New York Destination Guide
New York City may be best known as a bustling, culture packed metropolis, but it has much more to offer than crowds and yellow cabs. The City is divided into five boroughs: Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx and, perhaps the most widely known, Manhattan. With attractive options ranging from the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park to countless museums restaurants and bars, you’ll be glad this City never sleeps.
The best advice we can give you as you plan your holiday, is to give yourself enough time to experience the vibrant diversity New York City has to offer. It is extremely easy to navigate the City, and while you’ll probably do a lot of walking (really fast, if you want to keep up with the locals) public transport is readily available. If you’re not quite sure where you are or where you need to be, just ask a local. Despite their reputation for being …well…rude, New Yorkers are in fact quite helpful when approached.
Of the five boroughs, Manhattan is where you’ll find the most popular attractions such as Times Square, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Chrysler Building, Ground Zero, and many more. For a bird’s eye view of Manhattan, go to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at the Rockefeller Centre, while the best view of Lady Liberty has to be from the ferry to Staten Island. After sunset, head to the Theatre District and take in a show on Broadway. If you want to party there are bars galore in Greenwich Village. Try The Red Lion for live music, or check out a gig at the Comedy Club on Macdougal Street. Of course, no visit to New York is complete without a visit to Central Park. Located in the centre of Manhattan, the world’s most famous city park is 4 km long, and you can hire a bicycle to explore it on your own or take a tour with one of the locals.
All you need to remember are the three P’s of food in New York: Pizza, Pretzels and Pastrami. There are pizzerias all over New York, one of the best being John’s of Bleecker Street in the West Village, and pretzels are available at the countless hot dog stands dotted around the City. As for the pastrami, the best known places to go are Katz’s and Carnegie Deli, or try the Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop on Fifth Avenue. Although New York is a notoriously expensive city, you can travel comfortably on a budget. Try the City’s legendary street food, or visit the Chinatown district for restaurants along with visitors from virtually every corner of the globe.
Hotels in New York range from luxury fivestar suites with breath-taking views of the skyline through floor to ceiling windows to affordable, hip and compact single rooms. Accommodation in Manhattan can be expensive, but there are plenty of alternatives. A stay across the East River in Long Island City is a great way to save money, as the neighbourhood is conveniently connected to Manhattan by the Queensboro Bridge.
When you think shopping in New York, you think Fifth Avenue, right? Of course! As a global centre of fashion and commerce it's no surprise New York shopping is some of the best on offer anywhere in the world. Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side is famous for its high-end boutiques, and it's a great place for people-watching if you can't afford the high prices. Just as exclusive is Fifth Avenue in Midtown, with its wide range of exclusive designer outlets. The City is also famous for the sprawling Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s department stores, which between them sell just about every range of goods and products available. Rumour has it that as a non-US citizen you get 11% off on your purchases at Macy’s if you present your passport at Macy’s Visitor Center near the Broadway entrance. Once you have, you’ll be given a Macy’s discount card on which you qualify for an 11% discount on most of their goods. It’s worth a look!
Good to know about New York
- New Yorkers don’t refer to their city as the Big Apple or Gotham. They may not take kindly to those who do.
- Although the locals may seem unfriendly, they’re really quite helpful.
- When you hail a cab, try to get one in the same direction that you want to go. It will save you time and money.
- Tip your cab driver 15%-20%, depending on your experience.
- Central Perk doesn’t exist. It’s terrible, I know.