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New York, New York Travel Guide

INTRODUCTION

New York, New York – the city so good they named it twice. Once famed for its mean streets, the USA’s most populous city is now better known for its gleaming skyscrapers, iconic landmarks, and of course, fabulous shopping. The Big Apple hasn’t lost its tough skin, but look past the "scandal and vice" and you will find a core of leafy parks, rich culture, and diverse cuisines.

NYC is composed of five boroughs: Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, The Bronx and Manhattan. Each borough has unique characteristics and contains dozens of individual neighborhoods with distinct demographics, aesthetics, and atmospheres.

HISTORY

In 1625, the Dutch founded a settlement they called New Amsterdam on what is now the southern tip of Manhattan Island. The English took control in 1664 and renamed it New York. Under British rule, New York became a prominent trade port, and the population began to grow. In 1788, New York was declared the nation’s first capital, a role it would fill until the title was transferred to Philadelphia in 1790.

Estimates suggest that by the mid 1800s, New York supported approximately 95% of American-born residents. The city’s prosperity also attracted an influx of immigrants, many of whom arrived via Ellis Island and later settled in New York City, creating ethnic neighborhoods such as Chinatown and Little Italy.

New York prospered in the first few decades of the 1900s and saw rapid growth in both population and infrastructure. Modern industry helped the city survive the turbulent Prohibition era, and by 1925 New York had become the largest urban center in the world.

The market crashed in 1929, signaling the beginning of a long period of economic downturn. The city suffered during the First World War and the following Great Depression, when labor shortages saw many out of work. Fortunately, New York bounced back strongly in the post-war years and gained even more prominence on the world stage. The United Nations established its headquarters in the city, and the Manhattan skyline was extensively developed. The World Trade Center opened in 1972, eclipsing the Empire State Building as the world’s tallest edifices.

In 1993, the World Trade Center took center stage as the site of a vicious car bombing intended to destroy both towers. Six died and more than 1,000 were injured. It is believed that the al-Qaeda financed the attack.

Al-Qaeda would return in September 2001, when two intercontinental jetliners were hijacked and flown into the towers. In one of the worst moments in American history, both towers collapsed, claiming 3,000 lives. The attack shocked the world, and the city went into mourning. The tragedy inspired the now famous "Tribute in Light," an installation of searchlights near the site of the towers that creates two columns of light as a memorial to the attacks.

In the new millennium, New York has risen above its recent tragedies and has set its sights on the future. Several major construction projects signal a dramatic change in the city’s image, marked by lower crime and increased economic stability.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

  • The most densely populated city in America, New York is home to over 12.6 million people. Obviously, such a populous region requires a fantastic public transport system as well as efficient organization for locals and visitors alike not to get lost. The majority of Manhattan is set up like a grid with avenues running north and south and streets running east and west.
  • Make sure you always carry a map of the subway systems with you, no matter how well you think you know them. Constant construction makes detours a regular event. Even if you forget your map, subway stations and trains have maps displayed, and you can often get one from a token clerk.
  • Houston, a street that divides Nolita and the LES, and SoHo and the West Village, is pronounced "House-ton." Pronouncing it "Hyoos-ton," like the city in Texas, is sure to give you up as a tourist.
  • Despite its size, New York is one of the safest cities in the world. But safety is always an issue to be aware of. Women AND men traveling alone should look as inconspicuous as possible and avoid dark areas. While visiting this amazing city, it is important to keep your wits about you and be street smart at all times.
  • A lot museums and other tourist attractions are closed on Mondays, so make sure you check open and close times in advance.
  • Want to be on T.V.? "The Today Show" broadcasts live from Rockefeller Plaza during the week and anyone can be a part of the audience. People often start lining up at 5 a.m. for the best spots, so set your alarm!
  • If you want to see a Broadway play and save some money, wait until a few hours before the show starts and tickets will be drastically discounted.

ATTRACTIONS

The Statue of Liberty
Ellis Island
Central Park
Madison Square Garden
Empire State Building
Museum Of Modern Art
Fifth Avenue
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Chinatown
Little Italy
Grand Central Station
Times Square
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Canal Street
Washington Square Park
St. Mark's Place
Bryant Park
Staten Island Ferry
PS 122
42nd Street
Toys R Us
Broadway
Carnegie Hall

There are plenty more things to do in NYC. Look at some of these specialized tours:

New York - Sex and the City Style
XOXO Gossip Girl?
For Movie Lovers Only!
A New York City Christmas!

RESTAURANTS

Serendipity 3 ($$) – Serendipity 3 (also written "Serendipity III") is a popular restaurant located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Founded in 1954, the restaurant is famous for its foot-long hot dogs and frozen hot chocolate. Frequently visited by tourists and celebrities, it is a favorite of Manhattanites for its cozy cafe feel.

Dale and Thomas Popcorn ($$) – Located on the corner of Broadway and 48th Street, Dale and Thomas serves gourmet popcorn in a huge variety of flavors - perfect if you want a quick snack.

Nolita House ($$) – Look past the uninviting exterior and you'll find a cozy and classy little restaurant. Located on East Houston Street, Nolita House is one of the city's hidden treasures. It has a chameleon-like decoration with intimate booths and candles and serves comfort food with a twist.

Tavern on the Green ($$$$) – Located in Central Park on the Upper West Side, Tavern on the Green combines delicious food with beautiful rooms, creating an unforgettable dining experience.

LODGING

The Pod ($95-$310/night) – The colorful, innovative Pod Hotel features compact, budget rooms in a prime Manhattan location.

Hotel 17 ($125-$250/night) – This chic budget hotel is wedged next to the tall brownstones in the Gramercy district. Hotel 17 was originally a boarding house and retains its Old World charm.

Hotel Chandler ($250-$700/night) – Housed in a decadent Beaux Arts building, this boutique hotel is located in New York's Murray Hill neighborhood. The Hotel Chandler offers fine linen, stylish furnishings, and fantastic service.

Algonquin Hotel ($350-$450/night) – This historic hotel is centrally located on 44th Street and is steeped in charming traditions. Struggling writers can receive a discount on rooms in exchange for an autographed copy of their book.

The Iroquois ($330-$750/night) – Located on a fashionable block of West 44th Street, the Iroquois is a deluxe hotel with an intimate atmosphere and a fantastic restaurant.

Plaza Hotel ($950+/night) – The Plaza Hotel is a landmark in its own right, with a prestigious address on the west side of Grand Army Plaza. This luxurious hotel is a testament to timeless elegance.


 
 
 
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