New York

Travel Guide North America USA Northeastern United States New York New York



New York, New York, the city so great they named it twice, goes by many other names as well. Probably most interesting to the traveller is the unofficial declaration of being the "world's capital." New York is the largest city in the USA, the fourth largest city in the world, and one of the most ethnically diverse cities on earth. The city is made up of five boroughs: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Staten Island. New York is the largest city in the state of New York and with a lively atmosphere it is a city worth visiting. The city is packed with museums, theatres, top class restaurants and shops.





The island borough of Manhattan is one of the most important financial and business centers in the USA and major center for international business. It is home to the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, as well as numerous skyscrapers in the southern end of the city (called "downtown") and the Midtown centered around Times Square at 42nd Street and Broadway. One of the reasons New York is called the "World's Capital" is the presence of the United Nations headquarters, in addition to the ethnically diverse neighbourhoods like Chinatown and Washington Heights. Newly hip areas like SoHo, TriBeCa mix with old money in the Upper East Side. The high rents of the Upper West Side eventually meld into Harlem, the once off-limits area of New York that is slowly becoming a tourist attraction. In the middle of it all is Central Park, a large natural oasis in the otherwise concrete jungle of Manhattan. Other areas including the Financial District, Lower East Side, Greenwich Village, East Village, Chelsea, Glamercy Flatiron, Theater District, Midtown East and Harlem and Upper Manhattan.

Rockefeller Place, New York

Rockefeller Place, New York

© GregW


The most ethnically diverse of the 5 boroughs, Queens offers the traveller a chance for great ethnic cuisine. It is also home to the New York Mets baseball team, the US Open Tennis tournament and the Aquaduct horse racing track. As the location for both John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, it is also a likely arrival point for most travellers. It is also home to New York City's second-largest Chinatown (in Flushing).

The Bronx

The Bronx (officially just Bronx, but locals will always use "The Bronx") is the northernmost borough in New York City. The local people are known for there strong identity and is is a great place to spend a few hours.


Brooklyn, the largest of the five boroughs is separated from Manhattan by the East River, over which the Brooklyn Bridge spans. Coney Island is home to amusement parks, beaches and hotdogs, including the famous 4th of July Hotdog eating contest held every year at the original Nathan's Hotdogs. Brooklyn also contains a botantical garden and a world-class museum.

Staten Island

Staten Island is the southern most borough in New York, and the only borough not served by the expansive New York Subway system. Ferries crossing from the southern tip of Manhattan to Staten Island provide excellent (and free) views of the both Ellis Island the the Statue of Liberty. The Staten Island ferry runs 24 hours a day and is every half an hour from 8:00am to 9:00pm.


The sprawl around New York is impressive. It expands into an area covering 3 states and just keeps going!



Sights and Activities


New York is home to two of the most famous baseball teams in the world. These two teams also have one of the strongest rivalries in the country. A trip to New York can't be complete during the summer without catching a Mets or Yankees game.

  • New York Yankees - The New York Yankees are based in the Bronx and are a team you either love or hate. Their logo is one of the most recognized in the world.
  • New York Mets - The New York Mets, although not as globally famous as the other New York baseball team, Mets fans are intense. Catching a game in Queens on a hot a summer day is a great part of any trip.

Central Park

Central Park

Central Park

© libenka

Central Park is the best known city park in New York, and maybe even in the United States. It was the first ever urban landscaped park in the United States and was opened in 1859 although not completed till 1873. An icon of New York and a great place to settle down from the hustle and bustle. It is located between 59th Street and 110th Street and from Fifth Avenue to Eighth Avenue making a large green space in the center of the city that is over a square mile in size! The park is more than just a large flat green area. The park has 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 Central Park. Furthermore you can find Belvedere Castle and a zoo in the Park. No trip to New York is not complete without a quick visit to Central Park and its large enough that its possible to find an empty space here among its 25 million annual visitors.

Chrysler Building

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.

Ellis Island

Ellis Island - Immigration Facility

Ellis Island - Immigration Facility


Close to the Statue of Liberty and actualy a part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island is the place where millions of new Americans entered the country. From 1892 until 1954, around 12 million immigrants arrived at the Ellis Island Immigration Station, of which 2% were denied entry to the country. Some of the notable people who started their new lives in the USA here were: writer Isaac Asimov, gangster Lucky Luciano, actor Rudolph Valentino, Olympic swimming champion, actor Johnny Weissmüller (Tarzan) and comedian Bob Hope, after whom the library of Ellis Island has been named. Nowadays the island is home to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which is visited by millions of people, usualy in combination with a visit to the Statue of Liberty.

To reach Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty you need to take the boat service with the Circle Line, which is the only company that has services to the Islands. The ferry leaves from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey and from the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City.

Empire State Building

Empire State

Empire State

© monkyhands

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 8:06pm to 2:42am (the difference in the time, is because of the speed at which the film is projected).

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center Under Construction, New York

One World Trade Center Under Construction, New York

© shoestring

One World Trade Center (1 WTC), or Freedom Tower as it was called in the earlier stages, is the tallest building in New York City since April 2012, when it surpassed the height of the Empire State Building. The construction is part of an effort to memorialize and rebuild following the destruction of the original World Trade Center complex during the attacks of September 11, 2001. The building is build on the spot were 6 WTC used to be. On November 2, 2012 the concrete floor of the 104th floor was poured, which meant that the top floor was finished, and the construction of the antenna, which will reach up to 1,776 feet began (the number of feet bing a reference to the year of independence of the USA). The opening of the building is expected in late 2013.

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

© twokiwis

One the most famous statues in the world is the Statue of Liberty, officially titled Liberty Enlightening the World. It is not only an icon for New York but also the entire country. The statue was a gift from the French people to celibrate the centennial of the Independence of the United States. The statue was constructed in France, and after completion shipped to the USA, where it was stored for 11 months, to await the completion of the pedestal. The 46-metre-high statue was finally unveiled in November 1886.

Liberty Island was closed after the attacks of 9/11, and only reopened in 2004. The statue interior and the crown was opened to the public again since July 2009, but limited to only 3000 people a day. Two smaller statues predates the statue that is placed in New York. One stands in Paris in the Jardin de Luxembourg, and a second stands in front of the city hall in Maceió, Brazil. After the success of these statues, it was decided to go huge. Nowadays there are several copies of the statue of liberty to be found all over the world.

The High Line

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" officially opened to the public on Monday, September 14th and there were also festivities to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Henry Hudson to the island of Manhattan.

Times Square

Times Square, New York

Times Square, New York

© PhotoGlen

Times Square, which began life as Formerly Longacre, was renamed to its current name in 1904 when the newspaper the New York Times moved it's headquarter to the square, in a tower called One Times Square. It is located at the spot where Broadway and 7th avenue are intersecting each other. An area stretching from 42nd street until 47th street. At the square you will find many lights, making one big commercial display. Since 1907 it hosts the ball drop at New Year's Eve.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Ground Zero - Ground Zero is the place to go and see where the tragic events of September 11th 2001 took place.
  • Madison Square Garden - Madison Square Garden maybe the most famous venue in the world, and home of the Knicks and the Rangers.
  • Theather District - The Theater District is a great place to catch a play and enjoy an evening.
  • Staten Island Ferry - The Staten Island Ferry is a great way to see the city by water, and the Statue of Liberty, and it is free as well! Price: Free!
  • Rockefeller Center - The Rockefeller Center is an amazing plaza that has ice skating in the winter and performances in the summer. Address: between 5th and 6th Avenues, and between 49th and 50th Streets
  • New York Stock Exchange - The New York Stock Exchange is the place to go to see were all the money is made and lost! Address: 20 Broad Street between Wall St. and Exchange Pl.
  • New York Public Library - The New York Public Library is a stunning structure with great public art. Address: Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
  • Cathedral of St. John the Divine - The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is the world's largest cathedral. Address: 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral



Museums and Galleries

Metropolitan Museum of Art

One of the largest and most famous museums in the world is located on the eastside of Central Park. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or in short just the Met, houses a collection of paintings and sculptures from old over the world and from the old masters to modern artists. It also has a huge collection of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Egyptian, African, Asiatic, Oceanic and Islamic pieces of art in the collection. There is also a collection of musical instruments on display. In a separate wing of the museum you can find the Robert Lehman Collection, which was a private collection passed on to the museum after his death. It contains several works of famous artists like El Greco, Goya, Botticelli and Rembrandt.

At the Hudson river there is a dependance on 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park, called the Cloisters. The branch of the Met, focusses on the Middle Ages in Europe. If you want to explore the entire collection of the Met, make sure that your visit to New York is a long one.


The Guggenheim is another great art museum. The Guggenheim museum is a museum that focuses on art from the 20th and the 21st Century. The collection was brought together by combining several smaller privately owned collections. the collections of Solomon R. Guggenheim and his niece Peggy Guggenheim together with the collections of Justin K. Thannhauser and Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo form the focal point of the Guggenheim. Nowadays there are also two dependances of the Guggenheim, one in Berlin, Germany, and the other one in Bilbao, Spain.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

MoMA, as the Museum of Modern Art is usually called, is an amazing modern art museum with leading artists showing their work. A renovation project carried out between 2002 and 2004 nearly doubled the space for MoMA's exhibitions. Amongst the artists on display are famous names like van Gogh, Matisse, Cezanne, Mondrian, Warhol and Bacon. Besides paintings it also has a collection of films, photographs, multimedia, performance art. design and architecture.

Other Museums and Galleries



Events and Festivals


  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.


  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

Other Events and Festivals

  • New York's Village Halloween Parade (31 Oct 2013) - New York's Village Halloween Parade is held annually, and attracts thousands of New Yorkers with a creative flair for Halloween costumes. Extravagant costume displays, incredible music, drinks, and dancing make this parade a very memorable more grown-up version of Halloween. Hours: 7:00pm
  • NYC LGBT Gay Pride-Rally - The NYC LGBT Gay Pride-Rally is a large parade celebrating and supporting the rights of the LGBT community in New York City. The Rally will feature well-known performers and motivating speakers from the LGBT community who will kick-off this year's Pride Week events. Hours: 3pm-6pm
  • New York City Marathon - The New York City Marathon is one of the most popular marathons in the world. Because of the popularity of the event, runners must apply early and are chosen based on a lottery system.
  • U.S. Open - The U.S. Open is one of the four grand slam tournaments on the professional tennis calender, taking place at the lanes of Flushing Meadows.
  • Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - This parade is so popular, viewing it has become a staple activity in many American homes during the Thanksgiving holiday. Hundreds of thousands attend the event in person. The parade consists of school marching bands, celebrity guests and performers. But the real stars of the show are the balloons. Every year, more than 2.5 million cheering spectators watch as SpongeBob, Snoopy, Garfield and other giant helium-filled characters float along the route.
  • New York Food and Wine Festival - Hosted by Food Network, this annual food event is one of the most anticipated, star-studded culinary events of the year. Coveted award winning and celebrity chefs attend this event along with foodies from around the globe hoping to sample some of the nation's best cuisine.
  • New Years Eve (31 Dec 2013 - 01 Jan 2014) - New York city is home to one of the most well-known New Year's Celebrations on the planet. Taking place in the heart of Times Square, thousands are corralled together in the frigid December temperatures, to watch the infamous ball drop and scream in the new year. Address: Times Square




New York City has warm summers and relatively mild winters, although temperatures occasionally drop to below -20 °C. Averages are around 4 °C though, with light frost at night. Summers are around 27 °C or 28 °C dropping to around 18 °C at night, but highs of well over 35 °C are measured regularly. Precipition is quite evenly distributed throughout the year, most of it falls in the form of rain, although sometimes decent amounts of snow leave the city with a white blanket. Spring and autumn are good times to visit The Big Apple.

Avg Max3.1 °C4.2 °C8.9 °C14.6 °C19.8 °C25 °C28.2 °C27.7 °C23.9 °C18.2 °C12.1 °C5.9 °C
Avg Min-3.9 °C-3.2 °C1.1 °C6 °C11.3 °C16.6 °C20.1 °C19.6 °C15.6 °C9.6 °C4.7 °C-0.8 °C
Rainfall80.5 mm76.7 mm91.2 mm99.1 mm96.5 mm92.7 mm96.5 mm86.6 mm83.8 mm73.2 mm92.7 mm86.9 mm
Rain Days8.37.698.



Getting There

By Plane

There are three major airports in the New York City area:

For more information about flights, destinations and how to get to New York City from these airports, visit the respective articles.

By Train

All trains going to New York are operated by Amtrak. Most intercity trains will arrive at Pennsylvania Station, located at 7th Avenue and 34th Street. Others (mostly from northern suburbs and Connecticut) will arrive at the Grand Central Terminal.

Acela trainBoston - New York - Philadelphia - Washington, D.C.
AdirondackMontreal - Albany - New York
Cardinal/Hoosier StateNew York - Washington, D.C. - Cincinnati - Indianapolis - Chicago
Carolinian/PiedmontNew York - Raleigh - Charlotte
CrescentNew York - Atlanta - New Orleans
Empire ServiceNew York - Albany - Syracuse - Rochester - Buffalo - Niagara Falls
Ethan Allen ExpressRutland - Albany - New York
KeystoneNew York - Philadelphia - Harrisburg
Lakeshore LimitedNew York/Boston - Albany - Chicago
Maple LeafToronto - New York
Northeast RegionalBoston - Springfield/Providence - New York - Washington, D.C. - Newport News
PennsylvanianNew York - Philadelphia - Pittsburgh
Silver Service/PalmettoNew York - Washington, D.C. - Charleston - Savannah - Jacksonville - Orlando - Tampa/Miami
VermonterSt. Albans - Burlington - Springfield - New York - Washington, D.C.

By Car

Numerous roads connect New York with other parts of the US, with Interstates 78 and 80 running to the east and Interstates 87 and 95 running in north-northwestern direction, with the latter continuing southeastwards. Note that getting into New York or leaving the city by car can be an exciting experience to say the least.

By Bus

Greyhound offers buses from New York City to many major cities in the USA.
New Jersey Transit has buses to Jersey, among which are 10-12 daily buses to Atlantic City. Peter Pan Bus has regular services to Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.. Shortline Bus offers buses to New Jersey and other towns and cities in New York State. Vamoose Bus goes to Arlington, Virginia.
Other options include Bolt Bus, Megabus, Neon Bus, Apexbus, Washington Deluxe, MVP Bus and Limoliner. Destinations are mostly the main cities in the northeast of the US.
There are very regular and cheap buses from Chinatown to cities like Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Check Fungwah Bus and 2000 New Century for this perfect options.



Getting Around

By Car

Driving around in New York is not only unnecessary but also not advisable. Finding a car park is hard and street parking is non-existent in tourist attractions or crowded areas. If car park is available, charges are very high and paying $40 a day is not at all uncommon. The entire city is a Tow Away zone and you can expect your car to be gone when you return if you leave your car parked illegally. Car rentals are generally more expensive than the rest of the country and a high deposit of up to $500 is required if you do not have a credit card. Driving in the city can be intimidating for the timid. Many city cab drivers are aggressive drivers, while traffic in the city centre and during rush hours can be overwhelming for the inexperienced. In other words, don't get a car unless really necessary. Public transportation is the best choice for visitors to get around New York City.
Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

New York has one of the most expansive subway systems in the world, and especially for travellers is an ideal option, with many of the main tourist sites covered by the subway system, though with 422 stations and 26 different lines, the subway can be confusing, but free maps of the system are available at most hotels, or online in both interactive and PDF format.

MTA NYC Transit
The Metropolitian Transit Authority (MTA) is the organization that runs the NYC Transit, an extensive subway and bus system in New York City and the surrounding area.

Rides on the subways cost $2.00. To pay your fare, the subway system uses the MetroCard, a yellow paper card that has a "stored" value of money on it. For $10.00, riders get $12.00 deposited on their MetroCard (in essence, a free ride). Riders swipe the card when entering the subway station, and $2.00 for the ride is deducted. MetroCards can also be used on the MTA buses, as well as PATH trains, JFK AirTrain and the Roosevelt Island Tram.

In addition the subway system, there is an extensive network of bus routes running above ground at street level.

Use the MTA NYC Transit Trip Planner to plan your itinerary get detailed information on routes to take, schedules and fares for your journey. Be warned that most repair work that reroutes subways occurs on nights and weekends. You can have the MTA site email you weekend advisories.

The PATH Rapid-Transit System is run by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and connects Manhattan with New Jersey. The PATH system runs 24 hours, and makes staying in Jersey City, Hoboken or Newark an option for travellers wanting to see Manhattan and looking for cheaper accomodations.

There are 4 different lines in the PATH system, connecting Mid-town Manhattan (33rd Street) and the World Trade Center to Newark, New Jersey and Hoboken, New Jersey. You can check the current PATH fares on their website.

New Jersey Transit Trains and Buses
NJ Transit connects Manhattan with the cities and towns across the Hudson River in New Jersey. Bus service runs from the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 8th Avenue and 42nd Street through the Lincoln tunnel into New Jersey. Train service runs into Pennsylvania Station at 7th Avenue and 34th Street.

Use the NJ Transit Trip Planner to plan your itenerary get detailed information on routes to take, schedules and fares for your journey.

Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)
Running from Manhattan and Brooklyn out to the communities on Long Island, the LIRR is mostly a commuter service for workers living in the suburbs and working in New York City.

For travellers the LIRR can provide easy access to areas in Queens, specifically the US Open Tennis tournament or Shea Stadium for a NY Met's baseball game. The LIRR can also be used in commuting from the New York area airports.

By Taxis

Taxi cabs in New York City are bright yellow. They can be found at taxi stands, or hailed off the street (generally by raising your hand and whistling or yelling). Available taxis can be identified by the numbers on the roof of the cab. If they are lit, the taxi is available.

All yellow taxi cabs in New York City use a meter to determine the rate to be paid. Rates for taxi cabs are as follows:

  • Initial fare: $2.00.
  • Each 1/5 mile (4 blocks): $0.30.
  • Each 1 minute idle: $0.20.
  • Night surcharge: $0.50 (from 8:00pm until 6:00am).
  • Additional riders: FREE.

There may be additional charges for tolls if you cross a bridge or tunnel. It is generally expected to tip the driver an additional 10% - 20% of the amount on the meter. Many of the taxis to the airports are flat fee.
Taxi costs sound a bit confusing so here is a list of a few standard taxi fares, these are only approximate and can vary due to traffic and other factors outside of the driver's control.

  • Across Manhattan, 1st Ave. to West End: about $15.
  • 70's (East Side) to South Street Seaport: about $18.
  • 100's (West Side) to Port Authority: about $12.




New York has, as you might expect of the Big Apple, all the eating options covered and you can find almost every type of food available and every cuisine of the world represented. There are literally tens of thousands of restaurants, ranging from dingy $0.99-a-slice pizza joints to $500-a-plate prix fixe sushi. Thousands of delis, bodegas, and grocery stores dot every corner of the city and do it yourself meals are easy and cheap to find. Street food comes in various tastes, ranging from the ubiquitous New York hot dog vendors to the many middle eastern carts at street corners in Midtown. Fast food is as plentiful and as diverse as you can imagine. Fruit stalls appear at many intersections from spring to fall with ready to eat strawberries, bananas, apples, etc. available at very low cost and vegetarian and vegan options abound throughout the city.


Maybe it's the size of New Yorkers' tiny kitchens, or perhaps it's the enormous melting-pot immigrant populations, but either way, this city excels at every kind of restaurant. There are fancy famous-chef restaurants, all ethnic cuisines and fusion/updates of ethnic cuisines (second-generation immigrants tweaking their family tradition), plus all the fashionable spots, casual bistros, lounges for drinking and noshing and more.

It's only a slight exaggeration to say that virtually every type of cuisine is available in New York. And in some neighborhoods you'll find many national and regional styles represented. However, certain neighborhoods, particularly those in Queens, really shine in terms of the sheer variety available to visitors. Where Manhattan's high rents often result in expensive restaurants and sometimes watered-down, unnaturally sweetened food, Queens' vast array of cuisines are often served primarily to patrons from the country where it originated. Not that Manhattan is completely bereft by any stretch, however: a wide variety of Chinese options can be found in Chinatown, there's the small Koreatown with some very good (but not necessarily cheap) restaurants, Washington Heights is the center for Dominican food, the East Village is full of Japanese eateries of various types, and part of Murray Hill is known as "Curry Hill" for its proliferation of Indian restaurants. But in Queens, Flushing offers a vast and diverse array of Chinese (including Northeastern, Sichuan, Hunanese, Shanghainese, etc.), Korean, and Indian eateries; Jackson Heights includes a prominent Indian section among a vast Latin American neighborhood whose eateries span the American continents from Chilean to Mexican and almost everything in between; nearby Elmhurst features various Southeast Asian (for example Vietnamese and Thai, with a couple of Indonesian and Malaysian restaurants thrown in) and Chinese cuisines, Long Island City has locally well-known Middle Eastern establishments among a very diverse set of good establishments; nearby Astoria is best known for its Greek food; and Rego Park has Uzbek dining halls. In Brooklyn, Brighton Beach is noted for its Russian eateries, while Sunset Park is home to a third Chinatown as well as plenty of Malaysian and Vietnamese options. Italian options can be found in virtually every neighborhood, although a higher number appear in Staten Island, the East Village, Greenwich Village, heavily Italian parts of Brooklyn like Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge, and the area around Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. (Italian restaurants in Manhattan's "Little Italy" are mostly for tourists only, and New Yorkers generally avoid Mulberry St. between Canal and Broome.)

New York Pizza

A peculiarly New York thing, a true New York pizza is a plain cheese pizza with a very thin crust (sometimes chewy, sometimes crisp), and an artery-hardening sheen of grease on top. From just about any pizzeria you can get a whole pie or a slice with a variety of toppings available, or ask for "a slice" if you just want a piece of plain cheese pizza. Just fold in half lengthwise, be sure to grab a lot of napkins, and enjoy. Or pick up one with pepperoni - the quintessential meal on the go in New York. Pizza-by-the-slice places can be found all over the city, and include the many different variations of "Ray's Pizza", all of which claim to be the original thing. However, perhaps the most respected of the corner joints is the wildly popular Joe's in Greenwich Village.

But while pizza in New York is generally considered a fast food, the most respected pizzerias in the city are those that act like sit-down restaurants, serving whole pies only; no slices. Except for DiFara's, all the following pizzerias use a classic New York style of coal-fired, rather than gas-fired ovens, which allows them to bake their pizza for a very short time at very high temperatures, producing a unique style of crispy, slightly charred crust that makes their output quite different from the average corner slice shop. Every New Yorker has their own personal favorite, but several routinely make it to the top of the list. Lombardi's in Little Italy is regarded as the oldest pizzeria in town and continues to draw in big crowds of tourists, but Patsy's in East Harlem has long been regarded by connoisseurs as serving perhaps the purest example of plain New York-style coal-oven pizza (don't order any toppings, though). Greenwich Village is the center of pizza on Manhattan, home to not only Joe's but also the classic John's and the popular Arturo's. In Brooklyn, Grimaldi's in DUMBO is hugely popular with lines that go down the street, while Totonno's on Coney Island and Di Fara's in Midwood remain mainstays with the locals. There are also excellent brick-oven establishments serving Neapolitan or other styles of pizza that are not classic New York but well worth having.




New York has one of the best nightlife's in the entire world! If you want dingy dive bars, underground clubs, giant discos, swanky lounges or just a bohemian arty hang out there are 1,000s to choose from no mater where you are in the city! Smoking has been banned in all New York bars and this has helped change there image. No trip to New York is complete with out a night on the town. But be prepared the drinks are not cheap anywhere!

On Manhattan, Greenwich Village is probably the best neighborhood to go if you are in town for just a brief period, full of locals of all ages, especially students attending NYU. Chelsea has lots of clubs and a thriving gay scene, and if you are European and looking for a discothèque, this is where you want to be. The Meatpacking District holds trendier bars and clubs and some expensive restaurants. The Lower East Side, formerly the dingy alternative to the West Village, has become trendier today, with an influx of hipsters in recent years. The East Village also has lots of bars, as well as a sizeable cluster of Japanese bars. Nearby, Alphabet City, once a dangerous drug-addled hell hole, has since cleaned up and is loaded with bars. Murray Hill is more hip with the 30-year-old crowd, with many Indian restaurants and plenty of watering holes, including a couple of fireman bars and an all Irish whiskey pub. Times Square is a very touristy area with a few classy hotel rooftop bars, although very few New Yorkers would be caught dead at these places.

In Brookyln, Williamsburg is the capital of NYC's hipster scene, and many of New York's small music venues are located here. Bay Ridge has one of the highest concentrations of bars in the city in a neighborhood that has been generally Irish/Italian and does not have the hipster/yuppie scene common in New York. Park Slope, however, is the yuppie capital of New York and you are more likely to find a tea house serving soy milk than a bar here. There is some low-key nightlife, although in recent years this has been on the decline. A number of lesbian bars are located in this area.

Queens is home to Woodside, an Irish neighborhood great for happy hour and drinking festivities before a Mets baseball game. Astoria is home to Queens' Bohemian Hall Beer Garden, which covers an entire city block, is walled and filled with trees, indoor and outdoor tables and a cool crowd, and serves great Czech and German beer. And on Staten Island, St. George has a few bars located south of the ferry terminal, with good live music.

West Village

  • Fat Cat Billiards - 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.




New York City can be expensive for the budget traveller. Hostels generally cost about $25 to $35 per night for shared, dorm accomodations. Hotels start at $70 and run upwards, though location, time of year and day of week will affect the rates.

A unique compromise between hotel and dorm hostel is Bowery's Whitehouse of New York, providing single or double accomodations in miniscule rooms with open, lattice ceilings, offering the security of an enclosed, locked room with the space of a dorm room. Rates are around $30 per person, plus taxes, depending on time of year. Reservations are highly recommended as far in advance as possible, as the Whitehouse fills up quickly. Reservations and rates can be found at the Bowery's Whitehouse of New York website.

Brooklyn and Queens, both well serviced by the subway system are good alternatives to staying in Manhattan. As well, the PATH system running 24 hours means that travellers could also look at staying in Jersey City, Newark or Hoboken and still have great access to Manhattan.


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New York has come a long way since it used to be considered a relatively dangerous city back in the 1970's and 1980's. Since Giuliani became a mayor, crime rates have been dropping further and in 2009 it was the lowest since 1963. Still, the perception is that New York is a dangerous city, which maybe has something to do with movies like Taxi Driver or relatively new series like NYPD or Law and Order. But the truth couldn't be more different: New York is among the top 10 of safest cities in the USA and on the 26th of November 2013, New York experienced the first violent crime free day in history! Not a single murder, shooting, stabbing or other incident of violent crime was reported for that whole day.
Other than violent crime, of course the usual safety precautions should be taken and pickpockets still roam the streets looking for the traveller who make mistakes.




Keep connected


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.



  1. 1 July 2007 estimate. New York City Department of City Planning. Retrieved on 2009–02–20.

Quick Facts


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