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Ah, the Big Apple. The quintessential, bustling metropolis; seductive, sexy and just a little bit dangerous. It’s the place where dreams are made of (and quite a few have been broken). If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere…
From its rich, cultural roots and diversity to its glam lifestyle and incredible high-rise architecture like the Chrysler Building, it’s hard not to fall in love with New York City. Well, maybe lust more than love. Regardless, New York City can satisfy even the pickiest traveller so well that a post-visit cigarette may be necessary.
For shopaholics, department stores like Henri Bendel and Macy’s make racking up a massive credit card bill practically compulsory. For art lovers, New York is home to some of the best museums and galleries on the planet. For pop culture junkies, some of the world’s biggest, highest-rating talk shows are filmed in the likes of NBC Studios. For snootier, er, more refined tastes, Carnegie Hall is a must. Or head into Harlem for a show at the legendary Apollo Theater.
Plus, where else in the world can you bag yourself an epic slice of delicious, artery-clogging pizza at 4am after chilling in an achingly-hip, underground jazz bar? Only in New York, baby.
New York’s Top 10
David Letterman films his show in New York. His Top 10 lists are famous. This one’s better.
10. NY Public Library: This place isn’t just for the nerds and bookworms. The building is architecturally amazing and steeped in history. Plus, the books smell amazing!
5. Empire State Building: Another NYC icon. King Kong climbed it in the classic movie (and two rather iffy remakes), but you’ll have to take the lifts. Or the stairs. All 1576 of them.
9. The Guggenheim: Modern art enveloped in a mind-boggling structure. Don’t be afraid to lose yourself in here.
4. Broadway: Where theatre magic happens, but only in one section (it’s a long road). Singing Andrew Lloyd Webber medleys in the bit that runs through the Bronx will get you some very funny looks.
8. Central Park: Synonymous with the city and huge (843 acres, to be exact). Grab a coffee, go for a walk and spy on New Yorkers in their natural habitat.
3. MOMA: Stands for Museum of Modern Art. Expect world-class exhibitions, inspiring art and a pretty awesome gift shop!
7. Madison Square Garden: A must for sports and music fans. Big names perform here on a regular basis. Best to avoid Celine Dion concerts, though. Her fans are weird.
2. FAO Schwarz – Kids and adults alike will have minds blown. Toy fantasies come to life in ways you won’t believe.
6. Saks Fifth Ave: Where rich New Yorkers and visitors drop some serious coin. Even if you don’t have thousands to spend, this store will keep you busy (and jealous).
1. Times Square – An absolute must-see, especially at night. This neon playground will assault your every sense (in a good way).
New York City History
- Statue of Liberty – One of the world's most famous landmarks perches atop an island in the harbour of New York City.
- Ellis Island – A place where countless immigrants entered the United States.
- Wall Street – Home to the world-famous New York Stock Exchange.
- Federal Hall – The lace where the first president of the United States, General George Washington, was inaugurated.
- World Trade Center Site – Houses the National September 11 Memorial in memory of the historic day and its numerous victims.
New York City Art & Culture
- Metropolitan Museum of Art – Located in Central Park, this museum is home to a vast collection that is among the finest in the world.
- Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts – The largest centre in the United States and home to 12 well-known art organizations, such as the New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic and New York City Ballet.
- The Cloisters – Located in Fort Tyron Park with a collection of great medieval art.
- Museum of Modern Art – Home to the most extensive collection of modern art, including Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
- Central Park Summer Stage – Offers free plays and music presentations.
New York City Shopping
- Adidas Originals Store – With a wonderful collection of everything from T-shirts to key chains, as well as track suits and the latest in shoes.
- American Girl Place – This 43,000-square-foot store features a complete line of the famous historical dolls.
- Apple Store SoHo – The place to see and try out any Apple-related product.
- Bloomingdale’s – The selection here in New York City is tops.
- The Greenmarket at Union Square – Farmers come from far and near to offer their fresh produce.
New York City Gay & Lesbian
- Therapy – This is a top spot in New York City for exciting nightlife with original cocktails and free entertainment.
- Eastern Bloc – With strong drinks and great beer, this venue offers Good Times parties on Wednesday night.
- XES Lounge – This is an ideal place to enjoy a great happy hour.
- GYM Sports Bar – An easygoing loft area that comes complete with pool tables, comfy seating and flatscreen TVs.
- Henrietta Hudson – A relaxed place to hang out, with a pool table, jukebox and friendly atmosphere.
New York City Outdoor
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck – With views even better than those from the Empire State Building.
- High Line Park – A wonderful park and landmark area for a walk.
- Classic Harbour Line – Wonderful cruises around the waters of New York City.
- Battery Park City’s Rockefeller Park – Boasts one of the best playgrounds ever.
- New York Harbour – A lovely place to take in the sights and enjoy the waterfront view.
New York City Sport
- For a great place to ride a bike, go ice skating or enjoy freshwater fishing, try out Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
- Surrounded by bodies of water, New York City is a great place for sailing any time of year.
- Ice-skating enthusiasts will find their pick of ice rinks to choose from throughout the city.
- For real bowling, visit the Bowling Green in New York City’s oldest park.
- The U.S. Open Tennis Tournament is held in Flushing Meadows Park.
NY Local – The Five BoroughsManhattan
The busiest borough, home to Grand Central Station, skyscrapers, Ground Zero and pretty much everything you see in the movies. So much to see, do and explore here. Bloomingdale’s is imperative for shoppers – hellooo, big brands! Singles, pay close attention… If you want to bag yourself a rich hottie, hit up Wall Street, where money and testosterone abounds. Then wind down after shopping and picking up fine gentleman with some culture and history at the African Art Museum and African Burial Ground.Staten Island
The park borough. It’s got no less than five major parks, thank you very much. They’re not as big as Central Park, but they’re just as beautiful and a hell of a lot more relaxing – which just goes to prove that size really doesn’t matter. If you want to let the kids run wild and subtly teach them a thing or two, hit up the Staten Island Children’s Museum. And don’t forget to hop on board the Staten Island Ferry to take a squiz at the magnificent Statue of Liberty.Brooklyn
The most populated borough. Coney Island’s allure should not be ignored. The theme park has undergone a makeover recently and there’s also a nice, little beach and boardwalk, too. Have fun and catch some waves. It’s win-win, really – except after dark when it’s a popular hangout for gangs. The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens hosts an acre-long cherry tree strip, nose-pleasing rose gardens, an impressive Bonsai collection and more. And for awe-inspiring views, a hell of a lot of exercise and an excuse to spy on fit bods working out, take a stroll along the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.Queens
The largest borough boasts a rich mix of culture, from the Queens Museum of Art for a to the Queens Botanical Garden. The Queens Wildlife Center, aka the Queens Zoo, can also provide a fun-filled day. Who doesn’t like pointing and laughing at those kooky elephants? No? Jazz fans and neophytes must pay a visit to the Flushing Town Hall, a thriving beacon of culture, art and music that asserts itself as a jazz icon.The Bronx
This borough contains a massive variety of neighbourhoods, stacks of things to do and is the birthplace of J.Lo, no less. Catch a baseball game at Yankee Stadium whilst simultaneously scoffing a hot dog and waving a giant, novelty finger in the air. Pelham Bay Parkis bigger than Central Park and has basketball and tennis courts, golf courses, bike trails, wildlife sanctuaries and a beach on offer. With so much to do and see, don’t be surprised if you spend your entire day here (then collapse in an exhausted, sweaty heap). Oh, and animal lovers, the Bronx Zoo is your Mecca. Seriously. Big. Huge. Awesome.
Eat & Drink
As much as New York is the place to shop, enrich and educate, it’s also the place to chomp on some yum food and sip on world-class wine. With a mix of cheap, little treasures and elegant establishments, there’s something for everyone.
Second Avenue Deli: Famous and perpetually busy. Grab a hearty meal to eat in or a gourmet roll to go. It’s Kosher-friendly, too.
Grimaldi’s Pizza: Who doesn’t love a good, coal-oven pizza? You’ll be waiting a while, but the goods are so very worth it.
Flatiron Lounge: A hip crowd of young and old drink at this cool and classy establishment.
Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant: Underneath Grand Central Station, this gem boasts fab oysters as its specialty.
Serendipity: Tourists and locals happily unite in this seriously epic dessert heaven.
Nobu: Refined Japanese food, a cult-following and a major fave with the famous. Play spot the celeb with friends!
The Monkey Bar: Great food and cocktails with a Roaring ’20s vibe. Be sure to check out the art on the walls and snap photos like an annoying tourist.
Buddakan: Chic surroundings paired with modern Asian fare. There’s a giant, gold Buddha in here. It’s cool.
Virgil’s: The famous BBQ ribs and steaks will induce Homer Simpson-like drooling.
Pastis: Famous for its French cuisine and cool crowd. Hard to get a place, but worth it if you have the schmooze skills.
Even though you probably won’t score an invite (sorry), New York Fashion Week is a great time to be in the city. Held in an often freezing February, this is when the fashionistas, celebs and big-wig designers come out to play. Loiter for celeb-spotting and fashion-jealousy. Then make like you’re in a Meg Ryan rom-com and take a spin around the Rockefeller Center ice rink.
Show some gay pride and/or support by taking a gander at the floats and wild characters of the Gay Pride Parade and March, held every June. This GLBT event is fun and rowdy and absolutely guaranteed to make you smile. It’s a good opportunity to get wasted, too.
Shakespeare in the Park is one of the New York’s most beloved summer traditions. Two Shakespearean plays are performed over eight weeks and while tickets are free (woo!), they’re limited (boo!). It’s held at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park and tickets must be picked up at a variety of nominated places around the city on the day of the performance. Bring food and drinks and enjoy!
The world’s best tennis players come to New York for the US Open every September. Held at Flushing Meadows in Queens, it’s part tennis match, part rock concert. The crowd is loud and raucous, the standard of play fantastic – and it goes into the wee small hours every night.
Fancy a good chuckle? November’s New York Comedy Festival provides some comedy relief and always includes big names in the bill. It’s held in a bunch of venues around the city, so go and wet yourself in the funnest way possible. Bring spare pants.
New Yorkers love a good parade. The famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November is nothing you’ve ever seen or experienced before. Think: massive, childhood-memories in float-form, oodles and oodles of people and a fun vibe. (The good peeps at Macy’s also do a cool fireworks display on the Fourth of July. They sure know how to throw a good party.)
Running from early November to the beginning of January, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a long festival of kitschy, Christmas fun. It’s been around for 75 years so you know it’s cool. Ticket prices vary.
If you’re in New York for New Year’s Eve and can stand being squashed by a million people, cram into Times Square and watch the famous ball drop to bring in the new year.
When To Go
New York’s winter is brutal but beautiful. If you’re prepared to don some sexy thermals and thick coats, expect to be blown away by a city blanketed in snow. On the flipside, summer in the city is incredibly humid. If you’re looking for cold, but not freeze-your-boogers cold, February to April is perfect. For warm but not gross-and-sweaty, try September through to October.
- Winter – Average of -2°C (28°F)
- Spring – Average of 15°C (59°F)
- Summer – Average of 25°C (77°F)
- Autumn – Average of 18°C (64°F)
What To Miss
While many fear a good ol’ fashioned mugging, they’re pretty rare. However, bag snatching is a danger. Keep your bag on you at all times and hold on tight.
The lower Eastside of Manhattan, the Bronx and North Brooklyn can be sketchy after dark. Central Park and Riverside Park after dark are other no-nos.
The street-food of NYC has a certain allure and let’s face it, you wanna eat like they do in the movies, but if you spot a vendor with a less-than-impressive line of people waiting to be fed, stay away. We’re talking gross, stale pretzels and hot dogs that’ll send you on a one-way trip to the Porcelain God. Not pretty, dude.
Forget whiffy hire cars, this is a city of walking. Get plenty of exercise and stumble upon the many treasures lined along the streets. For longer trips, the Subway system is the go. Not nearly as spooky as the films make it out to be, this is one of the oldest and most extensive public transportation systems in the world. If you’re planning on getting some heavy-duty travel under your belt, bag yourself a MetroCard.
Single fare Subway tickets cost about $2.50.
MetroCards cost between $29 for 7 days to $104 for 30 days.
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