New York City lies in a natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of North America. It is an important center of media, culture, fashion and global commerce.
New York City is situated at the center of the New York metropolitan area, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, in the state of New York, positioned in the Northeast of the United States.
The city is composed of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Each neighborhood has its very own, distinct atmosphere.
With its population exceeding 8 million, New York is the most populous city in USA. Today it is one of the most popular US destinations by foreign visitors.
The area was initially inhabited by the Algonquin, Iroquois, and Lenape Native American groups, when the Dutch settlers arrived in the early 17th century. New Amsterdam was formed on the shores of the Hudson River and the area was called New Netherland. The colony was later annexed by the British in 1664.
Among New York’s most iconic sights are The Empire State Building, the Guggenheim Museum, Central Park, The Statue of Liberty, Broadway and Times Square, all of which have become globally recognizable.
New York has a humid continental climate, characterized by long cold winters and hot, humid summers. Winters see some snow but are not extremely cold due to the city’s position on the coast. In springtime New York is blessed with temperatures from 25 to 30˚ C but some humidity. Probably the best time to visit, however. is in autumn when the city enjoys moderate temperatures and many sunny days.
January average temperature 0 deg Celsius 86 mm rainfall February average temperature 0 deg Celsius, 84 mm rainfall March average temperature 3 deg Celsius, 97 mm rainfall April average temperature 10 deg Celsius, 91 mm rainfall May average temperature 15 deg Celsius, 99 mm rainfall June average temperature 20 deg Celsius, 89 mm rainfall July average temperature 23 deg Celsius, 107 mm rainfall August average temperature 22 deg Celsius, 112 mm rainfall September average temperature 18 deg Celsius, 94 mm rainfall October average temperature 12 deg Celsius, 89 mm rainfall November average temperature 6 deg Celsius, 89 mm rainfall December average temperature 0 deg Celsius, 91 mm rainfall
New York City has excellent connections with the rest of the world, and is served by three airports. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is located in Queens. It is a major international gateway, served by many of the largest lines, such as Lufthansa, British Airways, Delta Air, American Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.
Transfer from JFK:
Taxis are available at the terminals. They charge a flat rate to anywhere in Manhattan for $45. They may be hard to come by during rush hour. Rail: The JFK AirTrain stops at all terminals. It also connects to the subway. Bus: the cheapest method. Lines Q3 and Q10 connect with the NYC metro.
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) is located in Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey. It has three terminals. In most cases international airlines use terminal B and domestic use terminal A.
Transfer from EWR:
Taxi: available outside terminals and charge a flat rate to the city, for example $50 to Manhattan Train: The AirTrain connects to the Newark Airport Rail Station where you can take a NJ Transit or Amtrak train to other places within the city or elsewhere. Shuttle: several shuttles are available, including the ‘goairlinkshuttle’ and the ‘Olympia Trails’. Public transport: New Jersey Transit Bus no. 62 to Newark Pen station, from there it connects to the PATH subway train.
La Guardia Airport (LGA) is a smaller airport mainly handling domestic air travel.
Transfer from LGA:
Taxi: taxis are available outside terminal Public transport: this is the cheapest method and the airport is served by three city bus lines.
Yellow Cabs serve most of Manhattan. Livery or Black cars can only be ordered by phone. Unlicensed cabs should be avoided.
It is the most efficient way to get around in the city. The service operates 24 hour a day and is well connected with most of the sights in Manhattan. You must buy the MetroCard to use the subway system. These allow a free transfer between bus and subway within two hours.
Buses are often a good option of getting from one point to the other and seeing the city at the same time although this is not a good idea during rush hour.
Pavements are wide and well paved. Walking either short or long distances is a good way of seeing the city. Walking is also the best method during rush hour.
The Staten Island Ferry is free and allows a great view of the Statue of Liberty. It connects south Manhattan (Battery Park) with Staten Island and runs every 15 minutes. New York Waterway connects New York with New Jersey. New York Water Taxi connects Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey.
Self-drive is not advisable in the city. Parking places are few and very expensive. Traffic can be very heavy during rush hours and drivers aggressive.
Broadway is famous world-wide for its many shows, and especially musical extravaganzas. Theaters are located near Times Square and can take as many as 500 people or more. They usually play major musicals and dramatic works featuring well-known names. In addition, there are the so-called off-Broadway shows that are cheaper and maybe an opportunity to see the next new hit or star.
New York loves films and you can find a huge selection at its many theaters. They range from blockbusters to obscure productions but bear in mind that even the most unlikely ones tend to get sold out quickly, so it is best to buy tickets in advance.
New York has several excellent comedy clubs where top comics perform. Some of these are Caroline's on Broadway (1626 Broadway at 49th Street), The Comedy Cellar (117 Macdougal Street), Comic Strip Live (1568 2nd Avenue between 81st & 82nd Streets), Dangerfield's (1118 1st Avenue between 61st & 62nd Streets) and many more can be found by checking the internet or asking the hotel concierge, for example.
New York is almost synonymous with jazz, as most of the greatest musicians made their name here. Some of the best known clubs in the city are:
This landmark art-deco skyscraper was built in 1931, and was designed by William F. Lamb. It measures 381 meters in height and, together with the pinnacle, reaches up to 444 meters. It was the NYC’s tallest building until the construction of the World Trade Center, but after its destruction, it once again became the city’s tallest building. The opening of the building took place during the Great Depression, thus leaving much of it empty up until 1950. The most famous representation of the building in popular culture appeared in the 1933 film King Kong.
Tip: Avoid crowds and visit at night.
The Guggenheim Museum
Address: 1071 Fifth Avenue, at 89th Street Web: http://www.guggenheim.org Open: Saturday to Wednesday: 10:00 am – 5:45 pm; Friday 10:00 am – 7:45; Thursdays and Christmas Day: closed
The museum, dedicated to modern art, was founded in 1937 by American entrepreneur and art collector Solomon R. Guggenheim and was designed by the iconic American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The modernist building alone is well worth seeing: it features a huge glass dome, and a 400 meter long ramp which spirals down the inside of the building. Originally, the museum was called The Museum of Non-Objective Painting and was intended to house the avant-garde art of the first modern artists. Today it features a collection of late 19th and 20th century art works including Pissarro, Kandinsky, Klee, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cézanne, Mapplethorpe and Gober. The museum also hosts touring exhibitions.
Statue of Liberty
The most iconic statue of NYC and the symbol of the nation, The Statue of Liberty is a must for every visitor to see. It is situated on a small island in the harbor and was a gift of friendship from France and represents freedom and democracy. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886. It can be seen for free from the Staten Island Ferry, which runs back and forth from Manhattan, every 30 minutes. The ride along the Hudson River takes in the Lower Manhattan skyline as well as the famous statue.
Broadway is a wide avenue that runs the full length of Manhattan and is the oldest North-to-South thoroughfare in the city. It is famous due to the theater industry and features numerous theaters, playing shows ranging from blockbuster musicals to personal drama; some of them have been running for years, such as The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago and The Lion King.
Address: corner of 42nd Street and Broadway
This is the tourist hub of New York. The Square flashes with bright video screens, billboards and advertisements 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, giving rise to the New York’s nickname as “the city that never sleeps.” Every December 31st the square fills up with hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world who come to see the spectacle of a giant sparkling Waterford Crystal Ball timed to fall at midnight to ring in the New Year.
This massive and famous park lies to the north of Times Square and offers a welcome respite from the fast-paced metropolis. It features green lawns, trees and lakes and is a very popular place to exercise, relax, listen to concerts or take a horse and buggy ride.
The Rockefeller Center
Address: 48th and 51st Streets, Manhattan Open: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Rockefeller Center is a famous Art Deco building set in Manhattan. It was named after John D. Rockefeller Jr., the first USD billionaire in the world. The original buildings were built between 1929 and 1940, and now house many well-known New York attractions. The Radio City Music Hall hosts several major events and shows, such as the Grammies and the MTV Music Awards. The complex features the GE Building, at the foot of which is located the famous Rockefeller Ice Skating Rink and the huge Christmas Tree decorated and lit each year for this holiday. The center also features several statues by Lee Lawrie, including one of Prometheus and one of Atlas.
The Chrysler Building
Address: 405 Lexington Avenue (between 42nd and 43rd streets)
The Chrysler Building was built between 1928 and 1930 and designed by architect William Van Alen. The Art Deco building has become a true New York icon. It features an observation deck, and a ceiling mural in the lobby. Measuring 320 meters in height, the Chrysler Building was the tallest building in the world for a few months, but was quickly surpassed by the Empire State Building.
The bridge spans 1,825 meters over the East River and connects Manhattan with Brooklyn. It was completed in 1883 and represented the great engineering achievement of being the longest suspension bridge built at the time and continues to be a prominent city landmark. An elevated pedestrian footpath leads over the bridge from where a panorama of both Manhattan and Brooklyn can be enjoyed.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an influential modern art museum, founded in 1929. It is home to USA’s most important collection of modern art and includes works by Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Max Beckman, Ansel Adams, and Kiki Smith. In all, the museum’s collection comprises of over 150,000 paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs and other media.
The library and archives also house over 300,000 books, periodicals and exhibition catalogues.
The Met, as the Metropolitan Museum is popularly known, is home to one of the world’s largest art collections. Alongside the museum’s own collection, it often hosts other exhibitions from around the world. Its permanent collection features a truly extensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist European art dating from the end of the 19th century. The entire collection encompasses over two million art works from all over the world, dating from ancient to modern times.
The Big Apple caters to all tastes, and visitors can truly find any type of food, from any part of the world imaginable. The choice is vast, and selection ranges from street stalls to the most deluxe restaurants imaginable.
Street food ranges from the ubiquitous New York hot dogs to middle-eastern food, and fruit stalls in the springtime.
The New York Bagel is something every visitor should try. These donut-shaped sweet dough breads have become a distinctive feature of New York.
The marathon’s course runs through all five of New York’s boroughs and finishes in Central Park. It is one of the largest marathons in the world. For example, in the year 2009 as many as 43,659 runners finished the race.
Every summer New York’s Central Park hosts a plethora of events, ranging from music, theatre, and opera to dance performances, most of which are free. They are held every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, as well as Wednesday through Friday evenings.
This is the biggest New Year party in New York. Starting at 6 pm, the festivities include the rising and lighting of a Waterford Crystal Ball, and then lowered as the 60-second countdown begins to midnight. There are also spectacular fireworks, colorful confetti, party hats, and other paraphernalia needed for the perfect welcoming of the New Year.
Green reigns on this annual Irish holiday celebrated with a grand parade held in honor of the patron saint of Ireland. Green face paint, green nail polish, green clothes. The New York parade as a long history, it has been held since 1766! The event starts at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, continues with a parade up 5th Avenue, from 44th to 86th streets and concludes in pubs where everybody downs a pint of famous Irish dark beer.
Date: July 4
Independence Day is celebrated throughout the US, but New York is said to have the most vivid celebrations. Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular is an amazing sight, being one of the largest fireworks displays in the country. The best place to watch is at the banks of East River.
New York has celebrated Halloween with a parade since 1973. It is the nation’s largest public Halloween celebration, attended by over 2 million people. It is one of New York’s most colorful and lively parties and was actually listed among the 100 things to do before you die! Those who want to participate in the actual parade should check out the website listed above.
Tipping is widely used and expected everywhere and is an important social convention in the USA.
An appropriate tip is between 15 & 20% for good service, more for exceptional service or less for poor service. Leaving no tip means that you found the service horrible.
As a general rule tips are as follows: Bartenders: $1 per drink if inexpensive or 15% of total Hotel doorman: $1 per bag (if they assist), $1 for calling a cab Food delivery: $2-5, 15-20% for larger orders Taxis: a tip of 10-20% is expected in both yellow cabs and livery cabs Full-service restaurants: 15-20% (some restaurants already include service charge, especially for larger groups, so check your bill)
Smoking in public places is highly restricted. It is banned in the indoor sections of restaurants and bars, as well as train and subway stations, outdoor stadiums, and many other places. The outside areas of sidewalk cafes and restaurants are usually exempt from this rule.
Dressing: New Yorkers like to dress smartly. There are a few places where dress code exists: for example, never wear sneakers, shorts and t-shirts to the theater, concerts, opera, and up-scale restaurants. In churches, mosques and synagogues avoid shorts or bare chest and general signs of disrespect.
Travel within the USA is usually safe but nevertheless it is prudent to practice general precaution. Leave valuables in a hotel safe. Keep expensive jewelry and watches out of sight. To avoid pickpockets and purse-snatchers, women are advised to carry their purse across their shoulder, and men are advised to keep their wallets in front pockets.
Do not wander into a deserted alley alone at night, stay away from deserted areas like the business district at night. Stay below 96th street and keep away from Alphabet City in the East Village.
Some parts of the subway can be dangerous at night, so as a general precaution, it is best to avoid it after 11 p.m. if you are alone.
Avoid non-licensed taxi cabs.
Due to the threat of terrorism, security checks at airports have been greatly increased. Allow enough time for connecting flights.
Medical facilities are excellent but very expensive. It is essential to secure good travel insurance before travel. Note that only emergencies are treated without prior payment. Treatment can be refused without evidence of insurance or proof of funds.
Emergency Phone Numbers
Emergency: 911 This includes fire, acute medical situations, accidents, crime, violence, people in trouble, and other serious emergencies.
The best time to visit New York is during the autumn months of September and October. Days are sunny, humidity is lower and temperatures are mild and pleasant. Winter is very cold, whereas summer and spring are hot and humid.