New York City has more than 8.3 million people living on an area of only 305 square miles. There are nearly 20 million people living outside the city of over 7,000 square miles. New York City is also known as the Big Apple, and it has a busy subway that runs 24 hours a day. The city consists of five boroughs.
Located in the northern part of New York City, the Bronx has an estimated population of 1.4 million people. It is home to the Yankee Stadium and Bronx Zoo. The Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, with over 6,000 animals living in 265 acres of land.
An estimated 2.6 million people live in Brooklyn, making it the most populous borough in this city. Brooklyn has a long beachfront and one of the earliest amusement grounds, Coney Island.
Another 1.6 million people live in Manhattan, making it the most densely populated borough. Besides being a financial center and headquarters of many large corporations, it has the city’s skyscrapers, Central Park, United Nations, and many well-known universities and museums. Harlem is located north of Central Park.
Queens is the largest borough and has an estimated population of 2.3 million people. It is the most ethnically diverse county in the United States. Queens is the home of the New York Mets and annually hosts the US Open tennis tournament. Both LaGuardia and JFK airports are located in Queens.
There are fewer than a half million people living on Staten Island. Visitors from Manhattan can travel to Staten Island via the free Staten Island ferry, and enjoy a spectacular view of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lower Manhattan.
SUBWAY AND ADMISSION PASSES
One-Day Funpass – cost is $8.25 and can be bought from stores and MetroCard vending machines; it allows unlimited use of subways and buses all day.
Seven-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard – costs $27 and can be purchased from token booths and vending machines; it is valid from the time of purchase until midnight of the seventh day. This card is not valid on express buses or the JFK AirTrain.
Types of Admission Pass
Explorer Pass – allows cardholders to choose three, five, or seven top attractions to visit over 30 days. These attractions include Top of the Rock Observation, Rockefeller Center Tour, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NBC Studio Tour, movie tours, cruises, and more.
CityPass – allows cardholders to visit six New York attractions within nine days of the first visit. Selected attractions include American Museum of Natural History; Guggenheim Museum; Museum of Modern Art; Empire State Building Observatory; The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cloisters; and the option between a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise OR the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The cost is $79 for adults, $59 for youths aged 6–17.
New York Pass – cardholders have access to over 50 top attractions with line-skipping privileges. Passes are available for one day at $75 for adults and $55 for children; two days at $110 for adults and $90 for children; three days at $140 for adults and $120 for children; or seven days at $180 for adults and $140 for children. There is no limit to the number of attractions you can visit with your pass.
PLACES TO VISIT
Statue of Liberty
The ferry costs $19 and leaves every 25 minutes from Battery Park. It stops at Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Visitors must purchase tickets in advance and reserve a time slot to enter the museum, which is located at the base of the statue. Visitors must go through extensive security procedures before entering the museum in the statue's pedestal. The Immigration Museum at Ellis Island is worth a visit, and it is free. Both Liberty Island and Ellis Island are open every day of the year from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., except December 25.
You may walk across this historic bridge in either direction (it takes about 30 minutes each way), or bike across it. There is no toll. The view is quite nice going into Manhattan. On the Brooklyn side, you can get pizza or dine by the waterfront in the Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO) area. You can also take the F train to York Street, hang out in the DUMBO area, and then walk across the bridge back into Manhattan.
The 850-acre Central Park has lots of lawns, trees, and lakes. It is popular for recreation and concerts and is home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Central Park Zoo.
Times Square is centered on 42nd Street and Broadway, as a place filled with video screens and LED signs. It has a family-friendly theme park of restaurants, theaters and hotels, and a developing business district.
Lincoln Center is located at Broadway at 64th Street. It is the world's largest cultural complex, with theater, symphonies, ballet, opera, movies, and art exhibits. The buildings are modern, and the famous Julliard School of Music is located here. Within a few blocks are a large Barnes and Noble Bookstore, three "art-house" movie theatres, and an AMC movie theatre.
Rockefeller Plaza is located at 630 5th Avenue, with the annual Christmas tree and skating rink during Christmas holidays. There are also several shops and dining establishments, with Saks Fifth Avenue just across the street. The Top of the Rock is the observation level of the Rockefeller Center, where you can see amazing views of New York City.
The United Nations
Located at 1st Avenue at 46th Street, the United Nations offers a park overlooking the East River and tours of the general assembly and secretariat.
Empire State Building
Located at 5th Avenue at 34th Street, the Empire State Building is open until midnight, and 2 a.m. on weekends during the summer. During the day, lines can be between one and four hours long, so it is a good idea to go to the Empire State Building later in the afternoon or early evening.
New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
The New York Stock Exchange is located at 20 Broad Street (at Wall Street). NYSE is the most important stock exchange in the world, and the activity on the trading floor is astonishing. Visitors should beware that security is tight, and sudden closures are a possibility.
New York Public Library
At the corner of 5th Avenue, between 40th and 42nd Streets, is the New York Public Library. After the Library of Congress, this is the largest non-academic library in the United States. It is housed in a beautiful building by Carrer and Hastings, which is seen as the greatest example of Beaux Arts architecture. The main reading room is magnificent, and the library contains numerous important rare items, like Jefferson's handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence.
Grand Central Terminal
Located at 42nd Street and Park Avenue, Grand Central Terminal is one of the busiest train stations in the world. It is also a must for architecture lovers, especially the vaulted ceiling covered with a medieval zodiac design.
MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
New York has some of the finest museums in the world. All public museums are run by the city, and are affordable, but private museums can be very expensive. In addition to the major museums, hundreds of small galleries are spread throughout the city, notably in neighborhoods like Chelsea and Williamsburg. Many galleries and museums in New York close on Mondays.
Arts and Culture
Brooklyn Museum of Art, located on Eastern Parkway, is a large museum containing excellent collections of Egyptian art, Assyrian reliefs, 19th-century American art, and art from Africa and Oceania, among other things.
The Cloisters is located on four acres overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park. The building incorporates elements from five medieval French cloisters—quadrangles enclosed by a roofed or vaulted passageway, or arcade—and from other monastic sites in southern France. The gardens are a great way to spend a nice afternoon. Pay for the Cloisters or the Metropolitan Museum and see both for the price of one.
The architecture of Guggenheim Museum is more interesting than the collection it hosts, although the spiraling galleries are ideal for exhibiting art works. It was designed by the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and was built in 1959.
International Center of Photography, located at 1133 6th Avenue (at 43rd Street), is devoted solely to photography. The museum is a block from Times Square and always has interesting exhibits.
Museum of Modern Art is located between 5th and 6th Avenues. This is the most comprehensive collection of modern art in the world. It might require several days to see all the works on display. Van Gogh's Starry Night and Picasso's Les Demoiselles d’Avignon are located on the 5th floor.
Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is in New York City's Central Park along 5th Avenue. The Museum's two-million-square-foot building has vast holdings that represent a series of collections, each of which ranks in its category among the finest in the world. The American Wing, for example, houses the world's most comprehensive collection of American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts, presently including 24 period rooms that offer an unparalleled view of American history and domestic life.
American Museum of Natural History museum is located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Visits to the museum are by donation. Hayden Planetarium is located immediately to its north on 81st Street and charges a separate admission fee.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is located at Pier 86, between 12th Avenue and 46th Street.
New York Hall of Science is located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, in Queens borough. The New York Hall of Science is on the grounds of the former World's Fair, and incorporates one of the buildings of the Fair, now known as the Great Hall, which is available for private events. Currently, the Great Hall is being used for the new "Magic: The Science of Illusion" exhibit.