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New York City Guide

About New York

New York City or the Big Apple is one of the most coveted vacation and business destinations in the world. Most tourists aver that you have to visit New York City at least once during your lifetime. This bustling metropolis is also reputed to be ‘a city that never sleeps’. Vacations to New York City are, therefore, fun filled and engaging. There is hardly a dull moment.

New York City is located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States and made up of five boroughs namely The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. New York City is home to more than 8 million people and the most densely populated city in the USA.

New York is widely regarded as the epicenter of the global finance, media and fashion industries. This city is renowned for its open and accepting attitude and is extremely welcoming of people from all walks of life. It is no wonder then that New York seems to attract the worlds brightest and the best talent. In fact, the city is especially known for its rich and vibrant immigrant history and is considered to be one of the world’s most famous ‘melting pots’, which is home to people of various different ethnicities and nationalities. Any trip to New York City will bring you closer to such a rich cosmos of ethics, races and cultures.

It is believed that more than 800 languages are spoken in New York City. This great diversity gives New York its unique character and vibe, which is unmatched the world over. Additionally, the city of New York seems to have something for everybody as it brims over with a surfeit of entertainment, cultural, shopping and dining options, which appeal and cater to every kind of vacationer.

Where to stay in New York

New York City is often referred to as a city of neighborhoods for each NYC neighborhood has its own unique charm and depending on your location preference Fare Buzz can help you find a cheap hotel reservation for your vacations in New York City.

Times Square

Most visitors to New York City prefer to stay at the city’s Times Square district. Times Square, which is located in the Midtown West neighborhood of NYC, embodies the bright lights big city vibe as this area is the city’s theater district and stays illuminated by thousands of neon lights all day. The Time Square also hosts many of the reasonably priced mid-range hotels in the city. However other visitors to New York City tend to find Times Square a tad too commercial and choose to stay at hotels located in other distinctive neighborhoods of the city.

The Meatpacking District

The Meatpacking district, which is located in downtown Manhattan, is the city’s original meatpacking district and in the early 1900’s it housed slaughterhouses and meat packing plants. Today, this cobblestone street lined district hosts numerous upscale clubs, bars and restaurants along with several hip and stylish hotels. This is where the style conscious vacationers prefer to stay during their NYC vacations.

The Financial District

The Financial district is located in downtown Manhattan and home to numerous investment banks, hotels, stores and the famed New York City landmarks of Wall Street and the World Trade Center memorial sight. Many vacationers to New York City like to stay at the various hotels located in the financial district for it gives them an insight into the busy, bustling cityscape of one of the world’s most prominent financial hubs. This is why business travelers on a trip to the city choose hotels in the financial district for the convenience that they offer in terms of proximity to the workplace.

Midtown East

New York City’s Midtown East neighborhood is populated by many reasonably priced hotels. This neighborhood is favored for its highly convenient location that affords easy access to many New York City attractions and various shopping and dining options.

Places to see in New York

New York City’s most famous attractions and landmarks are renowned throughout the world. Some of the most famous sights in New York City include:

The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is perhaps the world’s most famous skyscraper that towers over Manhattan. This building was opened in 1931 and cost $41 million to construct. It is today the ninth tallest building in the world. The Empire State Building is located at the junction of 5th Avenue and 34th Street and offers observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors though the lower deck is often thought to offer better views. A popular spot for romantic proposals, the Empire State Building is lit up nightly in different colors to commemorate various world and local events.

Central Park

This famous 843 acre rectangular park is New York City’s iconic patch of green. Central Park, which extends from 59th street to 110th street and from 5th Avenue to 8th Avenue, was designed by landscape artist Frederick Law Olmsted and architect Calvert Vaux in 1858 and is opened to the public in 1873. Central Park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1963.

Central Park offers a whole host of attractions for both adults and children like the Frieda Memorial Carousel (near 65th Street), the Belvedere Castle (near 79th Street), The Central Park Wildlife Center (Zoo) at 5th Avenue and East 64th Street, the Wollman Rink (6th Avenue at 59th Street), the Great Lawn, the Strawberry Fields, which contains a tribute to John Lennon and many others.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Affectionately referred to as ‘the Met’, the world famous and truly magnificent Metropolitan Museum of Art is located at Fifth Avenue and 82st street offers more than two million works of art, which are housed in various galleries and exhibition spaces.

The Museum showcases the works of artists from all corners of the globe and these works display all styles, genres and time periods. The Met has another outpost in located on the northern point of Manhattan called the Cloisters that displays its collection of medieval art.

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the USA. This bridge was completed in 1883 and connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River.

A walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most popular attractions in New York City for it affords great views of lower Manhattan. Most visitors who walk across the bridge tend to end their stroll with a feast at renowned Brooklyn eateries like the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and the River Café.

Take a trip to Ellis Island and Liberty Island

If you are on your first trip to New York City, then you have to make sure that you hop on a ferry in downtown Manhattan to get to these two islands, which are located in New York’s harbor and home to the iconic attractions like the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration museum.

The Statue of Liberty was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and, today the monument is universally recognized as a symbol of freedom and democracy. You must make it a point to climb right up to the crown of the statue, for legend has it that if you touch the crown of the statue you come back to New York City. Crown climbs at the statue had been shut down after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 but the authorities have once again opened this attraction.

Ellis Island was opened in 1892 and went on to become the nation's premier federal immigration station, which processed over 12 million immigrant steamship passengers until 1954 when it ceased operations. The Ellis Island immigration museum provides a fascinating insight into the history of United States of America.

Best time to visit New York

Summer, winter, spring or fall there is no ‘best’ time to plan vacations to NYC since this pulsating city has enough going on all throughout the year.

While culture vultures generally like to visit NYC in early spring when the new Broadway shows offer their pre-views, other tourists like to visit the city during sultry summer months of June and July when the city offers a whole host of free cultural attractions like Shakespeare in the Park and the Bryant Park Summer Film Festival.

Other tourists choose the end of the year holiday season to make their trip, even though the temperatures in NYC often fall below the freezing point. The city at this time is at its festive best and adorned as it with numerous light displays. Additionally for the holiday season, NYC offers a plethora of immensely popular vacation attractions like the towering the Rockefeller Center tree and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular which attract numerous tourists to the city.

Getting around in New York

Travelling by air is the quickest way to get to the location of your choice, unless you stay close by to drive instead. Therefore, if you are looking to reach New York City by air, you may want to explore the various cheap air ticket deals on Fare Buzz and save a lot of money and give yourself ample time as well to enjoy the vacations.

NYC is often described as a city of walkers, and if you truly want to experience the city like a native New Yorker, you should plan your visit in the seasons of spring or fall when the weather in NYC is conducive for walking.

NYC is one of the only cities in the USA that is served by an extensive transport network, which is operated by the Metropolitan Transport Authority. So if you don’t want to walk around the city, you can choose to use the subway, bus or even the ferries that serve various points in NYC.

These various modes of transport are best accessed via a stored value card called the Metro Card that is available at vending machines at all subway stations and at various newspaper kiosks around the city. New York city is also well served by a huge fleet of iconic yellow cabs, which is available round the clock and can be rather easily hailed in the streets of the city.

Where to shop in New York

New York City offers a wealth of shopping destinations in all its five boroughs. The main shopping enclaves in Manhattan include locales like the 34th street shopping precinct, home to outlets of national chains and the largest department store in the world, the flagship store of the Macy’s chain. Also located within this popular shopping area is Manhattan’s lone mall, the Manhattan Mall which features an outpost of the JC Penney department store as one of its anchor tenants.

Other much visited shopping neighborhoods in Manhattan include the stretch along the Madison Avenue from the 40s to high 80’s. This length of Madison Avenue is littered with the biggest names in the fashion business. Luxe brands like Hermes, Burberry, Staurt Weitzman, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tod’s and many more have a representation on Madison Avenue along with various upscale restaurants and hotels. Yet another luxe shopping enclave in Manhattan is Fifth Avenue from the 50’s and 70’s, for located here are famed NYC department stores like Bergdorf Goodman and the flagship store of the Sak’s Fifth Avenue Chain.

More individualistic and eclectic choices however can be had in the NYC neighborhoods of Soho, the West Village and East Village. These districts teem with one-of-a-kind stores and boutiques that belong to ‘hip’ brands as well as edgy, avant-garde fashion industry folk. However, it’s not all about upscale shopping in NYC and the city does offer discount shopping stores like the Century 21 department store. This designer discount retailer has three locations in NYC, all of which are extremely popular with visitors and tourists alike. More cheap and cheerful shopping options in NYC can be found within its neighborhoods like bustling the Chinatown district which brims with vendors of inexpensive, imported knick-knacks and souvenirs.

However if its mall shopping you want then you have to head out of Manhattan to other NYC’s boroughs like Queens or Brooklyn which host big malls like Queens Plaza, Atlantic Center Mall, Fulton Mall, the Kings Plaza mall and more.

Where to eat in New York

Almost every cuisine known to man is served at New York City’s more than 20,000 restaurants. The city is a true gastronomical paradise, which offers restaurants of every type, at every price point. Moreover, New Yorkers are enthusiastic about eating out and are knowledgeable about the choices available in the city. They are also vocal about their likes and dislikes and vote for their favorite eateries in the periodic surveys conducted to find the ‘best’ restaurants in the city. This ‘best’ restaurant in NYC list changes often but currently includes eateries like Bouley (nouvelle French), Per Se (New American), Grammercy Tavern (New American), Daniel (French), Jean Georges (Fusion), Del Posto (Italian), Eleven Madison Park (New American),Le Bernardin (French), Marea (seafood), Locanda Verde (Italian), Momofuku Noodle Bar (Korean) and Masa (Japanese).

Nightlife in New York

New York City’s nightlife scene is legendary and the city in fact enjoys a reputation as the city that never sleeps. The city offers an abundance of nightlife options that take the form of bars, cocktail lounges, live music venues, comedy clubs, booming dance clubs and more. Recent estimates indicate those establishments like Marquee, Finale Le Baron and Output (all dance clubs), the Electric Room, Silver Lining, No Fun, Jbird, and Noorman’s Kil, (all bars) currently rule the NYC’s nightlife scene.