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New York, New York - Overview and Essential Travel Information

The Big Apple does not need an intro. It is everything you ever thought it could be and a whole lot more. When you walk between the high skyscrapers you feel small, and let's face it: you are. New York is like a small universe. You will find every people on earth represented not only in the UN buildings but also on the street and in different parts of town. Among the main interests of New York are the many museums, the architecture and the endless shopping possibilities, especially along Madison Avenue.

New York City, arguably the world's most vibrant and sprawling metropolis, occupies five boroughs, each with its own distinct identity. After all, before the historic 1898 consolidation, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island were each independent municipalities.

Manhattan:

Manhattan, home to the most recognizable sites and much of it laid out in the innovative grid plan, dominates popular perception of New York City. Its most famous districts are listed below.

Wall Street and the Financial District:

New York's first district remains its most historic district. Visitors ponder the beauty of skyscrapers and the quaintness of cobblestones. Battery Park draws New Yorkers from all boroughs for its panoramic views and excellent rollerblading.

Harlem:

Long the national epicenter of African-American culture, Harlem remains proud of its past accomplishments as it looks to the future. As home to America's most influential artistic, literary and cultural movement (The Harlem Renaissance), the district gained worldwide notoriety. Twenty years ago, many visitors feared Harlem. Today, multi-ethnic Harlem benefits from a booming economy, and a flood of tourists eager to visit the home of great jazz, great food and a deep-rooted history.

Greenwich Village: great

If the winding streets of this historic neighborhood could talk, they would speak of poverty and prosperity, free love and socialism, gay rights and reform. At the turn of the nineteenth century, Greenwich Village drew free spirits from around the nation. Writer Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote hedonistic poetry and Eugene O'Neill reinvented American Drama. As the years went on, rents inevitably rose. Now, the Villages' townhouses and apartments are some of the most expensive in the city.

Soho & Tribeca:

Once home to massive factories, artists took over the spaces and transformed desolate industrial wasteland into bustling urban commerce. Galleries, designer shops, sophisticated restaurants and trendy bars followed soon after the artists. Today, galleries thrive among the chaos creating New York's world-class art scene and there are no more rent bargains in the once raw lofts.

Upper East Side:

Park, Fifth and Madison have always been posh addresses. Whether in the gilded mansions of yesterday or the modern apartments of today, old money and high society have made their home here. Consequently, shops to serve them sprouted up and down Madison Avenue while the residents endowed museums and collected art. Further east, new money has overtaken the old Yorkville slum and yuppies share railroad apartments.

Upper West Side:

When the co-ops of the East Side were freer to restrict residents, the Upper West Side became home to new money (and often Jewish money). Then, as 'modernist' Eastsiders tore down their pre-war palaces, Upper West Side residents kept their old buildings. Thirty years later, renters value Upper West Side pre-war real estate, with its solid (often neo gothic or Victorian) architecture. Yuppies, successful artists and apartment-sharing twenty somethings flocked here. Today, the buildings along Central Park West house some of the city's most notoriously picky co-op boards (Jerry Seinfeld, approved; Madonna, denied). Meanwhile, bars and restaurants catering to Long Island and New Jersey folk (a.k.a Bridge and Tunnels) continue to sprout like weeds along Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.

SIGHTS

New York is loaded with things to do and there is something to discover for everyone in this marvelous city!

You can follow up American history while visiting the first landmarks of the arrival of the immigrants. Enjoy the stunning art collections of the world-famous museums or linger around at Central Park.

During night in the numerous nightclubs, bars and pubs you can find out for yourself what this 'never sleeping city' (according to Frank Sinatra) has to offer.

It is important to note that the time required by each attraction will vary from 20 minutes to hours depending on your interests and at most places you will be charged an admission fee.

From 1892 onwards,Ellis Island was the nations principle immigrant depot. It continued to process new arrivals for many years later until 1954 and after being shut down it is finally open to the public. With the help of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Foundation, a fascinating museum has been established which gives visitors a thorough insight into the early history of the U.S.

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French commemorating a long friendship between the two countries which dates from the American Revolution when the Americans were aided by the French. You can climb up Miss. Liberty, taking an elevator up 10 floors to a balcony which runs around the top pedestal or climb 10 more stories to liberty's crown.It costs only a few dollars to climb and upstairs there are gift shops. Be sure to allow yourself at least 2 hours for the hike. The Circle-Line-Statue of Liberty ferry from Battery Park runs every 30 minutes from 9:30am-3:30pm summer (winter hours vary). Ferry fare includes entry to Ellis and Liberty Island.

Even if they will open it again, the trip to the top isn't worth the money. You see little because the holes are really small. Just take the stairs to the first floor. If you just want to take pictures of the Statue and de skyline, take the Staten Island Ferry. It's free and you see everything.

GETTING AROUND

New York has more than enough public transport options: driving your own car is tantamount to insanity in a city where traffic is horrendous, parking costs astronomical and petty thievery is commonplace. New York car rentals are also notoriously expensive - you'll have to budget at least $95 a day (plus tax and insurance) for a medium-sized car - and petrol in the city costs far more than elsewhere in the US. If you really must rent a car you'll need a license and a major credit card. The major agencies are in all three airports.

New York's subway is the fastest and most reliable way around town and most of Manhattan's sights are on its lines.

New York taxi drivers must be the most maligned group of workers in the world. Sure they'll try to make a few extra bucks but let's face it, they're bound to have a better idea where they're going than you do.

GETTING THERE

The quickest way to get to NYC is by plane (the traffic sucks why drive?) into JFK. And now with the recent openeing of AirTrain, you can take a 'train' to Jamacia Station which allows a quick ride directly to Manhattan via Penn Station. There are however various ways to get there.

SHOPPING

New York has probably the best shopping opportunities in the world. So if you are in the right mood for it, take your credit card and then shop until you drop!

Information provided by cctraveler2 at travelpost.com