It’s the most fast pace and exciting city in the world with more innovative restaurants, bars, museums and sights than any other big city in the world. Home to some of the world’s best fashion designers; New York City is one of the best places in the world to go shopping. The city has a vast and interesting art collection spanning different movements and can be viewed at the numerous museums and galleries. There are also lots of beautiful parks and botanical gardens and the city is within easy reach of some stunning beaches, perfect for the hot summers. The Big Apple is welcoming and easy to navigate due to its grid system and enthusiastic locals.
The winter in New York City can be very cold and snowy so January and February are not the best times to visit. The best seasons to travel to New York City are the autumn and spring when the weather conditions are great with clean and crisp days. During the summer the weather is extremely hot and humid so many of the locals leave the city on the weekends and head to the Hamptons.
New York City has four-distinct seasons. The winter can have thick snowfall and cloudless skies and the summer has reliable scorching hot and sometimes unbearably humid weather. The spring and autumn have the best weather as the air is clear and crisp and the colour of the leaves are a beautiful golden red.
Memorial Day: Memorial Day is on the last Monday of May and it honours all men and women who have died in military service for the United States. Lots of people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day and it is also seen as the start of the summer.
Independence Day: Independence Day is annually celebrated on July 4th and it is commonly known as ‘the Fourth of July’. It is the anniversary of independence in 1776 from Great Britain. Family events and Patriotic displays are enjoyed throughout the country.
Labor Day: Annual celebrations are held on the first Monday of September to celebrate the different labor associations’ strengths and contributions to the American economy. Labor Day also marks the end of the summer for many.
Halloween: Many Americans enjoy Halloween celebrations on October 31st. Celebrations include wearing a costume and trick-or-treating.
Thanksgiving: On the fourth Thursday of November it’s Thanksgiving Day in the United States.
Christmas Day: Many people in the United States celebrate Jesus Christ's birth on December 25th. People decorate and put up Christmas trees in their homes, visit family or friends and give each other presents.
New Year’s Eve: On December 31st people celebrate the last day of the year in the United States.
Museum of Modern Art: The MoMA reopened in 2004 after a two-year redesign by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, which has doubled the space to display the 19th, 20th and 21st century artworks.
11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019, United States. Website. Tel: +1 212-708-9400.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: This iconic New York attraction opened in 1880 and spans 11.5 acres. The museum’s works include an Egyptian temple, period costumes and a rooftop garden with sweeping views over Central Park and Manhattan’s skyline.
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028, United States. Website. Tel: +1 212-535-7710.
Guggenheim Museum: Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Guggenheim’s rotunda, which is among the 20th century’s most important architectural landmarks. Completed in 1959, the Guggenheim has been the venue for lots of distinguished exhibitions and the smaller galleries are dedicated to the museum’s collection, which ranges from Impressionism to contemporary art.
1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128, United States. Website. Tel: +1 212-423-3500.
Dia Beacon: This former Nabisco box-printing facility is now the museum for the Dia Art Foundation’s permanent collection of art from the 1960’s to the present. The museum also presents exhibitions and public programs that include presentations of performance and dance. Dia Beacon is situated upstate on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, New York.
3 Beekman St, Beacon, NY 12508, United States. Website. Tel: +1 845-440-0100.
The High Line: Built on an abandoned railway track, the High Line is a reclaimed industrial pathway that goes above the city. The High Line combines urban living with nature and is an oasis with wild flowers and a lawn above the chaos of New York City.
New York, NY 10011, United States. Website. Tel: +1 212-500-6035.
American Museum of Natural History: This is one of the largest museums in the world. Located across the road from Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History has 27 interconnected buildings housing 45 permanent exhibition halls, a planetarium and a library. The collection contains over 32 million specimens of plants, humans, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites and human cultural artefacts.
Central Park W & 79th St, New York, NY 10024, United States. Website. Tel: +1 212-769-5100.
Central Park: The iconic Central Park is situated in the centre of Manhattan and encompasses 36-acres of wilderness with winding trails, rocks, streams, lakes and restaurants.
14 E 60th St, New York, NY. Website. Tel: +1 212-310-6600.
Coney Island: This peninsular neighbourhood is renowned for its amusement parks and was New York City’s playground during its heyday from the turn of the century to the Second World War. After years of neglect the new Luna Park was established and Coney Island had its revival. The Luna Park is home to the Cyclone, which is a historic wooden roller coaster that opened in 1927 and is still up and running.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Founded in 1910, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden features thousands of types of flora, laid out over 52 acres. The Garden’s are filled with serene spots such as the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and the Shakespeare Garden. Each spring the Sakura Matsuri Festival takes place, which sees more than 70 trees bloom on the cherry Esplanade.
990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225, United States. Website. Tel: +1 718-623-7200.
Empire State Building: Since opening in 1931 the Empire State Building has been one of the most renowned and visible attractions in New York City. The enclosed observatory on the 102nd floor is the city’s highest lookout point where all five boroughs and five neighbouring states can be seen.
350 5th Ave, New York, NY 10118, United States. Website. Tel: +1 212-736-3100.
Statue of Liberty Cruise: This copper-plated sentinel stands 305 feet tall and is a universal symbol of freedom. Liberty Enlightening the World was a gift from France on America’s 100th birthday. To tour the statue’s interior and ascend its iconic seven-point crown reservations are required.
Castle Clinton, 1 Battery Place, New York, NY, United States. Website. Tel: +1 877-523-9849.
Bloomingdales: Bloomingdales carries the big-name designer labels.
1000 Third Ave., at 59th St. Tel: 212-705-2000. 504 Broadway, nr. Spring St. Tel: 212-729-5900. Website.
Barneys: Barneys, Madison Avenue flagship store, houses chic, expensive pieces including Prada suits, rag & bone jeans and Alexander Wang dresses.
660 Madison Ave., nr. 61st St. Website. Tel: 212-826-8900.
Bergdorf Goodman: For high-end designer suits, shoes and bags Bergdorf Goodman is the ideal choice. Their endless variations include items by designers Vince, Phillip Lim and Diana von Furstenberg.
754 Fifth Ave., nr. 58th St. Website. Tel: 212-753-7300.
BALTHAZAR: British restaurateur Keith McNally opened this French-style brassiere with authentic Parisian furnishings. Recommended dishes include the seafood linguine and the crème brûlée. The restaurant is open daily and has a superb bakery attached.
80 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012. Website. Tel: +1 212 343 1274.
LE GRENOUILLE: This family run restaurant is the last of the great New York French restaurants. The restaurant is filled with elaborate bouquets of flowers which the owner Monsieur Masson arranges every morning. The waiters are proper French waiters, the décor is grand and clientele are loyal. The food is classically French with côte de boeuf, grilled sole and foie gras all on the menu.
3 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022, United States. Website. Tel: +1 212-752-1495.
LIMANI: This Greek seafood restaurant is situated next to the Rockefeller Center skating rink and in a large white split-level dining room with Greek artefacts including an enormous terra-cotta amphorae. Recommended dishes included Grilled seafood, Greek ceviche, octopus appetizer and the baklava.
Rockefeller Center, 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111, United States. Website. Tel: +1 212-858-9200.
LE BERNARDIN: Executive chef and co-owner Eric Ripert has run this exquisite fish restaurant for 18 years. The dining room is vast and the décor is earthy. Menu recommendations include: geoduck, fluke sashimi, sea medley, langoustine, red snapper, black bass, yuzu meringue tart.
155 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019, United States. Website. Tel: +1 212-554-1515.
ESTA: British citizens must gain travel authorization online via ESTA, which is the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. ESTA online application: https://www.immigrationcenter.org/esta-uk/esta-application.html/step1
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Exchange rate: 0.64 Pound Sterling (GBP) to 1 Dollar (June 2015)
Adapters: 2 pin American plug
Emergency services: dial 911
British Consulate-General: 845 3rd Avenue, New York. Website. Tel: +1 212 745 0200
Tourist office: See nycgo.com, the website of NYC and Company, for extensive information on what’s on in the city and tips on where to go. The Official Visitor Information Centre (001 212 484 1222) is at 810 7th Avenue, between 52nd and 53rd Street. Open Mon-Fri, 8.30am-6pm; Sat, Sun and holidays, 9am-5pm
Telephone code: dial 00 1, then the three-digit number of the borough for New York numbers from abroad
Time difference: -5 hours
Flight time: London to New York is approximately seven hours.
Getting around New York City:
Subway: There is no better way to get around New York City then riding the subway. It’s faster than driving (particularly in Manhattan) and its relatively clean and safe.
Boats: You can get water taxis, cruise liners and ferries from the west and southern points of Manhattan.
Trains: Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) provides all long-distance services from Penn Station.
Automobiles: A cab from JFK will charge a flat rate of $45 plus tolls. It is not recommended to rent a car in New York City as the traffic is bad and parking is very difficult to find.
Taxis: There are lots of yellow cabs except during rush hour and when it’s raining.
1st January: New Year’s Day
Mid-January: Birthday of Martin Luther King Junior
Mid-February: Washington’s Birthday
Late-March: Memorial Day
4th July: Independence Day
Early-September: Labor Day
Mid-October: Columbus Day
11th November: Veterans Day
25th December: Christmas Day.
Tipping: It is standard to tip 15-20 per cent in restaurants. Sales tax in NYC is 8.87 per cent; taxes are not included in listed shop or restaurants prices.
Planes: There are three major airports: JFK, La Guardia and Newark. Buses run between Manhattan and JFK and La Guardia; website.
Books set in New York City:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Just Kids by Patti Smith
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
A Freewheelin' Time by Suze Rotolo
On the Town by Marshall Berman
Washington Square by Henry James
To Reach the Clouds by Philippe Petit
Jazz by Toni Morrison
Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger
Art in New York City:
Museum of Modern Art
New Museum of Contemporary Art
Whitney Museum of American Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Films set in New York City:
Do The Right Thing, Spike Lee
Manhattan, Woody Allen
Saturday Night Fever
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