With nearly 2 million tourist per year, New York is one of the world's top tourist destinations. Everyone knows the Big Apple and everyone dreams of wandering along its avenues, popularised by a successfully exported American culture. New York goes beyond the clichés, and boasts a diversity that has made it such a success. The famous American skyscrapers are not the only things that make this city so famous. Whether it is music, art, food, fashion or meetings, New York is a city full of history which everyone can explore as they choose.
The unmissable sites include Central Park, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Guggenheim, the American Museum of Natural History, the galleries of Soho and the typical Little Italy and Chinatown. It's safe to say that just one trip to this city will only enable you to explore a small part of the diversity that is displayed in every conceivable area of New York!
You are in New York! There's nothing you can't do! Visit the monuments, the churches and the museums. Wander gleefully through the ever-busy streets. Make a stop in Soho or Tribeca and go on a spending spree in Madison! The Metropolitan Opera House and its ballet and opera shows are another must, as is a visit to Broadway! Revel in the architecture differences in the various parts of the city, walk through Central Park. Stop by the Lenox Lounge and the Iridium Jazz Club in Harlem and listen to some Gospel! After all, you'll be in the home of jazz so enjoy it! Thanks to the typical American design of the city, it is very difficult to lose your way once you've understood the system of streets and avenues.
Downtown Manhattan, which manages to combine the historical, administrative and economic centre of the city. Visit Wall Street or the Financial District. Ground Zero is also worth a visit.
Midtown is more focused on culture and architecture. Visit the enormous New York Public Library, the Morgan Library, the Museum of Modern Art and if you're looking for something unusual, the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum is an aircraft carrier right in the middle of Manhattan! This area is also where you will find the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the huge Central Station and St. Patrick's Cathedral. The UN headquarters are also located here.
Uptown has also an impressive collection of museums: the Metropolitan Museum, the famous Guggenheim and even the Whitney Museum of American Art. As well as the American Museum of Natural History, make sure to visit the Frick Collection, the Jewish Museum and even the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, there are so many choices!
Have a planned budget for the trip. Change your dollars in the UK to get a better exchange rate and ask for small denominations. In the absence of a biometric passport, make sure you are in possession of a machine readable passport (type DELPHINE) issued between 2001 and 25 October 2005. Otherwise, you will need a visa for a stay of less than 90 days. For the subway (open 24/7) and the bus, the Metrocard (unlimited mileage) is on sale in stations. At your hotel you will find brochures on the cultural events and sites, often with discounts (Village Voice or Time Out). Prices in restaurants, hotels, taxis and shops are always displayed without taxes or tips so remember to leave a bit extra!
Treatments are very good, but expensive. Take out insurance covering medical expenses and repatriation. Your British prescription will not allow you to buy medicines when you get there, plan accordingly! Finally, make sure to scrupulously respect the laws!
Jokes, even those by children, at customs and in public places concerning luggage, the opposite sex and international news can be sensitive subjects! Any imported food will be confiscated at customs. Avoid using cars due to the traffic and the cost of parking. Instead, discover the frenzy of the city on foot. Which is why it would be a shame to choose a hotel outside of Manhattan. Bicycles should be avoided, except in Central Park. In the late evening, opt for one of the 12,000 taxis, much cheaper than at home, rather than the subway. Forget about walking alone in Harlem and Central Park at night. As for shopping, be careful when buying hi-fis, camera, electronics and counterfeit goods (prohibited). Invoices will be requested at customs. Also avoid exceeding ?100 per purchase to be exempt from customs duties.
Again, the endless choices is the main problem in New York: there are restaurants from all over the world here in the Big Apple! For those that want to eat like a typical new yorker, it's bagels, blintzes (filled pancakes), potato salad and pastrami sandwiches on the menu. In general, lunchtime menus are reasonably priced. Watch out in the evening though, as they tend to become rather more expensive. Bleeker Street offers a variety of restaurants and bars so if you have to focus on only one street, choose this one.
New York is one of the shopping capitals of the world. Head to Downtown, Broadway, Greenwich, Chinatown, TriBeCa and Soho to track down the best deals and the creations of young designers. Fifth Avenue and Madison are much more up scale but if your bank balance can cover it, head to these luxury areas to bring home some haute-couture or high-end perfume. Remember to bring half a dozen memory cards for your camera, you'll need them! Between the buildings and the attractions in New York, you won't be able to put your camera down! The staggering price of hockey jerseys and jeans will finish off whatever is left in your wallet but at least you'll be able to bring back home a typical USA souvenir!
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