- New York (city) is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.
New York  (also referred to as "New York City" or "the City"), the biggest city in the United States, lies at the mouth of the Hudson River in the southern most part of the state, which is part of the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA.
The New York Metropolitan Area spans parts of three states—lower New York, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut. It is the USA's largest metro area, with a population of 18.7 million. As of 2007, it was 5th in the world, after Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Mexico City and Seoul.
New York City is a center for media, culture, food, fashion, art, research, finance, and trade. It has one of the largest and most famous skylines on earth, dominated by the iconic Empire State Building.
New York City consists of five boroughs, which are five separate counties. Each borough has a unique culture—each could be a large city in its own right. Within each borough individual neighborhoods—some only a few blocks in size—have personalities lauded in music and film. Where you live, work, and play in New York says something to New Yorkers about who you are.
The five New York boroughs are:
- Manhattan (New York County) — The famous island between the Hudson and East Rivers, with many diverse and unique neighborhoods.
- Brooklyn (Kings County) — The most populous borough, at one point a separate city. Located south and east of Manhattan across the East River. Known for artists, music venues, beaches, and Coney Island.
- Queens (Queens County) — U-shaped and located to the east of Manhattan, across the East River, and north, east, and south of Brooklyn. Queens is the home of the city's two international airports, the New York Mets professional baseball team, the United States Open Tennis Center, the country's second largest Chinatown.
- The Bronx (Bronx County) — Located north of Manhattan Island, the Bronx is home to the Bronx Zoo and the New York Yankees professional baseball team.
- Staten Island (Richmond County) — A large island in New York harbor, south of Manhattan and just across the narrow Kill Van Kull from New Jersey. Unlike the rest of New York City, Staten Island has a suburban character.
New York City is one of the global centers of international finance, politics, communications, film, music, fashion, and culture, and is among the world's most important and influential cities. It is home to many world-class museums, art galleries, and theatres. Many of the world's largest corporations have their headquarters here. The headquarters of the United Nations is in New York and most countries have a consulate here. This city's influence on the globe - and all its inhabitants - is hard to overstate, as decisions made within its boundaries often have impacts and ramifications literally across the world.
Immigrants (and their descendants) from over 180 countries live here, making it one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Travelers are attracted to New York City for its culture, energy and cosmopolitanism.
At the center of New York City sits the borough of Manhattan, a long, narrow island nestled in a natural harbor. It is separated from The Bronx on the north east by the Harlem River (actually a tidal strait); from Queens and Brooklyn to the east and south by the East River (also a tidal strait); and from the State of New Jersey to the west and north by the Hudson River. (Staten Island lies to the south west, across Upper New York Bay.)
In Manhattan, the terms “uptown” and “north” mean in the direction of the Bronx, north east on the compass, while “downtown” and “south” mean in the direction of the Battery, to the south west. To avoid confusion, simply use “uptown” and “downtown.”
The term “the city” may refer either to New York City as a whole, or to Manhattan alone, depending on the context. The Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens are sometimes referred to as “the outer boroughs.”
New York City has a humid continental climate and experiences all four seasons with hot and humid summers (June-Sept), cool and dry autumns (Sept-Dec), cold winters (Dec-Mar), and wet springs (Mar-June). Average highs for January are around 38°F (3°C) and average highs for July are about 84°F (29°C). However, temperatures in the winter can go down to as low as 0°F (-18°C) (though increasingly rarely) and in the summer, temperatures can go as high as 100°F (38°C) or slightly higher. The temperature in any season is quite variable and it is not unusual to have a sunny 50°F (10°C) day in January followed by a snowy 25°F (-3°C) day. New York can also be prone to snowstorms and nor'easters (large storms similar to a tropical storm), which can dump as much as 2 feet (60cm) of snow in 24-48 hours. Tropical storms can also hit New York City in the summer and early fall. Overall, New York is warmer than inland cities like Chicago and Cleveland, but in winter, it may seem colder to visitors because they are likely to spend a lot more time outdoors, walking around the city.
The diverse population includes some of America's wealthiest celebrities and socialites, as well as hundreds of thousands of immigrants. New York's population has been diverse since the city's founding by the Dutch. Successive waves of immigration—first Dutch, then British, African, Irish, German, Italian, Jewish, Eastern European, and later Jamaican, Chinese, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, Haitian, Korean, Indian, Arab, Colombian —make New York a giant social experiment in cross-cultural harmony.
The city's ethnic heritage illuminates different neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. In Manhattan, Little Italy remains an operating (if touristy and increasingly Chinese) Italian enclave, though many New Yorkers consider Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to be the "real" Little Italy. Chinatown remains a vibrant center of New York's Chinese community, though in recent years the much larger Chinese neighborhood of Flushing in Queens has rivaled if not eclipsed it in importance, and two other Chinatowns have formed in Brooklyn. Traces of the Lower East Side's once-thriving Jewish community still exist amid the newly-gentrified neighborhood's trendy restaurants and bars, but there are Chassidic communities in Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Harlem has been gentrifying and diversifying lately but remains a center of African-American culture in New York. East (Spanish) Harlem still justifies its reputation as a large Hispanic neighborhood. Little known to most tourists are the large Dominican neighborhoods of West Harlem and Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. Brooklyn and Queens are known for being home to many of New York's more recent immigrant groups, which since 1990 have included large numbers of Russians, Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Koreans, Africans, Arabs, Mexicans, and Jamaicans.
Home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other city in the country, New York City is the engine of the US economy. Its gross metropolitan product of US$488.8 billion in 2003 was the largest of any city in the United States and the sixth largest compared to US states. If it were a nation, the city would have the 16th highest GDP in the world.
New York is the national center for several industries. It is the home of the three largest US stock exchanges (NYSE, NASDAQ, and AMEX) and a wide array of banking and investment firms. Though these companies have traditionally been located in the area around Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, many are in Midtown and other parts of the city. New York is the hub of the country's publishing, fashion, accounting, advertising, media, and legal industries. The city boasts several top-tier hospitals and medical schools, which train more physicians than those in any other city in the world.
New York City is well connected by air with flights from almost every corner of the world. Three large airports (and several small ones) serve the region. John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport are large international airports while LaGuardia Airport is a busy domestic airport. All three airports are run by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey .
All airports- It would be wise to allow a minimum of 90 minutes for trips between midtown and the airports whether you use public transport or a taxi. Rush hour traffic in New York is notorious, especially on the congested Van Wyck Expressway to Kennedy airport. The lack of elevators at most subway stations makes lugging luggage up and down subway stairs difficult and peak hours should be avoided. Refer to a subway map to find disabled access stations which will have elevators. Suburban shared ride vans are available: use the phones provided near baggage claim for information. If taking a taxi, go to the taxi dispatcher. Do not accept offers of rides from people hanging around in the terminal because there is a high risk of being cheated. Since only the subway runs 24 hrs, if leaving for an early flight with a two-hour check in, you may need to take a taxi. Check bus schedules carefully if your flight leaves during the wee hours.
If you are on extreme tight schedule and have to catch the flight or want something extra then US Helicopter  flies you in 9 minutes (plus connection time 35..70min heli>airline, 35..120min airline>heli) from Midtown to Newark or JFK for roughly $100 one-way.
Connection to Other Airports- Connections between airports are poor at best. New York Airport Express runs buses between LGA and JFK. ETS Air Shuttle runs (very infrequent) buses between LGA and Newark Airport. A taxi is your best, although slightly more expensive, option when changing airports in New York - unless you have plenty of time!
John F. Kennedy International Airport
John F. Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK)  is in the borough of Queens to the east of the city. Many international airlines fly into JFK and it is a major international hub for Delta Airlines (Terminals 2 and 3) and American Airlines (Terminal 8). Air France (Terminal 1), Lufthansa (Terminal 1), British Airways (Terminal 7), and Virgin Atlantic (Terminal 4) each provide several flights daily into JFK. JetBlue, a large low-cost carrier in the US, occupies Terminal 5. A free AirTrain connects the terminals. Always make sure you know which terminal your flight arrives at or departs from.
Left luggage services are available in the arrivals areas of Terminal 1 and Terminal 4. There are plenty of ATMs (almost all charge a small fee). Luggage trolleys are available either for a fee of $3 (Terminals 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and all departures) or free (Terminals 1 and 4). There are many hotels in all categories close to the airport and most run shuttle buses to/from the airport.
Taxi The most flexible route into the city from JFK is a taxi, although the wait for one can be long when many flights arrive simultaneously. Cab fare runs a flat $45 anywhere in Manhattan, not including tolls (up to $4) or tips (15-20% depending on the level of service). Follow signs "Ground Transportation" and "Taxi" to the taxi line outside the arrivals area and look for the taxi dispatcher. Taxis to points other than Manhattan and taxis to the airport from anywhere use the meter (see taxis in Getting Around). During peak periods, you may have to wait up to 30 minutes for a taxi. Note that the arrivals terminals are filled with drivers hawking illegal livery rides at grossly inflated prices that prey on newly arrived tourists, so beware. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can sometimes bargain with the touts to get down to $35-40. (This saves the wait in the taxi line.)
Car Service/Limousines - A useful way of getting to the airport (see the Getting Around section) because it is not always easy to find taxis in Manhattan. You can always call ahead and have a car service pick you up from the airport ($60+ for points in Manhattan) if you want that convenience. One such service is offered by New York Airport Transportation and Transfers .
Airport Shuttles - A popular shuttle service comes from way of goairlinkshuttle, JFK Airport Shuttle . Rates from all major airports starting at $17 to $20 per person to Grand Central Port Authority, Penn Station, Bryant Park, and Midtown Hotels.
Coach services - That provide bus service from JFK and La Guardia to Grand Central Station and Penn Station.New York Airport Express provides services into Grand Central Station, Penn Station, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal for $15/person. Trans-Bridge Lines provides infrequent service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal for $12.SuperShuttle with blue vans provides service to Manhattan hotels for about $25. The 'New York Airport Express' service is not as well organized as made out on their website. They recommend which bus you take, however this does not take into account the huge delays in immigration queues at JFK, especially Terminal 4 (2hrs+ at peak times) upon arrival in Manhattan, the bus drops you off at Grand Central Terminal, and you transfer to another smaller bus. The whole situation at this point is chaos and confusion, the drivers are un-helpful and nobody seems to know what is going on. Also the website advertises a transfer to your hotel, but they just drop you off in the general area.
Commuter rail - The JFK AirTrain, which stops at each terminal, runs to Jamaica station on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). The LIRR runs frequent trains to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, taking 20-25 minutes. Total time from the airport to Penn Station is about 45 minutes. At Jamaica, you can also catch trains to points further east on Long Island, to Flatbush Ave station in Brooklyn, or to Hunterspoint Ave in Queens. These trains are less frequent than the Penn Station trains. You may also take trains to Ronkonkoma, where you can get shuttles to Islip airport, useful for catching flights on Southwest Airlines. When going from the airport to Manhattan, taking the train can be significantly faster than a taxi, especially during peak travel times. This route is less attractive if you have a lot of baggage, though elevators are available at Jamaica and Penn Stations. Fare: the AirTrain will cost $5. To Penn Station, the LIRR will cost an addition $5.25 during non-peak times, $7.25 during peak times, and $3.25 on weekends for a total cost of $8.25-12.25. To get the weekend fare, you'll need to purchase a special City Ticket.
Subway, from the airport to Manhattan: The JFK AirTrain  runs to Howard Beach station to connect with the "A" subway and to Jamaica station to connect with the "E" and "J/Z" subways (Sutphin Blvd station). If you are travelling to the downtown area (the Financial District), use the "A" train from Howard Beach. If heading to the midtown area (including Times Square) use the "E" train. However, as the E train makes so few stops in Queens, it could be faster to take the E regardless. Late nights, the A runs as a local in Brooklyn and can be significantly slower than the E from anywhere in Manhattan, because even though the E runs local, you can transfer to the F at stations between Briarwood, and Roosevelt Avenue (note:stay on the E train if you have a lot of luggage, or are going to points on 8th Avenue or 53rd Street. The JFK AirTrain costs $5; the subway costs $2.
Subway, to the Airport from Manhattan - Take the E Train to Sutphin Blvd, or the A Train to Howard's Beach. If catching the A, board trains with destination signs marked with Far Rockaway via JFK Airport or Rockaway Park via JFK Airport. If you catch a Ozone Park-Lefferts Blvd A, you will need to transfer to a train headed to the Rockaways at or before Rockaway Boulevard. If you do end up on a train to Lefferts and miss an opportunity to transfer, IT IS OKAY. At Lefferts Boulevard, transfer to the Q10 bus on street level, which travels to JFK Airport. Or you can backtrack as well. When taking this route into or out of Manhattan during the overnight hours be alert of your surroundings as you will be passing through some rough neighborhoods.
The Cheap Option - If you really want to slum it and avoid the $5 AirTrain ticket, you can take NYCT bus Q10 ($2 or a free transfer to the subway if you buy a Metrocard) to Lefferts Boulevard station (20 min) where you can catch an A train, or to Queens Boulevard Union Turnpike, for the E or F trains. You can also take it to Jamaica Avenue 121st Street for the J or Z trains. Also, you can take the Q3 to the Jamaica-179th Street station for the F train, or the B15 to New Lots Avenue, in Brooklyn, where you can catch a 3 train. Note that the latter option is right in the middle of East New York, which may not the best place to be if you're not a local. You may also remain on the bus, and transfer to either the "L" train at Van Sinderen Avenue (New Lots Avenue station), the (C) at Fulton Street (Kingston-Throop Avenues station, roughly two blocks west) or the (J) or (M) trains at Broadway Flushing Avenue station, the last stop on the bus. 'Transferring between bus and subway requires a MetroCard; the single ride ticket does not allow transfers so this is likely to cost you $4 unless you have a multiple ride metrocard, in which case it will cost you $2. Coins are needed to board the buses without a Metrocard. You won't pay anything if you have a daily, weekly, or 30 day pass. Metrocards are available for sale at Hudson Newsstands in Terminals 1 and 6. If the newsstands are closed, take the Airtrain to the Howard Beach Station where you can buy a multiple ride Metrocard from the vending machines without leaving the airport. Then take the Airtrain back to Terminal 4, where the buses are easiest to catch (on the right side of Terminal 4 when facing). The buses also stop at Lefferts but are more difficult to figure out.
Newark Liberty International Airport
Newark Liberty International Airport, 1-800-EWR-INFO, (IATA: EWR)  is located to the west of the city in Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey. The airport has three terminals labeled A, B, C. Terminal C is the home of Continental Airlines which has a major hub at Newark. Most other international airlines use Terminal B while domestic flights are from Terminal A but there are exceptions, so check your terminal before you head for the airport.
Taxi - Taxis are available outside the terminals (look for signs labeled 'Ground Transportation' and 'Taxi' when leaving the arrivals area). Travelers to New York City are charged a flat rate based on the destination (the dispatcher will note the fare and destination on the taxi form). The fare to most parts of Manhattan is $50-70. Tips (15%-20%) and tolls are extra (except for destinations to Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, expect to pay $8 for bridge or tunnel entry into Manhattan. You may also pay a small toll, under $2, if the driver uses the New Jersey Turnpike).
Train - From Newark Airport, take the AirTrain (easy elevator and escalator access from Terminals) to the Newark Airport Train Station (about 10 minutes) to connect to a NJ Transit or Amtrak train running along the Northeast Corridor line for connecting service to New York Penn Station (34th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan). Expect to spend around 5 minutes getting ticketed and to the correct platform. One-way fares to Penn Station are $15.00 if you take a NJ Transit train, and between $20 and $30 on Amtrak. Note that if you take the NJ Transit train there is also a stop at Penn Station, Newark, New Jersey - stay on till Penn Station, New York. The NJ Transit train from Newark Airport to Penn Station, New York takes about 30 minutes and trains come every 15-30 minutes. Note that NJ Transit tickets are not valid on Amtrak so, if you are going to Manhattan, don't get onto an Amtrak train at the Newark Airport Rail Station. The Amtrak connection is only useful if you are traveling away from the New York Metropolitan Area to areas not served by NJ Transit (New Haven, Philadelphia, or even Washington D.C. and Boston). Port Authority personnel are available at the rail station to help you figure out what ticket you need and what train to take.
Airport Shuttles - A popular shuttle service comes from way of goairlinkshuttle, Newark Airport Shuttle . Rates from all major airports starting at $12 to $15 per person to Grand Central Port Authority, Penn Station, Bryant Park, and Midtown Hotels.
Airport Bus - Olympia Trails  ($15 one way, $25 round trip) runs buses every 15 minutes to Manhattan, with stops at the Port Authority Bus Terminal (41st Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenue), Bryant Park, and Grand Central Station. One-way trip time is about 40 minutes depending on traffic.
Private Car Service - New York Airport Transportation and Transfers  arranges private transport services between New York's airports, hotels and cruise terminals. Individuals, small groups and large groups are accomodated with flat-fee pricing, inclusive of fare, tolls and gratuity. There is never a charge for waits due to flights, customs or luggage delays. There are no fuel surcharges or any other fees added at the end.
Public Transit - For the most inexpensive option, take the New Jersey Transit bus #62 from in front of the terminals to Newark Penn Station (one-way fare $1.35; must have change; 25min). From there, you may take a PATH subway train ($1.75) either to World Trade Center station in lower Manhattan (25min), or, by transferring at the Journal Square station to the 33rd St. train (across the platform), to the following stops along Sixth Avenue: Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, 9th Street, 14th Street, 23rd Street, and 33rd Street. Note that transfer to the New York Transit subway system almost always requires an exit onto the street. The combined fare for the bus/PATH option ($3.10) is significantly lower than the EWR AirTrain with NJ Transit, but will take longer —plan on 1.5–2 hours with waiting times— and requires 1-2 transfers. As a word of caution, note that this is not a well-publicized option; you may well find yourself to be the only tourist on the bus, so don't expect much help or companionship in finding your way.
Since public transport will drop you off at only a couple of points in Manhattan, you should make your choice of transport depending on where you are headed and how much luggage you are carrying. For points near New York Penn Station, the AirTrain/NJ Transit option works well. For points downtown, it may be faster to take the NJTransit bus and then a PATH train. For places on the east side, near Grand Central Station, the airport bus would be perfect. Be aware that, if you have luggage, getting into Manhattan and then looking for a taxi, while cheaper, won't be easy during rush hour.
LaGuardia Airport (IATA: LGA)  is a smaller, older airport providing many of the domestic services for the city including the shuttles to Boston and Washington, D.C.. The Marine Air Terminal, currently the terminal used by Delta Airlines for shuttle services to Washington D.C. and Boston, is one of the oldest, still-in-use, airport terminals in the world. LaGuardia is conveniently located for getting to and from the city and is well connected by public transport.
Taxi - Taxis to and from most points in Manhattan cost $20-$30 plus tips and tolls. You can save on tolls by asking the driver to use Queensboro Bridge for points midtown and on the Upper East Side, the Williamsburg Bridge for the Village and downtown, or Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges for points downtown. If going above about 72nd Street, it is better to pay the toll and take the RFK Bridge (formerly called the Triboro) into Manhattan.
Public Transport - LaGuardia is served by three city bus lines. The M60 bus connects with N and W trains at Astoria Blvd., and crosses Manhattan using 125th St. It connects with the Lexington Line (4, 5, and 6 trains) at Lexington Avenue, the 8th Avenue (the A and C) and 6th Av. (B, D) Lines at St. Nicholas Av., and the IRT Seventh Avenue Express 2 and 3 at Lenox Avenue (officially called Malcolm X Boulevard), and Broadway (for the 1). This is a useful service if you are staying in Harlem, the Columbia University area or Hostelling International New York, as it goes south on Broadway (west side) to 106th St. The Q33 and the Q47 bus to Roosevelt Avenue/Jackson Heights connect to the E, F, G, R, 7, V. For points downtown, use the Q33/Q47 and then the E, or, as another choice, the M60 to the 4 or 5 express trains, or the 6 local at Lexington Avenue, or to Malcolm X Boulevard for the 2 or 3 express trains, to St Nicholas Street for the A express or to Broadway for the 1 local train. For points on the upper east side, connect to the 4,5,6 from the M60. For the upper west side, take the M60 and connect to the 2,3. For Morningside Heights/Columbia University, stay on the M60 all the way. For midtown/Times Square, the Q33/Q47 and then the 7 train or E train is the best option. (The 7 train is above ground through most of Queens, enabling visitors to see more of the city than the below ground E train, but the E does go express in Queens. However, it is the most crowded of these lines, especially during rush hour.) The F express is good for going to the Lower East Side, and the lower Upper Est Side from Lexington Avenue-63rd Street, as well as places along 6th Avenue, and in Brooklyn. The V offers the most chance of a seat, but it is local. The G local goes through parts of Brooklyn, and the R is good for points along Broadway, and in lower Manhattan, if you aren't in a hurry (the R runs local). The Q48 connects to the 7 at 111th Street, Shea Stadium, and Flushing, further from Manhattan, and the Q72 connects to the G, R, and V lines on Queens Boulevard, and the 7 local and express at Junction Boulevard. For all buses you need $2 in coins or a MetroCard. There is a change machine in the airport terminal and Hudson News, the newsstand operator for LaGuardia, has some types of metrocards for sale.
Airport Shuttles - A popular shuttle service comes from way of goairlinkshuttle, LaGuardia Airport Shuttle . Rates from all major airports starting at $12 to $15 per person to Grand Central Port Authority, Penn Station, Bryant Park, and Midtown Hotels.
Airport Bus - New York Airport Express runs buses to Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station for $12. There are also shuttle buses that will take you straight into Manhattan and cost $12. These run about every 10-15 minutes from LGA and stop off at Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station.
Private Car Service - New York Airport Transportation and Transfers  arranges private transport services between New York's airports, hotels and cruise terminals. Individuals, small groups and large groups are accomodated with flat-fee pricing, inclusive of fare, tolls and gratuity. There is never a charge for waits due to flights, customs or luggage delays. There are no fuel surcharges or any other fees added at the end.
MacArthur Airport (IATA: ISL)  in Islip on Long Island is served by Southwest Airlines, a major discount carrier in the US. US Airways has a minor presence at the airport. MacArthur Airport can be reached by rail from Penn Station in Manhattan by Long Island Railroad to Ronkonkoma (1.5 hours, $6.50) and then a shuttle to the airport (10 minutes, $5); by bus on the Hampton Jitney ($25) and a taxi ($10).
Westchester County Airport (IATA: HPN) , near White Plains, NY, is served by several airlines. It is most convenient to Westchester County and adjacent areas of Connecticut, but it is possible to access New York City from there by taking the AirLink bus (fare $1.75; call 914-813-7777 for details) to the White Plains Metro-North station, and a Metro-North train to any of various points in the Bronx, or 125th St./Park Av. and Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. Trains to Grand Central ($6.25 off-peak and $8.50 peak for ordinary fares; see www.mta.info for further information on fares and schedules) run roughly every half hour for most of the day and take approximately 40 minutes.
New York City is also served by Teterboro Airport (IATA: TEB), in Teterboro, NJ, though this airport is used primarily for general aviation and receives no commercial flights.
Amtrak, 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245), , operates from New York Penn Station, which is directly under Madison Square Garden, its largest hub in Amtrak's east-coast system, with dozens of arrivals and departures daily. Amtrak's Acela express train provides regular fast commuter service between major points on the east coast from Washington, D.C. up to Boston, with stops at Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Haven, and Providence. Direct Amtrak services are available to points along the East Coast down to Florida; to points between New York and Chicago (including Pittsburgh, and Cleveland); to New York State (including Albany, Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls); and to Toronto and Montreal in Canada. Service to California (three days) requires a change of train in Chicago. Popular trains leaving near rush hours can fill up quickly: it's a good idea to make reservations online , or via phone, and pick up your ticket at one of the electronic kiosks.
Amtrak's Metropolitan Lounge, located near the big security desk in Penn Station, offers Airline Business Class lounge amenities (and clean bathrooms). Travelers with sleeper tickets, First Class Acela tickets, or Continental Airline Business First tickets (for travel from Newark to Hawaii, Guam, Tokyo, HongKong, or Transatlantic destinations) can use this lounge.
Tickets for Northeast corridor trains can be purchased from QuikTrack machines with a credit card. Tickets booked online can be collected at these machines (keep the credit card or reference number handy). It is best to buy your tickets in advance for popular services.
A note to international tourists: Amtrak is notoriously slow in America, except for the Northeast Corridor (Washington, DC, through Baltimore and Philadelphia to New York, Providence, and Boston), the Keystone Corridor (New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Harrisburg, PA) and some other relatively short hops (for example, to Albany, NY). The bus can be quicker in some cases, and car rentals are far cheaper here than in say, Europe. For instance, Amtrak to Montreal can take 13 hours with the border crossing, even though it is just a 6 hour drive from New York.
New York City is served by three commuter railroads.
- Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)  operates from New York Penn Station with service to points in Long Island with stops at Jamaica Station, Long Island City, Hunters Point, and others in Queens and Atlantic Avenue station in Brooklyn. The main LIRR lines include services to Port Jefferson, Montauk, Oyster Bay, Port Washington, and Greenport; with a number of branch lines to other points on Long Island.
- Metro-North Rail Road (Metro North)  operates from Grand Central Terminal to points north and east of the city (Westchester, Putnam, Duchess Counties in New York_, and points in the state of Connecticut). The New Haven line serves cities along the coast with a branch line to Danbury. The Hudson Line serves points along the Hudson River to Poughkeepsie. The Harlem Line serves Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties to Pawling and Wassaic. Trains also stop at the Harlem station on 125th street and Park Avenue in Manhattan. At New Haven, passengers may transfer to Amtrak or to the Shore Line East providing local service between New Haven and New London, Connecticut.
- New Jersey Transit  operates from New York Penn Station to points in New Jersey. The Northeast corridor line goes to Princeton and Trenton. Services are also available for points along the Jersey Coast and along the Hudson River to points north of the city. Connecting service is available from Trenton to Philadelphia via SEPTA or to Camden (New Jersey) via RiverLINE. Connecting service to Newark Liberty International Airport is available from some Northeast corridor trains.
New York Airport Service (NYAS) is the only authorized scheduled bus service from the NY airports to Manhattan. It offer economical scheduled service to and from Manhattan (Penn Station, Port Authority, Grand Central Terminal), JFK and LGA Airports and Midtown Hotels.
Greyhound  is the largest and oldest private bus company in the US, and operates its east-coast hub out of Manhattan's Port Authority Bus Terminal . Recently Peter Pan Bus Company  has come to dominate bus travel from New York to Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, coordinating some schedules with Greyhound, while competing vigorously against Greyhound on many routes. The terminal operates on a 24-hour schedule, with regular departures to practically every city in the country, as well as to Toronto and Montreal, Canada. Big cities like Boston, DC, Chicago and LA will have multiple departures daily—smaller cities may only have one or two, so be sure to check the schedules in advance! Remember that distances in the USA are large and you could be on the bus a long time—a very long time.
Port Authority Bus Terminal  also hosts a dozen or so smaller bus companies, which generally offer service along the Boston-to-DC regional axis.
Limoliner  is a bus service geared to the high end and business travelers with on board attendant, on board food service and Internet connectivity. It travels between New York and Boston daily.
TheLuxBus  is a value-priced, luxurious, international ground transportation company connecting New York and Montreal, Quebec with stops in New Paltz, Albany, Saratoga Springs, and Plattsburgh. 2-4 departures daily, frequency increases on holidays, semester breaks and Spring/Summer/Autumn. Reservations are required, introductory rates through March 30, 2009. +1.646.895.0219.
Super cheap buses
A cheaper group of bus companies, some of them known as the "Chinatown Bus", go to Boston, Washington, Philadelphia and a few other destinations, usually picking up and dropping off passengers in ethnic Chinese neighborhoods (though in Boston the buses stop at the main bus station). Fares listed are one-way unless otherwise noted:
- The Fung Wah Bus , granddaddy of all Chinatown buses, with service to and from Boston at the corner of Canal and Bowery streets. $15. Departures: hourly M-Th 7AM-10PM, F-Su 7AM-11PM (4.5 hrs).
- The Lucky Star, competitor to Fung Wah.
- The Boston Deluxe , connecting New York with Boston and Hartford. $15.
- The Today's Bus  and Apex Bus  service Washington D.C. ($20), Philadelphia ($10-12/20 round trip), Richmond ($40) and Atlanta ($105).
- The Vamoose Bus  to and from Bethesda, MD; Arlington (Rosslyn), VA; Boston, MA and Cambridge, MA. Pickup location is at 255 W. 31st St. at Penn Station & Madison Square Garden.
- The DC2NY  to and from Washington D.C.
- The Washington Deluxe  from Washington D.C.
- Goto Bus  - You can search several individual carriers through this site. Sometimes discounts are given from this site.
- Megabus  offers luxury bus service (reclining seats, in-seat tv, and wireless internet) at budget prices (varying from $1 to $14) from Boston, Buffalo, Toronto, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. Most buses (excluding their Atlantic City service) arrive and depart from the north side of W. 31st St. east of 8th Ave. next to Penn Station & Madison Square Garden.
- BoltBus  offers service from Boston, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia; fares start at $1 when ordered well in advance. Buses stop at 33rd Street and 7th Avenue (to D.C.), Canal Street and 6th Avenue (to D.C. and Philadelphia), and 34th Street and 8th Avenue (to Philadelphia).
- Ne-On  is a service operated by Greyhound to Toronto, buses run from the New Yorker Hotel on 8th Avenue and 34th Street to the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Fares start at $1 if booked several months in advance.
- Eastern Travel  offer service for, Washington D.C. buses run from Times Square in front of Ernst & Young Building 7th Ave At W 42nd St (20$ one way, 35$ round trip)
Parking in the city
Think twice about driving in Manhattan. Traffic there is almost always congested. Parking is scarce and garages are quite expensive (up to $40 per day.) If you park illegally you may get a $150 parking ticket; if towed you may have to pay $300 to get your car back. When entering New York from New Jersey, as well as with many bridges and tunnels within New York City, you will incur tolls (up to $10)  and associated traffic delays. Most New Yorkers don't even own cars, and driving from one attraction to another in Manhattan is all but unheard of. Driving to one of the stations served by the Metro North railroad, New Jersey Transit, or Long Island Railroad (see above) and taking the train in is a better option. There are often secure parking areas in some of these stations. Alternate side parking restrictions are practically non existent in Staten Island; parking near the ferry and ditching the car for the weekend is a sane idea that will save you money and time in the long run.
As a general rule, hotels in New York do not supply parking. The few that do will charge you handsomely for the privilege. It is suggested that you look at the following four websites:
- PrimoSpot.com . is a free site that allows users to find on-street (free) parking. It will calculate the amount of time you can stay in metered and alternate side of the street city parking. They provide a breakdown of the regulations and photos of the signs. There is coverage for all of Manhattan (NYC), most of Brooklyn and they say Queens and Boston is next. Users can type in an address, intersection, or zip code and will get the regulations for that area. The parking regulations display on a Google map and the interface is easy to use.
- BestParking.com  (formerly NYC Garages ) is a free service that allows users to search and compare all daily and monthly rates and locations for parking facilities in Manhattan, NYC. Users can book free parking "Reservations" and "Rate Guarantees" at over 20% of parking garages (including Icon Parking Systems and Edison ParkFast). The website's instant rate comparison clearly displays the rates on a Google map and the interface is extremely user-friendly. Regular rates, early bird specials, weekend specials, night Specials, SUV/oversize/luxury vehicle rates, motorcycle rates, and all additional posted charges are included in their instant rate comparison. Cheap parking can be found in all areas of Manhattan and parking in New York City doesn't have to be expensive.
- IconParking.com  is a service where you can book your parking time (if you know it) by the block, date, time, and even choose which garage within the iconparking system has space and they MUST honor it. One traveler says, "I've gone into garages that have initially said they're full up and then I said I booked it online and they shrugged and honored it." A hint, when you book online with this company take the printout with you. Most times the attendants/valets will assume you know what you're talking about, but sometimes they want to see the printout. Also, when you pay, they may feign ignorance as to the price you were quoted online. This is another reason to print out the reservation. Utilizing this service, it is possible to pay $10 on a weekday for 8 hours of parking on John Street in the Financial district showing up at 10am and leaving at 6pm. If initially the valet says they don't have to honor that rate, be persistent and you should get it.
- ParkFast.com . This site is for Edison Parkfast. The site isn't as feature-rich and you can't pick your hours or dates, but at least they have some basic rates and locations.
Most of Manhattan is laid out in a grid. Accounting for Manhattan North, which is the convention stating that the island of Manhattan is oriented exactly north to south (it's actually northeast to southwest), streets run east and west and avenues run north and south. This makes it relatively easy and straightforward to find your way. Streets are numbered (except in downtown Manhattan) and the numbering rises as you go north. Most avenues are numbered from east to west (so First Avenue is east of Second, etc.) below 59th Street. Building numbering on avenues starts at the south end of the avenue and rises as you move north. Above Washington Square, Fifth Avenue divides Manhattan into east and west; numbering starts at Fifth Avenue on each side (except where Central Park interrupts) and increases in either direction. Addresses west of Fifth are written as, for example, 220 W. 34th Street, while those east of Fifth are written as 220 E. 34th Street. However, for numbered streets below Washington Square (fortunately, there are only two, 3rd and 4th streets), Broadway divides the streets into East and West. Because of this dual-numbering system, it is always advisable to keep in mind the closest intersection to your destination (6th Avenue and 34th Street, Broadway and 51st, etc.). In Greenwich Village and downtown Manhattan (generally considered as below Houston (HOW-ston) Street), all bets are off as streets meander, dead-end and intersect themselves. Streets in Greenwich Village are particularly notorious for defying logic. For instance West 4th Street intersects with West 10th Street and West 12th Street, and you can stand on the corner of Waverly Place and Waverly Place. As a convenient guide to distance, there are 20 blocks per mile along the avenues (walking North/South). The average person can walk roughly 1 block per minute. Walking East/West on the streets, the blocks are generally much longer.
For shorter distances, there is no better way of getting around New York than hitting the sidewalk. If you use the subway or buses, you will almost certainly need to walk to and from stations or stops. In all areas of New York a traveler is likely to visit, all streets have wide, smoothly-paved sidewalks. For long distances, walking is also fine and a great way to see the city.
Jaywalking is extremely common among New Yorkers, but can be extremely dangerous. If you cannot properly gauge the speed of oncoming cars it is recommended you wait for the walk signal. An average New Yorker typically jaywalks 10-15 times a day, so do not blindly follow one as they are quite adept at making split-second choices -- and while they might have time to make it across, the person behind them might not. If you do jaywalk, driving is on the right-hand side of the road on two-way streets so remember to look left to check for on-coming traffic on your side of the road. Be aware that most streets are one way, so you may have to look right. Most New Yorkers who know which streets go which way will only look in the direction traffic is coming from rather than looking in both directions. A useful mnemonic to remember which way streets (not avenues) go is "evens go east" -- or if there are cars parked, look which way they are facing. This helps about 98% of the time. But beware of any bicyclists unlawfully going against the proper flow of vehicular traffic -- or, for that matter, police or other vehicles doing the same. (It never hurts to just look both ways, even on a one-way street.)
If you do not wish to jaywalk, be considerate of New Yorkers by not blocking them from crossing at an intersection while you are waiting for your signal.
The New York City Transit Authority issues MetroCards for using the bus and subway system in the city. While it is possible to pay for a bus using exact change (in coins) you must have a MetroCard to enter the subway system. Cards can be bought online, at stations (either from a vending machine or from a token booth), or at many grocery stores and newstands (look for a MetroCard sign on the store window). Information on types of MetroCards and fares can be found online at the Metrocard website. 
Which MetroCard is right for you? It depends on how long you plan to stay, how you intend to use the system, and how often you intend using the system. The base fare is $2 which you pay when you enter a bus or pass through a station turnstile for the first time. However, most MetroCards discount this fare:
- The Single Ride MetroCard available for $2 at stores and at MetroCard vending machines in stations. You cannot buy this card at a token booth. This allows no free transfers to other buses, or subway lines, if you leave the system.
- Pay-Per-Ride MetroCards are available from $4 to $80 at vending machines and token booths. Any purchase over $7 gives a 15% bonus (every $10 gives you an extra $1.50). Transfers between bus and subway are available. This is the best option if you are spending a few days in New York and plan on using public transportation intermittently. The only way to have a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard with an even balance is to purchase $40 (or a multiple of it) in total, giving you a $6 free bonus, resulting in $46, or 23 card swipes.
- One-Day Funpass available for $7.50 from stores and MetroCard vending machines (but not at token booths). Unlimited use of subways and buses from the time you first use the card till 3am of the next day. A great deal if you plan on using the transportation system heavily over a day.
- Seven-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard available for $25 from token booths and vending machines and valid from the time you first use it to midnight of the seventh day. At under $3.60 a day, this is an amazing deal for anyone spending a week in the city. Even with moderate use of the transport system, you'll break even in five days.
- "14-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard" available for $47 from token booths and vending machines and valid from the time you first use it to midnight of the fourteenth day. If you pay by credit or debit/ATM card, the MTA will not replace the card if you lose it, however they will issue you a card with a prorated value of $3.36 per day left on your card.
- Thirty-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard available for $81 from token booths and vending machines and valid from the time you first use it to midnight of the 30th day. If you pay by credit or debit/ATM card, the MTA will not replace the card if you lose it, however they will issue you a card with a prorated value of $2.70 per day left on your card.
- "Seven-Day Express Bus Plus MetroCard" available for $41 and is good for unlimited express bus service (routes typically run from an outer borough to Manhattan, an excellent way to reach Staten Island) as well as unlimited local bus and subway service for one week until midnight of the seventh day. If you pay by credit or debit/ATM card, the MTA will not replace the card if you lose it, however they will issue you a card with a prorated value of $5.86 per day left on your card.
- "JFK-AirTrain 30-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard" available for $40 from vending machines at the AirTrain terminals and valid from the time you buy to midnight of the 30th day. Good for unlimited rides on the AirTrain to JFK for those thirty days. If you take the AirTrain nine or more times within a thirty day period, you will benefit from the initial purchase.
- "JFK-AirTrain 10-Trip MetroCard" available for $25 from vending machines at the AirTrain terminals and good for ten trips until six months after the original purchase date at midnight. If used completely, you can save $25 from buying $5 rides individually. You'll break even if riding 5 times and start saving on the 6th ride.
The New York City subway is easily the best way to travel around the city. It may look grungy and dirty, but few New Yorkers will trade their 24 hour, extensive, and fairly reliable subway system for a better looking one. The subway charges a flat fare of $2.00, regardless of distance traveled. The much-feared subway crimes of the 70s and 80s are for the most part a thing of the past, and it is almost always completely safe. Just use common sense when traveling late at night alone and try to use heavily-traveled stations. Nowadays, you are statistically more likely to get struck by lightning than be a victim of crime on the subway.
- Every line is identified by either a letter or a number. Ignore the colors. Unless you restrict your subway use to the midtown area, relying on colors is a sure way to get lost.
- Uptown/downtown in Manhattan- Almost all lines in Manhattan go north/south and the direction is always clearly noted on the platforms and in train announcements. In general, 'Bronx-Bound' and 'Queens-Bound' are synonymous with uptown, while 'Brooklyn-Bound' is synonymous with downtown. Station entrances will also indicate the direction (e.g., "Uptown and the Bronx and Queens" or "Downtown and Brooklyn") so be careful when entering the station. If no direction is indicated, then you can use that entrance for both uptown and downtown tracks.
- Maps- A free subway map can be found online , or at staffed token booths, so do pick one up. Token booth attendants can also be very helpful in advising you which line to take to your destination. There is also a subway map  that has been overlaid on top of google maps. This version can show you exactly where the train stops (and entrances/exits for Manhattan). A useful map that finds the closest subway to any given address in New York City is available . Alternatively, use HopStop.com  for directions on how to travel between two addresses in the city via subway, buses, regional rail, or walking based on your selection of fewer transfers and more walking, or less walking and more transfers.
- Important lines in Manhattan:
- The Lexington Avenue Line (4, 5, 6) are the only trains on the East Side above 23 St. Useful for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, and other east side museums (4, 5, or 6 to 86th Street Station or the 6 to 77th Street Station). Also for the Statue of Liberty (4, 5 to Bowling Green Station), Chinatown (6 to Canal Street Station), and Yankee Stadium (4, B, D to 161 St./Yankee Stadium Station).
- The Seventh Avenue Line (1, 2, 3) serves Broadway above 42nd Street, and Seventh Avenue below 42nd Street. Useful for the West Village, Chelsea, and Tribeca neighborhoods as well as the Staten Island or Statue of Liberty ferries (1 to South Ferry Station) and Columbia University (the 1 to 116th Street Station).
- The Eighth Avenue Line (A, C, E) serves Eighth Avenue between 14th and 116th streets, then St. Nicholas Av., Broadway, and Ft. Washington Av. starting at 125th St. in Harlem. Useful for the Natural History Museum (C to 81st Street Station), the west side of Central Park (the C makes local stops on Central Park West), Cloisters Museum (A to 190th Street Station), JFK Airport (A to Howard Beach or E to Jamaica).
- The Sixth Avenue Line (B, D, F, V) runs on 6th Ave. from West 4th St. to 57th St. (or to 47th-50th Sts. for all but the F), and is useful for accessing the Museum of Modern Art, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, and St. Patrick's Cathedral (47th-50th Sts.); and Coney Island (Stillwell Av.). Grand St. on the B and D is the best all-purpose stop for Chinatown. The D train also converges with the 8th Av. Line from 59th St./Columbus Circle to 145th St., and is useful for traveling to Harlem, or to Yankee Stadium (161 St./Yankee Stadium).
- The Broadway Line (N, Q, R, W) runs down Broadway below 42nd Street and on Seventh Avenue above Times Square. The N, Q, R, and W trains are useful for accessing Chinatown (Canal St), SoHo/NoHo, NYU area, Union Square, the Empire State Building (34th St), Times Square (42nd St), Carnegie Hall (57th St.), Central Park (57th St and 5th Av stations), and the southern end of the Upper East Side. The R and W trains also go down to Financial District and South Ferry (Whitehall St).
- Transfers- With a metrocard, you can transfer from subway to local bus, local bus bus to local bus, express bus to subway, or express bus to local bus (but not to the same bus route or a bus route going in the return direction) during a two hour period for free. If you board a local bus and pay the $2 fare with a MetroCard, you can transfer to an express bus for $3, resulting in the standard $5 fare for an express bus. You can transfer from one subway line to another for free as often as you like at designated transfer stations (any station where you can cross over to a different line/direction without exiting through a turnstile). While the PATH system accepts payment by metrocard, no free transfers are available.
- Local/Express- Some lines are express, i.e., trains don't stop at every station so make sure you get on the right train. Local and express lines use different tracks and there is always a local line accompanying the express. For example, the 2, 3 are the express trains for the 7th Avenue Line between 96th Street and Chambers Street in Manhattan and the 1 runs as a local alongside them.
- Metro Cards- You must have a metro card to enter the subway system but, once you enter, you can spend the rest of your life there as long as you don't leave the system. All stations have either (or both) a MetroCard machine or a token booth where you can buy cards. Less traveled stations will typically only have a MetroCard vending machine or token booth on the more heavily-traveled platform (more times than not this is the Manhattan-bound platform) Single rides are $2 (single ride cards must be purchased at a machine).
- Swiping Technique/Etiquette- To pass through the turnstile you must slide the card with the logo facing you and magnetic strip down. The cards are designed so that experienced users can swipe through without breaking stride. If you stand at the turnstile and try to jerk the card through the reader, you will likely fail. The trick is to hold the card out to your side in a fixed position and walk it through as if it were coming in for a landing. Beware of failure, though. It can be quite discomforting to walk into the bar if your swipe failed (you'll know it succeeded because the display will flash "Go"). If you've never used a MetroCard before it is best to ensure that there is no one behind you while you perfect your technique as a huge line can form very quickly. A good rule of thumb is, swipe the card fast. Everything else is done quickly in New York City.
- The off-hour/weekend mess- Be aware that while most of the subway is available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, many lines do not run on weekends or late nights. Some trains don't run with other trains picking up the slack. Express trains often run local and some entrances to the subway are closed. For a detailed look at what exactly each train line does during the different hours of the day, consult the individual line maps located on the MTA website . Track work notices are also clearly posted at stations so if you expect to be out late, look out for them. Before leaving on weekends, check the MTA website  for diversions that might get you sidetracked. It's better to know before getting lost somewhere. Remember: If you do feel confused, ask someone for help. And, that there's always more than one way to get somewhere, especially here.
There are many different bus lines, which provide good transport away from the subway. Bus lines are identified by letters followed by numbers. The letters indicates the borough in which the line mostly operates (M=Manhattan; Bx=Bronx; B=Brooklyn; Q=Queens; S=Staten Island). Bus maps for each borough can be found at the MTA website .
Even in Manhattan, with its dense subway network, buses can often be the best way of making a cross-town (i.e. east to west or vice versa) journey. And outside peak hours, a ride by bus from the tip of Manhattan at Battery Park to Midtown is a good and cheap way of taking in the sights.
Buses are particularly useful when going across Central Park (e.g., going from the Metropolitan Museum to the Museum of Natural History). The buses that traverse the park are the M66, M72, M79, M86, M96, and M106. These generally operate on or around 66th, 72nd, 79th, 86th, 96th, and 106th Streets, respectively; however, the eastbound M66 runs on 65th St on the West Side and 67th St. east of Madison Av., the westbound M66 runs on 68th St. on the East Side east of Madison Av., the M79 uses 81st St. to go around the Museum of Natural History on the West Side, and the M106 crosses the park at 96th/97th street and travels the same route as the M96 on the West Side.
When boarding a bus with a MetroCard, insert the card into the card slot in the top of the fare box by the driver. The fare box will swallow the card, read it and return it to you. You should see that the notched corner of the MetroCard will be in the far left corner when you place it into the fare box. It will be vertically oriented. This is different from entering the subway where you don’t stick it in as much, but slide it horizontally oriented through the swipe device, with the front toward you and the magnetic strip on the bottom.
The fareboxes also accept coins but not paper money as they are unable to read paper money, and even so, bills would be shredded in the "fare collection vacuum". As a safety precaution, drivers do not handle money. Change is not given, so exact fares must be paid. The fareboxes accepts all coins (dollar coins included) except pennies. Rarely used half-dollar coins cannot be used because the coin slots on the fareboxes are not big enough.
Ferries provide an interesting alternative to getting around New York. The most famous ferry is the Staten Island Ferry , running from the tip of Manhattan at Battery Park to Staten Island. The ferry carries passengers and bicycles only, runs every 15 minutes during rush hours, and is free. As it gives a really good view of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor on its way, this is a very popular trip for visitors. Ride on the starboard (right facing forward) side of the ferry from Manhattan and the port side from Staten Island for the best views (to the west).
New York Water Taxi runs ferries between points within Manhattan, with some connections to Brooklyn and New Jersey. Their boats are painted to look like taxis.
Yellow Cabs- Real NYC taxis are yellow, have a metal seal on the hood ("medallion"), a light with a taxi number on the roof, a meter for billing, stickers on the windshield for various licenses, special taxi license plates, and a divider in the car. If only the medallion number on the roof is lit, the taxi is available for hire. If the medallion number on the roof is not lit or the off-duty sign on the roof is lit, the taxi is not available for hire. However, sometimes the taxi will stop for you even if the off-duty sign is lit, usually if you are going in the same direction as the taxi driver to turn the cab in after his shift, so if you are desperate, it's worth a try to hail it. The meter starts at $2.50, and then $.40 for each 1/5 mile afterwards. There is a night surcharge of $0.50 (8pm to 6am) and a rush hour surcharge of $1.00 (4pm-8pm M-F). A tip of 10-20% is expected and passengers must pay all tolls. "Yellow cabs" cruise in most of Manhattan and are available at dispatcher lines at airports, but are harder to find in the other four boroughs. Some cabs accept credit cards for payment and all will be required to do so by the end of 2008.
Info on fares, flat fares, group rides and rules are online at the NYC.gov website .
Livery or Black Car- Known as car services or livery cabs, these cars may only be called by phone, are flat rate rather than metered (ask for the fare before getting in), and are not allowed to cruise the street or airports for fares. Their license plates will say either "Livery" or "TLC" on the bottom. Since yellow cabs are hard to come in the outer boroughs, limos are particularly useful for getting to the airport (your hotel can arrange one or look up the yellow pages). In some areas, livery cabs can be flagged on the street. Though this is technically illegal (the cabbie, not you, can get into trouble), it is useful in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs and is accepted practice. Negotiate the fare before you get inside. A tip of 10-20% is expected and passengers must pay all tolls.
Tipping- Tips of 10-20% are expected in both yellow cabs as well as livery cabs. A simple way of computing the tip is to add 10% of the fare and round up from there. Thus, if the meter reads $6.20, you pay $7 and if the meter reads $6.50, you pay $8. Always tip more for better service (for example, if the cabbie helps you with your bags or stroller). Don't tip at all if the service is lousy (for example, if the cabbie refuses to turn on the AC on a hot day). For livery cabs, tip 10-20% depending on the quality of the service but you don't need to tip at all if you hail the cab on the street and negotiate the fare in advance (leave an extra dollar or two anyway!).
All licensed taxis and sedan limousines are authorized to take 3 passengers in the backseat and 1 in the front seat for a total of 4. However, some of the newer minivan and SUV yellow cabs can seat more passengers and may take more than four passengers (even though the licensed limit is posted in the cab). Larger than sedan limousines can be reserved, also useful for airport trips with lots of luggage, by calling any of the dozens of companies in the yellow pages.
Be wary of unlicensed cars (known as 'gypsy cabs') cruising for passengers, especially near the airports. While drivers may claim to offer you a cheaper rate than an actual taxi, your chances of actually getting this rate (not to mention getting to your destination safely and quickly) are slim. If you are in doubt, ask an airport staffer for help finding a cab or cabstand. Major airports have taxi information cards for passengers.
For all cabs, you pay the tolls for bridges, tunnels and highways, even if the cab has an E-ZPass to use the express toll lane. Be careful of being overcharged by cabbies for toll crossings—on some bridges and tunnels (like the Queens-Midtown Tunnel) rates are not posted in plain view. So, a crossing which actually cost the cab driver $4 is easily passed onto the unsuspecting passenger as a $5 charge. Outside the city, other than flat fare destinations and Newark Airport, meter rates are doubled (when going to Westchester or Nassau County).
There are also bizarre van and shuttle services in different parts of the city. You will have to ask where it is going and how much it costs. Usually, you will see people lining up and some mysterious van will appear and they will board. There are services between Chinatown and Queens (you won’t have to make any transfers if it goes where you need to go!), and also there are separate services in Brooklyn, and Queens. Many of these services are branded as "Dollar Vans" (actually costing $1.25), and follow major bus routes. One should use good judgment before using these vans to prevent getting cheated out of money, or something considerably worse than losing money.
A car is not only unnecessary but also inadvisable; street parking is practically nonexistent near crowded areas and tourist attractions, and garage parking rates range from very expensive to plainly extortionate. Note that a large percentage of city cab drivers are aggressive drivers. Traffic can be mind-blowing for the uninitiated, especially in midtown and around rush hours. Manhattan is compact and has excellent public transportation. While this is somewhat less true of the other boroughs (particularly Queens and Staten Island, the only boroughs to be developed with auto and expressway in mind), visitors to New York do not need a car and indeed will be hampered by having one. (One exception can be blamed on Robert Moses: certain outer-borough parkways are perhaps best seen by car, although this is best done outside of peak periods, as that is when the parkways get clogged by rush hour traffic.)
Traffic in New York City roughly follows a hierarchy of precedence, which is unwise to challenge. Fire engines, ambulances, and police cruisers are at the top of the heap, followed by other public service vehicles such as buses, road crews, and sanitation trucks. Beneath them are the cabbies and the delivery trucks. Below those are the locals and the "bridge & tunnel" crowd, but even they will devour you alive if you don't know what you're doing. Note also that driving a car with out-of-state license plates (save for perhaps New Jersey) will instantly mark you as an outsider, sometimes resulting in other drivers being more aggressive around you than they would with a local. Suffice it to say, driving in New York is not for the timid, fearful, or otherwise emotionally fragile.
The major car rental agencies have offices throughout the city. Smaller agencies are also well represented. Be warned that car rentals in New York are generally more expensive than elsewhere in the United States, and frequently require a deposit of up to $500, if you do not have a credit card. Insurance rates also tend to be higher in New York than in most other cities.
While cheap or free parking can be found in some parts of New York at some times, parking is generally extremely expensive. Paying $40 a day is not at all uncommon. Street parking can be free or at least much cheaper, but can be extremely hard to come by. Note also that New York has "alternate side of the street" parking rules , which may require street parkers to move their cars at different times of the day (such as early morning, or overnight in a few business districts). Alternate side rules are suspended on many obscure holidays, while parking meters and other weekday restrictions are only suspended on a few major holidays (not even on all Federal holidays). Parking enforcement officers are very efficient in New York and quite enthusiastic about their jobs - trying to leave a car parked illegally for very long will often end with a ticket, and a vehicle illegally parked in an overcrowded place is very likely to be towed away. In fact, the whole of the city is a Tow Away zone, so if you're parked illegally, it's safe to assume your car probably won't be there when you come back, especially if a sign reading "TOW AWAY ZONE" or showing a tow truck towing a car (symbolic sign) is posted. The New York Police Department operates the tow pounds. 
Also, note that gas stations are few and far between, especially in Manhattan, where only a handful exist around the perimeter of the island. Be prepared to pay much higher prices than in the surrounding suburbs, sometimes up to 50 cents per gallon more.
Words of Warning
Unlike other places in the United States, right turns on red lights are illegal within New York City limits, except where otherwise posted, like a sign reading "AFTER STOP RIGHT TURN PERMITTED ON RED". Given the number of pedestrians on the streets, these turns may be dangerous, and will be met with a hostile reception and possibly a kick to the side of your beloved vehicle. However, as gateway signs reading "NYC LAW - NO TURN ON RED - EXCEPT WHERE POSTED" are sometimes but not always posted when entering the city limit, do be aware of vehicles driven by out-of-state drivers who do not know this.
Talking on hand-held cell phones (without a hands-free device) while driving is also illegal and punishable in New York State, and very dangerous, though this regulation is still fairly new and spottily enforced, and you will see other drivers doing this. But don't even think of driving while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs! The NYPD will seize your car and sell it at auction if you are caught DUI. And please, if there is an emergency vehicle trying to get through with its siren blaring, pull over to the right and move forward as necessary. Pedestrians understand the need for emergency vehicles to go through red lights and are usually cooperative, mostly because dashing in front of a fire truck is a great way to leave your mark on the city (in a manner of speaking). There are red light cameras at 100 intersections in New York City used for issuing summonses, officially called Notices of Liability, for running red lights , but they take the pictures of vehicular license plates only without attempting to identify the drivers, so the summonses, which can be paid or disputed in person or by mail , are sent to vehicular owners without any points against drivers' licenses.
Also, check all parking signs carefully, especially if you're lucky or persistent enough to score a parking spot in Manhattan. Parking meters demand constant feeding, and are hungry late into the night in some areas. In some parts of Midtown Manhattan, there are pay-and-display meters which are only in effect from 6 pm to midnight on weekdays (and all day on weekends), during the workday, parking is prohibited except for commercial trucks. It is a good idea to keep a roll of quarters in your glove compartment. Parking is permitted at broken meters, but only for one hour, even if the meter would have let you park longer. Parking is prohibited in bus stops and within 15 feet of fire hydrants. Yellow lines on the curb have no legal meaning in NYC, so they cannot be relied upon to tell you if you are parked far enough from a hydrant. Many motorists simply pay garaging fees to relieve the anxiety of finding a parking spot and avoid the risks of parking tickets, which can be expensive (especially if a vehicle is towed away) and serve as a major source of income for the city treasury!
Some avenues and many streets in Manhattan have only one-way traffic.
Buy a map
This advice is even more important for intrepid travelers to the outer boroughs, where the street patterns are irregular. There is no north-south or east-west. In Queens, numbers identify not only avenues and streets, but also roads, places, and lanes, all of which might be near each other. Read the entire street sign. Outer borough highways are confusing and often narrowed to one lane, the potholes could trap an elephant, the signs are sometimes misleading, exits which should appear do not, and signs directing a highway approach drag you through miles of colorful neighborhood (in the wrong direction) before finally letting you onto the highway with a stop sign and six inches of merge space.
That said, there are several points of entry/exit into the city from the New Jersey side: the Lincoln Tunnel (midtown/41st Street), the Holland Tunnel (downtown/Canal Street), and the George Washington Bridge (way uptown/178th Street) — all are accessible from the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95) and from I-80. The Midtown Tunnel under the East River is convenient for Long Island travelers, as it becomes the Long Island Expressway. The Queensborough Bridge (aka The 59th Street Bridge) also crosses the East River into Queens, is toll-free, and lands near the mouth of the Midtown Tunnel but requires some automotive manipulation to get onto the Long Island Expressway. Other routes head north and east out of the Bronx, including Interstates 87 (north to Albany) and 95 (northeast to Boston) and the Henry Hudson Parkway, which is along the Hudson River.
Traveling at off-hours makes sense to avoid rush hour traffic, but some highways and roads are surprisingly packed even so. The Cross Bronx Expressway, which is part of I-95 and leads to the George Washington Bridge, is almost always choked with traffic. The Long Island Expressway has heavy eastbound traffic between the morning and evening rushes. The Holland and Lincoln Tunnels are 10 minute waits on good days. The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) is notorious, and an accident on the Verazzano Bridge without shoulders can cause a backup all the way through the northern part of Staten Island into New Jersey. It is a good idea to check radio traffic reports, especially before crossing a bridge or tunnel. Three different stations have reports every 10 minutes around the clock: 880 AM (on the 8's), 1010 AM (on the 1's), and 1130 AM (on the 5's).
Driving cross-town (east-west) in Manhattan during rush hours is especially troublesome because the street lights are optimized to move traffic along the north-south roads. Your best bet is to avoid driving in Midtown Manhattan (between the 30s and 50s) whenever possible. If you do drive in Midtown Manhattan cross-town, posted Midtown Thru Streets  may reduce delays.
If you are traveling with commercial traffic, such as a moving truck, remember that commercial traffic is prohibited on many, many roadways throughout the city. Commercial traffic is permitted only on multiple-lane roadways designated as "expressways," (such as the Long Island Expressway, Cross-Bronx Expressway, or Brooklyn-Queens Expressway) and the surface streets unless marked otherwise. Commercial traffic is prohibited on all multiple-lane roadways designated as "parkways," (such as the Grand Central Parkway, Cross-Island Parkway, or Henry Hudson Parkway). Unfortunately, the majority of fast-moving roadways are designated as parkways in New York City. Commercial traffic is also prohibited on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Drive in Manhattan. The only viable option for traveling with commercial traffic in Manhattan is the surface streets.
Cycling in Manhattan can often be quicker than taking the subway or a taxi, but it isn't for the fainthearted. New York City's tumultuous traffic makes biking difficult. Aggressive cab drivers, jaywalking pedestrians, potholes and debris on the roads create a cycling experience that might just as well have been taken from Dante's Inferno. If you do venture into the concrete jungle on a bike, make sure you wear a helmet and have sufficient experience in urban cycling. Despite the hazards, around 100,000 New Yorkers commute to work by bicycle every day, taking advantage of the reasonably flat geography and compactness of the island. Conditions are likely to improve in future, as the city expands the cycle lane network and completes the traffic-free greenway encircling the whole of Manhattan.
PATH to Jersey City, Newark, and Hoboken
PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) is a subway type system connecting Newark and various points on the New Jersey shore of the Hudson River with New York City. Two lines pass under the Hudson and enter the city, one terminating at a temporary World Trade Center site station in downtown, the other at 33rd Street in midtown. The 33rd Street Station was once connected underground to Penn Station, but now, presumably due to security concerns, the underground passage is closed and you must walk a block west on the surface of 33rd.
PATH train fares are $1.75 per trip. An RFID-type stored value card known as the Smartlink  affords PATH users discounts: $13 for 10 trips; $26 for 20 trips. However, the card itself must be purchased ($5, $18 including 10 trips). Fortunately, the PATH system accepts the Metrocard. For the visitor traveling from New Jersey daily, it is more convenient and possibly cheaper to purchase the Metrocard to travel on both the PATH and the MTA systems.
Like most of the great world cities, New York has an abundance of great attractions.
A number of multi-attraction schemes give reduced prices and line-skipping privileges.
- Explorer Pass. Allows you to choose 7, 5 or 3 top attractions to visit. Cardholders have 30 days to use the card after visiting the first attraction. Attractions to choose from include Top of the Rock Observation, Rockefeller Center Tour, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NBC Studio Tour, movie tours, cruises, and more. Also included with the card are shopping, dining, and additional attraction discounts
- CityPass. Gets you into 5 top New York attractions within 9 days of first use for a much reduced rate. The attractions are American Museum of Natural History; Guggenheim Museum; Museum of Modern Art; Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises OR Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island; and Empire State Building Observatory. $74 adult, $54 youth aged 6–17 (reduced from combined regular admission of $105.50 and $82.50 respectively -incorrect).
- New York Pass. Grants access to over 50 top attractions with line skipping privileges. Passes are available for 1 day ($75 adult, $55 child), 2 days ($110 adult, $90 child), 3 days ($140 adult, $120 child) or 7 days ($180 adult, $140 child). You can visit as many attractions as you want in the time period - the more attractions you visit, the more you save. Also includes a free 140 page guide book.
- Historic House Trust of New York is a non-profit organization founded in 1989 to preserve and promote the historic houses located in New York City parks.
See also the district pages for detailed information about attractions. Detail is gradually being moved from this page to the district pages.
- Statue of Liberty. The ferry ($12) leaves every 25 minutes from Battery Park and stops at Liberty Island and Ellis Island. You must (in advance) reserve a time slot to enter the museum at the base of the statue, and then undergo cumbersome security procedures to actually enter the museum in the statue's pedestal (visitors are no longer allowed in the crown, much less the torch). The Immigration Museum at Ellis Island is worth a visit, and it is free. Both Liberty Island and Ellis Island are open every day of the year except December 25 from 9:30AM until 5PM (with extended hours in the summer).
- Brooklyn Bridge. You may walk across this historic bridge in either direction (takes about 30 minutes each way), or bike across it, for no toll. The view is quite nice going into Manhattan. On the Brooklyn side, you can get pizza, or dine by the waterfront in the DUMBO (Down Under [the] Manhattan Bridge Overpass) area, which is gentrifying with lofts and cool dining places. You can also take the F train to York St, hang out in the DUMBO area and then walk across the bridge back into Manhattan.
- Central Park with its lawns, trees and lakes is popular for recreation and concerts and is home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park Zoo.
- Times Square, centered on 42nd Street and Broadway—a place filled with video screens and LED signs. A world wonder or a tourist nightmare depending on your perspective, the "New" Times Square is a family-friendly theme park of themed restaurants, theaters and hotels, as well as a developing business district. Those looking for the seedy Times Square of old will find it around the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
- Lincoln Center, Broadway at 64th Street, . The world's largest cultural complex. See theater, symphonies, ballet, opera, movies, art exhibits or just wander the architecturally beautiful buildings. Subway: 1 to 66th St. or walkable from A, B, C and D trains at 59th St. or the 2 and 3 trains to 72nd St. The buildings are modern, and even have modern chandeliers. There are two opera companies, and the famous Julliard School of Music is also here. Within a few blocks are a large Barnes and Noble Bookstore, three "art-house" movie theatres and an AMC movie theater which includes New York's only commerical IMAX screen.
- Rockefeller Plaza, 630 5th Avenue. The Christmas Tree, the Skating Rink, the shops and hubbub—you can't miss it. The Christmas Tree and the Skating Rink are not year round. You may take skating lessons. There are several dining establishments overlooking this area. The art deco buildings of Rockefeller Center are quite cool. Saks Fifth Avenue is across the street, and there are many other stores throughout the complex. Subway: B, D, F, V to 47–50th Streets-Rockefeller Center.
- Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Plaza, . As the name suggests, the Top of the Rock is the observation level of the Rockefeller Center. Amazing views of New York City, without the crowds accustomed to the Empire State Building.
- The United Nations, 1st Avenue at 46th Street, . Offers a park overlooking the East River and tours of the general assembly and secretariat.
- Empire State Building, Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, . The Empire State Building is open until 12 midnight, 2am on the weekends during the summer. Note: Strongly consider going to the Empire State at night. During the day, lines can be between 1 and 4 hours. At night, lines disappear, or at the very least are significantly better.
- World Trade Center Site, Trinity Place and Fulton Street. The site of the September 11th terrorist attacks has become popular with visitors (and it was popular with visitors even before the attacks, as a couple of landmark buildings stood there). Various plaques are on display documenting the history of the WTC.
- New York Stock Exchange, 20 Broad Street (at Wall Street). The most important stock exchange in the world, the NYSE is the most watched indicator of economic performance in the global economy. The activity on the trading floor is astonishing. Visitors should beware, however, that security is tight, and sudden closures are a possibility. Visitor admittance to the interior has been suspended indefinitely. Subway: 4, 5 to Wall Street; J, M, Z to Broad Street (weekdays only)
- New York Public Library, Corner of Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets. After the Library of Congress, this is the largest non-academic library in the United States. It is housed in a beautiful building by Carrer and Hastings, which is seen as the greatest example of Beaux Arts architecture. The main reading room is magnificent, and the library contains numerous important rare items, like Jefferson's handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence.
- Grand Central Terminal, 42nd Street and Park Avenue. One of the busiest train stations in the world, Grand Central is also a must for architecture lovers. Its vaulted ceiling, covered with a medieval zodiac design, is staggering.
Museums and galleries
New York has some of the finest museums in the world. All the public museums (notably including the Metropolitan Museum), which are run by the city, accept donations for an entrance fee, but private museums (especially the Museum of Modern Art) can be very expensive. In addition to the major museums, hundreds of small galleries are spread throughout the city, notably in neighborhoods like Chelsea and Williamsburg. Many galleries and museums in New York close on Mondays, so be sure to check hours before visiting. The following is just a list of highlights; see district pages for more listings.
Arts and Culture
- Brooklyn Museum of Art, on Eastern Parkway (Eastern Parkway stop on the 2 or 3 train) is a large museum which contains excellent collections of Egyptian art, Assyrian reliefs, 19th-century American art, and art from Africa and Oceania, among other things. Right past the museum are the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (separate admission charge), so you can easily visit both in one pleasant afternoon.
- The Cloisters, . Located on four acres overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park, the building incorporates elements from five medieval French cloisters—quadrangles enclosed by a roofed or vaulted passageway, or arcade—and from other monastic sites in southern France. Its gardens are a great way to spend a nice afternoon. Pay for the Cloisters or the Metropolitan Museum and see both for the price of one (although note that payment at both places is by donation, in any case).
- Guggenheim, . The architecture is more interesting than the collection it hosts, although the spiraling galleries are ideal for exhibiting art works. It was designed by the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and was built in 1959.
- International Center of Photography, 1133 Sixth Avenue (at 43rd Street). Devoted solely to photography, this museum a block from Times Square always has interesting exhibits running.
- Museum of Sex, 233 Fifth Avenue (at 27th Street), . A museum which relates to the evolution of sex. It features images, films, and sex devices being used. They also sell some adult collections.
- Museum of Modern Art(MoMA), 11 West 53 St (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Subway: E or V to Fifth Ave/53 St; B, D, or F to 47–50 Streets/Rockefeller Center), (212) 708-9400, . Sa–M, W–Th 10:30am–5:30PM, F 10:30AM–8PM, closed every Tu and Thanksgiving Day and 25 Dec. In Nov 2004 the museum reopened after expansion and renovation. $20 adult, $12 student, free for under 17s; free for all Fr 4–8pm. Quite lengthy queue to get one's baggage checked. Moreover, all expensive items must be carried on person (laptops, phones, cameras) as the staff refuse to check such items. This is the most comprehensive collection of modern art in the world, and is so large as to require multiple visits to see all of the works on display. If you are in a hurry and want to see only the crowd-pleasers, head to the fifth floor, where you'll find works like Van Gogh's Starry Night and Picasso's Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Also make sure to take time to visit the extensive (and sometimes whimsical) industrial design collection.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, . Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum is located in New York City's Central Park along Fifth Avenue. The Museum's two-million-square-foot building has vast holdings that represent a series of collections, each of which ranks in its category among the finest in the world. The American Wing, for example, houses the world's most comprehensive collection of American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts, presently including 24 period rooms that offer an unparalleled view of American history and domestic life. The Museum's approximately 2,500 European paintings form one of the greatest such collections in the world's Rembrandts and Vermeers alone are among the choicest, not to mention the collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist canvases. Virtually all of the 36,000 objects constituting the greatest collection of Egyptian art outside Cairo are on display, while the Islamic art collection is one of the world's finest. Other major collections belonging to the Museum include arms and armor, Asian art, costumes, European sculpture and decorative arts, medieval and Renaissance art, musical instruments, drawings, prints, antiquities from around the ancient world, photography, and modern art.
- Madame Tussauds, . New York City's branch of the famous London wax museum. Features detailed life-like wax models of celebrities and other famous public figures.
- PS1 Contemporary Art Center, 22–25 Jackson Avenue (Queens), (718) 784-2084, . Open Th-M noon–6PM. An affiliate of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
- Whitney Museum of American Art Contemporary American art, permanent collection and rotating exhibitions. The Whitney is associated with Fisher-Landau Center in Queens, and the Whitney Museum at Altria, a smaller exhibition space in midtown.
Science and Technology
- American Museum of Natural History in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Visits to the museum are by donation, you do not have to pay the recommended fee so you can give them only 2 dollars. Hayden Planetarium, immediately to its north on 81st St, charges a separate admission fee.
- Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86, 12th Ave & 46th St, (212) 245-0072, . Apr–Sep M–F 10AM–5PM, Sa–Su 10AM–6PM; Oct–Mar Tu–Su 10AM–5PM. $16.50 adult. The museum will close beginning Oct 1, 2006 until mid 2008 for renovations.
- Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (Museum at FIT), 7th Avenue at 27th St, (212) 217-5970 . Open Tu–F noon–8PM; Sa 10AM–5PM. Free.
- New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street in Queens located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, (718) 699-0005 Groups: (718) 699-0301 . Open M-F 9:30AM to either 2PM or 5PM depending on the day and season; 10PM to 6PM on weekends. Because NYHoS is a member of the cultural institution group in New York City, free hours are available from September to June on Fridays from 2:00pm to 5:00pm, and on Sundays from 10AM to 11AM (first open hour of the day), with the Science Playground available for an additional fee. The New York Hall of Science is on the grounds of the former World's Fair, and incorporates one of the buildings of the Fair, now known as the Great Hall, which is available for private events. Currently, the Great Hall is being used for the new "Magic: The Science of Illusion" exhibit.
Like all great cities, New York is made up of distinct neighborhoods, each of which has its own flavor. Many of the neighborhoods are popular with visitors, and all are best experienced on foot. See individual borough pages (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx , and Staten Island) for a comprehensive listing of neighborhoods.
Though the image many people have of Manhattan is endless skyscrapers and packed sidewalks, the city also boasts numerous lovely parks, ranging from small squares to the 850-acre Central Park, and there are worthwhile parks in every borough. From the views of the New Jersey Palisades from Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, to the grand Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx, and the famous Flushing Meadow Park in Corona, Queens, site of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, there is more than enough to keep any visitor busy. And almost any park is a great spot to rest, read, or just relax and watch the people streaming past. To find out more about New York City parks, look at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation website and the WikiTravel pages for each borough.
A general word of advice on sightseeing in New York:
Tourists often spend their entire vacation in New York standing in line (or as New Yorkers say, "standing on line"). This is often unnecessary; there are usually alternatives. For example, one can choose to avoid the Empire State Building during the day (it is open, and empty, late, until midnight or 2am on weekends during summer), skip the Statue of Liberty in favor of the Staten Island Ferry, and stay away from the Guggenheim on Monday (it is one of the only museums open that day). Also, there is no reason to stand in line for a Broadway show if you already have a ticket with an assigned seat. If you prefer, get a drink nearby and come back closer to curtain time, when you can walk right in. The lines for bus tours can be absurd because tourists all seem to have the exact same itinerary - which is get on a bus in the morning in Times Square, get off for the Statue of Liberty, and finish on the East Side in the afternoon. Why not go downtown in the morning, and save Midtown for the afternoon? You will thank yourself for avoiding the crowds. Also, understand that buses are the slowest way to go crosstown in Midtown Manhattan during peak hours, and taxis are not much better. You are often better off on foot.
- Walking Tours Manhattan, PO Box 8426, ☎ 917-842-4319(email@example.com), . Immerse yourself in an eco-friendly walking tour of the city's unique neighborhoods, each with its own style and energy. Walking Tours Manhattan is the best way to travel green and travel clean. And leave the tour bus behind. A vacation in New York wouldn’t be complete without walking among the locals. Our sightseeing Manhattan tours include everything you'll want to see; major landmarks, hot restaurants and clubs plus famous shopping venues. We know you might get hungry as you're walking around town. So every tour includes a place to have a bite on the go, at an authentic New York eatery.
- Context New York, ☎ +1 888 467 1986(firstname.lastname@example.org), . daily. An organization of scholars who lead in-depth walking tours of New York's museums, architecture, and history. Walks include Archaeology of Manhattan, Cloisters, various seminars in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA, a history of Ethnic Food in the city, and Jewish history of the Lower East Side.from $50.
- Photo Walk-abouts, Greenwich Village, Central Park, Wall Street, ☎ 917-557-3693(email@example.com), . Friday 2 PM Central Park, Saturday 10 AM Greenwich Village, Saturday 2 PM Wall Street. A walking tour and photography lesson rolled into one, Photo Walk-abouts combines fascinating historical commentary with expert tips on photography. The tour begins with a brief lesson on photography and at various points along the tour participants are given the opportunity to explore an area with their cameras. Tours last approximately 2.5 hours. No reservations are required.$20 cash.
Theater and Performing Arts
New York's Broadway is famous for its many shows, especially musicals. You might want to visit TKTS online, which offers tickets for shows the same night at discounted prices, usually 50% off or visit BroadwayBox.com, a community site posting all recent Broadway discounts. TKTS has two offices, one at Times Square with lines often hours long, and a much faster one (sometimes minutes) at South Street Seaport (Corner of John St, just south of Brooklyn Bridge). Note that only cash is accepted at South Street. Show up at opening time for best selection. Tickets to most Broadway shows are also available from the Broadway Concierge and Ticket Center, inside the Times Square Visitor Center. They offer restaurant and hotel recommendations, parking help, and other services in addition to ticket sales, available in several languages.
New York boasts an enormous amount and variety of theatrical performances. These shows usually fall into one of three categories: Broadway, Off-Broadway, or Off-Off-Broadway.Broadway refers to the shows near Times Square that usually play to theaters of 500 seats or more. These include the major musicals and big-name dramatic works, and are the most popular with visitors. Tickets for Broadway shows can run to $100 a seat, though discounters like TKTS (above) make cheaper seats available. Off-Broadway indicates performances that are smaller, not located in or near Times Square, and usually of a certain intellectual seriousness. Tickets to Off-Broadway shows tend to range from $25–50. Off-Off-Broadway refers to those shows that play to very small audiences (less than 100 seats) with actors working without equity. These can be dirt cheap and often very good, but some may be sufficiently avant-garde as to turn off conservative playgoers. Off-Off-Broadway Theaters worth checking out are Rising Sun Performance Company , Endtimes Productions , and The People's Improv Theater .
For current and upcoming Broadway and Off-Broadway info and listings, visit Playbill.com. This site also has lots of articles on what's going on in the NY commercial theatre scene. Broadway.com  and Newyorkcitytheatre.com  also has plenty of info, as well as some videos and photos. Theatermania  has many discounts to the bigger shows, and also provides listings for the Off-Off scene. If visiting in the summer, brave the huge lines and attempt to get tickets to the Public Theater's  annual "Shakespeare in the Park," which often features big-time stars of stage and screen. Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Natalie Portman, and Liev Schrieber are just a few of the actors to have appeared here in recent years. Oh, and it's free. Just get to one of the box offices ridiculously early, especially the one at the Park.
It's possible to purchase tickets to The Tony Awards, Broadway's biggest award ceremony and the culmination of the theatrical season in the city. These aren't cheap, but if you're into the theatre scene and know something about the various performers being honored, it can be an exciting night. In any case, the performances are always fun, and you can catch moments that aren't in the broadcast. Always the first or second Sunday night in June, visit The Tony Awards website  for the most current details.
New York has a wide variety of musical and dance companies, including several that are among the world's most renowned. There are also numerous small companies putting on more idiosyncratic shows every night of the week. The following are just a few of New York's most high-profile music and dance options.
- Brooklyn Academy of Music(BAM), 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn. Home to the impressive Brooklyn Philharmonic, BAM is one of the best places in the country to attend cutting-edge new musical and dance performances. The Next Wave Festival every autumn is a much-anticipated event of the New York performance scene.
- Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Avenue. The premier venue for classical music in the United States, Carnegie Hall is famous around the world for its dazzling performances. Playing at Carnegie Hall is, for many classical musicians, the epitome of success. Carnegie Hall houses three different auditoriums, with the Isaac Stern auditorium being the largest venue.
- Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street (at Broadway). The Chamber Music Society is the most prestigious chamber music ensemble in the United States, playing in the acoustically impeccable Alice Tully Hall.
- Metropolitan Opera at Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street (at Broadway). The Met (as it is known) is one of the greatest opera companies in the world. The company performs six days a week (Monday-Saturday) during the season (September-April), and always lands the greatest singers from around the globe. Expect to pay a small fortune for the most expensive seats, but upper-tier seats can cost as little as $25.
- New York City Opera at New York State Theater in Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street (at Broadway). (Closed for renovations until Fall 2009.) The slightly more accessible and energetic younger sister of the Met, the NYCO is a world-class company that puts on a dynamic range of performances. Plus, tickets can go for as little as $16.
- New York City Ballet at New York State Theater in Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street (at Broadway). Founded by George Balanchine, the New York City Ballet is among the world's best dance companies. Their performances of the The Nutcracker, during the holiday season, are enormously popular.
- New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street (at Broadway). One of the premier orchestras in the United States, playing a wide variety of concerts (more than 100) every year to sold-out crowds, the Philharmonic is well-known for its standard-setting performances of the classical canon. The season runs from September to June, and in the summer they play free concerts in parks around the city .
- Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas, (212) 632-3975, . See the Rockettes, another show or just tour the famous Art Deco masterpiece.
New York is one of the world's greatest film cities, home to a huge number of theaters playing independent and repertory programs. Many major US studio releases open earlier in New York than elsewhere (especially in the autumn) and can be found at the major cineplexes (AMC, United Artists, etc.) around the city. Be advised that, as with everything else in New York, movies are quite popular, and even relatively obscure films at unappealing times of the day can still be sold out. It's best to get tickets in advance whenever possible.
As many films premiere in New York, you can often catch a moderated discussion with the director or cast after the show. Sometimes even repertory films will have post-screening discussions or parties. Check listings for details.
In addition to the more than 15 commercial multiplexes located throughout the city, some of the more intriguing New York film options include:
- Film Forum 209 West Houston Street. A stylish theater in Greenwich Village that runs two programs—contemporary independent releases and classic repertory films. While the current releases are almost always interesting and worth seeing, it's the repertory programming schedule that filmlovers anticipate eagerly.
- American Museum of the Moving Image 35th Ave and 36th Street, Queens. AMMI contains a museum devoted to, literally, moving images, so visitors will find exhibits on zoetropes and video games in addition to film and television. They also put on a terrific screening program, with films showing continuously throughout the day.
- Angelika Film Center 18 West Houston Street at Broadway, (212) 995-2000, . Just down the street from Film Forum, the Angelika plays new independent and foreign films, many of which are only screened in New York. The cafe upstairs is something of a hotspot as well.
- Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue (at East 2nd Street), . A varied program of unique films, both repertory and new, most playing for only one or two screenings. Many of the films shown here can't be seen anywhere else (for better or worse). It also plays host to several film festivals yearly.
- Cinema Village On 22 East 12th Street between University Place and Fifth Ave (212) 629-5097,  Cinema Village specializes in showing documentaries, independent and foreign films. Often the films there will not be playing anywhere else in the country and Q&As with directors are common at opening weekends.
- Film Society at Lincoln Center Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street (at Broadway), . The Film Society always puts on a terrific repertory program and shows a wide variety of experimental and foreign films. In addition, numerous talks and panels are held here, many featuring bold-named directors, screenwriters, and actors.
- MoMA 11 West 53rd Street. In addition to being the crown jewel of modern art museums, MoMA puts on a terrific repertory program in a nicely renovated theater below the museum. And compared to other New York movie theaters, tickets to films at MoMA are a steal.
- New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. Running in October, the New York Film Festival is one of the country's best, with great films from around the world accompanied by interesting discussions, lectures, and panels. Be advised that tickets usually sell out at least a month in advance.
- Tribeca Film Festival. Throughout May the movie theaters of Lower Manhattan are taken over by the Tribeca Film Festival, which puts on a truly enormous amount of screenings and talks. Just a few years old, the Tribeca Film Festival has already secured a prominent place in New York's film calendar.
New York City hosts many parades, street festivals and outdoor pageants. The following are the most famous:
- New York's Village Halloween Parade. Each Halloween (October 31) at 7PM. This parade and street pageant attracts 2 million spectators and 50,000 costumed participants along Sixth Avenue between Spring Street and 21st Street. Anyone in a costume is welcome to march; those wishing to should show up between 6PM-9PM at Spring Street and 6th Avenue.
- Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The morning of each Thanksgiving on Central Park West, this parade attracts many spectators and is broadcast on nationwide television.
- St. Patrick's Day Parade. The largest St. Patty's parade in the world! Route is up 5th Ave from 44th Street to 86th Street and lasts from 11AM to about 2:30. Celebrations in pubs citywide happen the rest of the day and night until the green beer runs out.
New York is the fashion capital of the United States, and is a major shopping destination for people around the world. The city boasts an unmatched range of department stores, boutiques, and specialty shops. Some neighborhoods boast more shopping options than most other American cities and have become famous in their own right as consumer destinations. Anything you could possibly want to buy is found in New York, including clothing, cameras, computers and accessories, music, musical instruments, electronic equipment, art supplies, sporting goods, and all kinds of foodstuffs and kitchen appliances. See the borough pages and district sub-pages for listings of some of the more important stores and major business districts (of which there are several).
In New York City street artists have an advocacy group ARTIST that has won numerous Federal lawsuits on their free speech rights. Based on their lawsuits anyone can now freely create, display and sell art including paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, DVDs, CDs etc. based on First Amendment freedom of speech. Thousands of artists now earn their livings on NYC streets and in parks. Among the areas where many can be found are SoHo in Lower Manhattan and near the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 81st Street.
New York City has a number of retail outlet locations, offering substantial discounts and the opportunity to purchase ends-of-line and factory seconds. See the Manhattan page for descriptions of Century 21 and Filene's, where many New Yorkers get designer clothing for less.
If you need everyday items such as bottled water, packed snacks, photo developing and medicine, you can go to a Duane Reade convenience store. They are located virtually everywhere in Manhattan and in a few instances, particularly in Midtown, there may be more than 1 Duane Reade per block. There are some CVS and Rite Aid pharmacies in the city as well.
For a more authentically New York experience, stop by one of the thousands of bodegas/delis/groceries throughout Manhattan. Although sometimes dirty-looking and often in apparent need of repair, you can purchase groceries, water, inexpensive flowers, coffee, and cooked food -- typically 24/7.
Shopping in Airports
JFK: Most shops are chain outlets, the same as can be found in most of large airports in the world--so it's pretty difficult to feel the spirit of the fashion capital if you only have 2 hours in JFK waiting for a connection flight. JetBlue Airways' new terminal 5 is the most populated with modern, cutting-edge restaurants and shops, but terminals 4 and 8 are also a good place for retail and duty free shopping.
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 $2-a-slice pizza joints to the $500-a-plate prix fixe sushi at Masa. Thousands of delis, bodegas, and grocery stores dot every corner of the city and DIY 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 mid-town.
Fruit stalls appear at many intersections from Spring to Fall with ready to eat strawberries, bananas, apples, etc available at very low cost. Vegetarians will find New York to be a paradise with hundreds of vegetarian-only restaurants and good veggie options in even the most expensive places.
Don't leave without trying
- The New York Bagel. There is no bagel like the New York Bagel anywhere else in the world. Bagels arrived from the old world with Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and have become utterly New York in character. You can get bagels anywhere in the city but, for the best bagels you may have to trek away from the main tourist sites. H&H Bagels at 80th St. and Broadway is very popular and expensive, but many bagel connoisseurs consider Absolute Bagels at Broadway and 107th street to be the most traditional and best. Ess-a-Bagel on 21st and 1st Av. and 3rd Av. between 51st and 52nd Sts. also has a strong following. For anyone out there wanting to try a REAL bagel, trek out to Midwood, Brooklyn (Avenue J on the B or Q subway line). For the best bagels, go early when they are warm and straight from the oven.
- The New York Hot Dog. Vendors all over the city sell hot dogs - affectionately called "dirty water dogs" by the locals - from pushcarts on city sidewalks and in parks. Choose your toppings from mustard, ketchup, and relish (or just ask for everything), wrap the dog in a paper napkin, and walk along the sidewalk trying not to let the toppings slip and slide all over your hands. Also recommended is Papaya King (several locations), known for their inexpensive meals ($3.25 for a dog and a drink) and their blended tropical fruit drinks and smoothies. Or, take the Subway to Coney Island (D, F, N, Q trains, Coney Island - Stillwell Ave. stop) for the famous Nathan's hot dog (1310 Surf Ave).
- The New York Deli Sandwich. Another delicacy brought over by Jewish Immigrants, you must try either a corned beef or pastrami sandwich. There are some better known delis in the city, but the most famous one is Katz's Deli at Houston and Ludlow Streets. They have been around since 1888, and still pack them in day and night.
- The New York Pizza. A peculiarly New York thing, you can buy pizza, with a variety of toppings, by the slice from almost every pizzeria in the city. A New York pizza has a thin crust (sometimes chewy, sometimes crisp) well lathered with cheese. Buy a slice, mop the oil off with a fistful of napkins, and enjoy. Pick up one with pepperoni topping which is the quintessential meal on the go in New York.
- The New York Cheesecake. Made famous by Lindy's and Junior's deli in New York, it relies upon heavy cream, cream cheese, eggs and egg yolks to add a richness and a smooth consistency.
- Do I need cash?
A number of restaurants in New York do not take credit cards, particularly smaller establishments. Still others maintain minimum purchase amounts for credit/debit purchases. Most establishments will prominently display this requirement, so keep your eyes open if you typically pay for meals with plastic.
- What should I tip?
New Yorkers often calculate the base tip by doubling the tax. Since tax is 8.375% this approximates the tipping customs elsewhere in the US. Many restaurants include a mandatory service charge for large parties, and if this charge is shown on your bill, you may be stuck tipping at least that much, but you don't need to tip more. (If service is horrible, you can choose to refuse to pay the service charge and so inform the manager, but never do that unless something really terrible happened.) If you receive poor service and tip less than customary, the waiter may confront you and ask for a normal-sized tip. This isn't totally uncommon and might happen because the waiter's accustomed to European tourists who accidentally give low tips because they don't understand the US custom. A confrontation is different from an included service charge. Remember that while it is expected for you to tip normally for adequate service, you are never obligated to tip and owe the waiter no argument if your service was truly awful.
When paying cash (without a tab) in a bar, tipping a dollar per drink is common in bars where drinks cost $5 - $15. Though this custom is looser than restaurant tipping, you're likely to blend in a bit better if you do it.
- What should I wear?
Restaurants with entrees under $20 are unlikely to have any preference about what their customers wear. If you're from elsewhere in the US and wish to "pass" as a local within Manhattan, pay attention to your shoes and coat, though it's hard for wikitravelers to arrive at consensus on fashion. Most local exclusiveness is pretty understated, but where it exists it's to the B&T crowd or "bridge and tunnel people," nightlife commuters from New Jersey and Long Island that supposedly threaten to rob bar-filled neighborhoods of their local color, so if your style doesn't fit in but is obviously from outside the US, you may find yourself as welcomed as graciously as any local, if not more so. And New Yorkers are mostly underdressed compared to Sydney, London, or Paris.
Like most major cities, New York has some expensive, extremely fashionable restaurants that care about, and enforce, a certain level of dress among their customers - but "jackets only" restaurants are very uncommon nowadays.
New York is a friendly place for vegetarians and vegans. There are many vegetarian only restaurants with offerings varying from macrobiotic food to Ayurvedic thalis or Asian Buddhist food. But, more importantly, almost every restaurant at every point on the price scale has vegetarian dishes that are more than an afterthought. Even Per Se, one of the most expensive and sought after restaurants in the city, has a seven course vegetarian tasting menu well worth the expense. DIY vegetarians will have no problem finding fresh vegetables, a wide variety of cheese, bread, and prepared vegetarian foods in New York supermarkets.
Nothing differentiates New York more from other American (and European) cities than the astonishing amount of food cooked and served on the streets. Starting with the thousands of hot dog stands on almost every street corner (try Hallo Berlin on 54th and Fifth for the best rated sausages), the possibilities are endless. People trek to Jackson Heights in Queens for a nibble of the famous arepas of the Arepa Lady. Freshly cooked Indian dosas are served up for a pittance at the NY Dosas stand in Washington Square Park. The Trinidadian/Pakistani Trinipak cart on 43rd and Sixth. Danny Meyer, the famous restauranteur, has a burger stand ("Shake Shack") in Madison Square Park. The halal offerings in midtown are legendary (Kwik-Meal on 45th and Sixth; Halal Chicken on 53rd and Sixth and many others). Most carts serve lunch (from about 11AM to 5 or 6PM in the evening) and disappear after dark, so look for a cart near you, smell what's cooking, and enjoy a hot and often tasty lunch for a few dollars (a meal costs anywhere from about $2 to $8). Mornings, from about 6AM to 10AM, the streets are dotted with coffee carts that sell coffee, croissants, bagels, and danish pastries and are good for a cheap breakfast: small coffee and bagel for a dollar or so. Other street vendors sell italian ices, ice cream, and roasted peanuts. Also, look around for the coffee truck (often found in Union Square), dessert truck, as well as Belgian waffle truck that roam around the city.
Do It Yourself
New York's many markets and grocery stores make preparing your own food interesting and easy. Almost every grocery store, deli, or bodega has a prepared foods section where you can make your own salad (beware, you are charged by the pound!) or buy ready to eat foods such as burritos, tacos, curries and rice, lasagna, pastas, pre-prepared or freshly-made sandwiches, and many other types of foods. Whole Foods has five New York City locations, all with a variety of foods, and a clean place to sit and eat but any supermarket will have enough to take away to the park or your hotel room for a low cost meal. If you have a place to cook, you'll find almost any kind of food in New York though you may have to travel to the outer boroughs for ethnic ingredients. Most supermarkets have Thai, Chinese, and Indian sauces to add flavor to your pot, and many, especially in upper Manhattan, have the ingredients necessary for a Mexican or Central American meal, but go to Chinatown for the best Chinese ingredients, Little India in Murray Hill for Indian ingredients, Flushing for all things Chinese or Korean, Jackson Heights for Peruvian, Ecuadorian, and Indian, Flatbush and Crown Heights for Jamaican, Williamsburg for Kosher. Ask around for where you can get your favorite ethnic ingredients and you'll find traveling around in local neighborhoods a rewarding experience. There is also a Trader Joe's at Union Square for cheap but delicious supermarket buys.
The only thing about New York City that changes faster than the subway map or the restaurants is the bar scene. While some established watering holes have been around for decades or centuries, the hot spot of the moment may well have opened last week and could likely close just as quickly. New York on Tap maintains an up to date map of all of the city's bars, but the best way to find a decent bar is to ask the advice of a native dweller with trustworthy taste. Barring that, a copy of Time Out New York, the Voice, or some other nightlife guide will help you find a den of iniquity tailored to your personal needs.
Greenwich Village is probably the classic destination to go out if you are in town for just a brief period- it is the equivalent somewhat of a Latin Quarter- full of students, locals, and people of all ages. There is a vast density of bars around Bleeker Street and MacDougal, also near lower Seventh and Sixth avenues.
Chelsea has lots of clubs and a thriving gay scene along Eighth Avenue in the twenties- which is not to say every bar in chelsea is gay (far from it, there is a mix, just like everywhere else in NYC). West Chelsea (27th-29th streets, west of 10th avenue) is loaded with clubs- if you are European and looking for a "discoteque" this is where you want to be.
the Meatpacking District has the trendier bars and clubs and some expensive restaurants too- check out the Old Homestead- NYC's oldest steakhouse. Located around 14th street and 9th avenues- this area is located between Greenwich Village and Chelsea
The Lower East Side used to be the dingy alternative to the West Village, but today is probably considered trendier. Ludlow Street is crawling with bars in an area that may remind you of the Bastille in Paris. Rivington and Stanton Street are also viable options.
The East Village has lots of bars located on second avenue- there is also a sizeable cluster of Japanese bars (which are great fun) located on St. Mark's between 2nd and 3rd.
Past the East Vilage is Alphabet City- once a dangerous drug addled hell hole, today loaded with bars.... heroin dens have been replaced with brunch places!
Murray Hill is more hip with the 30 year old crowd- the area around 29th and Lex has loads of Indian restaurants, but within three blocks there are tons of watering holes, including a couple of fireman bars and an all Irish whiskey pub.
Times Square is just not where you want to go out. Sorry tourists from the other 49 states.
Williamsburg in Brooklyn, has loads of bars along Bedford Avenue, one stop into Brooklyn on the L train. This is the capital of NYC's hipster scene- if you like pale boys with tight jeans and no job this is the place for you.
Woodside in Queens (few stops on the 7 train) is great for happy hour and pre Met game drinking festivities- there is a sizeable amount of Irish pubs by the Woodside train station (10 min from Times Square on the 7 train)
Bay Ridge in Brooklyn has more bars than any neighborhood in the city outside of Manhattan- and more bars than most Manhattan neighborhoods! Old Time Irish Italian neighborhood- get a taste of what New York was like before the hipster/yuppie transplants ruined the place.
Park Slope in Brooklyn is the yuppie capital of New York and you are more likely to find a tea house serving soy milk than a bar at this point, lots of nightlife, low key however. A number of lesbian bars are located around Park Slope. For more specific suggestions, see the relevant district pages.
St. George in Staten Island has a few bars located south of the ferry terminal, make a left when you leave the boat. Tourists take the trip on the ferry every year and never get off- look for live music at the Cargo Cafe or Karl's Klipper, both located on Bay Street w/ phenomenal views of the Verrazano Bridge.
The Marriot Marquis has a lovely revolving bar on the 50th floor (broadway & 45th), the Peninsula hotel (5th avenue near fifty fifth) has probably the classes rooftop bar in New York. The Rainbow Room, which is often closed and has a dress code, is at Rockefeller Center. The Hotel Metro on 35th and 5th also has a rooftop bar with fantastic, stress free, views of the Empire State Building.
Last call is 4am although many establishments will let you stay beyond that (especially in the boroughs). It is not uncommon to be locked in a bar after 4 am so people can keep drinking. Tip your bartender well and buy backs happen- especially in the boroughs. Wine and liquor is not sold at delis or supermarkets- that Chateau Diana wine at the delis is not what people in New York drink, I am not sure if it is even wine. You have to go to a Liquor Store- if you are staying in midtown these are located along 8th avenue. The cheapest liquor store in Manhattan is on Broadway and 8th street. Beer cannot be bought between 4am and 8am on Sunday morning (although if you look hard, you can get around this... but you should probably just call it quits at that point).
New York has some of the most expensive hotels in the world. Expect to pay up to $50 for a hostel style hotel; around $100-$200 for a budget room with shared bath; $250-$350 for a mid-range hotel with a decent room and a restaurant and/or room service; and much higher in the many high end hotels in the city. In the mid-range and splurge hotels, it often pays to ask for a corporate rate. Most rooms below $200 in Manhattan are small with room for a bed, a tv and little else. Be warned that the quality of hotels varies a lot and, in many cheap hotels away from the center (along the West Side Highway, or in the outer reaches of Queens) you may share the premises with hourly customers!
Room rates are typically quoted without taxes so expect your actual bill to be quite a bit higher than the quoted rate. Taxes include New York State and New York City sales tax (8.38%), a New York City Hotel Occupancy Tax (varies but, for rooms above $40, $2.00+5.875%), and a surcharge of $1.50. For a $100 a night room, expect to pay $117.75.
It's worth keeping in mind that you don't have to stay within New York City for your stay in New York. Just over the Hudson river in New Jersey there are some cheaper hotels, and Manhattan is easily accessible by a short ferry ride (about 15 minutes) if you're staying by the river, by train, by bus, or by a more expensive cab ride. However, public transit to and from New Jersey does not run as often as transportation within New York, especially after midnight.
Airport hotels serving Newark Airport are inexpensive ($50+ booked online; $69 walk in). Multiple transfers (airport shuttle to airport; #62 to Penn Station; PATH train to the city) are required, and services are of low frequency. Expect 1.5 to 2 hours each way from your Newark airport hotel to Manhattan.
Resist the temptation to stay in New Jersey- unless you are on the PATH train and have no qualms with public transit. Taking a cab to Jersey can be difficult- at times the bridges and tunnels to New Jersey are impassable due to traffic.
If you know ANYONE in New York and can stay with them this is highly advised. New Yorkers love showing off their city and understand what local hotels cost. Taking an old friend out to dinner one night as a thank you is far more economical than a hotel- and you will see a real take on New York as opposed to the fake Times Square New York that tourists see on tv.
Find free wireless hotspots across the city online at openwifinyc, NYC Wireless , and WiFi Free Spot. Wireless is available in city parks and quite a few public libraries. The Apple store has dozens of computers setup and doesn't seem to mind that many people use them for free internet access, but they can be pretty busy at times. Easy Internet Cafe and FedEx Kinkos are just some of the internet cafes which offer broadband internet at reasonable prices. Finding a store with an open power outlet may be difficult.
Public phones are found all over the city so carry quarters if you plan to use them. Remember to include the 1 and area code when dialing, as 11-digit dialing is in effect.
Commonly believed to be very dangerous, New York is statistically the safest large city in the United States, and its crime rate has fallen so low that it is comparable to many American small towns. In fact, the crime rate in New York is now below the average crime rate for the nation as a whole, and the city is statistically much safer than other popular tourist destinations like Orlando or Las Vegas. While it is unlikely that you will be a victim of a crime while in the city, it is best to always keep your property with you, exercise care if you find yourself on a lightly traveled or poorly-lit street, and always be aware of your surroundings.
The most common crime against tourists (not including being overcharged!) is bag snatching, and it is easy to reduce the possibility of this happening. Never let go of your bag, especially in the subway but also when eating at a restaurant (take special care if sitting outdoors or in a crowded self-service restaurant). Leave your passport and other valuables in a hotel safe (or squirrel it away in your suitcase) and don't flaunt a wad of dollars.
While it is rare for a tourist to be a victim of a violent crime, muggings do take place in the city. Stick to crowded streets and that won't happen. When walking in Manhattan, the best way to get to your destination is to walk up or down an avenue to a point as close to your destination as possible. Riverside Park and Central Park can be dangerous at night, so unless you know what you're doing, don't go at night. (If you go to an evening concert at Central Park, Prospect Park, et al., follow the crowd out of the park before heading toward your destination.)
If you think you've inadvertently wandered into a dangerous area, hop into a cab (if available) or into the nearest subway station and go elsewhere. If a subway platform is deserted, stay within sight of the token booth. (Subway stations have well marked "off hour waiting areas" but these are mostly a throwback to the dangerous times of the mid-80s. Subway crime is a rarity these days.)
New York has its share of odd people: talkative pan-handlers, lonely people just wanting a chat, people with psychological disorders, etc. If someone approaches you for a chat, do what most New Yorkers do: completely ignore them or say "Sorry, gotta go" while continuing to walk at a brisk pace.
If you ever get into trouble, approach the nearest police officer. There are plenty of them around, especially in tourist areas, and you'll find them to be friendly, polite, and very helpful.
New York is the US city with the highest HIV population. Protect yourself and others.
- Citizen Service Center, tel 311 (lines open 24/7)—New York City's official non-emergency help line, available in 171 languages for questions (parade hours and routes, parking restrictions, transport problems) and complaints (litter, noise pollution, access).
- The Baby Sitters' Guild, +1 212 682 0227 . Bookings daily 9AM–9PM, cash payments only. For stressed and busy parents visiting New York, round-the-clock baby-sitting is available short- or long-term from $20 per hour (4 hour minimum) and cab fare (approx. $10). Multilingual sitters are also available.
- The Barnard Babysitting Agency 212.854.2035 . Students of Barnard College babysit for around $13 an hour, minimum two hours, plus a $20 registration fee.
Smoking in public places is highly restricted. It is prohibited in indoor sections of bars, restaurants, subway stations and trains, both indoor and outdoor stadiums and sports arenas in the city, and many other public places. If you light up in any of these places, you may be subjected to a summons and fine, ejection, and/or indignant reactions from residents. There do remain a small number of legal cigar bars that are exempt, as are the outside areas of sidewalk cafes and the like, but these are very much the exception. If you need to smoke while eating or drinking, be prepared to take a break and join the rest of the smokers outside in the weather (many establishments have large space heaters). Drinking alcoholic beverages on the street is illegal, so bars will not let you take your drink outside with you.
- Long Island— When you travel to NYC in the summer, a great idea is to check out Long Island. With its beautiful long white sanded beaches you can have it all: the big city and the summer holiday. Many New Yorkers do that every Friday, Saturday and Sunday if it is hot. Take the Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station to Long Beach ($6.75 one way) and from there go south to the beach itself. Take a day trip on the Hampton Jitney from various stops in NYC to the East End. Long Island Wine Country is on the North Fork, and The Hamptons are on the South Fork.
- Fire Island - An all pedestrian summer resort island located off the coast of Long Island. Fire Island is home to many vacation communities on the western part of the island (Ocean Beach being the most populous, with the most restaurants and bars that make an excellent day trip). The eastern part of the island is home to the largely gay communities of Cherry Grove and the Fire Island Pines. Western Fire Island is reachable by ferry from Bay Shore on Long Island. Bay Shore is about an hour train ride on the Long Island Railroad from Manhattan, and the ferry ride from Bay Shore is another thirty minutes. Ferries to Ocean Beach from Bay Shore run about once every hour during the summer. Cherry Grove and the Fire Island Pines are reachable by ferry from Sayville. The easternmost community, Davis Park, is reachable by ferry from Patchogue.
- Jersey City, New Jersey- Directly across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan is New Jersey's second largest city. Jersey City is a diverse city with lots of multicultural shops and restaurants. It can be reached from Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel or the PATH trains (the bi-state subway)
- Hoboken, New Jersey-Directly across the Hudson river from the West Village and Chelsea is the alleged birthplace of baseball (most erroneously believe that the birthplace is Cooperstown, NY) and actual birthplace of Frank Sinatra. Hoboken is a small city in area with a great assortment of prewar buildings and conspicuous lack of many corporate establishments. Piers; great views of Manhattan; large selection of bars, restaurants, and clubs; good place to walk around. It can be reached from Manhattan via PATH trains and buses from Port Authority as well as NY Waterway ferries.
- The Palisades- On the western bank of the Hudson river, there are cliffs that rise sharply. These cliffs are known as the majestic Palisades. They range from 300 to 500 feet. They start in the Northern portion of Jersey City, New Jersey and stretch all the way to Nyack, New York. There are numerous viewpoints, trails and camp sites located along the Palisades. The palisades can be easily reached from Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge. Palisade Interstate Parks start north of the Bridge.
- Jersey Shore, New Jersey- Just a few miles south of New York City, the Jersey shore starts. The Jersey shore stretches for about 127 miles and along it are private and public beaches. There are numerous activities along the Jersey Shore. A convenient train ride on the NJ Transit trains from Penn Station will get you to several of the towns on the Jersey Shore, including Manasquan and Point Pleasant Beach.
- Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey- Just an 80-minute drive from Manhattan sits the largest regional theme park in the world. Six Flags Great Adventure features 12 monster roller coasters and is located right next to the Wild Safari (one of the largest drive through safaris in the world). There is also Six Flags Hurricane Harbor just right next door (the largest water park in the North East). New Jersey Transit also provides bus service from the Port Authority when the park is open (May-October).
- Princeton, New Jersey- Also an easy train ride on New Jersey Transit, Princeton offers a quiet and tree-lined, if boring, town good for strolling or visiting the Princeton University campus. Take the Northeast Corridor line to Princeton Junction, then transfer on to the shuttle train (known locally as the "Dinky") to ride directly into campus.
- New Haven, Connecticut— Just 65 miles away, New Haven is a 1 hour 45 minute ride from Grand Central via Metro North Railroad, and home to Yale University.
- Woodbury Commons Located 45 miles north of Manhattan, Woodbury Commons is a large shopping outlet. With hundreds of great stores, many tourists find themselves shopping here.
This page was last edited at 03:26, on 28 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Robert and Bill Mackay, Wikitravel user(s) LtPowers and Smt101, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.