JFK Airport: Wikis

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John F. Kennedy International Airport
PortAuthorityofNYandNJ logo.PNG
IATA: JFKICAO: KJFKFAA: JFK
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner City of New York[1]
Operator Port Authority of New York and New Jersey[1]
Serves New York City
Location New York City
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 13 ft / 4 m
Coordinates 40°38′23″N 073°46′44″W / 40.63972°N 73.77889°W / 40.63972; -73.77889Coordinates: 40°38′23″N 073°46′44″W / 40.63972°N 73.77889°W / 40.63972; -73.77889
Website [2]
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
4L/22R 11,351 3,460 Asphalt/Concrete
4R/22L 8,400 2,560 Asphalt
13L/31R 10,000 3,048 Asphalt
13R/31L 14,572 4,442 Asphalt/Concrete
Helipads
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 60 18 Asphalt
H2 60 18 Asphalt
H3 60 18 Asphalt
H4 60 18 Asphalt
Statistics (2008)
Aircraft operations 471,482
Enplanements (FAA)[3] 23,601,779
Passengers (ACI)[4] 47,807,816
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[5]
FAA airport diagram as of 20 Nov 2008
Map showing New York City and the locations of JFK (1), LaGuardia (2) and Newark (3) airports

John F. Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFKICAO: KJFKFAA LID: JFK) is an international airport located in Queens County, New York in southeastern New York City about 12 miles (19 km) from Lower Manhattan. It is the busiest international air passenger gateway to the United States[6] and is also the leading freight gateway to the country by value of shipments.[7]

JFK airport is the base of operations for JetBlue Airways and is a major international getaway hub for American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. It also serves as a focus city for Avianca. Over ninety airlines operate out of JFK.[8] The airport is named after John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.

The airport is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which also manages the two other major airports in the New York metropolitan area, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia.

Contents

History

Construction

JFK Airport was originally known as Idlewild Airport (IATA: IDLICAO: KIDLFAA LID: IDL) after the Idlewild Golf Course that it displaced. The airport was originally envisioned as a reliever for LaGuardia Airport, which was already showing signs of insufficient capacity in the late 1930s. Construction began in 1943; approximately $60 million was initially spent, but only 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land on the site of the Idlewild golf course were earmarked for use.[9]

The project was renamed Major General Alexander E. Anderson Airport in 1943 after a Queens resident who had commanded a Federalized National Guard unit in the southern United States and who had died in late 1942. In March 1948, the New York City Council again changed the name of the airport to New York International Airport, Anderson Field, but the name "Idlewild" remained in common use until 1963.[10]

The Port Authority leased the airport property from the City of New York in 1947 and maintains this lease today.[1] The first commercial flight at the airport was on July 1, 1948; the opening ceremony was attended by President Harry Truman.[9] Upon opening Idlewild, the Port Authority cancelled foreign airlines' permits to use LaGuardia, effectively forcing them to move to the new airport.[11]

The airport was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 24, 1963, one month after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.[12]

Development

The Port Authority originally envisioned a single 55-gate terminal for the airport, but the major airlines of the time did not agree with this plan, arguing that the terminal would be far too small for future traffic.[13] Architect Wallace Harrison then designed a master plan under which each major airline at the airport would be given its own space to develop its own terminal design.[14] This scheme made construction more practical, made terminals more navigable and introduced incentives for airlines to compete with each other for the best design.[13] The revised master plan met airline approval in 1955.[10]

  • The International Arrivals Building was the first new terminal project at the airport. It was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and featured perpendicular "finger" piers to allow a greater number of aircraft to park, a major design innovation at the time.[10]
  • United Airlines opened Terminal 9, a Skidmore design similar to that of the IAB, in October 1959. Eastern Airlines opened its Chester L. Churchill-designed Terminal 1 one month later.[10][15]
  • American Airlines opened its Terminal 8 in 1960. The terminal was designed by Kahn and Jacobs[10] and became known for its 317 feet (97 m) stained glass facade designed by Robert Sowers, which was the largest stained glass installation in the world until 1979. The facade was removed in 2007 as the terminal was demolished to make room for the new Terminal 8; American cited the prohibitive cost of removing the enormous installation.[16]
  • Pan American World Airways opened the Worldport (now Terminal 3) in 1960. It featured a large, elliptical roof suspended by 32 sets of radial posts and cables; the roof extended 114 feet (35 m) beyond the base of the terminal to cover the passenger loading area. It was one of the first airline terminals in the world to feature Jetways that connected to the terminal and that could be moved to provide an easy walkway for passengers from the terminal to a docked aircraft, rather than having to board the plane outside via airstairs, which descend from an aircraft, via truck-mounted mobile stairs, or via wheeled stairs.[17]
  • Trans World Airlines opened the TWA Flight Center in 1962, designed by Eero Saarinen with a distinctive winged-bird shape. With the demise of TWA in 2001, the terminal remained vacant until 2005 when JetBlue Airways and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) financed the construction of a new 26 gate terminal partially encircling the Saarinen building. Called now Terminal 5 (or simply T5), the new terminal opened October 22, 2008. T5 will be connected to the Saarinen central building through the original passenger departure-arrival tubes which connected the building to the outlying gates; the Port Authority is working on renovations of the remaining original Saarinen terminal, also known as the head house.[18]
  • Northwest Airlines, Braniff International and Northeast Airlines opened a joint terminal in 1962.[17]
  • National Airlines opened the Sundrome (now Terminal 6) in 1970. The terminal was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. In 2001, United Airlines planned to redevelop this terminal and the TWA Flight Center as a new United terminal,[19] but the airline later reduced its operation at JFK and abandoned plans for a future JFK hub.[citation needed] Terminal 6 was used by JetBlue Airways from 2001 through 2008 and vacated when JetBlue moved to Terminal 5.

JFK was designed to accommodate aircraft no larger than a Douglas DC-6 and had to be significantly modified in the late 1960s to accommodate Boeing 747s.[20]

By the mid-1980s, JFK had overtaken Newark International Airport to become New York City's busiest airport.[citation needed] The supersonic Concorde, operated by Air France and British Airways, provided scheduled trans-Atlantic supersonic service to JFK from 1977 until 2003, when Concorde was retired by both carriers.[21] JFK had the most Concorde operations annually of any airport in the world.[citation needed]

JFK is currently undergoing a $10.3 billion redevelopment. The airport began construction of the AirTrain JFK rapid transit system in 1998; completed in December 2003, the rail network links each airport terminal to New York City subways and regional commuter trains at Howard Beach and Jamaica, Queens. The airport opened a new Terminal 1 in 1998, and the $1.4 billion replacement for the International Arrivals Building, Terminal 4, opened in 2001. Construction has been completed on JetBlue Airways's new Terminal 5, which incorporates the historic landmark TWA FlightCenter terminal, while Terminals 8 and 9 are undergoing redevelopment as one single Terminal 8 for the American Airlines hub. In 2008 the Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved a $20 million planning study for the redevelopment of Terminals 2 and 3, the hub of Delta Air Lines.[22]

On March 19, 2007, JFK became the first airport in the United States to receive the Airbus A380 with passengers aboard. The route-proving flight with more than 500 passengers was operated jointly by Lufthansa and Airbus and arrived at Terminal 1. On August 1, 2008, JFK received the first regularly-scheduled commercial A380 flight to the United States, operated by Emirates on its New York–Dubai route using Terminal 4.[23] This service was suspended indefinitely in 2009, due to poor passenger demand.[24]

Terminals, airlines and destinations

JFK has eight passenger terminals containing 151 gates. The terminal buildings are arranged in a deformed U-shaped wavy pattern around a central area containing parking, hotels, a power plant, and other airport facilities. The terminals are connected by the AirTrain system and access roads. Wayfinding signage throughout the terminals was designed by Paul Mijksenaar.[25] A 2006 survey by J.D. Power and Associates in conjunction with Aviation Week found JFK ranked second in overall traveller satisfaction among large airports in the United States, behind McCarran International Airport which serves the Las Vegas metropolitan area.[26]

Terminals

The airport has eight terminals (nine until the early 2000s), seven of which are currently in use.

Terminal 1
Terminal 1

The original Terminal 1, built as a hub for Eastern Airlines, was demolished.[27]

The current Terminal 1 was opened in 1998, 50 years after the opening of JFK, at the direction of the Terminal One Group, a consortium of four key operating carriers: Air France, Japan Airlines, Korean Air and Lufthansa.[28] This partnership was founded after the four airlines reached agreement that existing international carrier facilities were inadequate for their needs.[29] Terminal One has the capability to handle the Air France A380 route from Paris Charles De Gaulle. Terminal 1 has 11 gates.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 was opened in 1962 as the home of Northeast Airlines, Braniff and Northwest Airlines. After the demise of Northeast Airlines and Braniff the building was taken over by Delta Air Lines. Delta hopes to merge its two terminals at JFK (2 & 3) into a single modern terminal in the future.[22] It has 7 jetway-equipped gates (20-22, 26-29) and 17 stands for Delta Connection carriers (23A-H, 23J, 25K-N, 25P-S).

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 was built as the Worldport in 1960 for Pan American, and substantially expanded for the introduction of the 747 in 1970. Delta Air Lines currently uses the entire terminal, and has a connector to Terminal 2, its other terminal at JFK. Terminal 3 has 16 jetway equipped gates: 1-10, 12, 14-18 with two hardstand gates (Gate 11) and a helipad on Taxiway 'KK'. Delta is seeking a plan to replace Terminal 3, and unconfirmed rumors claim the company has recently announced plans to employees to demolish Terminal 3 and rebuild it, with a supposed target time for demolition of late summer 2010.[30]

Terminal 4
Terminal 4 replaced the former International Arrivals Building in May 2001

Terminal 4, the international terminal, is able to handle the Airbus A380 and was developed by LCOR, Inc and is managed by the Schiphol Group. It was the first airport terminal in the United States to be managed by a foreign airport operator. Terminal 4 is the major gateway for International Arrivals at JFK. Opened in 2001, the new 1,500,000-square-foot (139,000 m2) building was built at a cost of $1.4 billion and replaced JFK's old International Arrivals Building, or simply IAB, which opened in 1957. Terminal 4 has 17 gates in two concourses: A2-A7, B20, B22-B31.

Concourse A has six gates, numbered A2-A7. Concourse B has eleven gates, numbered B20-B31, excluding B21. As Terminal 4 was built during the construction of the AirTrain, the AirTrain station was built inside the terminal building. Other AirTrain stations are built across from terminal buildings. Terminal 4’s expansive shopping mall offers a wide range of retail options before security so passengers and their families can enjoy shopping and dining together. Four chapels are located on the fourth floor (departure level).

Terminal 5

Terminal 5, also known as the TWA Flight Center, is the new home of JetBlue Airways. The active 26 gate terminal sits behind the Eero Saarinen built terminal has been branded by JetBlue as T5. The Saarinen building is closed for refurbishment, it is unclear when the building will reopen and what purpose it will have. Terminal 5 has 26 gates: 1-12, 14-27

Terminal 6
Terminals 6 and 7

Terminal 6, built in 1970 as the National Airlines Sundrome designed by I. M. Pei, has 14 gates. On June 1, 2006, JetBlue opened a temporary terminal complex that added seven gates onto the terminal and increased the capacity for more flights. Terminal 6 is now closed. It had 14 gates and is the former home of JetBlue Airways. United Airlines used it for its transcontinental flights until JetBlue came to the terminal. Its future is unknown at this point, but the seven temporary gates were demolished.[31]

Terminal 7

Terminal 7 was built for BOAC and Air Canada in the early 1970s. It is currently owned and operated by British Airways. In 1997, the Port Authority entered an agreement with British Airways to expand the terminal. The renovated terminal has 12 gates.[32] On May 21, 2008, British Airways announced that it would undertake a $30 million, 18-month-long project to enhance its premium ground facilities at the terminal. Scheduled to launch in June 2009, the project will involve creation of a new premium check-in "pavilion" with dedicated curbside drop-off for FIRST and Executive Gold Club customers, an enhanced and dedicated check-in area for Club World and Executive Club Silver customers and renovation of Terraces, First Class and Concorde Lounges.[citation needed]

Terminal 8

In 1999, American Airlines began an eight-year program to build the largest passenger terminal at JFK to replace terminals 8 and 9. The new terminal was built in four phases, which involved the construction of a new midfield concourse, demolition of the old Terminal 9, and finally demolition of the old Terminal 8. It opened in stages between 2005 and its "official" opening in August 2007.[33]

The terminal is about 50% larger than Madison Square Garden. It offers dozens of retail and food outlets, 84 ticket counters, 44 self-service kiosks, 10 security lanes and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility that can process more than 1,600 people an hour.[citation needed] It has two American Airlines Admirals Clubs and a Flagship Lounge for premium class passengers.

Terminal 8 has 29 gates: 12 gates in Concourse B (1-8, 10, 12, 14, and 16) and 17 gates in Concourse C (31-47).[34] Gate 31 is further subdivided into 5 regional service gates for small jets, 31A-31E. Gate 32 is subdivided into 4 regional service gates for small jets, 32F-32I. The total number of jetbridges is, therefore, 36. Concourse C is unusual in that to reach the concourse, passengers must descend on an escalator (or elevator) and walk through a short tunnel, then ascend another escalator to the concourse. Of interest are a history of American Airlines logos on display between the security checkpoint and the concourses.

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations Terminal
Aer Lingus Dublin, Shannon 4
Aeroflot Moscow-Sheremetyevo 1
Aerogal Guayaquil, Quito 4
Aeroméxico Mexico City 1
Aerosvit Airlines Kiev-Boryspil 4
Air Berlin Düsseldorf [seasonal] 8
Air China Beijing-Capital 1
Air Europa Madrid 4
Air France Paris-Charles de Gaulle 1
Air India Delhi, Mumbai 4
Air Jamaica Kingston [ends April 12], Montego Bay [ends April 12] 4
Alitalia Milan-Malpensa, Rome-Fiumicino 1
All Nippon Airways Tokyo-Narita 7
American Airlines Aruba, Austin [begins July 2], Barbados, Barcelona, Bermuda, Brussels, Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, Cancún, Caracas, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Eagle/Vail [seasonal], Havana [charter], Las Vegas, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Madrid [begins May 1], Manchester (UK) [begins May 13; seasonal], Miami, Milan-Malpensa, Montego Bay, Orlando, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Port-au-Prince, Providenciales, Punta Cana, Rio de Janeiro-Galeão, Rome-Fiumicino, St Kitts, St Lucia [seasonal], St Maarten, St. Thomas, San Diego, San Francisco, San José de Costa Rica [begins April 6], San Juan, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Seattle/Tacoma, Tampa, Tokyo-Narita, Zürich 8
American Eagle Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Columbus (OH) [begins April 6], Halifax, Montréal-Trudeau, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis [begins July 1], Toronto-Pearson, Washington-Reagan 8
Arik Air Lagos 4
Asiana Airlines Seoul-Incheon 4
Austrian Airlines Vienna 1
Avianca Bogotá, Cali, Medellin-Cordova 4
British Airways London-City, London-Heathrow 7
Caribbean Airlines Kingston [begins April 12], Montego Bay [begins April 12], Port of Spain 4
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong, Vancouver 7
Cayman Airways Grand Cayman 1
China Airlines Taipei-Taoyuan 1
China Eastern Airlines Shanghai-Pudong 1
Copa Airlines Panama City 4
Delta Air Lines London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, San Francisco 2
Delta Air Lines Abuja, Accra, Amman, Antigua, Aruba, Athens, Atlanta, Barcelona, Bogotá, Bonaire [seasonal], Boston, Brussels, Budapest, Cairo, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky [begins May 1], Copenhagen [begins May 27], Dakar, Denver, Detroit, Dublin, Fort Lauderdale, Georgetown, Grand Cayman [seasonal; begins June 12], Grenada [seasonal], Istanbul-Atatürk, Kiev-Boryspil [seasonal], Las Vegas, Madrid, Málaga [seasonal], Manchester (UK) [seasonal], Mexico City, Miami, Milan-Malpensa, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Nice, Orlando, Phoenix, Pisa [seasonal], Port-au-Prince, Port of Spain, Portland (OR), Prague, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Rome, St. Thomas, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Juan, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Seattle/Tacoma, Shannon [seasonal], Stockholm-Arlanda [begins May 27], Tampa, Tel Aviv, Valencia [seasonal], Venice-Marco Polo, Zürich [seasonal] 3
Delta Air Lines Amsterdam [resumes March 27], Berlin-Tegel, Frankfurt, Kingston, Montego Bay, Tokyo-Narita 4
Delta Connection operated by Chautauqua Airlines Baltimore, Columbus (OH) 3
Delta Connection operated by Comair Albany (NY), Baltimore, Bangor, Boston, Buffalo, Burlington (VT), Charlotte, Charlottetown [seasonal], Chicago-O'Hare, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Cleveland, Columbus (OH), Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Freeport, Halifax, Hartford/Springfield, Houston-Intercontinental, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Montréal-Trudeau, Nantucket [seasonal], Nashville, Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland (ME), Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Rochester (NY), St. Louis, Syracuse, Toronto-Pearson, Washington-Dulles, Washington-Reagan 3
Delta Connection operated by Compass Airlines Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul 3
EgyptAir Cairo 4
El Al Tel Aviv 4
Emirates Dubai 4
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi 4
Finnair Helsinki 8
Iberia Airlines Madrid 7
Icelandair Reykjavik-Keflavík 7
Japan Airlines São Paulo-Guarulhos, Tokyo-Narita 1
Jet Airways Brussels, Chennai 8
JetBlue Airways Aguadilla, Aruba, Austin, Barbados, Bermuda, Boston, Buffalo, Burbank, Burlington, Cancún, Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Houston-Hobby, Jacksonville (FL), Kingston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Montego Bay, Nantucket [seasonal], Nassau, New Orleans, Oakland, Orlando, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Ponce, Portland (ME), Portland (OR), Puerto Plata, Punta Cana [begins May 6], Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Rochester, Sacramento, St Lucia, St Maarten, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), San Juan, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo, Sarasota/Bradenton, Seattle/Tacoma, Syracuse, Tampa, Washington-Dulles, West Palm Beach 5
KLM Amsterdam 4
Korean Air Seoul-Incheon 1
Kuwait Airways Kuwait, London-Heathrow 4
LACSA San José de Costa Rica 4
LAN Airlines Lima, Santiago de Chile, Toronto-Pearson 4
LAN Ecuador Guayaquil 4
LOT Polish Airlines Rzeszów [seasonal], Warsaw 4
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich 1
Meridiana Naples [seasonal], Palermo [seasonal] 4
Mexicana Cancún, Mexico City, Monterrey 8
Pakistan International Airlines Karachi, Lahore 4
Qantas Sydney 7
Qatar Airways Doha 4
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca 1
Royal Jordanian Amman 4
Saudi Arabian Airlines Jeddah, Riyadh 1
Singapore Airlines Frankfurt, Singapore 4
South African Airways Dakar, Johannesburg 4
Sun Country Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul 4
Swiss International Air Lines Geneva, Zürich 4
TACA San Pedro Sula, San Salvador 4
TAM Airlines Rio de Janeiro-Galeão, São Paulo-Guarulhos 4
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk 1
United Airlines Los Angeles, San Francisco 7
United Express operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines Washington-Dulles 7
United Express operated by Mesa Airlines Washington-Dulles 7
United Express operated by Shuttle America Washington-Dulles 7
US Airways Charlotte, Phoenix 7
US Airways Express operated by Republic Airlines Charlotte 7
Uzbekistan Airways Riga, Tashkent 4
Virgin America Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco 4
Virgin Atlantic Airways London-Heathrow 4
Vision Airlines Havana [scheduled charter] 4
XL Airways France Paris-Charles de Gaulle [seasonal] 4
Cities served by direct flights from JFK

Infrastructure and services

Runways and operational infrastructure

Four runways (two pairs of parallel runways) surround the airport's central terminal area.[35]

Number Length Width ILS Notes
13R-31L 14,572 feet (4,442 m) 150 feet (46 m) Cat. I (31L) Second-longest commercial runway in North America (the longest is a 16,000 feet (4,900 m) runway at Denver International Airport). Adjacent to Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Handles approximately one half of the airport's scheduled departures. Is a backup runway for space shuttle missions.[36] Closed for four months starting March 1, 2010. The reconstruction of the runway will widen it from 150 feet to 200 feet with a concrete base instead of asphalt.
4R-22L 8,400 feet (2,600 m) 200 feet (61 m) Cat. III (both directions) Equipped at both ends with Approach Lighting Systems (ALS) with sequenced flashers, and touchdown zone (TDZ) lighting. The first Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS) in North America was installed at the northeast end of the runway in 1996. The bed consists of cellular cement material, which can safely decelerate and stop an aircraft that overruns the runway. The arrestor bed concept was originated and developed by the Port Authority and installed at JFK Airport as a joint research and development project with the FAA and industry.
4L-22R 11,351 feet (3,460 m) 150 feet (46 m) Cat. I (both directions) Adjacent to Terminals 4 and 5. Both ends allow instrument landings down to three-quarters of a mile visibility. Takeoffs can be conducted with one-eighth of a mile visibility.
13L-31R 10,000 feet (3,000 m) 150 feet (46 m) Cat. II (13L); Cat. I (31R) Equipped at both ends with ILS and ALS systems. Runway 13L has two additional visual aids for landing aircraft, a Visual Approach Slope Indicator System (VASI) and a Lead-In Lighting System (LDIN). The ILS on 13L, along with TDZ lighting, allows landings down to half a mile visibility. Takeoffs can be made with visibility of one-eighth of a mile.
Plane queue on the taxiway

JFK has over 25 miles (40 km) of taxiways to move aircraft in and around the airfield. The standard width of these taxiways is 75 feet (23 m), with 25-foot (7.6 m) heavy-duty shoulders and 25-foot (7.6 m) erosion control pavements on each side. The taxiways have centerline lights and are generally of asphalt concrete composition 15 to 18 inches (460 mm) thick. An illuminated sign system provides directional information for taxiing aircraft.[citation needed] The Air Traffic Control Tower, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and constructed on the ramp-side of Terminal 4, began full FAA operations in October 1994.[37] An Airport Surface Detection Equipment (ASDE) radar unit sits atop the tower. A gas-fired electric cogeneration plant generates electricity for the airport, with an output of about 90 megawatts. It uses thermal energy from the capture of waste heat to heat and cool all of the passenger terminals and other facilities in the central terminal area.[38]

Aircraft service facilities include seven aircraft hangars, an engine overhaul building, a 32-million gallon aircraft fuel storage facility, and a truck garage.[citation needed]

Information services

In the immediate vicinity of the airport, parking and other information can be obtained by tuning to a highway advisory radio station at 1630 AM.[39] A second station at 1700 AM provides information on traffic concerns for drivers leaving the airport.

Kennedy Airport, along with LaGuardia and Newark airports, uses a uniform style of signing throughout the airport properties. Yellow signs direct passengers to airline gates, ticketing and other flight services; green signs direct passengers to ground transportation services, and black signs lead to restrooms, telephones and other passenger amenities.

A former New York City traffic reporter, Bernie Wagenblast, provides the voice for the airport's radio stations and the messages heard onboard AirTrain JFK and in its stations.[40]

Traffic and statistics

In 2008, JFK handled 47,807,816 passengers.

The airport contributes about $30.1 billion in economic activity to the New York City region, generating 229,000 jobs and about $9.8 billion in wages and salaries. About 35,000 people are employed at the airport.[41]

By passengers carried, the five largest airlines at JFK are:[42]

  1. JetBlue Airways (25.5%)
  2. Delta Air Lines (including the Delta Connection carriers) (21.9%)
  3. American Airlines (including American Eagle) (16.7%)
  4. British Airways (2.8%)
  5. Air France (1.9%)

Nearly 100 airlines from over 50 countries operate regularly scheduled flights from JFK. The JFK-London Heathrow route is the leading U.S. international airport pair with over 2.9 million passengers in 2008. Domestic travel also accounts for a large share of airport traffic, particularly transcontinental and Florida service.[6]

Busiest International Routes from JFK (2008) [42]
Rank City Passengers Top Carriers
1 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London-Heathrow, United Kingdom 2,928,307 American, British Airways, Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Kuwait Airways
2 Flag of France.svg Paris-Charles de Gaulle, France 1,177,019 Air France, American, XL Airways France
3 Flag of Germany.svg Frankfurt, Germany 646,900 Delta, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines
4 Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 579,954 American, Delta, JetBlue
5 Flag of Italy.svg Rome-Fiumicino, Italy 564,110 Alitalia, American, Delta, Eurofly
6 Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic 556,668 American, JetBlue, Delta
7 Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo-Narita, Japan 552,504 American, ANA, Delta, JAL
8 Flag of Israel.svg Tel Aviv, Israel 546,135 Delta, El Al
9 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Amsterdam, the Netherlands 533,667 Delta, KLM
10 Flag of South Korea.svg Seoul-Incheon, South Korea 516,414 Asiana, Korean Air
11 Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico City, Mexico 464,775 Aeroméxico, Delta, Mexicana
12 Flag of Brazil.svg São Paulo-Guarulhos, Brazil 461,064 American, Delta, JAL, TAM
13 Flag of Spain.svg Madrid, Spain 459,613 Air Europa, American Delta, Iberia
14 Flag of Ireland.svg Dublin, Ireland 455,706 Aer Lingus, Delta
15 Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg Dubai, UAE 418,665 Emirates
16 Flag of Switzerland.svg Zürich, Switzerland 367,214 American, Delta, Swiss
17 Flag of Hong Kong.svg Hong Kong, China 341,418 Cathay Pacific
18 Flag of Mexico.svg Cancún, Mexico 327,252 American, JetBlue, Mexicana
19 Flag of Jamaica.svg Montego Bay, Jamaica 315,301 Air Jamaica, American, JetBlue
20 Flag of Italy.svg Milan-Malpensa, Italy 283,637 Alitalia, American, Delta
21 Flag of Aruba.svg Oranjestad, Aruba 272,291 American, Delta, JetBlue
22 Flag of Turkey.svg Istanbul-Atatürk, Turkey 270,832 Delta, Turkish Airlines
23 Flag of Trinidad and Tobago.svg Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago 246,789 Caribbean Airlines, Delta
24 Flag of Greece.svg Athens, Greece 245,551 Delta
25 Flag of Russia.svg Moscow-Sheremetyevo , Russia 229,873 Aeroflot, Delta
26 Flag of Colombia.svg Bogotá, Colombia 228,443 Avianca, Delta
27 Flag of Belgium.svg Brussels, Belgium 222,413 American, Delta, Jet Airways
28 Flag of Germany.svg Munich, Germany 218,166 Lufthansa
29 Flag of Egypt.svg Cairo, Egypt 216,870 Delta, EgyptAir
30 Flag of India.svg Mumbai, India 215,477 Air India
Busiest Domestic Routes from JFK (2008) [42]
Rank City Passengers Top Carriers
1 Flag of California.svg Los Angeles, California 1,898,020 American, Delta, JetBlue, United, Virgin America
2 Flag of California.svg San Francisco, California 1,551,630 American, Delta, JetBlue, United, Virgin America
3 Flag of Florida.svg Orlando, Florida 1,183,270 American, Delta, JetBlue
4 Flag of Nevada.svg Las Vegas, Nevada 1,066,390 American, Delta, JetBlue, Virgin America
5 Flag of Puerto Rico.svg San Juan, Puerto Rico 1,033,010 American, Delta, JetBlue
6 Flag of Florida.svg Fort Lauderdale, Florida 1,009,000 Delta, JetBlue
7 Flag of Florida.svg Miami, Florida 927,640 American, Delta
8 Flag of Florida.svg Tampa, Florida 665,750 American, Delta, JetBlue
9 Flag of New York.svg Buffalo, New York 624,820 JetBlue, Delta
10 Flag of Massachusetts.svg Boston, Massachusetts 573,530 Delta, JetBlue, American
11 Flag of Florida.svg West Palm Beach, Florida 536,640 JetBlue
12 Flag of Virginia.svg Washington-Dulles, District of Columbia 471,730 American, Delta, JetBlue, United
13 Flag of California.svg San Diego, California 462,360 American, Delta, JetBlue
14 Flag of Washington.svg Seattle-Tacoma, Washington 459,150 American, Delta, JetBlue
15 Flag of Arizona.svg Phoenix, Arizona 447,600 Delta, JetBlue, US Airways
16 Flag of Illinois.svg Chicago, Illinois 439,470 American, Delta, JetBlue
17 Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg Atlanta, Georgia 386,100 Delta
18 Flag of California.svg Long Beach, California 360,300 JetBlue
19 Flag of Minnesota.svg Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota 360,180 Delta
20 Flag of Florida.svg Fort Myers, Florida 337,390 Delta, JetBlue
21 Flag of California.svg Burbank, California 334,030 JetBlue
22 Flag of Utah.svg Salt Lake City, Utah 326,500 Delta, JetBlue
23 Flag of North Carolina.svg Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina 307,720 American, JetBlue, Delta
24 Flag of Texas.svg Houston-Intercontinental, Texas 296,140 Delta
25 Flag of New York.svg Rochester, New York 275,540 Delta, JetBlue
26 Flag of California.svg Oakland, California 257,580 JetBlue
27 Flag of North Carolina.svg Charlotte, North Carolina 235,540 JetBlue, US Airways
28 Flag of Colorado.svg Denver, Colorado 224,990 Delta, JetBlue
29 Flag of Louisiana.svg New Orleans, Louisiana 214,630 Delta, JetBlue
30 Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 209,910 American, Delta, JetBlue

Air freight

JFK is the nation’s busiest international air freight gateway by value of shipments and the second busiest overall by value including all air, land and sea U.S. freight gateways. Over 21% of all U.S. international air freight by value and 11% by tonnage moved through JFK in 2003.[7]

The JFK air cargo complex is a Foreign Trade Zone which legally lies outside the customs area of the United States.[43] JFK is a major hub for air cargo between the United States and Europe. London, Brussels and Frankfurt are JFK's three top trade routes.[7] The European airports are mostly a link in a global supply chain, however. The top destination markets for cargo flying out of JFK in 2003 were Tokyo, Seoul and London. Similarly, the top origin markets for imports at JFK were Seoul, Hong Kong, and Taipei, with London taking the fourth spot.[7]

Nearly 100 cargo air carriers operate out of JFK,[7] among them: Air China Cargo, ABX Air, Air Atlanta Icelandic, Asiana, Astar Air Cargo, Atlas Air, CAL Cargo Air Lines, Cargolux, Cargoitalia, Cathay Pacific Cargo, Centurion Air Cargo, China Airlines, DHL, EVA Air, Evergreen International Airlines, Nippon Cargo Airlines, FedEx Express, DHL Air UK, Kalitta Air, Korean Air, Lufthansa Cargo, Prince Edward Air, United Cargo, UPS, Southern Air. Top 5 carriers together transported 33.1% of all “revenue” freight in 2005: American Airlines (10.9% of the total), FedEx Express (8.8%), Lufthansa Cargo (5.2%), Korean Air Cargo (4.9%), China Airlines (3.8%).[44]

Most cargo and maintenance facilities at JFK are located north and west of the main terminal area. DHL, FedEx Express, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, Nippon Cargo Airlines and United Airlines have cargo facilities at JFK.[7][45] In 2000, Korean Air Cargo opened a new $102 million cargo terminal at JFK with total floor area of 81,124 square feet (7,536.7 m2) and capability of handling 200,000 tons annually.[46] In 2007, American Airlines opened a new priority parcel service facility at their Terminal 8, featuring 30-minute drop-offs and pick-ups for priority parcel shipments within the US.[47]

Ground transportation

Rail

The Howard Beach-JFK Airport subway station in Howard Beach

JFK is connected to New York's subway and commuter rail system by AirTrain JFK. AirTrain stops at all terminals, parking lots, hotel shuttle areas, car rental lots, 2 subway stations & the Long Island Rail Road. It is free within the airport. Travel time between JFK and Midtown Manhattan is approximately 30–40 minutes (depending on the originating/terminating terminal at JFK) using AirTrain and the Long Island Rail Road at Jamaica Station; or approximately 75 minutes between JFK and Downtown Manhattan using AirTrain and the New York City Subway A train at Howard Beach-JFK Station or the E (to Midtown Manhattan), J and Z (to Downtown Manhattan) trains at Sutphin Boulevard Station.[48]

A Lower Manhattan-Jamaica/JFK Transportation Project has been proposed to connect the AirTrain to Lower Manhattan.

Bus

Several city bus lines link JFK to the New York City Subway and Long Island Rail Road, including the Q3, Q6, Q7, Q10 (Local/Limited), and B15, with free transfers provided for subway connections. The buses are handicapped accessible. There are also many private bus lines operating express buses to Manhattan, the Hudson Valley, and Long Island.

Taxi

New York City's yellow cabs, licensed by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, offer a flat rate service of $45 from JFK airport to Manhattan, excluding tips and tolls. Since November 30, 2006, this flat rate fare (excluding tips and tolls) applies to travel from Manhattan to JFK as well. Depending on the time of day, taxi travel from JFK to Midtown Manhattan can be as quick as 35 minutes. Door-to-door Car Service is another popular transportation option.

Car

JFK Airport is easily accessible by car and is located in southern Queens on the Van Wyck Expressway (I-678), which can be accessed from the Belt Parkway, the Grand Central Parkway and Queens Boulevard. A ring road connects the airport terminals to the Belt Parkway and the Van Wyck Expressway. The airport offers customers over 17,000 parking spaces, included in multi-level parking garages, surface spaces in the Central Terminal Area, a long-term parking lot and valet parking.[49]

Van Wyck Expressway twists through the terminal nucleus and turns into the JFK Expressway. This four-lane expressway allows for more convenient access to the airport for Long Island users via the westbound Belt Parkway. Because it lies almost entirely within Kennedy Airport, the JFK Expressway was constructed, and is maintained by the Port Authority. The JFK Expressway was built as part of an ongoing, multi-billion overhaul of Kennedy Airport that began in the late 1980s. It was designed to relieve up to 30 percent of the traffic volume from the Van Wyck Expressway.[50] Approximately 6 major rental car companies serve JFK Airport, with rental locations located on and off the airport. Each terminal's arrivals level (usually near the baggage carousel) has either a rental car counter or courtesy telephone for each of the car rental companies.

Helicopter

US Helicopter departing from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport

US Helicopter operated regularly scheduled flights every hour between Terminal 3 and the East 34th Street Heliport. Passengers traveling by helicopter to the airport passed through a security checkpoint at the heliport, not at JFK. On May 14, 2007, US Helicopter moved its operations from Terminal 9 to Terminal 3.[51] US Helicopter announced that it was temporarily suspending operations on September 25, 2009 due to financial difficulties.[52]

New York Airways provided helicopter service from JFK to other area airports and heliports from 1955 to 1979, and Pan American World Airways continued Manhattan helicopter service during the 1980s in order to feed its JFK flights. During the 1970s, New York Helicopter offered JFK flights from the top of the Pan Am Building in midtown Manhattan, but this service was cancelled after a major accident in 1977.[53]

Accidents and incidents

JFK has been the site of several notable aviation accidents and incidents.

  • December 18, 1954 - a Linee Aeree Italiane Douglas DC-6 crashed on its fourth approach attempt to land at Idlewild (the former name of JFK), after circling for 2.5 hours. 26 of the 32 passengers on board were killed.
  • November 10, 1958 - Vickers Viscount, CF-TGL of Trans-Canada Air Lines was destroyed by fire after it was struck by Lockheed L-749 Super Constellation N6503C of Seaboard & Western Airlines which had crashed on take-off.[55]
  • December 16, 1960 - a United Airlines Douglas DC-8 collided with a TWA Super Constellation on approach to the airport; the United jet crashed in a Brooklyn neighborhood, the TWA plane on Staten Island, killing 127 people on board and five on the ground.
  • March 1, 1962 - American Airlines Flight 1,[56] a Boeing 707 crashed on takeoff from Idlewild after its rudder separated from the tail. All 95 passengers and 12 crew members were killed.
  • November 30, 1962 - an Eastern Air Lines Douglas DC-7 crashed into the ground during a missed approach.
  • February 8, 1965 - an Eastern Air Lines Douglas DC-7 crashed off Jones Beach after takeoff when the pilots found themselves on an apparent collision course with an inbound Pan Am Boeing 707 and made evasive maneuvers.
  • 1967 - The Air France Robbery targeted $420,000 in cash brought in as Air France cargo.
  • September 8, 1970 - a Trans International Airlines DC-8-63CF ferry flight to Dulles International Airport crashed on takeoff from runway 13R, killing all 11 crewmembers on board. The DC-8 freighter started rotating in a nose-high attitude 1,500 feet (460 m) into the take-off. After becoming airborne at 2,800 feet (850 m) down the runway, the aircraft climbed to about 300–500 feet, rolled 20 degrees to the left, crashed and caught fire. The loss of pitch control was caused by the entrapment of a pointed, asphalt-covered object between the leading edge of the right elevator and the right horizontal spar web access door in the aft part of the stabilizer.
  • December 1, 1974 - Northwest Orient Flight 6231 a Boeing 727 chartered to pick up the Baltimore Colts in Buffalo crashed near Thiells, New York. The flight departed John F. Kennedy International Airport with only the cockpit crew onboard. The pitot heat was not turned on and the tube iced over during climb out making the airspeed readings unreliable. The plane stalled passing 23,000' and the crew was unable to regain control. All 3 crewmembers onboard were killed.
  • June 24, 1975 - Eastern Air Lines Flight 66, a Boeing 727 on final approach from New Orleans, crashed into the runway lights short of runway 22L, killing 112 passengers and crew. The cause of the crash was wind shear during a heavy thunderstorm.
  • December 11, 1978 - The Lufthansa heist targeted over $5 million in cash and jewels on a Lufthansa flight arriving from Germany; at the time, it was the largest cash robbery ever committed on American soil.
  • January 25, 1990 - Avianca Flight 52, a Boeing 707-321B arriving from Bogotá and Medellin, crashed at Cove Neck, Long Island, after a missed approach at JFK and subsequently running out of fuel. 73 passengers and crew perished. 85 survived.[57]
  • July 30, 1992 - TWA Flight 843, a Lockheed L-1011 departing for San Francisco, aborted takeoff shortly after liftoff. There were no fatalities among the 280 passengers, although the aircraft was destroyed.[58]
  • November 12, 2001 - American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300 crashed while en route to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. During climb, the aircraft lost most of its vertical fin due to the co-pilot's overcontrol of the rudder while encountering wake turbulence, and crashed into the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Queens. The crash killed all 260 people on the plane and five people on the ground.
  • On September 6, 2007, TAM Airlines Flight 8080 suffered a heavy landing due to the elevators not responding in the landing flare. An investigation revealed that #2 flight control primary computer did not match #1 and #3 computers, sending erroneous messages to the actuators for the elevators.[59]
  • January 16, 2010 - Terminal 8 was evacuated and passengers rescreened after a person bypassed security. According to a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport, the evacuation was triggered when a man left an American Airlines first-class lounge through a restricted door.[60]

Other accidents and incidents involving JFK include:

In popular culture

As one of the major international gateways in the United States, JFK possesses a high profile in popular culture. The British Invasion began with the arrival of The Beatles at JFK in 1964, who held their first American press conference at the airport.

The Beatles arrive at JFK Airport

Rapper Notorious B.I.G. references the airport's code name in the song "Going Back to Cali." The theme song of the 1960s comedy TV series Car 54, Where Are You? contained a line reading: "There's a scout troop short a child, [Nikita] Khrushchev's due at Idlewild," referencing the airport's previous name, Idlewild. In his one-man show Red diaper baby, Josh Kornbluth's eccentric communist father insists on referring to JFK as the "Bay of Pigs Memorial Airport". JFK is also mentioned in the U2 song, "Angel of Harlem", as well as the song "The City" by Joe Purdy. In the Simpsons episode "$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)" Mr. Burns builds the 'Spruce Moose' a parody of Howard Hughes's 'Spruce Goose' airplane, which he claims will fly from New York's Idlewild Airport to the Belgian Congo in seventeen minutes. A futuristic version of JFK was featured in The Fifth Element. In I Love Lucy, Lucy misses the USS Constitution bound for Europe and is forced to take a helicopter out of Idlewild Airport. Idlewild Airport was also mentioned in a Twilight Zone episode in which a plane en route to Idlewild travels through time.

Many films have used JFK as a setting:

  • Live and Let Die (1973) depicts James Bond arriving at JFK on a Pan Am 747.
  • Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
  • SST: Death Flight (1977) features JFK Airport for around the first 20 minutes of the film as its primary setting. In scenes many parts of the Airport can be seen including: various Terminals, runways, boarding areas, cargo loading bays and the full Airport can even be seen during a take-off sequence which shows a model of the fictitious Maiden One, a close-copy of the real American SST: the Boeing 2707 'taking-off' from the Airport. The film has also been re-titled as "Death Flight" and "SST Disaster In The Sky".
  • Zombi 2 (1979)
  • Moonstruck (1987)
  • Three Men and a Baby (1987)
  • Big Business (1988)
  • Coming to America (1988)
  • Bonfire of the Vanities (1989) shows a complicated shot of Concorde landing here, documented in the book The Devil's Candy.
  • Goodfellas (1990) depicts the 1967 Air France Robbery and 1978 Lufthansa heist that are both unsolved major robberies conducted at the airport.
  • Quick Change (1990)
  • The Wedding Banquet (1993)
  • Turbulence (1997)
  • Final Destination (2000)
  • Catch Me If You Can (2002) features scenes of JFK during the 1960s, including several scenes filmed in the original TWA Flight Center (old Terminal 5).[62]
  • Kangaroo Jack (2003) (cameo appearance)
  • Anger Management (2003) (Featured Pakistan International Airlines 747 in background)
  • The Terminal (2004) was set at JFK airport, but certain interior scenes were filmed on mock terminal movie sets, while other interior scenes and exterior scenes were filmed at Mirabel International Airport in Montreal.
  • Taxi (2004)
  • White Chicks (2004)
  • Friends (2004) (series finale)
  • School for Scoundrels (2006)
  • Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) depicts the title character arriving at JFK.
  • Build It Bigger (2007)
  • Bee Movie (2007) shows a plane carrying roses landing at Terminal 4.
  • The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
  • The Visitor (2008)
  • Brüno (2009) features the American Airlines baggage claim in Terminal 8.
  • Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura (2009) features Jesse Ventura unsuccessfully attempting to access Hangar 17, which contains steel beams and other WTC items from the 9/11/01 attacks. This was part of an investigation into whether or not 9/11 could have possibly been an American attack on American soil by covert means known as a "false flag" operation.
  • Old Dogs (film) (2009) The flight of Dan (John Travolta) and Charlie (Robin Williams) for Tokyo departs from JFK

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External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to New York City article)

From Wikitravel

Manhattan skyline
Manhattan skyline
New York City is an enormous city. Each of its five boroughs is the equivalent of a large city in its own right and may itself be divided into districts. These borough and district articles contain sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.

New York [1] (also referred to as "New York City", "NYC", "The Big Apple", or just "the City"), is the biggest city in the United States. It lies at the mouth of the Hudson River in the southernmost 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.

Boroughs

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, and 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.

Understand

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 theaters. 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.

Orientation

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.”

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 38 41 50 61 71 79 84 82 75 64 53 43
Nightly lows (°F) 26 28 35 44 54 63 69 68 60 50 41 32
Precipitation (in) 4.1 3.1 4.4 4.3 4.7 3.8 4.6 4.2 4.2 3.8 4.4 3.9

Check New York's 7 day forecast at NOAA

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.

People

The diverse population runs the gamut from some of America's wealthiest celebrities and socialites to homeless people. There are hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the city. New York's population has been diverse since the city's founding by the Dutch. Successive waves of immigration from virtually every nation in the world 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, Uzbeks, Chinese, French, Yugoslavians, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Japanese, Koreans, Thais, Africans, Arabs (from throughout the Middle East and northern Africa), Mexicans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Brazilians, Colombians and Jamaicans.

Economy

Home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other city in the country, New York City is considered the engine of the U.S. economy. Its gross metropolitan product of $488.8 billion (2003) was the largest of any American city and the sixth largest compared to U.S. 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 U.S. 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.

Get in

By plane

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 [2].

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.

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

Terminal 5

On October 22, 2008, JFK Airport's Terminal 5, the futuristic former Trans World Airlines terminal designed by Eero Saarinen, reopened as a new terminal for JetBlue, after being vacant following TWA's demise in 2001.

John F. Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK) [3] 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 and 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, 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 to 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 min 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 - An alternative to taxis, car services are useful for getting to the airport from the outer boroughs where taxis are harder to find, or if you prefer to have transportation reserved in advance. Typically $60+ between JFK and Manhattan.

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. goairlinkshuttle serves the Bus Terminal, Grand Central, Penn Station, and some midtown hotels for $17-20. 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 (2 hr+ 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 unhelpful 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 min. Total time from the airport to Penn Station is about 45 min. At Jamaica, you can also catch trains to points further east on Long Island, or to Flatbush Ave. station in downtown Brooklyn. 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 additional $8 during the morning rush hour on weekdays, $5.75 at other times, and $3.50 on weekends for a total cost of $8.50-13. To get the weekend fare, you'll need to purchase a special CityTicket.

Subway The JFK AirTrain [4] 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). For Manhattan, the "A" is marginally faster for reaching downtown (the Financial District), while the "E" saves a few minutes to Midtown. Either way, expect to spend about an hour in total. If you do go to Jamaica and want to reach downtown via a fairly scenic route, the J/Z are marginally faster than the E and can be much less crowded during peak times than the E. The J/Z are elevated throughout most of Queens and all of Brooklyn and go over the Williamsburg Bridge. Also, during AM rush towards Manhattan and PM rush away from it, the J and Z do skip-stop service, meaning that some stations are J-only and Z-only. Keep this in mind if you are waiting at one of those stations. When taking this route into or out of Manhattan during the overnight hours (when only the J runs) be alert of your surroundings as you will be passing through some rough neighborhoods.

If returning to the airport on the "A" train, make sure the destination signs read Far Rockaway or Rockaway Park. Trains to Lefferts Blvd. do not connect to the airport! If you board the wrong train, transfer at any station at or before Rockaway Blvd. If you forget and overshoot, go to the end of the line and either backtrack or take the Q10 bus, as seen below. As with the J train, 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 Taking the bus from Terminal 4 lets you avoid the $5 AirTrain ticket. These can save some time if your destination is in the outer boroughs, though keep in mind that these are ordinary city buses mostly catering to airport employees - little room for luggage, and most head to decidedly non-touristy neighborhoods in the outskirts of the city. On the flip side, they do offer many more connection options than AirTrain. Bus to train transfers include:

  • MTA bus Q10 to:
    • Ozone Park-Lefferts Blvd Station: A (20 min) - the option closest to the airport
    • 121st Street Station: J & Z (at Jamaica Ave)
    • Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike Station: E & F at Queens Blvd
    • Kew Gardens Station: Long Island Railroad at Austin St
  • MTA bus Q3 to:
    • Jamaica-179th Street Station: F
  • MTA bus B15 to:
    • New Lots Avenue Station: 3
    • New Lots Avenue Station: L (at Van Sinderen Ave)
    • Kingston-Throop Aves. Station: C (at Fulton St)
    • Flushing Ave. Station: J all times except weekdays 7AM-1PM towards Manhattan & 1PM-8PM away from Manhattan, M weekdays (at Broadway)

Note: Transferring between bus and subway requires a MetroCard; the single ride ticket does not allow transfers so this is likely to cost you $4.50, as you will be charged $2.25 twice. Coins are needed to board the buses without a MetroCard. If you want to get a Metrocard before making the trip, they are available for sale at Hudson Newsstands in Terminals 1 and 6. If the newsstands are closed and you're feeling patient, 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 Q10 and B15 also stop at the Lefferts Blvd. AirTrain station, but are a little more difficult to figure out.

Newark Liberty International Airport

Newark Liberty International Airport, 1-800-EWR-INFO, (IATA: EWR) [5] 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 min) to connect to a NJ Transit or Amtrak train running along the Northeast Corridor line for connecting service to New York Penn Station (34th St and 8th Ave in Manhattan). Expect to spend around 5 minutes getting ticketed and to the correct platform. One-way fares to Penn Station are $15 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 min. 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 [6]. 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 [7] ($15 one way, $25 round trip) runs buses every 15 minutes to Manhattan, with stops at the Port Authority Bus Terminal (41st St between Eighth and Ninth Aves), Bryant Park, and Grand Central Station. One-way trip time is about 40 min depending on traffic.

Private Car Service - New York Airport Transportation and Transfers [8] arranges private transport services between New York's airports, hotels and cruise terminals. Individuals, small groups and large groups are accommodated 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; 25 min). From there, you may take a PATH subway train ($1.75) either to World Trade Center station in lower Manhattan (25 min), or, by transferring at the Journal Square station to the 33rd St. train (across the platform), to the following stops along Sixth Avenue: Christopher St in Greenwich Village, 9th St, 14th St, 23rd St, and 33rd St. 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. However, it may be faster, as traffic into Manhattan can be heavy. As an alternative, once you are in Manhattan, you can take a bus or train from your destination. (Keep in mind that they may be very crowded). You can go to MTA and click on either the subway map or Manhattan bus map to find a way from your drop-off point in Manhattan. If you are by Grand Central, you are served by the 4, 5, 6, and 7 trains. If you are by Penn Station, you are served by the A, C, E (on 8th Ave) , 1, 2, 3 (on 7th Ave), and the B, D, F, V, N, Q, R, and W (at 6th Ave).

LaGuardia Airport

LaGuardia Airport (IATA: LGA) [9] is a smaller, older airport providing many of the domestic services for the city including the frequent shuttles to Boston and Washington, D.C.. Direct flights are available to all large and most small airports east of the Mississippi, with a few international flights to Toronto and Montreal. 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 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, which are a cheap alternative but can take a very long time due to all the stops the bus makes. The M60 bus connects with N and W trains at Astoria Blvd., and crosses Manhattan using 125th St, connecting with several stations along that street (4, 5, 6 at Lexington Ave.; 2 and 3 at Lenox Ave./Malcolm X Blvd.; A, B, C, D at 8th Ave./St. Nicholas Ave.), finally reaching the 1 train at Broadway and 116th St. 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. Keep in mind that the M60 is an ordinary city bus with little room for luggage, and is often very crowded. Connections are also available into Queens via the Q33 and Q47 buses, reaching the Roosevelt Ave./Jackson Heights station (E, F, G, R, V, and 7 trains). For all buses you need $2.25 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.

If you are traveling to eastern Queens, you can take the Q48 to Flushing for buses to points east, or the E or F from Roosevelt Avenue to their terminals in Jamaica, where bus service is available to eastern Queens, in addition to the Long Island Railroad. Check the bus and subway maps at [10].

Airport Shuttles - A popular shuttle service comes from way of goairlinkshuttle, LaGuardia Airport Shuttle [11]. 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 [12] 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.

Other Airports

Long Island MacArthur Airport (Islip Airport) (IATA: ISP) [13] 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, $10.75) and then a shuttle to the airport (10 minutes, $5), by bus on the Hampton Jitney ($25), or by a taxi ($10).

Westchester County Airport (IATA: HPN) [14], 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.

Stewart International Airport (IATA: SWF) [15] is served by a number of airports and can be reached by rail from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan by Metro North to Newburgh and then a shuttle.

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.

By train

Amtrak

Amtrak, 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245), [16], 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[17] 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 [18], 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 travellers: 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.

Commuter Rail

New York City is served by three commuter railroads.

  • Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) [19] 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) [20] 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 branch lines to Danbury and Waterbury. 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 [21] 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.

By bus

Greyhound [22] 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 [23]. Recently Peter Pan Bus Company [24] 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 [25] also hosts a dozen or so smaller bus companies, which generally offer service along the Boston-to-DC regional axis.

Limoliner [26] 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 [27] connects 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. +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:

Chinatown Buses

  • The Fung Wah Bus [28], granddaddy of all Chinatown buses, with service to and from Boston at the corner of Canal and Chrystie Streets. $15. Departures: hourly M-Th 7AM-10PM, F-Su 7AM-11PM (4.5 hrs).
  • The Lucky Star [29], competitor to Fung Wah.
  • The Boston Deluxe [30], connecting New York with Boston and Hartford. $15.
  • The Today's Bus [31] and Apex Bus [32] service Washington D.C. ($20), Philadelphia ($10-12/20 round trip), Richmond ($40) and Atlanta ($105).

Other Companies

  • The Tripper Bus [33] 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 [34] to and from Washington D.C.
  • The Washington Deluxe [35] To and from Washington D.C.
  • Megabus [36] offers luxury bus service (reclining seats, 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 [37] offers service from Boston, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia; fares start at $1 when ordered well in advance, closer to the date they typically cost around $20. 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 [38] 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, closer to the date they more typically cost around $50.
  • Eastern Travel [39] 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)
  • Vamoose [40] offers services between New York City Penn Station (Capital One Bank) and Arlington, VA/Bethesda, MD. Fares start at $30 each way.

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) [41] 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 [42]. 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 [43] (formerly NYC Garages [44]) 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 [45] 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 [46]. 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.

Be wary of your surroundings. While NYC is a safe city for its size, it's not necessarily safe for your car as well. Make it as unworthy to steal as possible.

"Left luggage"

Note that, due to security concerns, there are very few left luggage, storage lockers, or coatcheck service at any New York train station. This includes Penn and Grand Central stations; however the Amtrak checked luggage point at Penn Station is still operating, but only for ticketed passengers. There are left luggage services in the Arrivals area of Terminals 1 and 4 at JFK Airport. The left luggage office in Terminal 4 is open 24 hours. There is also a luggage storage at Building 4 of JFK, which will require photo ID. In Manhattan there is Manhattan Luggage Storage aka Schwartz Travel Services, close to Penn Station and another one close to Grand Central Terminal. Some hotels will store luggage for customers who have checked out of the hotel.

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, while building numbering on streets starts at Fifth Avenue (for the most part - see below) and increases as you go east or west crosstown.

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 Avenue are written as, for example, 220 W. 34th Street, while those east of Fifth Avenue 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, or 60 blocks (3 miles) per hour. Walking East/West on the streets, the blocks are generally much longer.

On foot

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. Also, it is considered extremely poor etiquette to walk several people across along the sidewalk without providing a space for New Yorkers to pass.

MetroCard
MetroCard

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). It is possible to purchase MetroCards with a credit card from the ticket machines, however they require that you type in your 5-digit zip code to confirm the card (or just your regular pin on international cards). Information on types of MetroCards and fares can be found online at the Metrocard website. [47]

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 $2.25 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 $2.25 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. It is only valid for two hours after purchase.
  • Pay-Per-Ride MetroCards are available from $4 to $80 at vending machines and token booths. Any purchase over $8 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 $45 through the "choose another amount" option, which will add up to 51.75 and give you 23 rides.
  • One-Day Funpass available for $8.25 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 $27 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. It's not valid on express buses or the JFK AirTrain.
  • 14-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard, at $51.50, and 30-Day, at $89, save even more money for longer visits. If you buy them with a credit or debit card, you can get a prorated refund in case of loss.
  • More specialized variants include the Seven-Day Express Bus Plus pass at $45, which additionally allows unlimited use of the express buses (mostly serving Staten Island), and two JFK Airtrain-specific options: a 30-day unlimited AirTrain pass for $40, and a 10-trip pass for $25, both of which are valid only on AirTrain.

MetroCards can also be used to obtain discounts throughout the year at venues across New York City in the form of "MetroCard Deals." Subways, buses, and stations will post signs announcing these "Deals," which is usually redeemed by showing a MetroCard at a ticket booth, or a merchandise counter. The MetroCard website also posts the most recent MetroCard Deals.

Map of the New York City Subway
Map of the New York City Subway

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 $2.25, 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.

Subway basics:

  • 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 [48], 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 [49] 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 [50]. Alternatively, use HopStop.com [51] 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 essentially the only trains on the East Side above 23 St. Useful for the Metropolitan Museum of Art (4, 5, or 6 to 86th Street Station or the 6 to 77th Street Station), Guggenheim Museum (4, 5, or 6 to 86th Street Station), and other East Side museums. Also for the Statue of Liberty (4, 5 to Bowling Green Station), Chinatown (6 to Canal Street Station), and Yankee Stadium (4 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 $2.25 fare with a MetroCard, you can transfer to an express bus for $3.25, resulting in the standard $5.50 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.
  • MetroCards- You must have a MetroCard 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 $2.25 (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. Swiping the card improperly or moving the turnstile incorrectly could mean the forfeiture of your fare for pay per ride cards or a lockout of 18 minutes for unlimited ride cards. (If this happens, go to a full-service token booth and explain the problem. The attendant will ask for your MetroCard, confirm that it was just charged, and let you go through without further incident.) If you stand at the turnstile and try to jerk the card through the reader, you may 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" in green and you'll hear a *CLICK* sound).
  • 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 [52]. 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 [53] 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.
  • Heat- While the subway cars are usually air-conditioned, the temperatures within the subway stations can be 10-15°F higher than on the streets above, which can get really frustrating in the summer months. Given the frequency of most subway lines, you likely won't have to put up with it for long, but you may want to bear this in mind if heat is an issue for you.

By bus

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 [54].

New York City bus
New York City bus

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.

By ferry

Ferries provide an interesting alternative to getting around New York. The most famous ferry is the Staten Island Ferry [55], 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).

Most of the other ferries you will see are operated by New York Waterway [56], connect the city with the New Jersey Hudson River Waterfront and are not free. Inquire as to fares before boarding.

New York Water Taxi [57] runs ferries between points within Manhattan, with some connections to Brooklyn and New Jersey. Their boats are painted to look like taxis.

By taxi

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 (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.

As of the end of 2008, all cabs are required to accept credit cards for payment. However, in some instances, cabs have been known to have "broken" credit card machines. To avoid an awkward situation, either make sure to ask the driver at the beginning of the ride. If the driver tries to claim that the meter is still broken, tell him/her that you are calling 311 and reporting the taxi number. All cell phones can call 311 in New York City and a complaint can be registered with the TLC (Taxi Commission).

Info on fares, flat fares, group rides and rules are online at the NYC.gov website [58].

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.

Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge

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 Connecticut or 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. Also, "bumping" cars in front of and behind of you to get into and out of a parking spot is not uncommon, so if you choose to park on the street, don't be surpised if you find a few new scratches and scrapes on your bumper. Note also that New York has "alternate side of the street" parking rules [59], 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. [60]

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.

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 [61], 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 [62], are sent to vehicular owners without any points against drivers' licenses.

And please, if there is an emergency vehicle trying to get through with its siren blaring, pull over to the side and move forward as necessary. Note that on many one-way streets (avenues in particular), the middle lane is designated as the "FIRE LANE." Generally, 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).

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 6PM 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 Illegal at ALL 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.

Get a map

This advice is even more important for intrepid travelers to the outer boroughs, where the street patterns are irregular. Good maps to use, if you are not driving, are the free bus maps which have each street, though the subway map can work in a pinch (also used for small boat navigation). There is no north-south or east-west. In Queens, numbers identify not only avenues and streets, but also roads, places, crescents, 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 [63] may reduce delays.

If you are traveling with commercial traffic, such as a moving truck, remember that commercial traffic is prohibited on 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.

By bicycle

Cycling[64] 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 train at WTC terminal
PATH train at WTC terminal

PATH [65](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 [66] 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.

See

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, [67]. 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, [68]. Gets you into 6 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; Empire State Building Observatory; The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cloisters; and the option between a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise OR the ferry to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island. $79 adult, $59 youth aged 6–17 (reduced from combined regular admission of $140 adults and $101 youth).
  • New York Pass, [69]. 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.

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
Statue of Liberty
  • Statue of Liberty.[70] The ferry ($19) leaves every 25 minutes from Battery Park and stops at Liberty Island and Ellis Island[71][72]. 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. 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[73]. 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, [74]. 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, [75]. 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 you find at the Empire State Building.
  • The United Nations, 1st Avenue at 46th Street, [76]. Offers a park overlooking the East River and tours of the general assembly and secretariat.
  • Empire State Building, Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, [77]. 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, [78]. 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, [79]. 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), [80]. 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, [81]. 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, [82]. Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum is 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, [83]. New York City's branch of the famous London wax museum. Features over 200 detailed life-like wax models of celebrities, politicians, athletes and historical icons in the heart of Times Square.
  • PS1 Contemporary Art Center, 22–25 Jackson Avenue (Queens), (718) 784-2084, [84]. 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.
  • The New Museum of Contemporary Art Contemporary art exhibitions with no permanent collection.

Science and Technology

  • American Museum of Natural History in the Upper West Side of Manhattan[85]. 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, [86]. Apr–Sep M–F 10AM–5PM, Sa–Su 10AM–6PM; Oct–Mar Tu–Su 10AM–5PM. $16.50 adult.
  • Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (Museum at FIT), 7th Avenue at 27th St, (212) 217-5970 [87]. 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 [88]. 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.

Neighborhoods

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.

Parks

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.

Do

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.

  • Blue Panda Tours, +1 347 688-8382 (), [89]. Daily tours. Personalized and private walking tours of New York City with a focus on New York history, culture, architecture and an insider's guide to local places to shop and eat from a native New Yorker.  edit
  • Context New York, +1 888 467 1986 (), [90]. 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.  edit
  • East Village Visitors Center, 308 Bowery, NYC (between E. Houston and Bleeker, at the Bowery Poetry Club), 212-614-0505, [91]. Visit the center to learn about the legendary Bowery; Manhattan's oldest thoroughfare and important time capsule of NYC social life, politics and entertainment. All guides are native New Yorkers and active community members, historians and educators, and licensed by the City of New York. No Reservations required. $15 suggested donation.  edit
  • Photo Walk-abouts, Greenwich Village, Central Park, Wall Street, 917-557-3693 (), [92]. 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. $20.  edit

Entertainment

Theater and Performing Arts

New York's Broadway is famous for its many shows, especially musicals. You might want to visit TKTS online[93], which offers tickets for shows the same night at discounted prices, usually 50% off or visit BroadwayBox.com,[94] 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[95], 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 $130 a seat, though discounters like TKTS (above) make cheaper seats available. Off-Broadway indicates performances that are smaller (less than 500 seats) and usually of a certain intellectual seriousness. Some of these theatres are located around Times Square in addition to different locations throughout Manhattan. 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 [96], Endtimes Productions [97], and The People's Improv Theater [98].

For current and upcoming Broadway and Off-Broadway info and listings, visit Playbill.com[99]. This site also has lots of articles on what's going on in the NY commercial theatre scene. Broadway.com [100] and Newyorkcitytheatre.com [101] also has plenty of info, as well as some videos and photos. Theatermania [102] 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 [103] 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 [104] 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 [105].
  • Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas, (212) 632-3975, [106]. See the Rockettes, another show or just tour the famous Art Deco masterpiece.

Film

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, [107]. 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), [108]. 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, [109] 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), [110]. 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.

Parades

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. Paddy'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.

Buy

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).

Buying Art

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.

Outlets

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.

Convenience Stores

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.

Eat

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.[111] 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.

  • 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 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),[112] 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 (a "Reuben" is always a good choice). 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, fold in half lengthwise, and enjoy. If you just want a piece of plain cheese pizza, ask for "a slice." Or pick up one with pepperoni -- 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.
  • The New York Egg Cream. A blend of chocolate syrup, milk, and seltzer water. One of the best found at Katz's Delicatessen.
  • Do I need cash?

A number of restaurants in New York do not take credit cards, particularly smaller establishments, and especially restaurants in Chinatown. 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 8.875%, if you double this, 17-18% approximates the tipping customs elsewhere in the US. Most New Yorkers tip 20% and above if they feel they were treated well. 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 or two per drink is common in bars where drinks cost $5 - $15. But 20% is a good rule. 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.

Vegetarians

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.

Street Food

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 as well as a new location on the upper west side. The halal offerings in midtown are legendary (Kwik-Meal on 45th and Sixth; Chicken Guy/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.

Drink

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 [113] 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[114], the Voice[115], 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 Bleecker 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 discotheque, 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). In summer you should check out Queens' Bohemian Hall Beer Garden in the adjacent neighborhood, Astoria (25 minutes from Times Square on the N/W, get off at Hoyt Ave) which is an entire city block, walled, filled with trees, tables and a cool crowd, given over to Czech and German beer.

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 classiest 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 4AM 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).

Keep in mind that like most of the US, the legal drinking age is 21. Even if you're over 21, make sure to keep your drivers license (sufficient for US & Canadian citizens) or passport (sufficient for everyone else) on hand. Especially in touristy neighborhoods, it's not uncommon to be asked to prove your age as a matter of policy- even at a restaurant. Outside of the touristy areas, and especially in Brooklyn, people tend to be more relaxed.

Sleep

Hotel Information

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!

Taxes 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 (8.875 %), a New York City Hotel Occupancy Tax (varies but, for rooms above $ 40, $ 2 + 5.875 %), and a surcharge of $ 1.50. For a $ 100 a night room, expect to pay $ 117.75.

Alternatives to Manhattan Accommodations 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. But a much better alternative than New Jeresey is Queens, more specifically Long Island City. There are 10-15 mid-range (you can probably sleep for $50) and clean and safe hotels in the region just across the Queensborough (59th Street) Bridge from Manhattan. This area is being developed by the city as its new "hotel zone." Take advantage of it! And the subway runs all night so you can go out in Manhattan and come back at any time.

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.

Contact

Find free wireless hotspots across the city online at openwifinyc[116], NYC Wireless [117], and WiFi Free Spot[118]. 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.

Stay safe

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.

The Stereo Types of New Yorkers that you may see on television or hear about is to simply be ignored; they are generally nice people and they tend to keep to themselves and don't mind giving out directions so don't be afraid to ask if need be. 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.

  • 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 [119]. 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 [120]. Students of Barnard College babysit for around $13 an hour, minimum two hours, plus a $20 registration fee.

Smoke?

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.

Get out

Locals would ask why you ever wanted to leave, but the truth is that New York is a great jumping-off point for a visit to other locations in the metro area (including New Jersey and Connecticut), or anywhere in the Boston-Washington corridor.

  • 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.
  • Westchester - Home to the country's only government-operated theme park as well as beautiful neighborhoods. It is located north of the Bronx in a lovely mountainous setting and is a 30 minute train ride from Grand Central taking the Metro North Railroad, where you can get off at one of the many quaint towns - Tarrytown, White Plains, Mount Kisco, Rye, etc.
  • 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.
Routes through New York City
AlbanyYonkers  N noframe S  END
New HavenGreenwich  N noframe S  NewarkPhiladelphia
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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