The Big Apple, The City that Never Sleeps… Whatever your name for New York City, few other places on earth bring together so much history, excitement and buzz. America’s largest metropolis, New York City is absolutely bursting with experiences for any type of traveller. Want to experience the cutting edge of fashion? What about historical sights from the birth of the nation? Simply want to be astounded by the centrepiece of American capitalist culture? The Finnair travel guide to New York City has it all.
SIGHTS IN NEW YORK CITY
There are almost too many sights in New York City but Times Square is arguably the focal point of the entire city. This meeting of Broadway and Seventh Avenue is a great place to soak up the feeling of being in the Big City. While there is shopping to be done here, Times Square is about the people, the colour - and the noise! The site of innumerable films and featured in pop-culture everywhere, you’re bound to feel like you’ve been here before. Pick up cheap tickets to a Broadway show (watch out though, evening matinées can be quite expensive!) or head south to Bryant Park and enjoy a coffee on the Great Lawn of the New York Public Library, the largest branch in the city with its cavernous main reading hall. There is an amazing range of top museums in New York: the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of the Moving Image for starters. Your holiday could also include shopping at the department stores Macy’s and Bloomingdales and at the luxury boutiques on the Upper East Side.
For a breathtaking view over the city, head skyward to the viewing decks of the Empire State Building or the less crowded but equally dizzying Rockefeller Center where high-speed elevators whisk you hundreds of metres into the air for a bird’s-eye view. Back on street level, make your way to Grand Central Station, yet another New York City sight featured in film and television that is bustling with locals and tourists alike, day and night. Jump on the subway to the southern tip of Manhattan to see the historic Statue of Liberty standing tall in New York harbour. After all this sightseeing you might need a moment to relax and the city’s green haven of Central Park is the perfect place, where locals come to stroll, run and bike beneath the neighbouring skyscrapers.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO NEAR NEW YORK CITY
- Brooklyn – While technically a part of the city itself, the borough of Brooklyn is a destination in itself as this formerly uninspiring part of town has rapidly gentrified, becoming a focal point for artists, musicians and other creative types. Brooklyn Bridge, which connects Brooklyn to Manhattan, stretches for almost two kilometres.
- Atlantic City – Just 2 hours away in neighbouring New Jersey, Atlantic city is all about glitz and glam. This seaside city is known for its famous boardwalk which at more than 6km long and lined with casinos is truly a thing to see near New York City.
- The Hamptons – Getaway of the rich and famous but with a lot to offer visitors willing to make the short trek out from downtown Manhattan. Beaches and small-town feel mix with mega-mansions and luxury cars in this sunny little seaside resort.
- Philadelphia – Not three hours away by car lies Philadelphia, another big city with a big history. The Declaration of Independence was signed here forming the nation we all know today. Not surprisingly there is an absolute wealth of historical sites to be seen and if that isn’t your cup of tea enjoy the buzz of downtown with its countless shops and eateries.
SHOPPING IN NEW YORK CITY
If you want to shop, you’ve come to the right place. New York City’s avenues offer everything from luxury brands to consumer goods and the latest in street fashion.
- 5th Avenue - home to almost every prestige brand imaginable along with Saks Fifth Avenue and the iconic glass cube Apple store.
- Herald Square - Macy’s department store dominates here with the best of American and international fashion on display over 11 floors. Don’t forget to show your passport for a further discount.
- Times Square - Big names and flashy billboards tell you there’s shopping to be done. Don’t expect the best bargains here but do experience some amazing and, at times, over the top shopping experiences.
- Century 21 - Located just behind the new One World Trade Center this outlet store is a must for bargain hunters, offering a wide selection of clothing brands at low prices.
- SoHo - Centred around Canal Street this up-and-coming area is home to the brands you know and love, focusing on fashion and street apparel.
- Greenwich Village - Quaint finds can be made here amongst the many bookstores, record shops and antique stores.
AMERICAN FOOD & DRINK IN NEW YORK CITY
Long known as a melting pot of cultures, food & drink in New York City is also a melting pot of flavours. If you’re craving it, it can be found.
- Hot Dogs – A New York City staple best picked up from a street cart and topped with your favourite extras. Halal and vegetarian options are widely available.
- Pizza – Sold by the slice in a multitude of flavours these are available all over town and make a great snack while out and about.
- Pretzels – Get them hot and salty to power your sightseeing adventures. A typical food of New York City.
- Asian – Many options can be found including Chinese, Thai, Korean and Japanese. Sushi is very popular and Korean barbecue is gaining popularity.
- African – Bringing the spice and flavour of the African continent you can find for example Senegalese, Nigerian and Ethiopian fare. Spicy lamb dishes and vegetable creations are a particular specialty.
- Latin American – Migration from the Latin American countries has a long history in New York City and these immigrants brought with them their traditional cuisine. Diverse flavours abound in meat and fish dishes, especially with a hint of chili.
- Middle-eastern – Traditional favourites like kebab and kofta are easy to find as are many other examples from the Middle East.
- Coffee – Available everywhere, anytime. Major chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are found throughout the city along with countless charming and trendy cafés. All the usual styles are available.
- Beer – Basically any beer brand can be found including American favourites and many offerings from the State’s burgeoning craft beer scene.
- Wine & Spirits – Widely available.
TRANSPORT IN NEW YORK CITY
Transport in New York City is easy, usually fast and of good value.
- Subway – With 34 lines and 468 stops, the New York City Subway system is one of the largest in the world. It is by far the easiest way to get around Manhattan itself as well as taking you to the areas further away. Relatively cheap and good value, it runs 24 hours a day and is a great option for tourists. Pick up a MetroCard multi-ride ticket to make getting around New York City hassle-free.
- Bus – Public buses run a variety of routes throughout Manhattan and can be ridden using the same fare system as the Subway. Have cash on hand (exact change only) if you don’t have a MetroCard.
- Bicycle – While certainly not the world’s most bikeable city there are bike paths available for the casual rider with several very scenic routes providing views of some of the city’s major sights.
- By foot – Once above ground you will be a pedestrian in New York City, but so is everyone else. It’s a city built for foot traffic and all crossings are well-marked and safe.
- Taxi – A symbol of the city itself, cabs are everywhere and safe and cheap to take. Ensure the meter is running and remember to tip (around 20% is fine if you feel your ride was a good one).