They call it the city that never sleeps for a reason—you’ll find it hard to get some shut-eye when there’s a new adventure around every corner in New York City. Catch a world-class production on Broadway, visit legendary landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building and get your culture fix at the Met or one of the city’s other premier museums. But the best way to experience the Big Apple may be to walk its streets. From the charming cobblestones of Greenwich Village to the high rises of Wall St. to the gilded store fronts of the Upper East Side, each neighborhood paints the city in a new light.
New York City is one of the most influential financial centers in the world. It’s home to the New York Stock exchange and the Nasdaq stock market. There’s a high concentration of advanced service-sector firms in law, accounting, banking, consulting and advertising. The technology industry is rapidly expanding. Health care, real estate and media also generate many of the jobs in the city.
Getting to and from the airport
There are two primary international airports serving New York City—LaGuardia and the John F. Kennedy International Airport. LaGuardia is in the borough of Queens, just 4 miles from Manhattan. JFK Airport is in southern Queens, 12 miles from lower Manhattan.
It’s easy to make your way into the city from either airport. The NYC Airporter provides a shuttle service that departs about every 30 minutes to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Grand Central Station, Penn Station and other destinations. A one-way fare is US$13 from LaGuardia and $16 from JFK. Public buses also go to Manhattan and offer connections to subways. To learn more about schedules and routes, visit MTA’s website.
Taxis are available in front of all terminals at designated locations. Don’t accept offers of transportation within the terminals. Taxis are metered, and a fare to Manhattan will cost around $30 from LaGuardia and $50 from JFK.
Getting around New York City
The subway system is economical, reliable and often faster than making your way through city traffic. A single ride ticket with no subway-to-bus transfer is $3 and available at MetroCard vending machines at all subway stations. If you’re in town for more than a day or two, it’s a good idea to purchase a MetroCard. The 7-day unlimited ride MetroCard is $31. You can also load a minimum of $5 onto your MetroCard to pay per ride at a cost of $2.50 per ride. Load your card with $8 or more, and you’ll be credited an extra 15%.
Taxis can be hailed on any street. But this may prove difficult at rush hour. The base fare is $2.50 and increases by 50 cents for every one-fifth of a mile and 40 cents for 60 seconds of stopped or slow-moving traffic. You’ll also have to pay bridge and tunnel tolls. It’s customary to add a 15% tip. Most taxis accept cash or credit cards.
Where to stay
For luxury accommodation, try the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel (21 East 52nd St., New York, NY 10022; Ph:+ 1-212-753-5800), Park Hyatt New York (153 West 55th St., New York, NY 10019; Ph:+ 1-646-774-1234), Sofitel New York (45 West 44th St., New York, NY 10036; Ph: +1-212-354-8844), The James New York (27 Grand St., New York, NY 10013; Ph: +1-212-465-2000), The Pierre, a Taj Hotel (2 East 61st St., New York, NY 10065; Ph: +1-212-838-8000), Andaz Wall Street (75 Wall St., New York, NY 10005; Ph:+ 1-212-590-1234), Autograph Collection Carlton Hotel (88 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016; Ph: + 1-212-532-4100), Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel (370-372 Canal St., New York, NY 10013; Ph: +1-212-966-3400), Millennium Broadway (145 West 44th St., New York, NY 10036; Ph: +1-212-768-4400) or The Kimberly Hotel (145 East 50th St., New York, NY 10022; Ph: +1-212-702-1600).
For midscale options, try Best Western Convention Center Hotel (522 West 38th St., New York, NY 10018; Ph: +1-212-405-1700) or Comfort Inn near the Financial District (154 Madison St., New York, NY 10002; Ph: 1-800-424-6423).
Things to see and do
Check some items off your bucket list while in New York City. Start with the Statue of Liberty . A gift from France, the statue has come to symbolize the American promise of freedom and opportunity. The ferry to the site of the statue on Ellis Island is $18. You can access the pedestal free of charge. Going up to the crown costs an additional $3 and requires advance reservations. In a city full of skyscrapers, the Empire State building stands tallest. The view from the famous building is unmatched. You can catch the elevator 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. (The last elevator goes up at 1:15 a.m.) A trip to the main deck observatory on the 86th floor costs $32. Visit the top deck on the 102nd floor for an additional $20.
Feed your curious mind at any of New York’s fabled museums. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or “The Met,” is the largest art museum in the United States with close to 2 million works that span 5,000 years. The permanent collection is complemented by special exhibitions—around 30 each year. It’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Museum of Modern Art has grown from a gift of eight prints and one drawing to almost 200,000 works. MOMA is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Guggenheim Museum is itself a work of art. The unique structure was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and features a massive, circular ramp that gently slopes down to ground level. It houses masterpieces by Picasso, Chagall and Van Gogh. It’s open 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.; closed on Thursdays. Admission is $25 at each of the museums.
An evening at a Broadway show is a classic NYC experience. Catch the hottest new play or enjoy a tried-and-true favorite like “The Lion King” or “Phantom of the Opera.” Ticket prices vary, but the best seats go for well over $100. If your wallet can’t handle Broadway ticket prices, consider shows at smaller, alternative theaters. Tickets at these “off Broadway” productions can be as low as $15.
Central Park provides respite from the bustling concrete jungle. Walk through any stretch of the 843-acre green space in the heart of Manhattan, and you’ll discover meandering footpaths, ornate bridges and fountains, lush gardens and scenic ponds. New Yorkers and tourists descend on the park for free outdoor concerts, annual Shakespeare in the Park theatrical productions, rowboat rides or even naps on the expansive lawns. The park is open from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., and admission is free.
Where to eat
The culinary scene in New York is vast and reflects the eclectic, vibrant city. Whether you’re after a simple meal or a full gastronomic experience, New York has what you’re looking for.
If fish is your dish, don’t miss dinner at Catch in the trendy Meatpacking District. An order of sushi is a good place to start—the signature Catch roll is loaded with salmon, crab and flavorful miso honey. The herb-roasted branzino and crispy garlic snapper are excellent main-course options. Find it at 21 Ninth Ave.; Ph: +1-212-392-5978.
Delis are quintessentially New York. Bring your appetite to Artie’s Delicatessen. The atmosphere and décor is a throwback to the 1930s. Pick from a long list of traditional deli favorites—think corned beef, pastrami or brisket piled high on fresh buns. It’s at 2290 Broadway; Ph: +1-212-579-5959.
In a city where restaurants come and go, Gramercy Tavern has proven staying power. Founded in 1994, it serves quality, no-nonsense cuisine. Choose a spot in the elegant dining room, or make it a more casual meal at a table around the bar. Find it at 42 East 20th St.; Ph: +1-212-477-0777.
Impress clients by inviting them to Jean-Georges, where floor-to-ceiling windows provide sweeping views of Central Park. This sophisticated French restaurant has three well-earned Michelin stars. Menu highlights include sea urchin with black bread, parmesan-crusted chicken and duck breast with cracked almonds. It’s at Trump International Hotel and Tower Central Park, 1 Central Park West; +1-212-299-3900.