>> Manhattan <<

Introduction

Manhattan pumps. Financially, culturally, architecturally, entertainment wise and gastronomically. The Big Apple is a fantastic "little town" with so much to do. It will take anybody about 3 days to get a glimpse of New York and many more to truly absorb all that is available in one of the greatest cities in the world.
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What to See


Empire State Building
View of Manhattan
The tallest building in New York City was completed in just over a year, however, since its completion coincided with the Wall Street crash its only source of income for a number of years was not office tenants but paying visitors covering the entrance fee to access the 86th floor for panoramic views of New York City and its surrounds. The Empire State Building is open 365 days a year from early in the morning until late in the evening. If at all possible the 86th floor is best visited when visibility is good as views extend up to 90 miles during the day. At night the splendour of the city lights are enchanting providing visitors with a 360 degree view of New York City. There is also a gift shop on the 86th floor.

It is also possible to go on a 20 minute simulated New York City 'Skyride' on the ground floor at the Empire State Building for an extra fee. Combination tickets can be purchased at a discounted fee if you intend doing both the New York City Skyride and visiting the 86th Floor of the Empire State Building While it possible to catch an elevator higher than the 86th Floor, an additional fee to do so is payable. Find out more about the Empire State Building.

Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building is situated on Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan and is a definitive feature of the Manhattan skyline with its stainless steel exterior and distinctive spire which was secretly assembled inside the tower and pushed through the roof in the final phases of construction. The construction thereof commenced in 1928 and was finalised in 1930 making the Chrysler Building the tallest building in the world for one year until the completion of the Empire State Building in 1931. The Chrysler Building was designed by architect William Van Alen as a dedication to work and commerce. The lobby was once partly used for a showroom for Chrysler vehicles and the spire was originally open to the public as a vantage point over New York. Today, however, the building is occupied by office tenants and although visitors to the Chrysler Building can no longer access the spire the murals illustrating various modes of transportation in the entrance lobby designed by Edward Trumbel can be observed by the public.

Grand Central Terminal
During the 1930's commuters used Grand Central Terminal for long distance travel in the USA. Today, travel options over longer distances are no longer provided and it is mainly New York City commuters that use the train and subway services at Grand Central. The main concourse area is often dubbed as the largest room in the world with its extravagant chandeliers, high ceilings and an intricate décor of zodiac constellations. Numerous architects are responsible for the design and completion of Grand Central including Warren and Wetmore and the architecture firm Reed and Stern. The terminal buzzes day and night, full of commuters and shops and is accessible through either its entrance on 42nd Street or its main archway entrance on Park Avenue. Take a look at the façade of the Terminal by walking down Park Avenue.

Park Avenue
Park Avenue boasts exclusive hotels, residential apartments and penthouses. A stroll towards 42nd Street will lead you to the main entrance of the Grand Central Terminal and its arch flanked by Roman gods, an American Eagle and a huge clock face.

Fifth Avenue
Fifth Avenue in New York City is renowned for shopping and is also home to the New York Public Library, Old St Patrick's Cathedral, the Guggenheim Museum and serves as an entrance or exit to Central Park.

Saks Fifth Avenue is logically on 5th avenue and is an eight floor department store world renowned for its extensive range of branded clothing and accessories. It also ranks amongst the top places to shop with its excellent customer service and of course its end of season sales are not to be missed.

St Patrick's Cathedral
This Gothic style cathedral is the largest Roman Catholic Cathedral in the USA located alongside Saks Fifth Avenue. The interior of the cathedral boasts beautiful stained glass windows and the Chapel at the end of the cathedral is particularly striking.

St Thomas
This Anglican Church is also located on Fifth Avenue and has a prominent altar with captivating sculptures, organ pipes and high arches.

Central Park
Central Park
This welcoming expanse of greenery covers over 843 acres in the centre of Manhattan. The park is utilised by New Yorkers and visitors alike for various activities including jogging, roller skating and roller-blading, walking, cycling and picnics. A walk across the park from 59th and 110th West leads to Fifth Avenue. Central Park is also overlooked by the Dakota Building where John Lennon was shot. In his memory an area named Strawberry Fields has been demarcated in Central Park.

New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was completed in 1911 with its marble interior and its famous stone lion statues celebrating 'Truth and Beauty' at its entrance. The Library today is a research centre proactive in the provision of education and playing an important role in the development and support of performing arts. Amongst its literature one can also find translations of famous works in numerous foreign languages and Old English including the writings of William Shakespeare, playwright extraordinaire.

Times Square and Broadway
The lights of Times Square
Times Square on Broadway is the heart of Broadway and theatre. Iconic as a gathering point for thousands of people to see in each New Year, Times Square is a network of flashing lights and billboards particularly spectacular at night. Discount tickets for theatre, television shows and stand up comedy can also be purchased at the ticket booth in the centre of Times Square but be prepared to queue, sometimes extensively.

Madison Square Gardens - MSG
This famous arena hosts rock concerts, New York Rangers ice hockey games and NY Knicks basketball matches.

Rockefeller Center
The Rockefeller Center
The Rockefeller Centre is the brain child of industrialist John D Rockefeller built in the 1930's during the great depression, thereby creating significant employment opportunities during lean times. The intention was to create a complex of buildings containing all amenities where people could work, eat and be entertained and is now often referred to as the centre of the city. Of these is the renowned Radio City which today is the world's largest indoor theatre hosting shows from theatre productions to rock concerts. An observation deck can also be visited called 'Top of the Rock' providing 365 degrees views of New York City.

Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883 and served as the first link across the Hudson River between Brooklyn and Downtown Manhattan. It also became the world's longest suspension bridge spanning over 6000 feet in length. The bridge has two impressive gothic style arches on either side providing a 'gateway' onto the bridge for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike. Brooklyn Bridge provides great panoramic views of Downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island. The bridge has its own subway station and can be reached on foot from the station.

Battery Park
Battery Park is at the tip of Downtown Manhattan providing access to the Staten Island Ferry, the Ellis Island ferry and the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. The Staten Island ferry is a twenty five minute commute each way and is free of charge. It provides excellent views of the Statue of Liberty should you not wish to visit Liberty Island. The ferry departs every thirty minutes from 9am to midnight, every hour from midnight to 5am and every fifteen minutes from 5am to 9am.

Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty
The original plans for the Statue of Liberty were for it to stand in Egypt above the Suez Canal. These plans were rejected by Egypt. Subsequent to a visit to New York City by the sculptor in 1871 it was agreed that the Statue of Liberty would be erected at the entrance to the city harbour and that financing the completion of the beautiful lady would be shared by both France and the USA. It took a number of years to complete the Statue due to a lack of funds and she was eventually shipped to the USA in 1885 and unveiled in 1886. Standing on her pedestal the Statue of Liberty is over 150 feet high with approximately 350 steps to climb in order to reach the top of the pedestal level. A detailed history of the Statue of Liberty is also contained in a museum on Liberty Island.

Financial District
Downtown Manhattan's financial district is home to Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. The entire financial district is characterised by sky scraping buildings alongside one another creating an industrious and world ranking banking sector.

Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange has beautiful and imposing façade and is located on the corner of Wall Street. The area around the New York Stock exchange is open to pedestrians only.

Ground Zero
Ground Zero is a memorial to the heroes of 9/11 and the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre. Moving pictures of the atrocities of the day and a time line is on the site. The completion date of the building that is to stand in the World Trade Centre's place is expected to be 2009 and is a dedication to those who lost their lives during the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

The Twin Towers once stood where Ground Zero is now. The North and South Towers had 110 stories and stood over 400 metres high.

Chinatown
There is a very large community of Chinese living in New York City and a walk up from the financial district will lead you into the bustle of Chinatown where numerous Chinese grocery stores, souvenier shops, street vendors selling seafood, fruit and vegetables, spices and of course Chinese restaurants. The community is at its most festive when it celebrates the Chinese New Year in January.

Little Italy
Little Italy and Chinatown seem to amalgamate into one. One of the main roads in Little Italy is Mulberry Street where plenty of Italian cafes, delis and restaurants are located. The community itself is relatively small, initially formed in the late 1800's when Sicilians and Italians from the South of Italy immigrated to the USA. Every September the area becomes alive when the Feast of St Gennaro is celebrated by the locals.

Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village in Manhattan has an abundance of interesting shops, bars and restaurants ranging from Asian to Italian, Belgian and of course American. The area itself was first formed in the 1780's as a wealthy residential area. Over the years it has also attracted artists and novelists and is today home to many office workers and professionals in New York City. The village is characterised by a number of dainty houses and Washington Square Park is located within Greenwich Village.

SOHO
Soho in Manhattan today is full of bars, restaurants, nightclubs, boutiques and fashion stores scattered with renowned brand names. The area itself is very modern and was initially renowned for it's art in the 1970's.


What to Do


Broadway Shows
Theatre is at it's best on Broadway. Tickets can be expensive pricey and getting your hands on some can take a while but a good show is worth it.

Sports
Sports teams are in no short supply in the city. The Rangers and Islanders play ice hockey, the Jets and Giants football, the Mets and Yankees baseball and the Knicks basketball.

Museum of Modern Art - MOMA
The Museum of Modern Art or MOMA is a six floor museum containing modernist sculptures, exhibitions, photography and media, architecture and drawings and modern art. Pieces include Monet's 'Water Lillies' displayed across three canvases, Van Gogh's 'Starry Night', numerous works by the French artist Henri Matisse as well as works created by both Jackson Pollock. Andy Warhol is well represented by his famous 'Campbell Soups' composition and his 'Golden Marilyn Monroe'. MOMA also boasts a large collection of Pablo Picasso's works. Find out more about the Museum of Modern Art.

Guggenheim Museum
Situated on Fifth Avenue this museum was first opened in 1959 ten years after Guggenheim's death. The exterior of the museum is peculiar but nonetheless very interesting in terms of architecture and design. Prior to his death Guggenheim himself acquired an impressive private collection of artwork including Kadinsky, Brach, Malevich and Klee and set up a foundation in the 1930's to promote public access to abstract art. Today the museum has rotating exhibits of various works and also provides the public with an opportunity of viewing a permanent collection belonging to an art dealer and collector in the Thannhauser Tower including pieces by Pablo Picasso, Cezanne, Van Gogh and 'The Football Players' by Henri Rousseau. Find out more about the Guggenheim.

Metropolitan Museum of Art - MET
The MET has a collection of over 40 000 pieces which includes art and craftsmanship from ancient Europe as well as China and Ancient Egypt. Renowned landscapes by Turner and Constable can be viewed as well as works by the Dutch artists Rembrandt and Vermeer. There is also an excellent collection of American art including works by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and a collection of Tiffany glasswork. Furthermore an interesting collection of Islamic art spans across ten galleries within the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With such an array of art it is not surprising that the MET is acclaimed as one of the world's greatest museums. Find out about the Metropolitan Museum of Art - MET.

Central Park
Central Park, especially in the spring, summer and autumn months is a New Yorkers playground. Picnic, walk, cycle, read a book or people watch in this world famous and loved park.


What to Eat


Beer
National, local and international beers are widely available at restaurants, corner shops and booze stores. American beer is synonymous with Budweiser. That said, American corporate beers are pretty average so look out for the micro brewery offerings.

Delis
Delis are everywhere in New York. Most serve breakfast and lunch daily. Greasy or healthy, there are both options.

Italian
Little Italy has loads of Italian restaurants. Try a salad, pizza, pasta, fish or meat Italian style.

Chinese
Chinatown has great food. Dim Sum, noodles, rice, duck, chinese broccoli in oyster sauce are just a few of your options.

Fast Food
McDonald's, KFC, Burger King, Wendy's, plenty of fast food joints for those interested.


Where to Sleep


Hotel
You can find excellent hotels in Manhattan. Many of the main hotel sites will have listings for you in Manhattan and central New York City. Find Hotels.

Hostels
There are plenty of hostels and cheap options for accommodation in Manhattan. Prices vary from hostel to hostel but are generally affordable. Search and book a hostel in New York.


How to Move


Airport
La Guardia is closest to Manhattan but JFK and Newark are good options for international flights into the greater New York City area. Visit the links below for more information about each airport.

Newark Airport
New York JFK Airport
New York La Guardia Airport

Taxi and Cabs
Taxis are one of the best ways to get around New York. There are loads of cabs on the streets so hailing one down is relatively simple. However, shifts change between 4 and 6 pm daily, making this a more difficult time to get one. Rush hour, between 4 and 8 pm is also a more trying time. In addition, between 4 and 8 pm, taxis charge an extra $1, while after 8 pm, cabs charge an extra 50 cents as a night surcharge. Tipping drivers is not obligatory but is pretty much the norm.

Cabs service the major airports, La Guardia and John F. Kennedy - JFK very reliably. A fixed rate is charged from JFK but a metered rate will be charged from La Guardia.

Car
Renting a car in Manhattan can be a bit of a drag considering the hectic traffic, parking charges, tolls and gasoline, it may be a better option to catch a cab.

Public Transport
The public transportation system in New York is efficient and moderately priced. The buses, subway and commuter trains are effective ways of getting from points A to B in a large city. For more information on the New York Public Transport system visit www.mta.nyc.ny.us

Ferries
The ferries connect Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Ellis Island and New Jersey to mention the major routes.

The Staten Island ferry is free and a great way to get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. The ferry runs regular trips between NYC and Staten Island with more services during rush hour and limited, read hourly, services during the wee hours of the morning.

Find out more about the New York Ferries.

Walking
Walking through Manhattan is an option and it's a great way to see the city. New York is safe now, but at night, don't go walking down dark alleys on your own, that's just asking for trouble.


Locals


Language
English but Spanish is widely spoken and pretty much any language of the world can be heard in New York.

Currency
US Dollar divided into 100 cents.

Time Zone
GMT -5 to GMT -6 with daylight savings.

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