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Brooklyn Bridge

New York City, specifically Manhattan, the most globally recognized of the city’s five boroughs, is the ultimate metropolis - the constantly moving, throbbing financial center of America. It’s the global hub of business, where an address alone is synonymous with an entire classification of international enterprise: Wall Street- finance; 7th Avenue - fashion; Madison Avenue - advertising; 5th Avenue - shopping; Broadway - theatre.

New York City is a sensual experience - a press of people, dizzying sights, and incessant sounds - taxis honking, subways clanking, street musicians entertaining. It’s a city that never sleeps, where revelers ending their night meet wholesalers beginning their day. Here, steel and glass skyscrapers compete to block out as much of the sky as they can and people stream from the underground subways, moving as one, shoulder to shoulder, as if with collective purpose, never glancing at each other, never sharing a word.

Despite its hard edge, fast pace, noise and congestion, New York is a magical city. It’s a city of riches - the best art, the best museums, the best restaurants, the best theater, the best shopping. Interwoven among these is an eclectic and unconventional street culture - subway art, street musicians, ethnic food sold from pushcarts - and yet to be discovered underground coffee shops, tucked away bookstores and galleries, intriguing shops, jazz clubs and Off-Off Broadway theaters.

While seemingly overwhelming, America’s most populated city is decidedly human. Surrounding superlative landmarks are neighborhoods with family-owned shops, diners and markets, which provide a way to truly engage with New York. Get to know the neighborhood around your hotel - find a place nearby for breakfast, go to a greenmarket, read a book in a bookstore alcove, stop by a jazz club.

Manhattan’s geography is simple, making it easier to navigate than it appears. Downtown is south; Midtown in the middle: Uptown north. At the lower tip of Downtown is Lower Manhattan, steeped in history. The port is there, as is South Street Seaport, Wall Street, the Stock Exchange and Ground Zero. Just a bit inland are Manhattan’s most colorful and ethnic neighborhoods: Chinatown, Little Italy, the Lower East Side and East Village, and also its trendiest: TriBeCa and SoHo, and Greenwich Village, still bohemian. Nudging on Midtown is Chelsea, with hundreds of galleries. Midtown is chock full of landmarks and activities: the Empire State Building, the Theatre District, the Garment District, Rockefeller Center, St. Patricks Cathedral, MoMa, Grand Central Station, to name but a few. The great green swath of Central Park centers Uptown, filled with shopping, restaurants and major museums in fashionable Upper East Side to the east. To the west, Lincoln Center, museums and more are in the Upper West Side. Everything in the city is accessible by a subway system that everyone rides and information on all places of interest always includes how to get there by subway. Once there, walk –everyone does.

New York is a city of immigrants - a rich and proud heritage symbolized by the Statue of Liberty in its harbor. The welcoming of immigrants began with the first Dutch settlers who established New Amsterdam in 1625, and encouraged other nationalities to join them. The 19th century brought waves of Irish fleeing the potato famine, Germans fleeing social unrest, and African Americans moving from the south in the Great Migration. The 20th century brought Italian peasants pushed off their land, Eastern Europeans fleeing oppression, and Puerto Ricans arriving in a Great Migration of their own. Today over one third of all New Yorkers were born outside the US, and over 100 million Americans claim an ancestor who first touched American soil on Ellis Island in New York Harbor.

From the beginning, ethnic groups have settled in enclaves - Lower East Side, Little Italy, Harlem, Chinatown, Little Germany, Spanish Harlem. Surrounded by the comfort of birth language, the aroma of familiar foods, the rituals of “old country” customs, immigrants became rooted in the city. They came with skills and ambition. They were craftsmen, cabinet makers, bakers, butchers, seamstresses and tailors. Some started businesses, many from pushcarts, others in small stores, markets, and specialty shops. Others worked in trades, in factories, on docks, in construction sites. Through their labor the city has thrived; through their contributions it has been enriched. Although constantly being transformed by changing demographics, economic pressures, gentrification, disasters and acts of terror, these urban villages have created a city with the richest cultural vitality and diversity in America.

New York is a city of commerce, where goods are made and goods are moved. Today, the activity of wholesalers creates an ambience found only in New York. Dawn brings the sound of trucks moving every conceivable item. In the Garment District, center of clothing manufacturing since the 19th century, fashion creations swing from rolling racks being pushed to and from the ateliers of big-name designers. Bookbinders, businesses, writers and artists find paper, paints and pens, binders, brushes and book cloth, pastels, portfolios and presentation boxes in the Printing District. Diamonds glitter in trays in shops, booths and stalls, most multi-generation family businesses, in the Diamond District. The Flower District, ablaze in a brilliant palette, bustles with the activity of choosing the perfect flower for photo shoots, hotel lobbies, restaurants, and theater sets. In the Bowery, crates of colorful china and gleaming utensils are stacked high in restaurant supply stores, and lighting of every shape casts a distinct glow in lighting showrooms. In the Meatpacking District, now Gransevoort Market, wholesale meat packers incongruously coexist with the hippest boutiques and restaurants.

It is through the Port of New York that people and goods have moved. The Dutch first saw the harbor as a conduit to Europe for the riches of this newly discovered land. With the opening of the Eric Canal in 1825, New York became the “mouth of the continent,” the flow-through point for the transatlantic passage of products from America’s heartland. Until the middle of the 20th century, it was the reigning seaport in America, in constant motion with gleaming cruise ships, functional cargo ships, sturdy tugboats, ferry boats and fishing vessels deftly performing a maritime dance. It was so important that it was said that “all streets lead to South Street,” two miles of piers and warehouses along the waterfront where sounds of clamorous cranes loading, the bellow of cruise ships leaving and longshoremen shouting were sounds synonymous to the city.

As other American ports gained prominence, the economic tide changed. Skyscrapers housing headquarters for global enterprise began to overshadow the port activity. Today, luxury cruise ships still dock, ferries still move people, and container ships still arrive, but the activity is diminished. The port’s heralded past is now celebrated in the Maritime Museum in South Street Seaport, a center for waterfront shopping and dining, with great views of the Brooklyn Bridge and New York Harbor.

Culture dominates the landscape. The giants of the art world are here - the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the biggest museum in the Western Hemisphere; the Guggenheim, as famous for its Frank Lloyd Wright architecture as it is for its art; the Whitney, exhibiting the best of 20th century American art; the Frick, with a remarkable painting collection – clustered along Museum Mile on the Upper East Side. MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art is centrally located near Rockefeller Center in Midtown, and many more are in various parts of the city. The center of the gallery world is Chelsea, where loft galleries in this once industrial area provide dramatic space for an eclectic range of work.

On the Upper West Side, multiple concert halls and theaters form the 16 acre Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Opera divas take the stage at the Metropolitan Opera House, also the venue for the American Ballet Theatre. The New York City Ballet and the New York City Opera perform at the New York State Theatre. The New York Philharmonic Orchestra brings audiences to their feet in Avery Fisher Hall. In Midtown, avant garde dance companies perform under the distinctive dome of City Center. The venerable Carnegie Hall, renown for acoustical perfection since 1890, has been the venue of many world premiers, and in Radio City Music Hall the famous Rockettes have been entertaining with precision since 1932. A play is not a success until it makes it on Broadway, and those which succeed draw theater-goers for years.

New York is where music is made, were music is played. Musicians and songwriters have been drawn to the city since the late 19th century, coming first to Tin Pan Alley, a sheet music publishing center in Lower Manhattan, hoping to get their tunes published. The center of jazz, the truly American music with roots in New Orleans, moved to New York City in the 1920s, and the legends of jazz performed in popular clubs: Lennox Lounge and the fabled Cotton Club in Harlem; the iconic Village Vanguard, Birdland and Blue Note in Greenwich Village. Today the sounds of jazz still come from intimate clubs and jazz greats also jam in the Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center on newly chic Columbus Circle. New York is headquarters for three of the four largest recording companies and the largest Hip hop labels in the world were founded here. In close proximity to the making of music, record stores carry every new and used recording every made.

New York is the hub for the written word, the center of the book publishing business in the United States, headquarters of Simon & Schuster, Random House, HarperCollins and for the publishers of the glossiest magazines in the world. Writers have long been attracted to the city, seeking out the companionship of kindred spirits in the bohemian atmosphere of Greenwich Village. Wonderful bookstores are found everywhere, some with rare books and first editions, some dark and cozy, others busy and bright. The television industry is huge - ABC and MTV broadcast from Times Square; NBC from Rockefeller Plaza, a favorite place for tourists hoping to be spotted by friends back home. Fox News, HBO, Comedy Central and late night shows originate from here, and the film industry, centered in trendy TriBeCa, is second only to Hollywood.

New York is a foodie’s town, a gastronomic paradise, where competition is stiff, hot spots come and go, while others stick around, never changing. Some restaurants are glitzy and glam and some of the best food is found in tucked away alcoves, some subterranean. In New York extraordinary chefs compete in upscale places, “small plates” are big business, afternoon tea is served in grand hotels, neighborhood diners offer good food and good company, and every imaginable ethnic flavor is easy to find. Jewish delis serve mounds of pastrami, Harlem beckons with soul food, and the tastiest morsels come from streetside pushcarts. Throughout the city, hot dogs rule, bagels compete, Jewish pickles are best full sour, and the best pizza is New York style. It’s a city in which 42 greenmarkets, where everything is fresh-grown and homemade, thrive in the midst of urban concrete. In the largest, Union Square, neighborhood housewives compete with famous chefs searching for the perfectly ripe.

There is an allure to New York shopping. Shop early, shop late, shop all night; find anything and everything, in shops from high end to bargain basement. The selection of merchandise is dizzying: clothing, shoes, handbags, millinery, cutlery, records, wine, books, chocolates, gadgets, fabric, jewels, art, luggage, decorative pieces for the home. In glamorous boutiques items are shown singularly, like works of art. In multi-level department stores elevators open to floor after floor of beautifully displayed merchandise. Shopping in bargain basements is a local sport, and in neighborhood storefronts, many family-owned, merchandise is stuffed helter-skelter or crammed tightly on racks.

New York is exhilarating.
It’s a place not just to visit, but to participate. View the city from the Statue of Liberty or the Brooklyn Bridge. Look up as the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks light up the awesome skyline; cheer for the giant balloons as they maneuver the urban canyons in the Macys Thanksgiving Parade. Look out over Gotham from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building; contemplate Ground Zero. Ice-skate at Rockefeller Plaza; enjoy the serenity of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral; take a carriage ride through Central Park. Glow in neon color along the Great White Way; take in the action in Times Square; spot an idol at the MTV studios; be part of a late night TV show audience. Trace your genealogy at Ellis Island; shop at Barney’s; find a bargain at designer sample sale; browse through books at the Gotham Book Mart. Get lost in the Met, admire subway art, see a play on Broadway or Off, experience Shakespeare in Central Park, tip a street musician. Experience the ultimate in fine dining, travel the world through your palette, savor a warm bagel fresh from the oven, line up with New Yorkers at a pushcart for a falafel sandwich.

New York - the experience is endless.


January 39° 26°
February/ March 44° 30°
April 48° 34°
May 6 44°
June 81° 63°
July/ August 84° 67°
September 77° 60°
October 67° 51°
November 54° 41°
December 41° 30°

Rockefeller Center

New York's climate is temperate, with four distinct seasons. It’s delightful in the spring, crisp in the fall, cold in the winter and heats up in the summer. Temperatures are mild and pleasant in April, May and June. The days are still warm in September, but the nights cool down. Crisp air and blue skies herald in October and last through November. December is cold, but with the festive spirit that overtakes the city as shopping bag-laden holiday crowds stream in and out of lavishly decorated stores, it’s easy to stay warm.

Seasons and Seasonal Annual Events:
January and February are the coldest months of the year and the concrete canyons of the city can feel like bitter wind tunnels. However, hotel rooms are not in as great demand and may be a bit cheaper. Nice cold weather perks are Restaurant Week, when participating restaurants serve prix-fixe dinners at more affordable prices, and shorter lines and more readily available tickets for Broadway shows.

In February, dog lovers can watch the very best of their breed strut their stuff during the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Gardens. It’s also a time to visit Chinatown to watch the dragon dancers snake their way through the streets and sample exotically prepared seafood and vegetables, tasty dim sum and wonderful custard cakes served from outdoor stands and stalls during the Chinese New Year Celebration, a two week period which falls sometime in February, depending on the year.

Wear your green in March and stake out a spot along Fifth Avenue between 44th and 86th Streets for an up close view of bands, bagpipers and marchers in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In March, “get yours at the Pier,” at the city’s largest and most comprehensive art, antiques and vintage fashion event held in Pier 88, 90 and 92 along the Hudson River, the Triple Pier Antiques Show (also held in November). In April immerse yourself the world of New York film at the trendy Tribeca Film Festival.

Beginning in May, New Yorkers head outdoors, taking in the multitude of activities of the warm summer months. For many, this is the best time to experience New York as it is a time to truly engage with the city. There are festivals, music events, outdoor theatre and colorful parades. May brings out throngs of people to sample ethnic dishes and typical New York fare prepared and presented in booths along 9th Avenue, between 37th and 57th streets during the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival, a local favorite. At the end of May, the Navy invades during Fleet Week, opening aircraft carriers and a variety of other ships to the public for tours.

Parades celebrate most every aspect of the city’s ethnic heritage and June is Puerto Rican Day Parade, with floats, great music and some of the most celebrated pop vocalists, Jennifer Lopez, Mark Anthony and Ricky Martin, drawing huge crowds. Fifth Avenue between 82nd and 104th streets, closes to cars for one day in June, a rare luxury, for the Museum Mile Festival and New Yorkers and tourists stroll the avenue, enjoying live music along the way and free admission to nine Museum Mile cultural institutions.

Summer is a time when concerts often are alfresco, many are free, and the wait for a restaurant table may not be as long as it is in spring and fall. Restaurant Week happens again in June. Central Park becomes a wonderful venue for exceptional outdoor performances including Summer Stage, featuring a wide range of music, from pop to opera, and Shakespeare in the Park, a traditional summer favorite.

July starts off with a bang at the Independence Day Harbor Festival in lower Manhattan and the Macys 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, an extravaganza of fireworks launched from barges in the East River, the most awesome in the country. Throughout July, the multiple venues at Lincoln Center present the best opera, ballet, theatre at the Lincoln Center Festival and, during the entire month of August, the outdoor plazas of the Center become summer venues for Lincoln Center Out of Doors, a series of free music and dance performances. During August, Harlem showcases “uptown style” and the African-American, Latino and Caribbean-American heritage of this historic neighborhood during Harlem Week events: the Black Film Festival, the Taste of Harlem Food Festival, and the Harlem Jazz and Music Festival.

From fall to early spring, theatre and the performing arts peak. Broadway shows are in full swing, new museum exhibits open and galleries have grand openings. At the end of September, the New York Film Festival shows highly anticipated premiers at various venues at Lincoln Center, a key stop on the world film festival circuit. In October, skating rinks about town begin to open, including at Rockefeller Center and Central Park. In November, the Chocolate Show in Chelsea satisfies every craving, and millions line the streets or watch the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.

New York does the Holidays in grand style. It’s the busiest season, the most crowded time of year, but no one seems to mind. People carrying multiple bright packages bustle about, Fifth Avenue is trimmed and festive, stores and buildings glitter. The unveiling of holiday displays in department store windows is eagerly anticipated, and shoppers come from all over the world to find the perfect holiday gifts. There is skating at Rockefeller Plaza, the giant Christmas Tree is a must see, the New York City Ballet performs The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center, the Christmas Spectacular is truly extravagant in Radio City Music Hall, A Christmas Carol is presented at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, and of course, the lighted ball drops heralds in the new year in Times Square.

With over 8 million people living in five boroughs, New York is the most populated city in the United States. With approximately 36% of its population being foreign-born, it is the country’s most diversely populated city. Historically a city of immigrants, the 2.9 million foreign-born residents in the 2000 census was the largest number in the city’s history, and 43% of these have arrived since 1990. As a result of the continuing influx of immigrants, over 40% of the city’s labor force is from other countries, particularly noticeable in the service industry, in hotels, restaurants, stores and in transportation.

New York is more than a melting pot – it is a world city. Historically a magnet for immigrants, it is demographically dynamic. Changing U.S. immigration laws have had a direct impact on the nationality make-up of New York’s population. While in the 19th and 20th centuries, immigrants came from Europe, the largest sources of immigration in the beginning of the 21st century have been from the Dominican Republic, China, Jamaica, Guyana, Mexico, the Philippines, India and the former Soviet Union. As newly arrived immigrants gravitate to neighborhoods where they have family or friends, New York City’s tradition of colorful ethnic enclaves continues.

Five boroughs – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island make up New York City’s 321 square miles. A coastal city at the mouth of the Hudson River on the Atlantic Ocean, it is mostly surrounded by water, a contributing factor in its ranking as the most densely populated city in the U.S. Much of the city is built on three islands: Manhattan Island, Staten Island and the western end of Long Island. The Hudson River separates the New York City from neighboring New Jersey. The city’s boroughs are also separated by water: the East River separates the Bronx and Manhattan from Long Island, and also separates Manhattan from Queens and Brooklyn. The Harlem River separates Manhattan from the Bronx.

The global commercial, cultural, financial and tourism center of Manhattan is only 2 ½ miles wide and 12 ½ miles long, a total of 22.6 square miles. If Manhattan feels crowded, it is - over 1.5 million people live on this small island land mass, and every weekday, millions more stream in to work from their homes in the other boroughs and from the suburban “bedroom” communities in Connecticut and New Jersey.


Everyone, some 3.5 million daily, including the Mayor, gets around by subway. Important Subway Tips:

1) Get a subway map:
2) Most lines run north (uptown) and south (downtown), the same as avenues. Know if your destination is uptown or downtown and be sure your line goes that way.
3) Lines are color-coded and have a letter or number. They are commonly called by their letter or number, not by their color.
4) Determine which subway line serves your destination.
5) Most sites publish which lines access them.
6) The subway runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
7) To ride, use a MetroCard, a debit card that subtracts the fare at the turnstile.
8) Purchase MetroCards from token booths, at vending machines located in subway stations, through MetroCard merchants in certain other high traffic areas.
9) The $2 fare will get you to any subway line served without exiting the station.
10) Multiple ride cards, Pay Per Ride and Unlimited-Ride MetroCards are available.


Almost every major avenue in Manhattan has a bus route, running either north (uptown) or south (downtown), but not both. Crosstown buses run east and west. Bus stops are located on the right side of the street, every few blocks, designated by blue and white bus signs. Most stops have a map on the bus sign, so you can see its route. Busses operate 24 hours a day for a fare of $2.00, payable with a pre-purchased Metrocard, the same card you purchase for subways, or for exact change.

Hailing a cab is competitive business. Glance at the medallion light on top of an approaching cab. It is available if only the center portion illuminating the cab numbers is on. Stick out your arm and act fast. Jump in as soon as it stops and as you do so, tell the driver where you want to go by giving him the name of your destination, the avenue it is on and the cross street. While the name of well-known sites is often sufficient, don’t assume that it is. For clarity’s sake, for example, to get to the famous icon, the Waldorf Astoria at 301 Park Avenue, simply say, “the Waldorf Astoria, Park Avenue, between 49th and 50th streets.” Be sure to tip your cabbie.

There is always traffic gridlock in New York, making walking, more often than not, the quickest way and best way to get around. You may walk a long way, but you’ll get there and see plenty along the way! Move quickly, with the crowd, and be sure not to jaywalk, you can get ticketed or run over! Seasoned New Yorkers will cross any which way they choose, but don’t follow their example…wait for the crossing light.

Only the initiated would even try driving in New York City.

With more than 57,800 hotel rooms in Manhattan, there are many accommodation choices. An on-going hotel construction boom, combined with major renovations of many older hotels, is expected to increase that number by 5.3% in 2007. A popular year-round global destination for business and pleasure, New York City’s hotel occupancy rate of 85.1% and average room rates of $221.57 are the highest in the country.

Hotels in Manhattan can be splendid, exclusive, grand, iconic, elegant, sparse, discretely tasteful or predictably bland. They can be retro, deco, futuristic, artistic, minimalist. They can offer the best amenities and services available, or can be rooms with shared baths. They can cater to the leisure traveler, the techno traveler, or families with kids. There are reliable chain hotels, glossy, trendy hotels frequented by the superhip, hotels with a European intimacy, quaint guest houses, or small charming hotels tucked away down historic streets of neighborhoods like Chelsea and Greenwich Village. Visitors often choose the convenience of a Midtown hotel, within walking distance of many prominent sights. However, a wonderful Manhattan experience can be found in a hotel in one of the city’s neighborhoods, which also offer great restaurants and nightlife. If not within easy walking distance of major attractions, they are but a quick subway ride away.

Top of the Rock Observation Deck

In a city of superlatives with so many wonderful things to see, listing “must do’s is an impossible task and a matter of personal preference. There are, however, classic venues, integral to the New York experience.

See the city from the Empire State Building. Get a panoramic view of this remarkable city from the 86 th floor of the iconic Art Deco landmark, the world’s most famous skyscraper. Pick a beautiful day to maximize the view from the glass-enclosed observatory. Tickets can be purchased in the main lobby of the building, but be prepared for lines. Consider purchasing them online, in advance.

Discover the multitude of things to do in Rockefeller Center. Start out early, on the sidewalk across from the Today show, for a chance to be beamed back home; walk through lovely gardens; take in the major public art; ice-skate October - March in the rink that transforms in the summer into the Sunken Garden, an al fresco café. Shop in the underground “catacombs,” dine, visit the NBC studios, where you can go on a backstage tour (buy tickets ahead online or by calling), take a behind the scenes tour of the grand Radio City Music Hall, see the spectacular city from the Top of the Rock.

Get up close to the Statue of Liberty. Catch the ferry to Liberty Island from Battery Park. You’ll be amazed how big this globally recognized symbol of freedom really is. Or, see her how her assured presence dominates the harbor from one of many harbor tours, or by walking along the promenade at Battery City Park.

Walk through Ellis Island, the moving symbol of the American immigrant. Relive the personal experiences of the 12 million immigrants who first stepped onto American soil on this small island. Exhibits and oral histories in the Immigration Museum movingly express the hardship of the voyage, the anxiety of walking into the Great Hall for processing, the feeling of being displaced, the missing of those left behind, and the anxiety of facing the unknown. While there, find personal family entry information through multimedia technology in the American Family Immigration History Center. Get there on the same ferry from Battery Park that goes to the Statue of Liberty.

Get caught up in a Broadway show. It’s the best theater in the world. You’ll find yourself singing after a musical, chuckling after a comedy, contemplative after a serious play. Purchase tickets in advance, by phone, online, or it may be difficult, expensive or impossible to get them. On the day of the show, try the TKTS booth at Times Square or at South Street Seaport. You’ll wait in line, and shows you want may not be available, but what they do have is at discounted prices. In a move of desperation to get into sold out shows, go to the theater ticket booths about 6pm before the 8pm curtain, to see if they have unclaimed seats available.

Shop ‘till you drop along Fifth Avenue, where there is no end to dazzling stores – Cartier, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Tiffany’s, Henri Bendel, the boutiques in Trump Tower, and countless boutiques and shops in between. For a change of pace along New York’s “ Main Street,” enter into the calm of two of America’s grandest architectural structures: the majestic New York Public Library, whose glorious, gilded Main Reading Rooms are masterpieces themselves, and the awesomely beautiful and serene St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Stop for lunch at any restaurant you pass that appeals to you or, for a really special treat, end your walk with afternoon tea in the elegant Astor Court in the St. Regis Hotel or stop for a classy cocktail in the hotel’s luxurious King Cole Bar.

Spend a day in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,the largest museum in the Western Hemisphere, whose collections span cultures of the entire globe. While on Museum Mile, visit other stellar museums along the way. For great modern art, see the world’s most comprehensive collection in the Museum of Modern Art.

Take a trip through space in the Hayden Planetarium
in the impressive American Museum of Natural History, itself a day’s visit. The Planetarium, part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space is a dramatic, state-of-the-art, multimedia, multi-sensory experience housed in a 3-story 87 foot wide sphere. It’s an awesome “big bang.”

Attend at least one performance at Lincoln Center, City Center, or Carnegie Hall. Dance, music, and opera run the gamut from classic to cutting-edge and the abundant selections are dazzling. You’ll be moved to your feet by the quality of the performances.

Kick back in Central Park, particularly in March through November. See it on a horse-drawn carriage ride, on a gondola ride in Central Park Lake, at a performance at Shakespeare in the Park, from the Boathouse Café. See it creatively on specialized tours: Central Park Movie Sites Tour takes movie buffs to over 40 Central Park locations where scenes were shot for well-known movies; the Central Park 4 Hour Photo Tour places you in the center of the scene inphotos take at well-known park sites.

See the city by water. Marvel at the formidable buildings seemingly balancing on a sliver of land. On the New York Water Taxi's Hop-on/Hop-Off Tour see the city from the water and hop off at any stop along the way to see sights on foot. The venerable Circle Cruise Line offers the Semi-Circle Cruise, a 2-hour city highlights tour. Enjoy a harbor tour, along with brunch or dinner, on the sophisticated Bateaux New York Cruise, the high energy Spirit Cruise or the elegant World Yacht Cruise.

Have a drink in a venue with a view: the Rise Bar at Ritz-Carleton Battery Park Hotel, the Top of the Tower on the roof of the Beekman Tower Hotel, the rooftop terrace of the Metropolitan Museum, the revolving View Lounge in the Marriot Marquis at Times Square, 230 Fifth, near the Empire State Building, the Pen-Top Bar in the Peninsula Hotel, the Stone Rose Lounge and Café Gray in Time Warner Center.

Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge – the view is astounding. The most fascinating of Manhattan’s five major bridges, it spans the East River. The elevated pedestrian walkway above the traffic, which begins on Park Row, just across from City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan, makes the 30 minute walk possible. Once on the Brooklyn side, before turning around to go back, lunch at the River Café at the foot of the bridge, or to enjoy homemade ice-cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.

Ellis Island

Beginning at the southern tip, New York City is divided into Downtown, Midtown and Uptown. Within each of these areas are distinct neighborhoods, each with unique sights and sensations: Downtown is the most ethnic and colorful; Midtown thrives with commerce and key sites associated with the city; Uptown is more residential, green and posh. The best and most efficient way to experience the city in full flavor is to see it by neighborhood. Get there by subway, cab or bus. Spend a day, or part of a day walking the neighborhood - take in the sights, stop for lunch, enjoy dinner and the nightlife.


Financial District - Battery Park - South Street Seaport- The southern tip of the island offers wonderful waterfront views and a rich history, past and present. The Dutch chose this location for their settlement in 1625, it was the nation’s first capital, and George Washington was sworn in here as president in 1789, an event highlighted in the Federal Hall National Memorial. The city’s maritime history is told in museums, on historic tall ships, in stores, and restaurants on the piers of South Street Seaport. Ferries to Ellis Islandand the Statue of Liberty take off from the piers at Battery Park. A Liberty Helicopter Tour, taking off from the heliport at Pier 6 provides a great aerial view, or see it all from the water on one of many harbors tour departing from area piers.

There’s a lot to see on foot. Walk the promenade in Battery Park City along the Hudson River, a virtual outdoor museum of works by contemporary artists with great views of the Statue of Liberty. Pause to reflect at Ground Zero, forever seared in America’s psyche. Experience the 20 th century Jewish experience in the powerful Museum of Jewish Heritage. Marvel at the engineering feats of New York’s signature buildings in the Skyscraper Museum in the Ritz-Carleton Battery Park Hotel. Have a fabulous lunch with a view at Gigino Wagner Park or at Battery Gardens. Dine in a colonial setting in Fraunces Tavern, the 1719 building where George Washington bade farewell to his troops, or the in 1794 Bridge Café, quaint in a city of skyscrapers.

In the Financial District, the pulse of America’s financial health is taken every weekday in the New York Stock Exchange, and a large portion of the world’s gold reserve is stored 50 ft. below sea level in the Federal Reserve Bank. Check out the lobby of the Cunard Building for a glimpse the grand days of the great ocean liners. Experience a concert in the Gothic Trinity Church, rising incongruously among the grey façades of Wall Street. Admire the wonderful architecture around beautiful City Hall, the seat of city government since 1812 – St. Paul’s Chapel, Manhattan’s oldest church, built in 1766, and the architecturally ornate Municipal Building, Woolworth Building and AT&T Building, all reflecting the grand, gilded era of the early 1900s.

Tribeca, (triangle below Canal Street) is one of the city’s hippest residential neighborhoods. Cast-iron warehouses converted into residential apartments, create a picturesque streetscape. Art galleries, antiques stores, boutiques, trendy bars, and some of the city’s best restaurants also reside in these interesting structures. The Tribeca Film Center brings out the stars, as does the glamorous TriBeCa Grand Hotel. Rub elbows with the film famous at the TriBeCa Grill or at Nobu. For a real change of pace, walk past the stately row of Federal-style, late 1700 townhouses lining Harrison Street. Still trendy Soho (south of Houston) lost some of its luster as the “in” place to Tribeca, but the cast iron buildings converted into fabulous lofts still house galleries, gorgeous designer clothing stores, including the super-modern Prada, and restaurants, some with the delightful feel of Paris bistros.

Crowded and growing, Chinatown is all color, activity, sounds, smells and tastes - a true immigrant enclave. Imagine the life of a Chinese immigrant in the fascinating Museum of Chinese in the Americas. Walk down Mott Street where everything from fine silks, tubs of sea creatures, and curative herbs spill out of small Chinese shops; stop by the Pearl River Chinese Products Emporium, for everything imaginable. Take a break from the bustle and noise in the candlelit, incense-infused Eastern States Buddhist Temple. Sample Asian food in over 200 restaurants; try a lychee or ginger-flavored treat from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

As the families of 19th century immigrant Italians moved on, the more newly arrived Chinese have encroached upon Little Italy, a frequently occurring New York dynamic. Italian influences, however, remain. On Mulberry Street, between Broome and Canal, wonderful shops overflow with tasty things Italian - fabulous pastries, the best cheeses, all shapes of pasta and irresistible treats at Laboratorio del Gelato.

Although increasingly gentrified, as an immigrant enclave this was home to one of the largest Jewish populations in America. Today, a fascinating eye-opener into the lives of the newly arrived immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th century can be experienced in the restored apartments in the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Nearby, bite into a full sour pickle at Guss’s Pickles, get a real bagel or bialys at Kossar’s, pile on the pastrami at Katz’s, a few blocks away. Stop by quaint little shops, boutiques featuring all things cool from start-up local designers, and take in the atmosphere of hole-in-the-wall cafes and bars.

Synonymous with counterculture, even the street layout is different here, running at angles, rather than following the rest of Manhattan’s orderly grid. Architecturally significant townhouses lining shady streets are literary landmarks, where well-known 19th and 20th century writers and poets once lived. On BedfordStreet, residences date back to the late 1700s; MacDougal Alley and Washington Mews, early 20 th century stables transformed into artist studios, are now gentrified residences. Washington Square Park, famous gathering spot for protests, radicals, poets, and folk singers of the ‘50s and ‘60s, still attracts bohemian intellectuals, chess masters facing off at concrete chess tables, and students from universities nearby. The Village comes alive at night – in the Village Vanguard, where many jazz greats got their start, at Cherry Lane Theatre, the converted warehouse where aspiring actors get their chance, in the White Horse Tavern, favorite writers’ hang out, and in memorabilia-filled Chumley’s.

Wander through produce, flowers, herbs and homemade treats brought in by regional farmers in the bountiful Union Square Greenmarket, a “must do” New York experience. Lunch on the freshest ingredients, purchased from the market at Union Square Café; walk through leafy Madison Square. Take photos of the unusual Flatiron Building; experience the lifestyle of 19th century privileged New Yorkers in the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, where presidential memorabilia is also on display; see the art displayed in the National Arts Club, housed in a Gothic Revival brownstone.

Chelsea is the center of New York’s art world - where the work of the hottest, the most globally acclaimed, and the emerging artists are displayed in over 200 galleries in spacious former industrial buildings. It’s where established artists congregate, art students gather like groupies, gallerists scour for that “must have” piece, and tourists on gallery walks take it all in. The funky Chelsea Hotel, built in 1883 as the co-op apartment home of literary giants, attracts the artsy crowd. Enjoy Off-Broadway in the Atlantic Theater, once an old church, and wonderful modern dance in the Art Deco Joyce Theater.

After exhaustive gallery gazing, refuel in Chelsea Market, grand indoor space with the biggest collection of gourmet food retailers in the city. Spend time along the Hudson River at Chelsea Piers, a 30 acre sports and entertainment complex – the sports choices are amazing, and harbor cruises depart from the piers once used by plush ocean liners. Walk the floors of the Chelsea Antiques Building, where dealers in permanent stalls run the gamut, or on weekends, browse the outdoor Annex Antiques Fair and Flea Market. In the adjacent MEATPACKING DISTRICT, officially Gansevoort Market, apron-wearing butchers working for meat-cutting wholesalers co-exist with Manolo wearing fashionistas. Designer boutiques line 14th Street, and the district comes alive at night in the hippest of restaurants and in trendy clubs frequented by party people.

In the minds of many, Midtown is the Big Apple. It has it all – skyscrapers, theaters, fabulous stores, museums – all concentrated between 39 th and 59 th streets. Midtown encompasses the Garment District, the Theatre District, the Diamond District. It’s the bright lights and 24-hour action of Times Square, the excitement of Broadway shows, the events on Rockefeller Plaza, the diplomatic buzz at the United Nations. It’s where New York City’s grand landmarks, the spired Art Deco Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, the gilded and grand Beaux Arts Grand Central Station and New York Public Library, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, beautifully Gothic, and the Museum of Modern Art, contemporary inside and out, punctuate the skyline. Fifth Avenue is New York’s “ Main Street,” totally synonymous with shopping on a grand scale – Tiffany’s, Bergdorf’s, Bendel’s, Macys, Saks, and every designer boutique imaginable. It is here that the biggest concentration of hotels is clustered, and restaurants, from fancy to family, cater to every taste.

The Upper East Side and Upper West Side, divided by the grand swath of green Central Park, are the most gentrified part of the city, where avenues seem broader and tree canopies are an integral part of the urbanscape. While both sides are prime residential areas, there is a difference in tempo, a difference in attitude, between the two. The Upper East Side is “old money” – more conservative, proper, more associated with business interests. The Upper West Side is “upscale hip” – more liberal, colorful, more associated with the arts. Harlem, America’s best known African-American neighborhood, lies just north of Central Park.

The posh Upper East Side, sometimes referred to as the “Silk Stocking District” for the privileged lifestyle of the super wealthy industrialists of the late 1800s who built fabulously grand residences, many in the decoratively ornate Beaux Arts style, is a visual treat. The city’s notables live in luxurious apartments lining Fifth and Park avenues, with spectacular views of Central Park, and in grand villas on bluffs along the East River. Gracie Mansion, official home of New York mayors, sits on such a bluff. Madison Avenue is the address of boutiques of the world’s top designers, some housed in museum-like settings of architectural masterpieces. Museum Mile, a stretch of Fifth Avenue along Central Park, is lined with the best museums in the world – the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Frick, the Whitney. Restaurants with multiple stars and impeccable service, and the most elegant hotels are situated here.

On the Upper West Side, handsome 19th century brownstone townhouses and notable apartment buildings, many featured in popular TV sitcoms, are sought after by hipsters, celebrities, and middle class yuppies. Performing arts reign at Lincoln Center and the huge American Museum of Natural History is filled with awesome natural wonders. Jazz at Lincoln Center in the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle features jazz bests; relaxed jams happen nightly in Dizzy’s Jazz Club. Shops at Columbus Circle offers upscale shopping, restaurants and entertainment with a Central Park view. Small bars along Amsterdam Avenue are neighborhood favorites, as are eclectic, small shops lining Columbus Avenue, finds in the Sunday Green Flea Market, hot dogs from Gray’s Papaya, bagels from H&H, and gourmet delicacies from Zabar’s. For a change of pace, stroll through Riverside Park or visit the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights.

America’s best known African-American community, long a center of black culture, business and politics, is newly revitalized and energized. The “first” Renaissance between 1920 and 1930 was a time of unprecedented creative activity among African-Americans, embracing all art forms. Jazz took root, becoming the new rage, and jazz clubs were hot places to be seen. The Cotton Club, the Lennox Lounge, the Savoy Ballroom, the Apollo Theater became legendary. After decades of hard times, marginalization and economic hardship, Harlem is experiencing a “second” Renaissance. With funding, big name backing and high profile tenants, stores, movie theaters and offices have taken root on 125th Street, the economic heart of the neighborhood. Harlem on Sunday Tour with Brunch, combining a tour of the area, a rousing Gospel music experience in a local church, and wonderful soul food in a local restaurant, is a great way to get a feel for the sights, spirit and soul of the neighborhood. Or, to experience the jazz scene, enjoy jazz in Harlem on a Harlem Soul Food and Jazz Tour.

Macy's Day Parade

Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Show
When: July 4 beginning approximately 9pm
Where: Fireworks are set off on barges situation on the East River. Best viewing of the fireworks is on FDR Drive along the East River between 14th and 42nd Street.

Macy's Day Parade (officially Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade)
When: Thanksgiving Day beginning at 9am Length: 3 Hours
Where: Parade route - Beginning at the intersection of 77th Street and Central Park West, the route heads south along Central Park. At Columbus Circle, the route turns onto Broadway, taking it through Times Square and down to the flagship Macy's store at 34th Street and Avenue of the Americas. The route turns right onto 34th Street, ending as it passes the Macy's store.

Puerto Rican Day Parade
What: Annual celebration of Puerto Rican heritage and culture.
When: Second Sunday in June
Where: Parade route - Along Fifth Avenue from 44th to 86th Streets

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting
When: November 30th at approximately 9pm
Where: Rockefeller Center - 1221 Ave of the Americas

St. Patrick's Day Parade
When: March 17 beginning at 11am
Where: Parade route – Parade begins at 44th Street and Fifth Avenue and makes its way up Fifth Avenue to 88th Street.

San Gennaro Festival (Little Italy)
What: New York City's oldest and biggest and best street festival celebrates Saint Gennaro, the Patron Saint of Naples, Italy. The street festivities – including parades, entertainment, food stands and a cannoli-eating contest – are capped with a celebratory Mass and candlelit procession as the Statue of the Saint is carried from its permanent home in Most Precious Blood Church on Mulberry Street.
When: Mid September with celebratory Mass and candlelit procession of the Statue of Saint Gennaro on September 19th.

Times Square Ball Drop (on New Year’s Eve)
Where: Times Square
When: New Years Eve with the famous ball dropping at midnight

Von Steuben Day
When: September 17
What: Celebration of Baron Friedrich von Steuben, who arrived in the United States as a volunteer offering his services to General George Washington. The celebration is generally considered the German-American event of the year. Participants march, dance, and play music.
Where: Parade route - 5th Avenue between 63rd to 86th Streets.

Botanic Gardens

In this city of superlatives, off the beaten path generally means fine, interesting, sometimes unusual places living in the shadow of the stellar, globally recognized sites. While not as well known, these smaller, more focused venues are interesting and often not as crowded.

Venture to attractions in the other boroughs:

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens – a magical place, especially in the spring.

New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx – a dramatically beautiful, natural 250-acre park.

Bronx Zoo – the largest metropolitan zoo in the world with replicated natural habitats.

Visit interesting museums with less “star power” :

Lower East Side Tenement Museum – re-creations of the daily life of immigrants.

Museo del Barrio in Spanish Harlem – works by talented young Latin American and Caribbean artists and more.

NYC Fire Museum in SoHo – fire service memorabilia housed in a 1904 firehouse, includes real fire trucks and a moving remembrance of the hundreds of fire fighters who died in the World Trade Center.

Neue Galerie – a mansion on 5th Avenue at 86th Street, itself a work of art once occupied by Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt III, houses collections of 20th century German and Austrian art. Pause for a delicious Viennese lunch in the on-site Café Sabarsky.

New Museum of Contemporary Art in Soho – edgy and provocative.

Museum of Television and Radio in Midtown – a place to nostalgically watch and listen to TV and radio greats.

Studio Museum in Harlem – a collection of notable 9th and 20th century African American Art and traditional African art and artifacts.

The Paris Theater in Midtown – artsy films shown in a tiny one-screen theater.

The Cloisters – on a cliff overlooking the Hudson River at the very northern tip of Manhattan, and a remote, a lovely change from the city hustle. Gardens, galleries of medieval art, medieval music concerts fill and surround the12th century medieval monastery, brought over from Europe in pieces and re-assembled.

Central Park, New York City

City Wide

See New York City with a Big Apple Greeter. See neighborhoods of interest in the city with Big Apple Greeters, friendly volunteer residents who will enthusiastically show you “their” New York. The experience brings the city to a human scale…and it’s free.

Attend summertime performances in city parks. In the summer, enjoy music, dance, opera and theater performance al fresco in city parks. Central Park Summerstage and Shakespeare in the Park are big name, much anticipated summer events.

Visit a museum on a “Pay As You Wish” day and time. At various times and on various days, museums around the city offer free or “pay as you wish” entry. Call the museum of your choice to see if they have “pay as you wish” days and times.

Expand your museum experience with a lecture, curator tours or evening events. Held on specific dates and times, and often open to the public with the purchase of a ticket to the museum, this is a wonderful, intimate perk to a museum visit. Inquire at a museum of interest to see if they offer such programs.


Enjoy a concert in St. Paul’s Chapel on Mondays at 1 pm. Manhattan’s oldest church, built in 1766 on Broadway, between Vessey and Fulton streets, offers a free concert, but a $2.00 donation is appropriate.

Ride theStaten Island Ferry. Commuters ride it during rush hours, but the hour-long round trip also provides great views of the busy harbor, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governor’s Island …and it’s free. Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week all year, it departs from Whitehall Terminal at Whitehall and South Street.

Stroll through South Street Seaport to enjoy the waterfront, stores, the cobblestone historic district, and over 100 restaurants.

Discover the charming, serpentine Greenwich Village streets and interesting alleys, lined with bookstores, bars, coffeehouses, restaurants, eclectic shops and eccentric houses. Admire the Greek Revival 1830s townhouses in Washington Square North. Walk down Washington Mews and MacDougal Alley, quiet cobblestone lanes of stables transformed to houses at the turn of the 20th century where famous writers lived and wrote. Find the narrowest house, 9 ½ ft wide at 75 ½ Bedford, once home to Edna St. Vincent Millay. Wander through the campus of New York University, surrounding Washington Square; enjoy the eclectic shops of Bleecker; retreat into Bookleaves, an old-fashioned bookstore on Bank; discover an old collectible record at House of Oldies, on Carmine; find one of a kind and vintage clothes at Darling on Horatio; get caught up in a chess game at Chess Forum or the Chess Shop on Thompson.

Explore the galleries of West Chelsea, over 200 of them. See several shows in one afternoon, look at the art in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel. Sample fresh fruit and homemade goodies at Union Square Greenmarket. Treasure hunt at the Annex Antique Fair and Flea Market on 6th Avenue from 24th to 27th streets, for antiques, vintage jewelry and clothing, and just kitschy things.


Visit the magnificent New York Public Library. Admire the beautiful interior, take in the free changing exhibits, read in the fabulous reading rooms. An access card may be required to read in the reading rooms. Inquire as you enter.

Gaze at the stars in Grand Central Station. The glittering constellation painted on the ceiling is just one of the things to see in this truly grand structure, where you can do more than catch a train. Shop in specialty shops, have cocktails, dine, or grab a quick snack.

Take in the blazing billboards along the Great White Way and Times Square. A 24-hour a day glowing spectacle of motion, activity and crowds, it has real showtime energy. It’s neon billboards in constant motion, MTV extravaganzas, Good Morning America live broadcasts, and Broadway theatre marquees lined in a row.

Browse through the Diamond District on 47th Street, between 5th and 6th avenues, for sparkles of another kind.

Try your hoop skills at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street; interact in the high tech wonderland of Sony Wonder Technology Lab at 56th and Madison Avenue.


Visit Strawberry Fields & Imagine Mosaic in Central Park, the beautifully landscaped knoll on the west side of the park near 72nd Street, a living memorial to Beatle, John Lennon.

On Sundays, join Upper West Siders at the Greenflea Market
, held on the grounds of a neighborhood school on 77th Street and Columbus Avenue. Booths packed tightly together offer vintage clothing, memorabilia, jewelry, crafts, and more.

Spend time in two magnificent churches – St. John the Divine and Riverside Church.
Appreciate the details: Gothic architecture, stained-glass windows, carved stoned, manicured gardens. The impressive and exquisite, still incomplete Cathedral Church of St. Johnthe Divine, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, is being built by master craftsmen using traditional Gothic engineering. Be sure to see the various chapels dedicated to victims of the world’s atrocities, including the spontaneous tribute to the firefighters who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Lovely Riverside Church, financed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in 1930, with flying buttresses, tower, and brilliant stained-glass windows was designed after the famous Chartres cathedral in France.

Outdoor Cafe

New York is arguably the culinary capital of the world. While other cities may be better known for specific specialties, New York has it all – Asian fusion, Pan-Asian, American, Continental French, Indian, Italian, Contemporary American, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Spanish, Mexican, Greek, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern. There are steak houses, Jewish delis, pizza joints; seafood and soul food. If you crave it, you can find it.

Celebrated chefs are drawn to New York City. Some receive top billing in the best restaurants; others, using their star power and sought-after culinary skills to open glitzy restaurants of their own, attract a following with their couture cooking. In a city with a fickle palate, where presentation is an art form and ambience is edgy, the culinary world is competitive business. There are always new restaurants opening and dining trends come and go.

Dining in this epicurean extravaganza is expensive, particularly in Midtown, Upper East Side, Upper West Side and in trendy neighborhoods. Some of the busy, glamorous restaurants have gone bi-level, with fine dining upstairs and street-level casual dining. Off the beaten tourist path, smaller, neighborhood restaurants serve great food at reasonable prices. Numerous publications and websites list, describe and rank restaurants. Regardless of where you go, make reservations well in advance.

No experience in the city is complete without a taste of uniquely New York, treats. Try them as you come upon them, or seek them out.

Sample a rich, creamy Otto Gelato from pushcart in Washington Square; a soft ice cream cone from the Mister Softee truck, wherever you see it – or hear it.

Bite into a New York hot dog: a Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog, or one from Gray Papayas in Midtown, Upper West Side and Greenwich Village.

Have a bagel, soft and warm from the oven, at H&H or Absolute Bagels on the Upper West Side, Murrays Bagels in Greenwich Village.

Indulge in a slice of pizza, New York style at Grimaldi’s in Lower Manhattan, John’s Pizzeria in Greenwich Willage, Lombardi’s in Little Italy.

Delight in decadent hot chocolate at Maison du Chocolat in the Upper East Side.

Sip a martini in Campbell Apartment, upstairs in Grand Central Station – upscale, baronial, with a dress code.

Have sumptuously elegant high tea at Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon, in the Inn at Irving Place in the heart of Gramercy Park.

Get fresh bread and pastries at Amy’s Bread in Chelsea Market.

Try ice cream, exotically flavored at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, Cones in Greenwich Village, Il Laboratoria del Gelato in Little Italy.

Savor flavorful dim sum surprises in the Fried Dumpling in the Lower East Side.

Munch on fabulous fires from a cone at Pommes Frites in the East Village.

Pile on the pastrami at Katz’s on the Lower East Side.

Have soul food for breakfast at M&G Diner on 125th Street in Harlem.