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City of New York
—  City  —
From upper left: Manhattan south of Rockefeller Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, United Nations Headquarters, the Statue of Liberty, and Times Square


Nickname(s): The Big Apple, The Concrete Jungle, The City That Never Sleeps, The Capital of The World (Caput Mundi), The Center of the Universe, NYC, Gotham, The Greatest City in The World, The Empire City, The City So Nice They Named It Twice, The City.
Location in the state of New York
City of New York is located in the USA
City of New York
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 40°43′N 74°0′W / 40.717°N 74°W / 40.717; -74
Country United States
State New York
Boroughs The Bronx
Staten Island
Settled 1624
 - Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) [1]
 - City 468.9 sq mi (1,214.4 km2)
 - Land 304.8 sq mi (789.4 km2)
 - Water 165.6 sq mi (428.8 km2)
 - Urban 3,352.6 sq mi (8,683.2 km2)
 - Metro 6,720 sq mi (17,405 km2)
Elevation 33 ft (10 m)
Population (July 1, 2008)[2]
 - City 8,363,710
 Density 27,440/sq mi (10,606/km2)
 Urban 18,223,567
 - Urban Density 5,435.7/sq mi (2,098.7/km2)
 Metro 19,006,798
 - Metro Density 2,828.4/sq mi (1,092/km2)
 - Demonym New Yorker
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 100xx-104xx, 11004-05, 111xx-114xx, 116xx
Area code(s) 212, 718, 917, 347, 646

New York is the most populous city in the United States, and the center of the New York metropolitan area, which is one of the most populous urban areas in the world. A leading global city, New York exerts a powerful influence over global commerce, finance, culture, fashion and entertainment. As host of the United Nations Headquarters, it is also an important center for international affairs. The city is often referred to as New York City or The City of New York to distinguish it from the state of New York, of which it is a part.

Located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, the city consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The city's 2008 estimated population exceeds 8.3 million people,[2] and with a land area of 305 square miles (790 km2),[3][4] New York City is the most densely populated major city in the United States.[5] The New York metropolitan area's population is also the nation's largest, estimated at 18.8 million people over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2).[6] Furthermore, the Combined Statistical Area containing the Greater New York metropolitan area contained 22.155 million people as of 2008 Census estimates, also the largest in the United States.

New York was founded as a commercial trading post by the Dutch in 1624. The settlement was called New Amsterdam until 1664 when the colony came under English control.[7] New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790.[8] It has been the country's largest city since 1790.[9]

Many districts and landmarks in the city have become well known to outsiders. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Times Square, nicknamed, "The Crossroads of the World," has achieved the status of an iconic global landmark famous for its continuously illuminated animated digital advertisements and ceaseless pedestrian throngs, 24 hours a day. Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, has been a premier global financial center since World War II and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies; while the NASDAQ MarketSite, the exterior wall of which exhibits a multiple story electronic video display in Times Square, is the physical presence of the NASDAQ stock market, also one of the world's largest. The city has been home to several of the tallest buildings in the world, including the Empire State Building and the twin towers of the former World Trade Center. The original Chinatown in Lower Manhattan, as well as the city's satellite Chinatowns, now represent some of the largest and most prominent ethnic Chinese communities outside of Asia. The Brooklyn Bridge, an important pedestrian and motor vehicle conduit, is the most iconic bridge of the city's notable bridges and has been filmed ubiquitously with the Lower Manhattan skyline in the backdrop. Grand Central Terminal, also popularly referred to as Grand Central Station, is the largest railway station on earth per number of platforms.

The city is the birthplace of many cultural movements, including the Harlem Renaissance in literature and visual art; abstract expressionism (also known as the New York School) in painting; hip hop,[10] punk,[11] salsa, disco, freestyle, and Tin Pan Alley in music; and is the home of Broadway theater.

New York is notable among American cities for its high use of mass transit, most of which runs 24 hours a day, and for the density and diversity of its population. In 2005, nearly 170 languages were spoken in the city and 36% of its population was born outside the United States.[12][13] Sometimes referred to as "The City That Never Sleeps," the city has also been nicknamed, "The Capital of the World," "The City," "Gotham,"[14] and the "Big Apple."[15]



Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European to explore New York Harbor
Lower Manhattan in 1660, when it was part of New Amsterdam. North is to the right.

The region was inhabited by about 5,000 Lenape Native Americans at the time of its European discovery in 1524[16] by Giovanni da Verrazzano, an Italian explorer in the service of the French crown, who called it "Nouvelle Angoulême" (New Angoulême).[17] European settlement began with the founding of a Dutch fur trading settlement, later called "Nieuw Amsterdam" (New Amsterdam), on the southern tip of Manhattan in 1614. Dutch colonial Director-General Peter Minuit purchased the island of Manhattan from the Lenape in 1626 for a value of 60 guilders (about $1000 in 2006);[18] a disproved legend, says that Manhattan was purchased for $24 worth of glass beads.[19][20]

In 1664, the English conquered the city and renamed it "New York" after the English Duke of York and Albany.[21] At the end of the Second Anglo-Dutch War the Dutch gained control of Run (then a much more valuable asset) in exchange for the English controlling New Amsterdam (New York) in North America. Several intertribal wars among the Native Americans and some epidemics brought on by the arrival of the Europeans caused sizable population losses for the Lenape between the years 1660 and 1670.[22] By 1700, the Lenape population had diminished to 200.[23] In 1702, city lost 10% of its population to yellow fever.[24] New York underwent no less than seven important yellow fever epidemics from 1702 to 1800.[25]

New York City grew in importance as a trading port while under British rule. The city hosted the influential John Peter Zenger trial in 1735, helping to establish the freedom of the press in North America. In 1754, Columbia University was founded under charter by George II of Great Britain as King's College in Lower Manhattan.[26] The Stamp Act Congress met in New York in October of 1765 as the Sons of Liberty organized in the city, skirmishing over the next ten years with British troops stationed there.

During the American Revolutionary War, the area emerged as the theater for a series of crucial battles known as the New York Campaign. After the upper Manhattan Battle of Fort Washington in 1776 the city became the British military and political base of operations in North America, and a haven for Loyalist refugees, until military occupation ended in 1783. A major fire during the occupation led to the destruction of about a quarter of the city. The assembly of the Congress of the Confederation made New York City the national capital shortly after the war: the Constitution of the United States was ratified and in 1789 the first President of the United States, George Washington, was inaugurated; the first United States Congress and the United States Supreme Court each assembled for the first time in 1789, and the United States Bill of Rights drafted, all at Federal Hall on Wall Street.[27] By 1790, New York City had surpassed Philadelphia as the largest city in the United States.

Maps and Tables
Lower Manhattan in 1660
Weather Averages
The Five Boroughs
Largest corporations
Historical Populations
Sister Cities

In the 19th century, the city was transformed by immigration and development.[28] A visionary development proposal, the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, expanded the city street grid to encompass all of Manhattan, and the 1819 opening of the Erie Canal connected the Atlantic port to the vast agricultural markets of the North American interior.[29] Local politics fell under the domination of Tammany Hall, a political machine supported by Irish immigrants.[30] Public-minded members of the old merchant aristocracy lobbied for the establishment of Central Park, which became the first landscaped park in an American city in 1857. A significant free-black population also existed in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Slaves had been held in New York through 1827, but during the 1830s New York became a center of interracial abolitionist activism in the North. New York's black population was over 16,000 in 1840.[31] The Great Irish Famine brought a large influx of Irish immigrants, and by 1860, one in four New Yorkers – over 200,000 – had been born in Ireland.[32]

Anger at military conscription during the American Civil War (1861–1865) led to the Draft Riots of 1863, one of the worst incidents of civil unrest in American history.[33]

In 1898, the modern City of New York was formed with the consolidation of Brooklyn (until then a separate city), the County of New York (which then included parts of the Bronx), the County of Richmond, and the western portion of the County of Queens.[34] The opening of the New York City Subway in 1904 helped bind the new city together. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the city became a world center for industry, commerce, and communication. However, this development did not come without a price. In 1904, the steamship General Slocum caught fire in the East River, killing 1,021 people on board.

In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the city's worst industrial disaster, took the lives of 146 garment workers and spurred the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and major improvements in factory safety standards.[35]

New York's nonwhite population was 36,620 in 1890.[36] In the 1920s, New York City was a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration from the American South. By 1916, New York City was home to the largest urban African diaspora in North America. The Harlem Renaissance flourished during the era of Prohibition, coincident with a larger economic boom that saw the skyline develop with the construction of competing skyscrapers.

Midtown Manhattan, New York City, from Rockefeller Center, 1932

New York City became the most populous urbanized area in the world in early 1920s, overtaking London, and the metropolitan area surpassed the 10 million mark in early 1930s becoming the first megacity in human history.[37] The difficult years of the Great Depression saw the election of reformer Fiorello LaGuardia as mayor and the fall of Tammany Hall after eighty years of political dominance.[38]

Returning World War II veterans created a postwar economic boom and the development of large housing tracts in eastern Queens. New York emerged from the war unscathed and the leading city of the world, with Wall Street leading America's ascendance as the world's dominant economic power, the United Nations headquarters (completed in 1950) emphasizing New York's political influence, and the rise of abstract expressionism in the city precipitating New York's displacement of Paris as the center of the art world.[39]

The pre-9/11 skyline of Lower Manhattan, August 2001

In the 1960s, New York suffered from economic problems, rising crime rates, which reached a peak in the 1970s. In the 1980s, resurgence in the financial industry improved the city's economic health. By the 1990s, crime rates dropped dramatically, many American transplants and waves of new immigrants arrived from Asia and Latin America. Important new sectors, such as Silicon Alley, emerged in the city's economy and New York's population reached an all-time high in the 2000 census.

A rendering of 1 World Trade Center, currently under construction.

The city was one of the sites of the September 11, 2001 attacks, when nearly 3,000 people died in the destruction of the World Trade Center.[40] A new 1 World Trade Center (previously known as the Freedom Tower), along with a memorial and three other office towers, will be built on the site and is scheduled for completion in 2013.[41]

On December 19, 2006, the first steel columns were installed in the building's foundation. Three other high-rise office buildings are planned for the site along Greenwich Street, and they will surround the World Trade Center Memorial, which is under construction. The area will also be home to a museum dedicated to the history of the site.

February 2007 estimates put the cost for construction of 1 WTC at $3 billion, or $1,150 per square foot ($12,380 per square meter).[42] Approximately $1 billion of insurance money recouped by Silverstein is slated for construction of the Freedom Tower.[42]

The State of New York is expected to provide $250 million toward construction costs, and the Port Authority would finance another $1 billion for 1 WTC, through bonds.[43]


New York City is located in the Northeastern United States, in southeastern New York State, approximately halfway between Washington, D.C. and Boston.[44] The location at the mouth of the Hudson River, which feeds into a naturally sheltered harbor and then into the Atlantic Ocean, has helped the city grow in significance as a trading city. Much of New York is built on the three islands of Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island, making land scarce and encouraging a high population density.

Satellite image showing the core of the New York metropolitan area. Over 10 million people live in the imaged area.

The Hudson River flows through the Hudson Valley into New York Bay. Between New York City and Troy, New York, the river is an estuary.[45] The Hudson separates the city from New Jersey. The East River – a tidal strait – flows from Long Island Sound and separates the Bronx and Manhattan from Long Island. The Harlem River, another tidal strait between the East and Hudson Rivers, separates Manhattan from the Bronx.

The city's land has been altered substantially by human intervention, with considerable land reclamation along the waterfronts since Dutch colonial times. Reclamation is most prominent in Lower Manhattan, with developments such as Battery Park City in the 1970s and 1980s.[46] Some of the natural variations in topography have been evened out, especially in Manhattan.[47]

The city's land area is estimated at 304.8 square miles (789 km2).[3][4] Its total area is 468.9 square miles (1,214 km2). 164.1 square miles (425 km2) of this are water and 304.8 square miles (789 km2) is land. The highest point in the city is Todt Hill on Staten Island, which at 409.8 feet (124.9 m) above sea level is the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard south of Maine.[48] The summit of the ridge is mostly covered in woodlands as part of the Staten Island Greenbelt.[49]


Under the Köppen climate classification, New York City has a humid subtropical climate and enjoys an average of 234 days with at least some sunshine annually, for an average of 2680 hours of sunshine per year.[50] When using the 0°C (American scientist standard) isotherm as criterion, it is the northernmost major city in North America that features a humid subtropical climate.

Summers are typically hot and humid with average high temperatures of 79 °F (26.1 °C) to 84 °F (28.9 °C) and lows of 63 °F (17.2 °C) to 69 °F (20.6 °C), however temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on average of 16 – 19 days each summer and can exceed 100 °F (38 °C) every 4–6 years.[51] Winters are cold, and prevailing wind patterns that blow offshore minimizes the effect of the Atlantic Ocean. Yet, the Atlantic Ocean keeps the city warmer in the winter than inland North American cities located at similar latitudes such as Chicago, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The average temperature in January, New York City's coldest month, is 32.1 °F (0.1 °C). However temperatures in winter could for few days be as low as 10 °F (−12 °C) and as high as the 50s °F (10-15 °C).[52] Spring and autumn are unpredictable, and can range from chilly to warm, although they are usually pleasantly mild with low humidity.

New York City receives 49.7 inches (1,260 mm) of precipitation annually, which is fairly spread throughout the year. Average winter snowfall is about 28.1 inches (71 cm), but this usually varies considerably from year to year, and snow cover usually remains little.[50] Hurricanes and tropical storms are rare in the New York area, but are not unheard of and always have the potential to strike the area.

Climate data for New York (Central Park)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 72
Average high °F (°C) 38.0
Daily mean °F (°C) 32.1
Average low °F (°C) 26.2
Record low °F (°C) -6
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.13
Snowfall inches (mm) 7.5
Avg. snowy days 4.1 2.9 1.6 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.3 1.8 10.9
Avg. precipitation days 10.3 9.4 10.7 11.1 11.4 10.8 10.2 9.5 9.1 8.3 9.3 10.6 120.7
Source: NOAA [53] [54] August 2009


Mass transit use in New York City is the highest in the United States, and gasoline consumption in the city is the same rate as the national average in the 1920s.[55] New York City's high level of mass transit use saved 1.8 billion gallons of oil in 2006; New York saves half of all the oil saved by transit nationwide.[56] The city's population density, low automobile use and high transit utility make it among the most energy efficient cities in the United States.[57] New York City's greenhouse gas emissions are 7.1 metric tons per person compared with the national average of 24.5.[58] New Yorkers are collectively responsible for one percent of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions[58] though they comprise 2.7% of the nation's population. The average New Yorker consumes less than half the electricity used by a resident of San Francisco and nearly one-quarter the electricity consumed by a resident of Dallas.[59]

In recent years, the city has focused on reducing its environmental impact. Large amounts of concentrated pollution in New York City led to a high incidence of asthma and other respiratory conditions among the city's residents.[60] The city government is required to purchase only the most energy-efficient equipment for use in city offices and public housing.[61] New York has the largest clean air diesel-hybrid and compressed natural gas bus fleet in the country, and some of the first hybrid taxis.[62] The city government was a petitioner in the landmark Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency Supreme Court case forcing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants. The city is also a leader in the construction of energy-efficient green office buildings, including the Hearst Tower among others.[63]

New York City is supplied with drinking water by the protected Catskill Mountains watershed.[64] As a result of the watershed's integrity and undisturbed natural water filtration system, New York is one of only four major cities in the United States with drinking water pure enough not to require purification by water treatment plants.[65]


New York City panorama from Hoboken, NJ
View of the Midtown Manhattan skyline, looking north from the Empire State Building


The building design most closely associated with New York City is the skyscraper, whose introduction and widespread adoption saw New York buildings shift from the low-scale European convention to the vertical rise of business districts.

As of August 2008, New York City has 5,538 highrise buildings,[66] with 50 completed skyscrapers taller than 656 feet (200 m). This is more than any other city in United States, and second in the world behind Hong Kong.[67]

Brownstone rowhouses in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

New York has architecturally noteworthy buildings in a wide range of styles. These include the Woolworth Building (1913), an early gothic revival skyscraper built with massively scaled gothic detailing able to be read from street level several hundred feet below. The 1916 Zoning Resolution required setback in new buildings, and restricted towers to a percentage of the lot size, to allow sunlight to reach the streets below.[68]

The Art Deco style of the Chrysler Building (1930), with its tapered top and steel spire, reflected the zoning requirements. The building is considered by many historians and architects to be New York's finest building, with its distinctive ornamentation such as replicas at the corners of the 61st floor of the 1928 Chrysler eagle hood ornaments and V-shaped lighting inserts capped by a steel spire at the tower's crown.[69]

A highly influential example of the international style in the United States is the Seagram Building (1957), distinctive for its facade using visible bronze-toned I-beams to evoke the building's structure. The Condé Nast Building (2000) is an prominent example of green design in American skyscrapers.[63]

New York's large residential districts are often defined by the classic brownstone rowhouses, townhouses, and shabby tenements that were built during a period of rapid growth from 1870 to 1930.[70] Stone and brick became the city's building materials of choice after the construction of wood-frame houses was limited in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1835.[71]

Unlike Paris, which for centuries was built from its own limestone bedrock, New York has always drawn its building stone from a far-flung network of quarries and its stone buildings contain a variety of textures and hues.[72]

A distinctive feature of many of the city's buildings is the wooden roof-mounted water towers. In the 1800s, the city required their installation on buildings higher than six stories to prevent the need for excessively high water pressures at lower elevations, which could break municipal water pipes.[73]

Garden apartments became popular during the 1920s in outlying areas, including Jackson Heights in Queens, which became more accessible with expansion of the subway.[74]


New York City has over 28,000 acres (110 km2) of municipal parkland and 14 miles (23 km) of public beaches.[75] This parkland is augmented by thousands of acres of Gateway National Recreation Area, part of the National Park system, that lie within city boundaries.

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, the only wildlife refuge in the National Park System, alone is over 9,000 acres (36 km2) of wetland islands and water taking up most of Jamaica Bay.

Manhattan's Central Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, is the most visited city park in the United States with 30 million visitors each year.[76] While much of the park looks natural, it is almost entirely landscaped.

It contains several natural-looking lakes and ponds, extensive walking tracks, bridle paths, two ice-skating rinks one of which is a swimming pool in July and August, the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, a wildlife sanctuary, a large expanse of natural woods, a 106-acre (43 ha) billion gallon reservoir with an encircling running track, and an outdoor amphitheater called the Delacorte Theater which hosts the "Shakespeare in the Park" summer festivals. Indoor attractions include Belvedere Castle with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, and the historic Carousel.

Central Park

In addition there are numerous major and minor grassy areas. Some are used for informal or team sports, some are set aside as quiet areas, and some are enclosed as playgrounds for children.

The park has its own wildlife and serves as an oasis for migrating birds, especially in the fall and the spring, making it a significant attraction for bird watchers; 200 species of birds are regularly seen. The 6 miles (10 km) of drives within the park are used by joggers, bicyclists and inline skaters, especially on weekends, and in the evenings after 7:00 p.m., when automobile traffic is banned.

Parks and Greenspace New York City Map Julius Schorzman.png

Prospect Park in Brooklyn, also designed by Olmsted and Vaux, has a 90-acre (360,000 m2) meadow.[77]

Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens, the city's third largest, was the setting for the 1939 World's Fair and 1964 World's Fair.

Over a fifth of the Bronx's area, 7,000 acres (28 km2), is given over to open space and parks, including Van Cortlandt Park, Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens.[78]


New York City is composed of five boroughs, an unusual form of government.[79] Each borough is coextensive with a respective county of New York State as shown below. Throughout the boroughs there are hundreds of distinct neighborhoods, many with a definable history and character to call their own. If the boroughs were each independent cities, four of the boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx) would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States.

New York's Five Boroughs at a Glance
Jurisdiction Population Land Area
Borough of County of estimate for
1 July 2008
Manhattan New York 1,634,795 23 59
the Bronx Bronx 1,391,903 42 109
Brooklyn Kings 2,556,598 71 183
Queens Queens 2,293,007 109 283
Staten Island Richmond 487,407 58 151
City of New York
8,363,710 303 786
19,490,297 47,214 122,284
Source: United States Census Bureau[80][81][82]
The Bronx (Bronx County: Pop. 1,391,903)[83] is New York City's northernmost borough, the location of Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees, and home to the largest cooperatively owned housing complex in the United States, Co-op City.[84] Except for a small section of Manhattan known as Marble Hill, the Bronx is the only section of the city that is part of the United States mainland. It is home to the Bronx Zoo, the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, which spans 265 acres (1.07 km2) and is home to over 6,000 animals.[85] The Bronx is the birthplace of rap and hip hop culture.[10]

Manhattan (New York County: Pop. 1,620,867)[83] is the most densely populated borough and is home to Central Park and most of the city's skyscrapers. The borough is the financial center of the city and contains the headquarters of many major corporations, the United Nations, a number of important universities, and many cultural attractions. Manhattan is loosely divided into Lower, Midtown, and Uptown regions. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, and above the park is Harlem.

The five boroughs:

4.The Bronx,
5.Staten Island

Brooklyn (Kings County: Pop. 2,528,050) [83] is the city's most populous borough and was an independent city until 1898. Brooklyn is known for its cultural, social and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods and a distinctive architectural heritage.

It is also the only borough outside of Manhattan with a distinct downtown neighborhood. The borough features a long beachfront and Coney Island, established in the 1870s as one of the earliest amusement grounds in the country.[86]

Queens (Queens County: Pop. 2,270,338)[83] is geographically the largest borough and the most ethnically diverse county in the United States,[87] and may overtake Brooklyn as the city's most populous borough due to its growth. Historically a collection of small towns and villages founded by the Dutch, today the borough is predominantly residential and middle class. Queens County is the only large county in the United States where the median income among African Americans, approximately $52,000 a year, is higher than that of White Americans.[88] Queens is the site of Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, and annually hosts the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Additionally, it is home to two of the three major airports serving the New York metropolitan area, LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. (The third is Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey.)

Staten Island (Richmond County: Pop. 481,613)[83] is the most suburban in character of the five boroughs. Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and to Manhattan by way of the free Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City as it provides unsurpassed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lower Manhattan. Located in central Staten Island, the 25 km² Greenbelt has some 35 miles (56 km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed forests in the city. Designated in 1984 to protect the island's natural lands, the Greenbelt comprises seven city parks. The FDR Boardwalk along South Beach is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long, the fourth largest in the world.

Culture and contemporary life

"Culture just seems to be in the air, like part of the weather", the writer Tom Wolfe has said of New York City.[89]

Numerous major American cultural movements began in the city, such as the Harlem Renaissance, which established the African-American literary canon in the United States.

The city was a center of jazz in the 1940s, abstract expressionism in the 1950s and the birthplace of hip hop in the 1970s. The city's punk and hardcore scenes were influential in the 1970s and 1980s, and the city has long had a flourishing scene for Jewish American literature.

Prominent indie rock bands coming out of New York in recent years include The Strokes, Interpol, The Bravery, Scissor Sisters, and They Might Be Giants.

Entertainment and performing arts

The city is also prominent in the American film industry. Manhatta (1920), an early avant-garde film, was filmed in the city.[90]

Today, New York City is the second largest center for the film industry in the United States. The city has more than 2,000 arts and cultural organizations and more than 500 art galleries of all sizes.[91]

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the largest museums in the world.

The city government funds the arts with a larger annual budget than the National Endowment for the Arts.[91] Wealthy industrialists in the 19th century built a network of major cultural institutions, such as the famed Carnegie Hall and Metropolitan Museum of Art, that would become internationally established. The advent of electric lighting led to elaborate theatre productions, and in the 1880s New York City theaters on Broadway and along 42nd Street began featuring a new stage form that became known as the Broadway musical.

Strongly influenced by the city's immigrants, productions such as those of Harrigan and Hart, George M. Cohan and others used song in narratives that often reflected themes of hope and ambition. Today these productions are a staple of the New York theatre scene.

The city's 39 largest theatres (with more than 500 seats) are collectively known as "Broadway," after the major thoroughfare that crosses the Times Square theatre district.[92] This area is sometimes referred to as The Main Stem, The Great White Way or The Realto.

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is home to 12 influential arts organizations, making it the largest performing arts complex in the United States.

The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, includes...

Central Park SummerStage presents performances of free plays and music in Central Park and 1,200 free concerts, dance, and theater events across all five boroughs in the summer months.[93]


Times Square has been dubbed "The Crossroads of the World."[94]

Tourism is vital to New York City, with about 47 million foreign and American tourists visiting each year.[95] Major destinations include the

Broadway theatre productions, museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other tourist attractions including Central Park, Washington Square Park

The Statue of Liberty is a leading tourist attraction and one of the most recognizable icons of the United States.[96]

Many of the city's ethnic enclaves, such as Jackson Heights, Flushing, and Brighton Beach are prime shopping destinations for first and second generation Americans up and down the East Coast.


New York's MTA gives the city a large newspaper readership base.[97]

New York is a global center for the television, advertising, music, newspaper and book publishing industries and is also the largest media market in North America (followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto)[98].

Some of the city's media conglomerates include Time Warner, the News Corporation, the Hearst Corporation, and Viacom. Seven of the world's top eight global advertising agency networks have their headquarters in New York[99].

Three of the "Big Four" record labels headquarters are in the New York City while some are also based in major U.S cities as well, such as in Los Angeles, Nashville, and Atlanta.

Four "major labels" dominate recorded music —

One-third of all American independent films are produced in New York[101].

More than 200 newspapers and 350 consumer magazines have an office in the city[101] and the book-publishing industry employs about 25,000 people[102].

Two of the three national daily newspapers in the United States are New York papers:

Major tabloid newspapers in the city include:

The city also has a major ethnic press, with 270 newspapers and magazines published in more than 40 languages.[103] El Diario La Prensa is New York's largest Spanish-language daily and the oldest in the nation[104]. The New York Amsterdam News, published in Harlem, is a prominent African American newspaper.

The Village Voice is the largest alternative newspaper.

The television industry developed in New York and is a significant employer in the city's economy.

The four major American broadcast networks are:

Many cable channels are based in the city as well, including

In 2005, there were more than 100 television shows taped in New York City[105].

New York is also a major center for non-commercial media.

The oldest public-access television channel in the United States is the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, founded in 1971.[106] *WNET is the city's major public television station and a primary source of national

  • PBS programming. WNYC, a public radio station owned by the city until 1997, has the largest public radio audience in the United States[107].

The City of New York operates a public broadcast service, nyctv, that produces several original Emmy Award-winning shows covering music and culture in city neighborhoods and city government.


New York's food culture, influenced by the city's immigrants and large number of dining patrons, is diverse.

Eastern European and Italian immigrants have made the city famous for bagels, cheesecake, and New York-style pizza. Some 4,000 mobile food vendors licensed by the city, many immigrant-owned, have made Middle Eastern foods such as falafels and kebabs standbys of modern New York street food, although hot dogs and pretzels are still the main street fare.[108]

The city is also home to many of the finest haute cuisine restaurants in the United States.[109] New York City's variety of world cuisines is also varied.

Examples could include:


The New York City area has a distinctive regional speech pattern called the New York dialect, alternatively known as Brooklynese or New Yorkese. It is generally considered one of the most recognizable accents within American English.[110] The classic version of this dialect is centered on middle and working class people of European American descent, and the influx of non-European immigrants in recent decades has led to changes in this distinctive dialect.[111]

The traditional New York area accent is non-rhotic, so that the sound [ɹ] does not appear at the end of a syllable or immediately before a consonant; hence the pronunciation of the city name as "New Yawk."[111] There is no [ɹ] in words like park [pɔːk] (with vowel raised due to the low-back chain shift), butter [bʌɾə], or here [hiə]. In another feature called the low back chain shift, the [ɔ] vowel sound of words like talk, law, cross, and coffee and the often homophonous [ɔr] in core and more are tensed and usually raised more than in General American.

In the most old-fashioned and extreme versions of the New York dialect, the vowel sounds of words like "girl" and of words like "oil" become a diphthong [ɜɪ]. This is often misperceived by speakers of other accents as a reversal of the er and oy sounds, so that girl is pronounced "goil" and oil is pronounced "erl"; this leads to the caricature of New Yorkers saying things like "Joizey" (Jersey), "Toidy-Toid Street" (33rd St.) and "terlet" (toilet).[111] The character Archie Bunker from the 1970s sitcom All in the Family was a good example of a speaker who had this feature. This speech pattern is no longer prevalent.[111]


The new Yankee Stadium has been home to the New York Yankees since 2009.

New York City has teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues.

There have been fourteen World Series championship series between New York City teams, in matchups called Subway Series. New York is one of only five metro areas (Chicago, Washington-Baltimore, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area being the others) to have two baseball teams. The city's two current Major League Baseball teams are the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, who compete in six games every regular season. The Yankees have enjoyed 27 championships, while the Mets have won the World Series on two occasions. The city also was once home to the New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants) and the Brooklyn Dodgers (now the Los Angeles Dodgers). Both teams moved to California in 1958. There are also two minor league baseball teams in the city, the Staten Island Yankees and Brooklyn Cyclones.

The city is represented in the National Football League by the New York Jets and New York Giants (officially the New York Football Giants), although both teams play their home games in Giants Stadium in nearby New Jersey.

The New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the world.

The New York Rangers represent the city in the National Hockey League. Within the metro area are two other teams, the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders, who play in Long Island. This is the only instance of a metro area having 3 teams within one of the 4 major North American professional sports leagues.

The city's National Basketball Association team is the New York Knicks and the city's Women's National Basketball Association team is the New York Liberty. Also within the metro area is the NBA team New Jersey Nets. The first national college-level basketball championship, the National Invitation Tournament, was held in New York in 1938 and remains in the city.[112] Rucker Park in Harlem is a celebrated court where many professional athletes play in the summer league.

The U.S. Tennis Open (held in Queens) is the fourth and final event of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments.

In soccer, New York is represented by the Major League Soccer side, Red Bull New York. The "Red Bulls" also play their home games at the Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

As a global city, New York supports many events outside these sports. Queens is host of the U.S. Tennis Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. The New York City Marathon is the world's largest, and the 2004–2006 runnings hold the top three places in the marathons with the largest number of finishers, including 37,866 finishers in 2006.[113] The Millrose Games is an annual track and field meet whose featured event is the Wanamaker Mile. Boxing is also a prominent part of the city's sporting scene, with events like the Amateur Boxing Golden Gloves being held at Madison Square Garden each year.

Many sports are associated with New York's immigrant communities. Stickball, a street version of baseball, was popularized by youths in working class Italian, German, and Irish neighborhoods in the 1930s. Stickball is still commonly played, as a street in The Bronx has been renamed Stickball Blvd. as tribute to New York's most known street sport. In recent years several amateur cricket leagues have emerged with the arrival of immigrants from South Asia and the Caribbean. Street hockey, football, and baseball are also commonly seen being played on the streets of New York. New York City is often called "The World's Biggest Urban Playground," as street sports are commonly played by people of all ages.[114]

New York city's rugby league team the New York Knights won the 2009 AMNRL Championship Final against the Jacksonville Axemen 32-12.[115]


The Top 25 Fortune 500 Companies
in New York City in 2009

(ranked by 2008–9 revenues)
with New York and U.S. ranks
NYC corporation US
1 Citigroup 12
2 J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. 16
3 Verizon Communications 17
4 Morgan Stanley 21
5 MetLife 39
6 Goldman Sachs Group 40
7 Pfizer 46
8 Time Warner 48
9 Hess 55
10 News Corp. 70
11 American Express 75
12 New York Life Insurance 76
14 Alcoa 90
15 Philip Morris International 93
16 The Travelers Companies 99
17 Bristol-Myers Squibb 120
18 Merrill Lynch 150
19 Bank of New York Mellon Corp. 156
20 Colgate-Palmolive 166
21 L-3 Communications 171
22 Loews 174
23 Viacom 177
24 CBS 186
25 Consolidated Edison 191
Revenues for year ending before April 2009
Finance, insurance & securities (14 co's)
Entertainment (4 companies)
More detailed table and notes in
Economy of New York City

Source:: Fortune [116]

The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street is the largest stock exchange in the world by dollar volume.

New York City is a global hub of international business and commerce and is one of three "command centers" for the world economy (along with London and Tokyo).[117] The city is a major center for finance, insurance, real estate, media and the arts in the United States.

The New York metropolitan area had approximately gross metropolitan product of $1.13 trillion in 2005,[118][119] making it the largest regional economy in the United States and, according to IT Week, the second largest city economy in the world.[120] According to Cinco Dias, New York controlled 40% of the world's finances by the end of 2008, making it the largest financial center in the world.[121] [122] [123]

Many major corporations are headquartered in New York City, including 43 Fortune 500 companies.[116][124] New York is also unique among American cities for its large number of foreign corporations. One out of ten private sector jobs in the city is with a foreign company.[125]

New York City is home to some of the nation's—and the world's—most valuable real estate. 450 Park Avenue was sold on July 2, 2007 for $510 million, about $1,589 per square foot ($17,104/m²), breaking the barely month-old record for an American office building of $1,476 per square foot ($15,887/m²) set in the June 2007 sale of 660 Madison Avenue.[126]

Manhattan had 353.7 million square feet (32,860,000 m²) of office space in 2001.[127]

Midtown Manhattan is the largest central business district in the United States and is home to the highest concentration of the city's skyscrapers. Lower Manhattan is the third largest central business district in the United States, and is home to The New York Stock Exchange, located on Wall Street, and the NASDAQ, representing the world's first and second largest stock exchanges, respectively, when measured by average daily trading volume and overall market capitalization.[128] Financial services account for more than 35% of the city's employment income.[129] Real estate is a major force in the city's economy, as the total value of all New York City property was $802.4 billion in 2006.[130] The Time Warner Center is the property with the highest-listed market value in the city, at $1.1 billion in 2006.[130]

The city's television and film industry is the second largest in the country after Hollywood.[131] Creative industries such as new media, advertising, fashion, design and architecture account for a growing share of employment, with New York City possessing a strong competitive advantage in these industries.[132] High-tech industries like biotechnology, software development, game design, and internet services are also growing, bolstered by the city's position at the terminus of several transatlantic fiber optic trunk lines.[133] Other important sectors include medical research and technology, non-profit institutions, and universities.

Manufacturing accounts for a large but declining share of employment. Garments, chemicals, metal products, processed foods, and furniture are some of the principal products.[134] The food-processing industry is the most stable major manufacturing sector in the city.[135] Food making is a $5 billion industry that employs more than 19,000 residents. Chocolate is New York City's leading specialty-food export, with $234 million worth of exports each year.[135]


Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1698 4,937
1712 5,840 18.3%
1723 7,248 24.1%
1737 10,664 47.1%
1746 11,717 9.9%
1756 13,046 11.3%
1771 21,863 67.6%
1790 33,131 51.5%
1800 60,515 82.7%
1810 96,373 59.3%
1820 123,706 28.4%
1830 202,589 63.8%
1840 312,710 54.4%
1850 515,547 64.9%
1860 813,669 57.8%
1870 942,292 15.8%
1880 1,206,299 28.0%
1890 1,515,301 25.6%
1900 3,437,202 126.8%
1910 4,766,883 38.7%
1920 5,620,048 17.9%
1930 6,930,446 23.3%
1940 7,454,995 7.6%
1950 7,891,957 5.9%
1960 7,781,984 −1.4%
1970 7,894,862 1.5%
1980 7,071,639 −10.4%
1990 7,322,564 3.5%
2000 8,008,288 9.4%
2008* 8,363,710 4.4%
Beginning 1900, figures are for consolidated city of five boroughs. Sources: 1698–1771,[136] 1790–1990,[137] *2008 est[138]

New York is the most populous city in the United States, with an estimated 2008 population of 8,363,710 (up from 7.3 million in 1990).[83] This amounts to about 40.0% of New York State's population and a similar percentage of the metropolitan regional population.

Over the last decade the city's population has been increasing and demographers estimate New York's population will reach between 9.2 and 9.5 million by 2030.[139]

New York's two key demographic features are its population density and cultural diversity. The city's population density of 26,403 people per square mile (10,194/km²) makes it the most densely populated American municipality with a population above 100,000.[140] Manhattan's population density is 66,940 people per square mile (25,846/km²), highest of any county in the United States.[141][142]

As of the 2005–2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau:

125th Street in Harlem

Individuals from some other race made up 16.8% of the city's population; of which 1.0% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 1.9% of the city's population; of which 1.0% were non-Hispanic.In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 27.4% of New York City's population.[143][144]

New York City is exceptionally diverse. Throughout its history the city has been a major point of entry for immigrants;[145] the term melting pot was first coined to describe densely populated immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side.

Today, 36.7% of the city's population is foreign-born and another 3.9% were born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parents.[146]

Among American cities, this proportion is exceeded only by Los Angeles and Miami.[142] While the immigrant communities in those cities are dominated by a few nationalities, in New York no single country or region of origin dominates. The ten largest countries of origin for modern immigration are the Dominican Republic, China, Jamaica, Guyana, Mexico, Ecuador, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, and Russia.[147] About 170 languages are spoken in the city.[12]

% Foreign born by borough 1970-2006




Brooklyn 17.5 23.8 29.2 37.8 37.8
Queens 21.0 28.6 36.2 46.1 48.5
Manhattan 20.0 24.4 25.8 29.4 28.7
Bronx 15.6 18.4 22.8 29.0 31.8
Staten Island 9.0 9.8 11.8 16.4 20.9
Total 18.2 23.6 28.4 35.9 37.0

The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel; Tel Aviv proper (non-metro and within municipal limits) has a smaller population than the Jewish population of New York City proper, making New York the largest Jewish community in the world.

About 12% of New Yorkers are Jewish or of Jewish descent and roots.[149]

It is also home to the largest Indian American population, nearly a quarter of the nation's,[150] and the largest African American community of any city in the United States.

The New York metropolitan area also contains the largest ethnic Chinese population of any metropolitan area outside of Asia, comprising 659,596 individuals as of the 2008 American Community Survey Census data, and including at least 6 Chinatowns.

See also: Chinese Americans, Chinatown, Manhattan and Flushing, Queens
Puerto Rican Parade.

The five largest ethnic groups as of the 2005 census estimates are:

The Puerto Rican population of New York City is the largest outside of Puerto Rico.[152]

Italians emigrated to the city in large numbers in the early twentieth century. New York City has a large population of Italian Americans, many of whom inhabit ethnic enclaves in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. Italian families first settled in Little Italy's neighborhoods, the first and most famous one being the one around Mulberry Street, in Manhattan. This settlement, however, is rapidly becoming part of the adjacent Chinatown as the older Italian residents die and their children move elsewhere.

As of the 2000 census, 692,739 New Yorkers reported Italian ancestry, making them the largest European ethnic group in the city.[153] New York metropolitan area is home to 3,372,512 Italians, which is among the largest concentration in the world after Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Milan and Rome metropolitan areas.

See also: Italian-Americans

The Irish, the sixth largest ethnic group, also have a notable presence; one in 50 New Yorkers of European origin carry a distinctive genetic signature on their Y chromosomes inherited from Niall of the Nine Hostages, an Irish high king of the fifth century A.D.[154]

New York City has a high degree of income disparity. In 2005 the median household income in the wealthiest census tract was $188,697, while in the poorest it was $9,320.[155] The disparity is driven by wage growth in high income brackets, while wages have stagnated for middle and lower income brackets. In 2006 the average weekly wage in Manhattan was $1,453, the highest and fastest growing among the largest counties in the United States.[156] The borough is also experiencing a baby boom that is unique among American cities. Since 2000, the number of children under age 5 living in Manhattan grew by more than 32%.[157]

Rental vacancy is usually between 3% and 4.5%, well below the 5% threshold defined to be a housing emergency and used to justify the continuation of rent control and rent stabilization. About 33% of rental units are rent-stabilized. Finding housing, particularly affordable housing, in New York City can be more than challenging.[158]

See also: Polish American
See also: Romanian Americans


The Manhattan Municipal Building, a 40-story building built to accommodate increased governmental space demands after the 1898 consolidation of New York City.

Since its consolidation in 1898, New York City has been a metropolitan municipality with a "strong" mayor-council form of government. The government of New York is more centralized than that of most other U.S. cities. In New York City, the central government is responsible for public education, correctional institutions, libraries, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply and welfare services. The mayor and councillors are elected to four-year terms. The New York City Council is a unicameral body consisting of 51 Council members whose districts are defined by geographic population boundaries.[159] The mayor and councilors are limited to three consecutive four-year terms but can run again after a four year break.

The present mayor is Michael Bloomberg, a former Democrat, former Republican (2001–2008) and current political independent elected on the Republican and Independence Party tickets against opponents supported by the Democratic and Working Families Parties in 2001 (50.3% of the vote to 47.9%), 2005 (58.4% to 39%) and 2009 (50.6% to 46%).[160] He is known for taking control of the city's education system from the state, rezoning and economic development, sound fiscal management, and aggressive public health policy. In his second term he has made school reform, poverty reduction, and strict gun control central priorities of his administration.[161] Together with Boston mayor Thomas Menino, in 2006 he founded the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, an organization with the goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets."[162] The Democratic Party holds the majority of public offices. As of November 2008, 67% of registered voters in the city are Democrats.[163] New York City has not been carried by a Republican in a statewide or presidential election since 1924. Party platforms center on affordable housing, education and economic development, and labor politics are of importance in the city.

New York City Hall is the oldest City Hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions.

New York is the most important source of political fundraising in the United States, as four of the top five ZIP codes in the nation for political contributions are in Manhattan. The top zip code, 10021 on the Upper East Side, generated the most money for the 2004 presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and John Kerry.[164] The city has a strong imbalance of payments with the national and state governments. It receives 83 cents in services for every $1 it sends to the federal government in taxes (or annually sends $11.4 billion more than it receives back). The city also sends an additional $11 billion more each year to the state of New York than it receives back.[165]

Each borough is coextensive with a judicial district of the New York Supreme Court and hosts other state and city courts. Manhattan also hosts the Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department, while Brooklyn hosts the Appellate Division, Second Department. Federal courts located near City Hall include the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Court of International Trade. Brooklyn hosts the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.


Since 2005 the city has had the lowest crime rate among the 25 largest U.S. cities, having become significantly safer after a spike in crime in the 1980s and early 1990s from the crack epidemic that affected many neighborhoods. By 2002, New York City had about the same crime rate as Provo, Utah and was ranked 197th in crime among the 216 U.S. cities with populations greater than 100,000. Violent crime in New York City decreased more than 75% from 1993 to 2005 and continued decreasing during periods when the nation as a whole saw increases.[166] In 2005 the homicide rate was at its lowest level since 1966,[167] and in 2007 the city recorded fewer than 500 homicides for the first time ever since crime statistics were first published in 1963.[168]

Sociologists and criminologists have not reached consensus on what explains the dramatic decrease in the city's crime rate. Some attribute the phenomenon to new tactics used by the New York City Police Department,[169] including its use of CompStat and the broken windows theory.[170] Others cite the end of the crack epidemic and demographic changes.[171]

Organized crime has long been associated with New York City, beginning with the Forty Thieves and the Roach Guards in the Five Points in the 1820s. The 20th century saw a rise in the Mafia dominated by the Five Families.[172] Gangs including the Black Spades also grew in the late 20th century.[173] As early as 1850, New York City recorded more than 200 gang wars fought largely by youth gangs.[174] The most prominent gangs in New York City today are the Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, and MS-13.[175]


Fordham University's Keating Hall in The Bronx

The city's public school system, managed by the New York City Department of Education, is the largest in the United States. About 1.1 million students are taught in more than 1,200 separate primary and secondary schools.[176] There are approximately 900 additional privately run secular and religious schools in the city.[177] Though it is not often thought of as a college town, there are about 594,000 university students in New York City, the highest number of any city in the United States.[178] In 2005, three out of five Manhattan residents were college graduates and one out of four had advanced degrees, forming one of the highest concentrations of highly educated people in any American city.[179] Public postsecondary education is provided by the City University of New York, the nation's third-largest public university system, and the Fashion Institute of Technology, part of the State University of New York. New York City is also home to such notable private universities as Barnard College, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Fordham University, New York University, The New School, and Yeshiva University. The city has dozens of other smaller private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions, such as St. John's University, The Juilliard School, The College of Mount Saint Vincent, and The School of Visual Arts.

Columbia University's Low Memorial Library

Much of the scientific research in the city is done in medicine and the life sciences. New York City has the most post-graduate life sciences degrees awarded annually in the United States, 40,000 licensed physicians, and 127 Nobel laureates with roots in local institutions.[180] The city receives the second-highest amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Health among all U.S. cities.[181] Major biomedical research institutions include Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College.

The New York Public Library, which has the largest collection of any public library system in the country, serves Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island.[182] Queens is served by the Queens Borough Public Library, which is the nation's second largest public library system, and Brooklyn Public Library serves Brooklyn.[182] The New York Public Library has several research libraries, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

New York City private schools include Brearley School, Dalton School, Spence School, Browning School, The Chapin School, Nightingale-Bamford School, and Convent of the Sacred Heart on the Upper East Side of Manhattan; Collegiate School and Trinity School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan; Horace Mann School, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, and Riverdale Country School in Riverdale, Bronx; and The Packer Collegiate Institute and Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn.

New York City's public secondary schools include: Bard High School Early College, Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School, Hunter College High School, LaGuardia High School, Stuyvesant High School, and Townsend Harris High School. The city is home to the largest Roman Catholic high school in the U.S., St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, Queens,[183] and the only official Italian-American school in the country, La Scuola d'Italia on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.[citation needed]


New York City is home to the two busiest rail stations in the US, including Grand Central Terminal, which is seen here.
The New York City Subway is the world's largest mass transit system by number of stations and length of track.

Unlike every other major city in the United States, public transit is the city's most popular mode of transit. 54.6% of New Yorkers commuted to work in 2005 using mass transit.[184] About one in every three users of mass transit in the United States and two-thirds of the nation's rail riders live in New York and its suburbs.[185][186] This is in contrast to the rest of the country, where about 90% of commuters drive automobiles to their workplace.[187] According to the US Census Bureau, New York City residents spend an average of 38.4 minutes a day getting to work, the longest commute time in the nation among large cities.[188]

New York City is served by Amtrak, which uses Pennsylvania Station. Amtrak provides connections to Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. along the Northeast Corridor and long-distance train service to cities such as Chicago, New Orleans, Miami, Toronto and Montreal. The Port Authority Bus Terminal, the main intercity bus terminal of the city, serves 7,000 buses and 200,000 commuters daily, making it the busiest bus station in the world.[189]

The New York City Subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world when measured by stations in operation, with 468. It is the third-largest when measured by annual ridership (1.5 billion passenger trips in 2006).[185] New York's subway is also notable because nearly all the system remains open 24 hours a day, in contrast to the overnight shutdown common to systems in most cities, including London, Paris, Montreal, Washington, Madrid and Tokyo. The transportation system in New York City is extensive and complex. It includes the longest suspension bridge in North America,[190] the world's first mechanically ventilated vehicular tunnel,[191] more than 12,000 yellow cabs,[192] an aerial tramway that transports commuters between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan, and a ferry system connecting Manhattan to various locales within and outside the city. The busiest ferry in the United States is the Staten Island Ferry, which annually carries over 19 million passengers on the 5.2-mile (8.4 km) run between Staten Island and Lower Manhattan. The Staten Island Railway rapid transit system solely serves Staten Island. The "PATH" train (short for Port Authority Trans-Hudson) links the New York City subway to points in northeast New Jersey.

New York City's public bus fleet and commuter rail network are the largest in North America.[185] The rail network, connecting the suburbs in the tri-state region to the city, consists of the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and New Jersey Transit. The combined systems converge at Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station and contain more than 250 stations and 20 rail lines.[185][193]

The TWA Flight Center Building at John F. Kennedy International Airport

New York City is the top international air passenger gateway to the United States.[194] The area is served by three major airports, John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia, with plans for a fourth airport, Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, NY, to be taken over and enlarged by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (which administers the other three airports), as a "reliever" airport to help cope with increasing passenger volume. 100 million travelers used the three airports in 2005 and the city's airspace is the busiest in the nation.[195] Outbound international travel from JFK and Newark accounted for about a quarter of all U.S. travelers who went overseas in 2004.[196]

New York's high rate of public transit use, 120,000 daily cyclists[197] and many pedestrian commuters makes it the most energy-efficient major city in the United States.[55] Walk and bicycle modes of travel account for 21% of all modes for trips in the city; nationally the rate for metro regions is about 8%.[198]

To complement New York's vast mass transit network, the city also has an extensive web of expressways and parkways, that link New York City to northern New Jersey, Westchester County, Long Island, and southwest Connecticut through various bridges and tunnels. Because these highways serve millions of suburban residents who commute into New York, it is quite common for motorists to be stranded for hours in traffic jams that are a daily occurrence, particularly during rush hour. The George Washington Bridge is considered one of the world's busiest bridges in terms of vehicle traffic.[199]

Despite New York's reliance on public transit, roads are a defining feature of the city. Manhattan's street grid plan greatly influenced the city's physical development. Several of the city's streets and avenues, like Broadway, Wall Street and Madison Avenue are also used as shorthand in the American vernacular for national industries located there: the theater, finance, and advertising organizations, respectively.

Sister cities

Date   Sister City
1960 Japan Tokyo, Japan
1980 People's Republic of China Beijing, People's Republic of China[200]
1982 Egypt Cairo, Egypt
1982 Spain Madrid, Spain[201]
1983 Dominican Republic Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
1992 Hungary Budapest, Hungary
1992 Italy Rome, Italy
1993 Israel Jerusalem, Israel
2001 United Kingdom London,1 United Kingdom
2003 South Africa Johannesburg, South Africa
1. both Greater London and the City of London

New York City has ten sister cities recognized by Sister Cities International (SCI).[202]

The date indicates the year in which the city was twinned with New York City.

Like New York City, all except Beijing are the most populous cities of their respective countries.[203]

Unlike New York City, all but Johannesburg also serve as de facto or de jure national political capitals. New York and her sister cities are all major economic centers, but few of the sister cities share New York's status as a major seaport.[204]

See also


  1. ^ the Mayor, New York City Office of (2010-01-08). "Biography". New York, City of. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  2. ^ a b "Vintage 2008 Population Estimates: Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions over 100,000". United States Census Bureau, Population Division. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  3. ^ a b "NYC Profile" (PDF). New York City Department of City Planning. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  4. ^ a b Roberts, Sam. "It’s Still a Big City, Just Not Quite So Big". The New York Times (May 22, 2008). Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  5. ^ "2000 Census: US Municipalities Over 50,000: Ranked by 2000 Density". Demographia. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  7. ^ Shorto, Russell (2005). The Island at the Center of The World, 1st Edition. New York: Vintage Books. p. 30. ISBN 1-4000-7867-9. 
  8. ^ "The Nine Capitals of the United States". United States Senate. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  9. ^ "Rank by Population of the 100 Largest Urban Places, Listed Alphabetically by State: 1790-1990". U.S. Census Bureau. 1998-06-15. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  10. ^ a b Toop, David (1992). Rap Attack 2: African Rap to Global Hip Hop. Serpents Tail. ISBN 1852422432. 
  11. ^ Scaruffi, Piero. "A timeline of the USA". Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  12. ^ a b "Queens: Economic Development and the State of the Borough Economy" (PDF). New York State Office of the State Comptroller. June 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  13. ^ "The Newest New Yorkers: 2000" (PDF). New York City Department of City Planning. 2005. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  14. ^ Irving's mocking Salmagundi Papers, 1807, noted by Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, Gotham: A History of New York to 1898 (Oxford) 1999:xii.
  15. ^ Nicknames for Manhattan
  16. ^ "Gotham Center for New York City History" Timeline 1500 - 1700
  17. ^ Rankin, Rebecca B., Cleveland Rodgers (1948). New York: the World's Capital City, Its Development and Contributions to Progress. Harper. 
  18. ^ "Value of the Guilder / Euro". International Institute of Social History. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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, 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:

  • [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.
  • [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.
  • [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.
  • [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.


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 [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 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.


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.


Like all great cities, New York is made up of distinct neighborhoods, each of which has its own flavor. Many of the neighborhoods are popular with visitors, and all are best experienced on foot. See individual borough pages (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx , and Staten Island) for a comprehensive listing of neighborhoods.


Though the image many people have of Manhattan is endless skyscrapers and packed sidewalks, the city also boasts numerous lovely parks, ranging from small squares to the 850-acre Central Park, and there are worthwhile parks in every borough. From the views of the New Jersey Palisades from Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, to the grand Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx, and the famous Flushing Meadow Park in Corona, Queens, site of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, there is more than enough to keep any visitor busy. And almost any park is a great spot to rest, read, or just relax and watch the people streaming past. To find out more about New York City parks, look at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation website and the WikiTravel pages for each borough.


A general word of advice on sightseeing in New York:

Tourists often spend their entire vacation in New York standing in line (or as New Yorkers say, "standing on line"). This is often unnecessary; there are usually alternatives. For example, one can choose to avoid the Empire State Building during the day (it is open, and empty, late, until midnight or 2AM on weekends during summer), skip the Statue of Liberty in favor of the Staten Island Ferry, and stay away from the Guggenheim on Monday (it is one of the only museums open that day). Also, there is no reason to stand in line for a Broadway show if you already have a ticket with an assigned seat. If you prefer, get a drink nearby and come back closer to curtain time, when you can walk right in. The lines for bus tours can be absurd because tourists all seem to have the exact same itinerary - which is get on a bus in the morning in Times Square, get off for the Statue of Liberty, and finish on the East Side in the afternoon. Why not go downtown in the morning, and save Midtown for the afternoon? You will thank yourself for avoiding the crowds. Also, understand that buses are the slowest way to go crosstown in Midtown Manhattan during peak hours, and taxis are not much better. You are often better off on foot.

  • 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


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,[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[99]. This site also has lots of articles on what's going on in the NY commercial theatre scene. [100] and [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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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