, shoe-shiners and conference facilities. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should contact their airline or travel agent in advance.
Parking: There are two kinds of public parking at JFK. The long-term parking is four miles (6km) from the terminals and is served by a free shuttle bus. Passengers are advised to allow 30 minutes to reach their terminal. The Central Terminal Area (CTA) parking is adjacent to the terminals and provides for daily parking needs. Signs to the parking facilities are colour-coded to indicate their proximity to the terminals. A Cell Phone Lot waiting area is located near the airport's entrance for drivers to wait for disembarking passengers. There is parking available adjacent to each terminal, ranging from $6 per hour to $33 per day in the short-term lots to $18 per day in the long-term lots, connected to the terminals by the AirTrain service.
Transfer to the city: Ground Transportation Information is available in the baggage claim/arrival areas of all terminals and provides information on buses, shared-ride vans and limousines. The AirTrain links the airport to the subway, train and bus system, which go to the city centre. 'SuperShuttle Manhattan' is a 24-hour, shared, door-to-door service to anywhere between Battery Park and 227th including all hotels, and the service also operates to Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island. The New York Airport Service provides a regular bus transportation service to and from Manhattan (New York City), LGA Airport, and Midtown Hotels.
Car rental: Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, Enterprise and National are represented at all terminals by either a courtesy phone or rental car counter. The AirTrain shuttles passengers between the terminals and the car rental offices.
New York La Guardia Airport
Location: The airport is located eight miles (13km) east of central Manhattan, in the borough of Queens.
Contacts: Tel: +1 718 533 3400.
Time Zone: GMT -5 (GMT -4 from March to November).
Departure tax: Passenger Facility Charge US$4.50
Transfer between terminals: There are two bus routes connecting the five La Guardia Terminals. The Route A Bus is a free service running every 15 minutes stopping at all terminals in the central terminal area as well as the Marine Air Terminal (15 minutes travel time). The free Route B bus runs every 10-15 minutes between all five terminals except the Marine Air Terminal/Delta Shuttle. The journey time is 5-10 minutes.
Facilities: All terminals have ATMs and currency exchange can be found at the Central and US Airways Terminals, as well as a wide selection of bars, shops and restaurants, but the best choice is at the US Airways, Delta and Central Terminals. There are business facilities at Laptop Lane in the Central Terminal including meeting rooms, dataports, Internet access, fax, phones, printers and photocopiers. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should ideally contact their airline or travel agent in advance.
Parking: Short-term parking is available next to the terminals. Long-term parking is available in Lot 3, although there are limited spaces. Additional long-term car parking is located very close to the airport and can be accessed by following the 'P' to the airport exit. Parking at New York La Guardia Airport starts at $3 per half hour with a maximum of $33 per day. After two days, parking is charged at $6 per eight hours or $18 per day. Express payment machines are located throughout the parking areas. Signs to the parking facilities in the terminal buildings are colour coded to indicate their proximity to the terminals. Free shuttle buses transport passengers to the terminal buildings.
Transfer to the city: Ground Transportation Information is available in the baggage claim/arrival areas of all terminals. All service arrangements can be made at these counters. Public buses service the city and connect with the New York subway; the Q33 and Q47 service Manhattan and Queens. The New York Airport Service Express Bus leaves regularly for all areas in Manhattan. The SuperShuttle Manhattan is a 24-hour, shared door-to-door service that goes to all areas of the city.
Car rental: Car hire companies include Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz and National. The Arrivals level of each terminal has either car rental courtesy phones or counters. Free shuttles transport customers between the terminals and the car rental offices.
Newark Liberty International Airport
Location: The airport is located two miles (3km) south of Newark, 16 miles (26km) southwest of New York.
Contacts: Tel: +1 973 961 6000.
Time Zone: GMT -5 (GMT -4 from March to November).
Departure tax: Passenger Facility Charge US$4.50
Transfer between terminals: The AirTrain is a free service that ferries passengers between the three terminals.
Facilities: All terminals have ATMs and bureaux de change, a wide selection of bars, shops and restaurants and business facilities including fax, photocopying and courier services. Data ports can be found next to most public telephones in all terminals. Wireless Internet is also available at all terminals. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should ideally contact their airline or travel agent in advance.
Parking: There is short-term parking next to the terminals. Daily parking is a few minutes away on the free AirTrain and Economy parking is 20 minutes from the terminals via a free shuttle bus. In addition to the on-airport parking lots listed above, there are a number of privately operated parking lots located near the airport; see the airport website for details. Valet Parking is also available. Signs to the parking facilities are colour coded to indicate their proximity to the terminals.
Transfer to the city: Newark Liberty International Airport offers travellers a wide range of Ground Transportation services. There are taxis, buses, shuttles, and limousines available in front of and beside all three terminals. Ground Transportation Information counters, located on the lower baggage claim level of all terminals provide information and reservations for buses, shared-ride vans and limousines. The AirTrain connects to regional and commuter trains. New Jersey Transit buses have various routes to destinations in New Jersey and Penn Station in Newark; bus 107 has a direct service to New York City. The Newark Liberty Airport Express provides a bus service approximately every 30 minutes to Manhattan and SuperShuttle Manhattan is a shared minibus service, which goes to all areas of Manhattan, including hotels.
Car rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National and Enterprise. The AirTrain links the terminals to the airport car rental offices; Enterprise is linked by a further courtesy vehicle to its office adjacent to the airport.
Travel Guide powered by www.wordtravels.com, copyright © Globe Media Ltd. All rights reserved. By its very nature much of the information in this guide is subject to change at short notice and travellers are urged to verify information on which they're relying with the relevant authorities. Globe Media does not accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to any person as a result of information contained above.