New York

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From the Empire State Building to Times Square, and from Central Park to Broadway and everything in between, New York City is like a hundred worlds rolled into one. There's so much of everything in the city that never sleeps. Each visit can be different and your travel experience unique. After all, part of New York's magic is the sense of possibility promised by the city's diversity and fast pace.

Just by walking down the bustling streets of this majestic concrete jungle, you can discover and experience “your” New York. You can shop at world-class boutiques, explore the city's magnificent architecture, dine at the world's best restaurants or take in arts, culture and sporting events.

It's no wonder famous New Yorkers like Frank Sinatra, Jay-Z, Patti Smith and Woody Allen, to name a few, have waxed poetic about New York's allure. After all, people from all walks of life and from every industry come to New York to make dreams come true. From the moment you land here, you can feel that electricity everywhere you turn.

Certainly, there's a reason New York is considered an artistic Mecca. From theatre, visual arts, dance and music of all varieties, there's enough culture to keep anyone busy for several lifetimes. You can attend the opera at the Metropolitan Opera, discover a jazz band at a secret Harlem club or check out Broadway's hottest shows downtown.

With so much to choose from, how do you do it right? Well, if you're a planner, pick up a copy of New York and Time Out magazines to see the week's events and hotspots. (And the New York Times to see how your picks rank with the critics.)

Or, if you're more spontaneous, simply get your bearings, hit the streets and trust New York to show you what adventures it offers. Just bring good walking shoes and a map!

New York is a fantastic destination for:

  • culture and history
  • shopping and dining
  • nightlife

Airport served by: LGA, JFK

Destination basics

New York's climate features four distinct seasons with hot, humid summers and cold, humid winters. Spring and fall are the most pleasant seasons to visit. Average springtime (April and May) temperatures range between 6 and 20 C, while autumn (September and October) varies between 10 and 25 C.

Summers can be sweltering, and the humidity and urban city air can make it feel even hotter. Be sure to pack light clothes and the usual sun essentials.

Winters are cold with some snowfall, but daytime temperatures don't often drop too far below the freezing mark. Still, you'll want to bring your winter gear – a warm coat, gloves, hat and scarf.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for New York, NY

New York's culture is really about its people – 8.3 million of them, speaking 800 languages and many hailing from all over the world. The locals here are proud to be New Yorkers. Yet, whether born here or elsewhere, most also maintain a strong sense of their original heritage. Perhaps their parents or grandparents immigrated a generation or two ago. The city's multiethnic quality is evident, not only in its food, music and style, but in its attitudes and atmosphere.

That's why, most of all, you get a sense of this exciting multiculturalism simply by watching people going about their day-to-day lives. You might see breakdancers doing hip-hop moves in Herald Square. You could share a friendly moment with a taxi driver, or hear many different languages spoken while cheering at a Knicks, Yankees or Mets game.

Still, New York is the epitome of the American Dream. And symbols of this hope and patriotism are everywhere you look – in the uniforms of police officers, firefighters and members of the armed forces. It's in the old tenements of the Lower East Side, the tall, powerful architecture of Wall Street and the Financial District in Lower Manhattan. And it's in the new Freedom Tower at Ground Zero as a memorial to 9/11.

Of course, the Statue of Liberty represents the ultimate promise of the American Dream. Located on nearby Liberty Island, the statue is visible from many parts of the city and New Jersey.

To say Manhattan moves at a fast pace is an understatement. The sounds, smells and sights of the city never really stop. Day and night, the rhythm of commerce, media, show business and eight million dreams continues.

The energy in the air can be as intoxicating as adrenaline, but it can also feel overwhelming at first. That's why the key to enjoying New York is simplicity. Once you accept that you can't do absolutely everything, you can wholeheartedly enjoy the activities you do choose!

Due to the city's relatively small size and big population, everyone feels literally on top of each other pretty much all the time. When surrounded by people all day, personal space becomes precious. That's why New Yorkers are very kind and friendly people, but often in a rush. So if you need directions or help, certainly ask, but follow the local custom and get to the point quickly. If you do, most New Yorkers are happy to assist.

New York has definitely been cleaned up in recent years and is quite safe for the most part. But with any big city, it's wise to be extra cautious. A little common sense and awareness go a long way.

It's always recommended to carry some U.S. cash on you for bus or subway fare, as well as for purchases from local street vendors. For entertainment and shopping, your credit card will give you the exchange rate at the time of purchase. There are also numerous ATMs in banks and public spaces where you can withdraw funds at your convenience. Just be aware that transaction fees vary by ATM.

New York City, arguably the world's most vibrant and sprawling metropolis, occupies five boroughs, each with its own distinct identity. After all, before the historic 1898 consolidation, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island were each independent municipalities.

Manhattan, home to the most recognizable sites, dominates popular perception of New York City. Its most famous districts are listed below:

Wall Street & the Financial District
New York's first district remains its most historic. Wall Street investment banks coexist with landmarks like Trinity Church. Battery Park draws people for its panoramic views. The World Trade Center was also one of the area's most popular destinations, until its tragic destruction on September 11, 2001, which took the lives of many New Yorkers and affected the entire nation. Here stand the One World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum that's open to visitors and commemorates those that lost their lives.


Long the national epicenter of African-American culture, Harlem was home to the Harlem Renaissance, arguably this country's most influential artistic, literary and cultural movement. Harlem is known for its jazz clubs and Southern restaurants. The 19th-century brownstone houses share space with newer constructions and this neighborhood's trendy eateries, music venues and clubs draw crowds through the weekend. Along 125th Street, the Apollo Theater still hosts a fantastic line up of talent, while local dining institutions like Sylvia’s are the place to go for real old-fashioned Soul Food.

Greenwich Village
At the turn of the 20th Century, Greenwich Village drew free spirits from around the nation, including poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and playwright Eugene O'Neill. As the years went on, rents inevitably rose. Now, its townhouses are some of the most expensive in the city. New York University students gather here in Washington Square Park. A diverse array of shops, bars and music clubs exist along Bleecker Street. Mosey on over to the Blind Tiger Ale House for a pint or stop by the Le Poisson Rouge for a live show.

East Village
Artists, students and young professionals have gone a long way towards gentrifying East Village neighborhood. Even today, the artistic spirit that initially brought about change remains, evident in such vibrant cultural establishments as St. Mark's-in-the-Bowery Church. Urban gardens, like Tompkins Square Park and art exhibits sit beside cafes, craft shops and vegetarian restaurants. Cinema buffs will find the Anthology Film Archives with its screening of independent and experimental cinema worth a visit, while music enthusiasts should not miss out on Turntable Lab, a landmark record store that's a neighborhood favorite.

Soho & Tribeca
Once home to massive factories, artists moved in and transformed the area into a bustling urban mecca. Galleries, designer shops, sophisticated restaurants and trendy bars followed soon after. Among many others in the area, Locanda Verde stands out for its rustic Italian fare and celeb sightings combined with fresh seasonal cuisine and an upbeat atmosphere. Today, tourists flock to the area and rents have risen sky high.

Lower East Side
This area once housed some of the city's worst slums, well-chronicled by the Lower East Side Conservancy. Today's higher rents mean that the only people who can afford to live here, and want to, are young professionals. The historic Orchard Street Shopping District is home to several hip bars and nightclubs.

Asian restaurants, grocery stores and trinket shops line the ever-crowded streets of Chinatown. Dim Sum and other favorites attract diners on practically every corner, especially on famous Mott Street. Sip on a refreshing bubble tea as you await your table at one of the many budget-friendly and incredibly popular eateries like the Nom Wah Tea Parlor. If you've got a sweet tooth, don't miss the traditional baked goods at Tai Pan.

Little Italy
Frank Sinatra, Italian restaurants and kitsch draw tourists to the lively neighborhood of Little Italy surrounding Mulberry Street. The Feast of San Gennaro still welcomes its throngs, but the neighborhood is fast becoming surrounded by nearby Chinatown.

Gramercy & Flatiron
The majestic Flatiron Building lords over this beautiful, eclectic district marked by loft spaces to the west and pre-war residences to the east. More than a century after their construction, the apartment buildings and townhouses around Gramercy Park remain coveted residences.

Once a working-class community, Chelsea has also become a posh address. As rents in Greenwich Village rose, the vibrant gay community moved upwards to occupy Chelsea's many brownstones and loft spaces. Others followed, and today it reflects all of New York's ethnic and cultural diversity. West Chelsea is home to many art galleries, and there are a number of great restaurants, such as Cookshop, which serves seasonal American cuisine. Chelsea still retains some reminders of its more conservative past, as evident by the General Theological Seminary and the Church of the Guardian Angel.

As the name implies, Midtown is smack in the middle of everything. Nobody is really sure where Midtown begins (most would say somewhere at the 30-block), but most agree it stops around Central Park. Publishing houses, financial firms, import/export companies and fashion houses all do business here. Trump Tower entices shoppers, along with all those glorious stores along Fifth Avenue. Ice skaters twirl at Rockefeller Center and the spectacular St. Patrick's Cathedral offers serenity and spirituality.

Times Square & Hell's Kitchen
Nothing screams New York quite like the neon billboards of Times Square. Some New Yorkers miss the former seediness, however, most people begrudgingly admit that it is better this way. Visitors adore everything from souvenir shops to enormous billboards and Broadway musicals. A few blocks west lies Hell's Kitchen, a community filled with eclectic restaurants, such as Five Napkin Burger, bars, shops, and, of course, the Actors Temple.

Upper East Side
Park, Fifth and Madison have always been posh avenues. Whether in the gilded manors of yesteryear, like Gracie Mansion in Schurz Park, or the area's high-rise modern apartments, old money and high society have long made their home here. Consequently, shops to serve them line Madison Avenue. Baby Gap coexists with art galleries and antique shops. Further east, new money has overtaken the old Yorkville slum.

Upper West Side
When the co-ops of the East Side were freer to restrict residents, the Upper West Side became home to new money. Then, as "modernist" Eastsiders tore down their pre-war palaces, Upper West Side residents kept their old buildings, such as the famous Ansonia and the Dakota; renters now value the neighborhood's attractive real estate. Meanwhile, bars and restaurants catering to Long Island and New Jersey folk (aka, the “Bridge and Tunnel” crowd) continue to sprout up along Columbus and Amsterdam avenues.

New York's four other boroughs each have a distinct identity of their own as well and are worth exploring for their own merits.

This massive borough stretches from festive Coney Island to elegant Brooklyn Heights. But wherever Brooklynites hail from, they remain a largely proud lot. They can boast of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the gorgeous bridge that bears the borough's name, the Brooklyn Museum, and a thriving restaurant scene. Don't miss a slice at the famous Grimaldi's, the line is worth the wait. Brooklyn is also one of the best places to explore the city's vibrant live music scene. From alternative and indie bands to top-of-the-charts performers, everyone eventually makes their way to this happening borough. Whether you enjoy mainstream music or enjoy discovering underground acts, you'll find it here. The theater scene is also booming here, and alternative and avant-garde groups find a home in Brooklyn's upcoming performance spaces. Head the waterfront for some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline. On a warm day, you'll be joined by hoards of fellow sun worshippers!

From Flushing to Astoria, Queens is experiencing a quiet renaissance, as refugees from Manhattan's high rents continue to discover what this working-class borough offers its residents. Inexpensive ethnic restaurants pepper the borough. Queens is also home to the Museum of the Moving Image and Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The Bronx
This borough boasts the Yankees, one of the nation's finest zoos, and an extraordinary Botanical Garden. Areas including the South Bronx have benefited from economic booms. Catch a game at the Yankee Stadium, and feel the energy as you cheer on the team. For art fans, the Bronx Museum of the Arts is an innovative address celebrating the works of a multi-ethnic community that calls this borough home. For views along the Harlem River, the historic High Bridge is the place to go. History buffs will find plenty to interest them at the Woodlawn Cemetery that's more than a century old. Architectural landmarks and famous personalities abound here.

Staten Island
Just a free ferry ride from Manhattan, Staten Island is a fascinating visit, especially for those who enjoy mixing sightseeing with history. From lounging on the beach to exploring Historic Richmond Town and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, there's plenty to do here.

New York offers a dizzying array of entertainment options. So much so that the enormous number of choices often overwhelms even the most jaded New Yorker.

Galleries & Museums

Whatever the month, art museums and galleries put on shows and street performers entertain in the parks. Year round, most museums offer a day of free admission during the week. Many other galleries and museums are free all the time. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is technically free, although they do push you for an optional donation. Other nearby museums include the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Other interesting museums in the city include the American Folk Art Museum, the ever popular American Museum of Natural History and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

Those without means will find summertime particularly rich with options. From concerts by the New York Philharmonic to Shakespeare in Central Park, free culture is everywhere. Catch all types of performances at Symphony Space.

Downtown, with its traditionally youthful edge, offers numerous free choices. The Sidewalk Cafe is a great venue overflowing with every kind of band trying to make it in this big, bad city. Some are better than others. See well-known bands up close at the Bowery Ballroom.

Frank Sinatra was wise when he sang, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere..." The world's best performers know that without success in the Big Apple, they aren't really successful, and a good measure of achievement is the chance to perform at Madison Square Garden. From the latest diva at the Metropolitan Opera House to Irving Plaza's hottest band, the best of the best make it all look easy.

Even without a concert, from Belvedere Castle to Sheep's Meadow, Central Park itself provides numerous amusements for its visitors. Spending a day at the Bronx Zoo is a longstanding New York City pastime. For some local and national history, take a trip on the Circle Line and pay a visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and its immigration museum, both important landmarks for the melting pot that is America.

Many days, visitors may choose between a pricey Broadway extravaganza or one of the city's numerous free parades. Adventurous theatergoers eschew Broadway for off- and off-off-Broadway while those seeking to express themselves haunt the city's many nightclubs. Meanwhile, divas and drag queens prove nightly that cabaret is not a thing of the past.

De La Guarda and Blue Man Group are totally funky yet accessible ongoing off-Broadway shows.

In addition to being a museum, the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) is a performance and cinema mecca.

See world-class comedians perform at Dangerfield's and Carolines on Broadway. The Metropolitan Opera and The New York City Ballet dazzle at Lincoln Center.

Walking down Fifth Avenue or St. Marks Place (two streets as different as they can be) entertains New Yorkers far more than most Hollywood movies. If the outdoor entertainment is not enough, catch a movie at AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 with IMAX. Art films from all over the world play at the Film Forum while the Anthology Film Archives show avant-garde cinema and hosts film screenings regularly.


For sports fans, there's plenty to take in in New York. With professional teams across a variety of sports, there's always a game on here. The U.S. Open sees the world's best tennis champions vying for the title. The New York Yankees play on home turf at the Yankees Stadium and the New York Giants have sports bars packed during their games. Watch the Rangers and the Knicks defeat their rivals at Madison Square Garden. Ice-skating at Wollman Rink is a great way to see Central Park.

From swanky Manhattan cocktail lounges to live music on Bleeker and Harlem's iconic jazz bars to hipster hangouts and craft beer in Williamsburgh, there's no shortage of nightlife in the city. Around the NYU and Greenwich Village, there are great spots to enjoy a casual drink, while Midtown and the Financial District lean towards a more business crowd. It's always cocktail hour at the Dead Rabbit NYC, where the bartenders shake up some vintage cocktails while Maison Premiere is the stylish place for oysters in the outdoors.

New York is the very last word in club culture, with places in every corner of the city blasting music all night long. S.O.B.'s showcases world music, while the Knitting Factory provides a mixed bag of music, spoken word and art. For the hipsters there's Niagara.

Despite all its diversity, New York City social life revolves around a single ritual—dining out. Whether it be a power broker paying hundreds for a meal at one of the city's many fine dining restaurants or a slacker scraping together some money for a pizza at Lombardi's, each experiences the city's unique culinary fusion. Add lively conversation with friends, and voilá!—you've found the real New York City. With the sheer number of ethnic influences, talented chefs making a name for themselves, hot spots, hidden gems, delis and diners—New York offers something for everyone's palate.

Diners enjoy gastronomic delights across the five boroughs, but the following districts are particularly noteworthy:

Old money dines at prestigious and elegant classics like 21 Club. Superstar Jean-Georges Vongerichten reinvents fine dining at his eponymous Jean-Georges.

Hell's Kitchen
A few steps west of the Times Square tourist trap lies this former slum now transformed into an enclave of eclectic eateries, many ideal for pre- and post-theater dining. From the romantic Cassellula to the family-run Chez Napoleon, there's something for everyone. You can also grab a bite at Five Napkin Burger.

Gramercy & Union Square
This notable area of fine dining boasts top-rated, understated establishments like the Gramercy Tavern. A neighborhood rich in history, the landmark Pete's Tavern still draws a relaxing pint and serves up old-fashioned pub grub after over a century in the business.

West Village
World-class restaurants like the favorite Gotham Bar & Grill and the stunningly romantic One if by Land, Two if by Sea work their magic in the brownstones of this historic neighborhood. If you're craving delicious Italian food, try famous chef Mario Batali's restaurant and enoteca, Babbo. Other options in this neighborhood include some of the city's best falafel at Taim, and great brunch and coffee at the small French cafe, Tartine.

East Village
Funky, inexpensive ethnic restaurants and hip bars draw people here from all over the city. The well-known bargain eateries are usually filled with local hipsters and students as well as visitors. Visit the highly-rated Caracas Arepa Bar for fantastic Venezuelan cuisine.

Where the art world congregates, trendy dining establishments follow. The Mercer Kitchen serves some of the city's most innovative cuisine as the world's most fabulous people vie for tables there (not to mention a couple of blocks over at Balthazar). Elsewhere amongst the galleries and posh shops, black-clad sophisticates socialize at oh-so-very-Soho classics like Raoul's.

Among Tribeca's spectacular loft spaces, masterful restaurateur Drew Nieporant has created a mini-kingdom for himself, along with friend and investor Robert DeNiro. Nieporant offers diners amazing New American cuisine at Tribeca Grill. For something outside Nieporant's empire, try the flashy Odeon.

Little Italy
That's amore! Along bustling Mulberry Street, old-country restaurants blare Frank Sinatra into the street while barkers summon the crowds. For those who love red sauces with their pasta or veal, choices abound. From Casa Bella, it's difficult to go wrong. For pizza, Lombardi's serves some of the best pies in the city.

Like a trip to Asia but without leaving Manhattan, the scores of restaurants on Chinatown's dynamic streets offer every variety of Asian cuisine (often at bargain prices). For those in search of quality dumplings, Joe's Shanghai Restaurant is the place. Seeking Chinese-style barbecue? Big Wong King fits the bill; and if one craves noodles at three in the morning, New York Noodle Town always hits the mark.

What? Where's my Peter Luger, you say? Or what about the River Cafe with its glorious views? New York City's selection of amazing places to feast and imbibe is ever growing, ever changing and always exciting.

New York

State: New York

Country: United States

New York City By The Numbers
Population: 8,550,405 (city); 23,723,696 (metropolitan)
Elevation: 33 feet / 10 meters
Average Annual Precipitation: 46.23 inches / 117.4 centimeters
Average Annual Snowfall: 25 inches / 63.5 centimeters
Average January Temperature: 32°F / 0°C
Average July Temperature: 77°F / 25°C

Quick Facts
Electricity: 120 volts, 60Hz; round two-pin plugs are standard.

Time Zone: GMT -5 (GMT -4 Daylight Saving Time); Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Country Dialing Code: +1

Area Codes: 212; 347; 646; 718; 917; 929

Did You Know?
The nickname “The Big Apple” came from sportswriter John Fitzgerald eavesdropping on stable hands in New Orleans, terming NYC's racetracks as "The Big Apple".

Babe Ruth slammed his first home run in the first game ever played at Yankee Stadium.

New York City is located in the very southern part of New York State, situated on the Hudson River and New York Harbor. The city is about 12 miles (19 kilometers) east of Newark, New Jersey and around 80 miles (129 kilometers) northeast of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

New York is located in the Northeastern U.S., in the heart of a massive urban area that flows into neighbouring New Jersey (including Newark), up Long Island and northwards towards Connecticut, The island of Manhattan is only one of five boroughs that make up New York City's Greater Metropolitan area – the others are Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.

Manhattan is also the smallest borough, measuring 21.6 km long by 3.7 km wide. But while the other boroughs have plenty to offer, Manhattan is what most people think of when they think “New York.”

To get your bearings in Manhattan, it helps to think of the city as a long, thin island. The Hudson River is to the west, and the East River is to the east.

The city is built on a grid system – Manhattan's Avenues run from north to south. First to Fifth Avenues are considered the East Side of the city, and Sixth to 12th Avenues are Manhattan's West Side. Some streets, like Broadway, intersect at an angle. In Lower Manhattan, east of First Avenue is “Alphabet City,” where Avenues are named by letters (Avenues A, B, C, etc.).

Manhattan's streets run from east to west, with Lower Manhattan, or downtown, generally referring to everything below 14th Street. The street numbers rise as you travel north – Midtown is roughly 34th to 59th Streets, until you hit the Upper East and West Sides. Uptown and Harlem are above the 90s and 100s.

On the West Side, the Meatpacking District refers to the district west of 8th Avenue between 14th and 23rd Street, when it turns into Chelsea, then Hell's Kitchen in the 40s. On the East Side, Gramercy generally refers to the area between 18th and 28th.

Downtown, the grid disappears and finding your way can be trickier. The numbered streets begin north of Houston Street. (Pronounced How-ston, not like the city in Texas!) This Lower Manhattan street also distinguishes many downtown neighbourhoods. For instance, the name SoHo is derived from its location: South of Houston.

South of Houston you'll also find Little Italy, Nolita (North of Little Italy), the Lower East Side, Greenwich Village, the West Village, Chinatown, Tribeca, Wall Street and the Financial District.

New York, a city of staggering contrasts, diversity and culture, ranks among history's great trade and cultural centers. From Wall Street to the United Nations, the world's most powerful and influential men and women prize success in New York above all other places. Its population hails from every country on the globe, bringing a variety of culture and viewpoints. However, above all else New York has always been about money and ambition.

Europe's first contact with this area occurred in 1524, when Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazano viewed New York from the base of Manhattan. The following year, a Portuguese explorer named Esteban Gomez reached the Hudson River. Despite these early encounters, the Dutch settled in New York first, after explorer Henry Hudson lent his name to the world's largest tidal river. In 1625, six farms called "bouweries" were started in Manhattan.

The next year, Governor Peter Minuet purchased Manhattan from the Native Americans for USD24 worth of trinkets. By 1640, the predominately Dutch New Amsterdam (as it was then called) was teeming with the diversity of the New World, as the tolerant Dutch welcomed all.

Rapid expansion soon pitted early Dutch Manhattanites against English Puritans who had moved to the colony. Less than tolerant, the Puritans had banned bowling and even the celebration of Christmas. While initially seen as outsiders, the prosperous and hardworking Puritans soon had the political upper hand. After an invasion by British troops in 1664, an Anglo-Dutch treaty handed the city over to the English.

Under British rule, the renamed New York City saw its population grow from 6,000 to 20,000 by the end of the 17th Century. Events in Europe also brought turmoil to the city. Wars between England and France gave birth to privateering, or legalized piracy, that allowed the likes of Wall Street resident William Kidd to capture enemy ships off the coast of New York. During this time, New York City tolerated (and in some circles encouraged) the slave trade, and a large and prosperous slave market was located on Wall Street.

As the 18th Century wore on, England's passage of restrictive acts of trade and imposition of tariffs on the American colonies brought about protest and ultimately revolution. New York City was strategically vital during the American Revolutionary War. Early on, from Brooklyn to Harlem, General George Washington's army suffered a series of defeats and barely escaped capture. The British took the city and stationed troops there. At the end of the war, Washington was sworn in as the first president on the steps of New York's Federal Hall.

New York's stint as the United States capital was short-lived. Political wrangling dictated the newly created District of Columbia would be the new nation's capital. However, the 1792 founding of the New York Stock Exchange launched the city as a financial center.

Explosive expansion and revolutionary inventions in the 19th Century forever transformed New York City. The Erie Canal, in its day the world's greatest engineering feat, had New York's ports at its terminus and strengthened the city's position as a national trade center. Later, the city commissioned Central Park, designed and planned to save breathing space as the population boom moved uptown.

The American Civil War brought much sorrow and misery to New York, but also great prosperity as war profits soared. Yet, New York's status as a Union stronghold became threatened with the passage of the nation's first conscription act. Poor immigrants, angered that the wealthy could buy their way out of the draft, rioted violently.

As the century passed, New York displayed more technological marvels. A workforce thousands strong constructed the Brooklyn Bridge—then the tallest and longest in the world. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, and soon electric streetlights illuminated lower Manhattan. The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, was erected near the Battery. The present St. Patrick's Cathedral was also built. At the end of the 19th Century, a string of palatial mansions rose along New York's Fifth Avenue.

At the same time, economic conditions in Europe brought massive immigration to New York City, primarily consisting of Irish, German, Italian and Eastern Europeans. Immigrants worked long hours under harsh conditions and lived in unhealthy tenements. Reformers, galvanized by the success of the abolitionist movement as well as the gaining momentum of the suffragist and temperance movements, actively joined the fight to assist the immigrant poor.

By the 1920s, all of Manhattan was populated. Harlem, which had started as a Dutch farm, now attracted New York African-Americans as well as those migrating from the South. Jazz and blues and Prohibition-era speakeasies made the neighborhood an entertainment mecca for all races. African-American musicians, artists and writers together formed a movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. On Broadway, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein along with George and Ira Gershwin led the popular music industry. The hedonistic decade ended however with a crash on Wall Street, leading to the Great Depression.

A backlash against corrupt politics ushered Fiorella LaGuardia into the mayor's office, and the city began to work its way out of the Depression. Robert Moses built parks and the Rockefellers erected Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center.

New York emerged from the Depression and World War II with a new fervor for industry and construction. The United Nations complex started the post-war boom and was completed in the 1950s.

In 1972, a major change to the lower Manhattan skyline occurred with the completion of the World Trade Center, the 110-story structures commonly known as the "Twin Towers." On September 11, 2001 these towers fell—the result of a terrorist attack.

Since then, plans are well along for the construction of several new World Trade Center buildings on the site, as well as a September 11 museum and memorial. New Yorkers are uniting to build a better city than ever before. Fifth Avenue is still a bastion of the wealthy, and numerous other neighborhoods are home to yet another wave of immigration from Latin America, the Far East and Eastern Europe. New York still attracts hordes of ambitious people. Historian Peter Quinn, commenting on New York's nature, said the city that started with Peter Minuet's 24-dollar purchase is still the same, and if possible, even more so: "Donald Trump would have tried to pay 22 dollars.”

To learn more about the city, here are just some of the places you may wish to look:

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden

Ellis Island Immigration Museum

National Museum of the American Indian

New York Historical Society

Getting Around by Yellow Taxi in New York

Despite its fast-paced hustle and bustle, New York City is one destination that's easy to navigate – once you decide what you want to see first. From buses to subways, to commuter trains and the famed yellow taxi cabs, you'll be able to get to and from your hotel and New York's best attractions with ease.

Taxis are abundant in the New York City area, although you might have to stretch out your arm to hail one down on busy streets. If the centre panel of the taxi's rooftop light is lit and the side panels are dark, the taxi is available. For travel to and from your hotel, a doorman will direct you to a waiting taxi on a first come, first serve basis.

In New Jersey and New York, taxi fare is regulated and drivers are licensed. You will see the license displayed inside the cab as well as a numbered plastic sticker on the hood of the cab. Be wary of non-yellow or unmarked taxis.

To avoid getting lost, it's usually best to know the cross streets of your destination (as opposed to just the address). This will help ensure you get to right place on time.

Taxi fares in New York are based on both mileage and time spent idling, so try to avoid busy commuter routes during rush hours. While per mile and per minute fares are low, keep in mind that taxis here charge an additional US$5 premium for rides during peak hours (from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays; 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday). You'll also have to pay any tolls the taxi incurs on toll roads.

If you're travelling for business, be sure to ask for a receipt. Unlike some cities, taxi drivers in NYC are used to issuing receipts. Last but not least, remember to tip the driver (15% is recommended).

To Rent or Not to Rent in NYC?

Renting a car for travel in NYC is not recommended. Roads are extremely busy and parking is very expensive. In most cases, it's faster and less expensive to use public transportation.

Taking the Subway

At only US$2.25 a fare, subways in NYC are the most economical option. The subway is also usually the fastest transportation option. Be prepared for crowds though. Thousands of residents and visitors alike take the subway to get to and from work and excursions on a daily basis. For more information on subway lines and stops, pick up a free map available at most stations.

Travel Near and Far by Bus

Whether you're looking to travel within NYC or beyond to other popular cities like Boston and Washington D.C., there is a range of bus transportation options open to you.

For travel within the city, hop on the MTA (New York’s public transit system). Routes tend to run north-south and east-west and schedules are posted at most stops. Fare is the same as the subway (US$2.25 a person – exact change is required).

Or, if you're looking to travel to other cities, you can catch a bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. NYC also offers a number of discount bus lines (check out Bolt Bus) where a typical fare is around US$20.

Whether by plane, train or automobile, you are sure to love exploring New York.

New York is a walking city but there are plenty of ways to get around. Taking cabs around town is certainly a good option. Taxis can be hailed from the street and accept credit cards. But during rush hour and heavy traffic, the subway is often the quickest and most efficient way to get where you need to go.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) system is quite simple to figure out, and its website is user-friendly. Everyone gets confused on occasion about which way to go when getting off the subway, but it's relatively easy to reorient yourself. (If not, just ask someone.)

While no visit to New York is complete without seeing the Empire State Building, Times Square or Rockefeller Center (where you might see some of your favourite TV stars on their way to work), New York's wide array of public parks and green spaces are worth a visit.

In addition to beautiful Central Park, lovely little parks throughout Manhattan include Washington Square, Madison Square Park, Tompkins Square Park, Battery Park, Hudson River Park and more. All these green spaces offer activities ranging from free public art exhibits and theatre to music performances and markets.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, Union Square houses an urban Greenmarket, where farmers from throughout the state come to sell fresh produce and homemade food products. During the summer, the City Parks Foundation hosts the SummerStage festival with free outdoor music, theatre and other performances in parks all over the city.

New York is a place that values arts and culture. The finest works of art are accessible to all for the price of a Midtown museum or downtown gallery ticket (and many exhibits are free). Even the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, flanked by stone lions, is an architectural wonder.

Convenience is also a valued commodity, which is why gourmet food trucks are a Manhattan treasure. Delicious international and American food can be had from food trucks parked all around the city.

These restaurants on wheels generally specialize in quality versions of one or two food items, from dumplings and cupcakes to various ethnic specialties. In the summer months, there's a monthly gourmet food truck bazaar in the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market. Also worth popping into are street stands selling fresh fruit and vegetables.

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ˆTotal price one-way per guest. See terms and conditions. *Prices are per guest, based on double occupancy and are limited; may not reflect real-time pricing or availability. See terms and conditions.

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