Don’t let a long New York holiday pass you by! Enjoy the chance to visit Manhattan Island surrounded by the city’s four outer boroughs. The famous Statue of Liberty and Staten Island are just a ferry ride away from Manhattan’s tip in Battery Park. The city’s centre near Times Square provides the vibrant heartbeat of all theatrical performance, and Central Park’s green space lies some blocks away. So take a flight to New York and see all of the best of what the Big Apple has to offer.
New York was originally founded by a small trading post set up by the Dutch. In 1624, the first governor purchased the Island of Manhattan from the local Native Americans. From the Southern tip of Manhattan, New Amsterdam was born. The first settlers to the area were French, Belgium, Dutch, and English, yet African slaves constructed much of the first colony.
Many present day neighbourhoods such as New Harlem and the Bronx are named after early Dutch settlers and officials. However the British took control of the area after a 10-year struggle from the Dutch in 1674, joining the colonies that would eventually make up the first 13 United States. By the 1700 New York’s population had grown from around 5,000 to 60,000 people only a century later.
After gaining independence as a free colony, New York began setting out city plans with gridded streets and by 1860 had 813,000 inhabitants. Before the turn of the 20th century, many of the city´s cultural landmarks such as Carnegie Hall and the Museum of Metropolitan Art were just getting established. This was also a period of major immigration in New York from European countries like Ireland and Italy.
Much of the famous New York architecture like the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings were created in this time frame, and soon afterward many of the top new companies like IBM, and World Financial Center arrived. In 2001, the city´s largest two buildings – the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers – were destroyed in a terrorist attack. The city has since recovered. It has now a population of 8.2 million.
This US National Landmark towers 1,250 feet above the bustling streets of Manhattan. The skyscraper has an Art Deco architectural design and is the tallest building in New York City, and the third tallest building in the Americas.
From the 86th floor, visitors can enjoy a 360 degree outdoor view of the entire city, and smaller indoor observation point can be accessed on the building’s highest 102nd floor.
A gift from France following U.S. independence in 1776, the statue arrived in New York harbour in 1885 and took several months to re-assemble. Frenchman Federic Auguste Bartholdi designed the massive copper sculpture, which was designated a World Heritage site by the United Nations almost 100 years later. Today the interior of the sculpture can be toured.
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, this museum may be more than worth the visit. This doesn’t even include some of the most extensive collections of modern art.
Follow the large and spiralling ramp from bottom to top to see works by artists such as Kandisky, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Chagall, among others. A variety of changing exhibitions are also on display.
Step back more than a hundred years to the turn of the 20th century and the peak arrival time for millions of immigrants to New York harbour. From 1892 to 1954, Ellis Island was used as the first federal immigration centre.
Today a museum exists where the immigration station was operated, but now relates the immigrants’ history of the space and their stories leaving their countries for a new destination. Be sure to see the Wall of Honor with over 700,000 names and registrations.
New York’s most important museum is known colloquially as the Met, and lies on the edge of Central Park. It houses more than two million works of art from all over the modern and ancient world. This includes art, sculptures, and even antique instruments, weapons, and interior designs from Medieval and Roman times.
Having recently completed a $70 million renovation, the Ramada New Yorker Hotel is a 40-storey Art Deco hotel that provides incredible views and access to some of the great city attractions. It’s the closest hotel to the Javits Convention Center, Macys and Penn Station. It’s three blocks from the Empire State Building, and next to Madison Square Garden.
Considered the top of the line when it comes to luxury, the Hotel Gansevoort combines extreme comfort and style in the lively Meatpacking District. Blocks from some of the city’s most renowned restaurants, boutiques, and bars, Hotel Gansevoort has an incredible rooftop, bar, and a 45 foot-long outdoor pool. Guests can dine at Japanese Pub and Sushi Bar, which serves small Japanese plates including grilled items and sushi rolls. The hotel also has a fitness centre open 24/7 and a spa and wellness centre.
Another classic hotel that feels like new is the Hilton Manhattan East. The newly renovated hotel has contemporary accommodations and amenities but is designed as a 1931 neo-gothic tower. Located in Midtown Manhattan, the 300-room luxury hotel neighbours Grand Central Terminal, and the United Nations. Room accommodations are top of the line and the hotel lobby restaurant has all of the best plates of international and American cuisine.
The Mayfair New York Hotel has the perfect small boutique setting within the theatre district. This hotel combines friendly services and new conveniences. The hotel is situated within the city’s business and theatre area.
If you’d like more choices, consult our selection of New York hotels.
Most New Yorkers use public transportation, but if it's more convenient for you to drive around, check our offers of car hire in New York City.
Visitors can choose from the New York City Subway, known as Metra. It is the largest rapid transit system in the world in terms of track distance and the second oldest subway system in the United States. Around eight million riders use the system every day, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you need to get to and from the airport, then the best option is the intermodal rail system. AirTrain JFK connects Kennedy airport flights to New York City’s subway and commuter rail systems, and tickets cost around $5.
New York also uses buses with over 200 different routes. The main bus gateway is the Port Authority Bus Terminal near Times Square.
If visitors want a quick and more comfortable ride they can also flag down a taxi: 13,000 operate in the city. Fares usually vary from $2.50 to $4 to begin, and visitors have to keep an eye out for the familiar yellow Medallion Taxis as they are the only vehicles permitted by the New York City Taxi Commission to be hailed down from the street.
Bicycling in New York has become a growing trend, as an estimated 120,000 residents bike each day. Bicycle rickshaw drivers can also be found in high commodity. If you are looking for a romantic ride, horse-drawn carriages can be found near Central Park.
The Gramercy Tavern (42 East 20th Street) is one of New York’s most popular restaurants. Executive chef Michael Anthony creates American Cuisine in a fine dining environment. Located in a historical building, the restaurant is known for its warm service and classic American dining feel.
If you want to eat some eastern flavours, try the Taj Restaurant and Lounge (48 West 21st Street). This modern and elegant Indian Fusion cuisine is just as good as its environment. Sandstone dancing shivas add to the décor, as does the copper and mahogany-topped bar.
When it comes to affordable eateries in New York, the Boneshakers (134 Kingsland Avenue), a restaurant/biker pit stop serves out salads, bagels, and burgers. But the real attraction is their signature vegan sandwiches. A favourite dish is the Makeout Party, a ciabiatta sandwich containing spicy tofu, sauerkraut, garlic hummus and onion. Other menu selections like the barbeque seitan and coleslaw sandwich are under $10.
The small Pinche Taquería (227 Mott Street or 333 Lafayette Street) boasts some of the city’s best fish tacos. Fresh fish, shrimp and other seafood is stuffed into corn tortillas with cream, transporting visitors straight to the US-Mexican border. The menu also features other meats such as pork, and grilled steak for only $5 a piece.
One of the city’s top restaurants, Per sé (10 Columbus Circle) is run by renowned chef Thomas Keller and offers only two prix fixe menus. The chef himself has his own nine-course menu that changes daily. When it comes to chic dining this French restaurant creates a unique experience.
Located in the centre of Manhattan Island, this 843-acre park has landmarks hidden throughout, including statues of Alice and Wonderland, Balto, and William Shakespeare. The section of Strawberry Fields is dedicated to the late Beatles great John Lennon.
You can check out all of your favourite animals in Central Park Zoo, and if you are the sporty type you can choose between skating rinks, baseball fields, tennis courts and a public swimming pool. However nothing beats a trip by horse drawn carriage during the evening hours.
A great way to spend a New York evening is to see a live basketball or hockey game, a concert or another major performance. You can also take an All Access Tour through the famous arena.
Located in the Empire State Building, you can step into New York’s only aerial simulator and let it take you on a tour of the city on an IMAX sized screen with High Definition. Moving platform seats allow you to get the total experience.
Walk down the glitzy billboards and lights along Times Square and you can find all of the biggest and best of the Broadway theatre shows.
For the true theatre buffs, you can see something in a smaller and less expensive neighbourhood like Greenwich Village, which offers theatre in much smaller venues. These less-touristy performances will give you access to the cutting edge of the New York theatre scene.
Take a stroll through many of the culturally distinct neighbourhoods that give New York its diverse identity. Some favourite destinations include Little Italy, Chinatown, and the Lower East Side, but head out from Manhattan and you are sure to find some of the most diverse 21st century immigrant communities in the city’s distinctive outer boroughs, like Brooklyn and Queens. Regardless of where you go, the variety of restaurants and diverse cultural eateries are in abundance.
There are no required vaccinations to go to New York. Tap water is potable.
The city’s health infrastructure is top notch but expensive. Only an ambulance has priority on arrival in a hospital emergency ward.
Public health clinics include New York Hospital: (212) 746 5434 or Mount Sinai Hospital: (212) 241 7171.
New York is relatively safe considering its size; assaults are infrequent and visitors can travel at any time. However, common sense tips apply. Do not walk alone at night or in poorly lit areas, and be careful in empty subway stations at night. Do not walk around with visibly expensive jewelry or other items that may attract unwanted attention.
It is also highly recommended that you carry photocopies of all important travel documents in case that they are lost or stolen. Many hotel rooms will have a safe where you can store these valuable and sensitive items – just ask the front desk.
In the rare instance that a security problem does arise, always call 911 – a free number from any public phone; in non-emergencies, you can call 311 for free from any pay phone to connect to the police 24 hours a day.
New York’s traffic from passing buses, taxis, and cars can be an issue. In light of this, visitors need to make sure they are out of the way before they cross the street in any direction, even if they have the right-of-way.