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When many people say New York they mean Manhattan. The economic center, style center and cultural center of New York, maybe even the entire USA, Manhattan has an allure that can amaze anyone. From stunning skyscrapers to amazing museums and restaurants no trip is complete to New York with out a few days in Manhattan.
Central Park was the first urban landscaped park in the United States. An icon of New York and a great place to settle down from the hustle and bustle. This park is the location of countless movies plays and ideas reflecting New York culture. It is also a great place to escape to for a few hours. In the park there are several lakes, sporting facilities, and a couple of famous buildings including the Metropolitan Museum. The Great Lawn in summer also acts as a field for open air concerts. Another famous part of the park is Strawberry Fields, which was created in honour of John Lennon, who was murdered at the steps of the Dakota building, near to the Central Park. Furthermore you can find Belvedere Castle and a Zoo in the Park. (Location: From 59th Street to 110th Street and from Fifth Avenue to Eighth Avenue.)
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The Empire State Building is, at 381 metres (or 448.7 metres if you include the antenna), the tallest building in New York City, located at the junction of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. Built in a typical art deco style, that was in fashion before World War II, it was the heighest in the world from the opening in 1932 until it was surpassed by the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 1972. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, it again became the tallest building in the New York skyline. Visitors primarily come to the tower to have a look at the panorama over New York from the observation deck, which is located on the 86th floor. Most tourists tend to forget that in the building, around a thousand offices are located, employing about 21,000 people.
The building has been a site of many films, most notable is King Kong, and maybe the least know is the film Empire by Andy Warhol, which is 8 hours and 5 minutes long, showing the Empire State building from July 25-26, 1964 from 8:06 p.m. to 2:42 a.m. (the difference in the time, is because of the speed at which the film is projected.)
The High Line is a 2,5 kilometre long part of the former elevated freight railroad of the West Side Line. Located along the lower west side of Manhattan, it has been redesigned and planted as a greenway. The original High Line was built in the early 1930's to prevent fatal accidents that occurred along street level and to offer direct warehouse-to-freight car service. It was in use until 1980. The new High Line opened up with the southernmost section as a city park on June 8, 2009. The "Lenape Edible Estate: Manhattan" will officially open to the public on Monday, September 14th and there will also be festivities to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Henry Hudson to the island of Manhattan.
The Chrysler building, located at 405 Lexington Ave, and 42nd Street, was built between 1928 and 1930, and with 319 metres (the height of the antenna), it was for one year the heighest building in the world. It was built in the Art-Deco style that was fashionable during the twenties and early thirties. The Chrysler boss at that moment, instructed the architect, William van Alen to make some references to the Chrysler cars. Van Alen did this and on the building you can find gargoyles that are modeled after Chrysler automobiles, and other references to Chrysler cars. The most distinctive part of the skyscraper is the crown that is made out of stainless steel and small triangular windows. When it is dark the illumination of the crown, makes it to one of New York's most recognisable sights.
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The subway system in New York is one of the best in the world. Although the trains do tend to run north and south making it a little hard to go east and west.
Fat Cat Billiards is a great basement bar with live jazz, pool, table tennis and chess to keep you entertained. Remember that once you get the pool balls from the bar you start paying for them.
There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.
See also International Telephone Calls
The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.
The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.
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