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City Guide: New York
City guide: New York
New York City is packed with things to do and things to see; so much so that they say never mind a trip there, you could easy spend a life time in the Big Apple.
What to do
So much to see; here are a few essentials.
Central Park is the break away from concrete walls without leaving Manhattan. To soak up sun with a picnic and a good book on a grassy hill, stroll through, go for a rollerblade or enjoy a romantic carriage ride in the snow. From relaxing to exercising anything and everything goes in Central Park since it provides the only true, open air escape for New Yorkers staying close to home.
Put the Statue of Liberty high on your list, but make sure you catch the right ferry! Ellis Island is your pick for the Statue of Liberty, whereas the Staten Island ferry will take you on a distant fly by! A ferry ticket will get you there and allow you to walk around, if you want to go up you must make a ‘Time Pass’ reservation with the National Parks Service, which is good for only one hour.
The Brooklyn Bridge is s a must-do, whether you walk or bike along. Go to the Brooklyn Bridge at dawn, dusk or especially night time to see the city lit up at her best. The tightly packed cityscape view makes for a memorable moment and some great snaps.
Chinatown & Little Italy is a vibrant and diversely exotic part of town. You may be lucky enough to catch a festival and join in the celebrations of these ethnic traditions. Chinatown and Little Italy are home to 200 bars and restaurants making it impossible not to leave culturally satisfied and full!
Visiting Times Square makes you realise you are smack bang in the middle of the big apple. Glistening and flashing billboards, signs and commercials jump out from every corner. Times Square is a highlight on its own, stand in the centre and look around, day or night. This is also a great spot to buy discount tickets for a show.
Visiting the Empire State Building can mean a very, very long wait and it’s quite a mission to climb up but the view from the top will be worth your time and patience.
For the shopaholic in you Fifth Avenue is the street to haunt. Saks Fifth Avenue is world class as is the entire strip; along the way you can stop at Versace, Gucci, Bulgari, Prada, Tiffany & Co and Trumps Tower, just to give you a taste.
Eating and drinking
Get some fuel ahead of a long day’s sightseeing at the Lexington Candy Shop. Be sure to try their French toast fry-up. Grab yourself an organic coffee at the award-winning Jack’s Stir Brew on Front Street and get served by some of New York’s friendliest experts.
Later on, when it comes to cafés, bars, 24-hour restaurants or a quick nightcap, you can find anything and everything in New York City. Many places have gained acclaim not just for their food and drink but their décor, atmosphere and service. The Grand Central Oyster Bar is one of these, for fine seafood and atmosphere.
For some tapas and Spanish speciality cooking Solera restaurant in its townhouse setting is ideal.
Feast on some tasty dim sum at Hong Kong style eatery Jing Fong (20 Elizabeth Street) in Chinatown or head to Mee Noodle Shop and Grill; the perfect oriental, in-and-out joint, for good, fast food.
For an early evening cocktail and watching the world go by, hipster bar Botanica (47 E Houston Street) is a favourite with single arty types.
One of the most renowned bars in New York is PJ Clarke’s; an alehouse with a decent beer and Guinness by the pint.
Where to party
There are nightspots to suit all tastes and budgets. Much of the area dominated by New York University naturally caters towards the students, but there are also plenty of stylish bars and restaurants to the west of Sixth Avenue. Swanky hangouts for New York’s moneyed class abound in the Meatpacking District, an area is filled with some of the most popular and happening night spots, check out APT, 5 Ninth, Spice Market and Turks and Frogs.
Christopher Street is the heart of the city’s gay scene.
To welcome the morning and grab a snack after sunrise try the 24hr Florent Restaurant.
Where to stay
Try the Hotel at Times Square. Just a couple of minutes’ walk from the Square itself, these budget digs come courtesy of cheap ‘n’ cheerful hotels group Apple Core, which has five NYC properties that, while fairly no-frills, offer more than most Manhattan tourist traps and at a fraction of the price.
This one might not be the ultimate in luxury, but the decor is smart and modern, beds big and soft, and there are useful freebies including free national phone calls and a complimentary breakfast (a near unheard of perk in NYC). Sure, it’s super-simple (doughnuts, toast, cereal), but plentiful, and rooms have big flat screens with cable TV. Plus, the location couldn’t really be more central.
Beyond New York
Well, not really, but ... A Manhattanite would once have preferred to bed down with the city’s subway rats than move to Brooklyn. But in recent years Brooklyn has emerged as the capital of cultural cool in the US. Once a collection of immigrant slums and a stronghold for organised crime, it is now the undisputed epicentre of New York’s counterculture. King’s County has grabbed the baton from the East Village with its cutting edge art, too-cool-for-school bands and impressive indie food scene.
Young couples, media types, hipsters, artists and restaurateurs are flocking over the bridge thanks to the borough’s fresh appeal and affordable rents. This, they say, is where the real New York City is at.