New York City Guide

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The only thing certain about New York City is that nothing is certain. It's a place of constant change, of constant activity. New Yorkers definitely take the "New" in New York to heart. Unlike most European cities, newness is the essence of this busy city. It's also the city that most often comes to mind when foreigners think of America.

New York is a city of superlatives. Its harbor is one of the world's finest and dominating it is the Statue of Liberty, the first landmark many an immigrant saw when entering the United States. It's composed of five boroughs — The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. In most cities bridges and tunnels are simply a means of getting from one place to another. But in New York, they've become attractions themselves. The Brooklyn Bridge is the best known — and most purchased. It seems the ability to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to gullible visitors has long been a standard of con men and women.

Like most of the world's major cities, New York has so much to see that it can overwhelm you.

Regardless of how much time you have to spend in New York, you should begin in Lower Manhattan at Battery Park, at the southern tip of the island. From here you can look out over the harbor to Ellis Island, the main point of entry for millions of immigrants and back towards Wall Street, the city's financial center, and China town, both worth exploring. This section of town is also home to City Hall, New York University, and the South Street Seaport Museum, a 12-block historic area, containing the Fulton Market.

Next, you'll want to work your way up to Midtown Manhattan. Here, you'll find the city's major museums, including the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Hayden Planetarium. It also contains some of the city's most notable buildings, including the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the New York Public Library, Grand Central Station, and the United Nations Building. And while you're there, perhaps take a hansom cab ride around Central Park.

After exploring Midtown, you'll move up to Upper Manhattan, home to some of the city's more unique museums, including the Guggenheim, an upside-down snail shell exhibiting paintings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Jewish Museum, the largest outside of Israel, and the Museum of the City of New York, devoted to the city's history.

If you're on a more extended visit, consider heading over to the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden, one of the largest in the world.

New York is full of dining and entertainment possibilities. A stroll through Greenwich Village or Chinatown offers lots of small cafés and eateries specializing in everything from gourmet burgers to the exotic. And for entertainment, head to Broadway for your pick of the top plays and shows.

Whether you decide to explore the East Side or the West Side, you'll find something of interest all around this town.