Category Archives: NewYork City Guide

New York Statistics

Location: New York State (NY).
Country dialling code: 1.
Population: 7.4 million (city); 18 million (metropolitan area).
Ethnic mix: 29% black, 27 % white, 25% Hispanic, 13% Native American and 6% Asian.
Religion: New York has one of the most religiously diverse populations in the world – figures are constantly changing as the city continues to spiritually evolve.
Time zone: GMT – 5 (GMT – 4 from first Sunday in April to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Electricity: 110–120 volts, 60Hz; round two-pin plugs are standard.
Average January temp: 0°C (32°F).
Average July temp: 25°C (77°F).
Annual rainfall: 1200mm (47.3 inches).

New York City Overview

New York is a city of superlatives. Besides being a world financial centre, the urban island of Manhattan teems with world-renowned restaurants, architectural masterpieces and venerable art institutions that make it one the world’s greatest cultural cities. Its hectic pace and its alluring promise of ‘if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,’ draw visitors and new residents from all over the world, who come in search of a piece of this American pie.


New York has always been a city of the world and its multinational, multicultural inhabitants – who speak over 80 languages – infuse its concrete canyons with a buzz that is every bit as energising and electrifying as that depicted in countless films and TV programmes. With over 20,000 eclectic restaurants, 150 world-class museums and more than 10,000 stores brimming with brand names and bargains from across the globe, New York really does have something for everyone. Away from the mayhem of the 24-hour urban hustle and bustle, New York also boasts the bucolic oasis of Central Park, the breezy park-lined Hudson River and acts as jumping off point for the ritzy beach towns of Long Island. However, the epicentre of New York life always has been and still very much is the island of Manhattan, which is surrounded by four other distinct city boroughs – the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island – all of which have their own character and attractions.

New York’s location at the confluence of the Hudson River, Long Island and the Atlantic Ocean reflects the city’s importance as a port and as the disembarkation point for millions of immigrants to the USA. The first European settlement on Manhattan was by the Dutch, during the 1620s. They named the city New Amsterdam. In 1664, the British took over and renamed it New York. The settlement rapidly flourished, expanding from south to north along the island. Mass immigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries saw the emergence of distinct ethnic quarters, with the island of Manhattan rapidly developing into a unique cultural melting pot housing an entire world within its 58sq km (23sq miles). The cultural diversity stemming from the city’s rich history contributes to its importance as a multicultural capital.

Today, New York’s focus is on its more recent history – the events of 11 September 2001. The ramifications and aftershocks of the terrorist destruction of the city’s two tallest buildings – symbols of New York’s confidence and success – still permeate many levels of life. Determination to overcome America’s worst ever terrorist attack is felt throughout the city, in plans for memorialising the World Trade Center towers and revitalising nearby neighbourhoods. The event has done little to dent the appeal and vitality of the city. In fact, the world seems to have largely rallied around New York and, since the attack, tourists have tended to come not only for the shops, the theatre and the museums but also for new and thoughtful reasons.

New York is an excellent place to visit at any time of year, although it is particularly pleasant during the spring and fall, when temperatures hover around 21ºC (70ºF). New York winters tend to be unpredictable, although cold temperatures bring less snow here than to other nearby cities, while summers are hot and muggy, often lasting until September.

New York, Business


Business Profile: New York’s economy was already contracting before the attacks of September 2001, due to the US recession. Although offices were quickly reopened in new buildings and the stock markets were reopened within a week, the confidence and sense of security in the city’s financial district were irreversibly damaged. The benchmark Dow Jones and NASDAQ stock indices both suffered major falls in the weeks after 11 September 2001. Under the presidency of George W. Bush, the nation’s economy has been substantially weakened and New York City companies continue to use downsizing as a way to stay afloat, laying off hundreds of thousands of workers. In December 2002, the city’s unemployment rate stood at 8.4%, a 2% increase from 2001. The decline in jobs – amounting to a loss of 176,000 jobs in two years – has been more than three times as great, percentage-wise, as in the nation as a whole, which averages an unemployment rate of 6%.

Despite the American economy’s recent downturn, New York City remains an international capital of the business world, with nearly 25% of all non-American businesses having headquarters in the city. However, as New York also remains an expensive place in which to do business, this has begun to shift, with businesses moving to the city’s borders and New Jersey. Most major global business players still have a strong presence here – including American Express, Barclays and KPMG – and New York boasts the world’s biggest stock exchange, located on Manhattan’s Wall Street. Nearly half a million people are employed in banking, real estate and insurance, although the city is also a major international player in the fields of fashion, media and advertising. The real growth industry in New York, over the last three decades – since the brilliant and phenomenally successful ‘Big Apple’ marketing campaign of the early 1970s – is tourism. In the wake of the September 2001 attacks, however, visitor levels sunk, although Times Square now teems again with the tourists who collectively spend some 30 million US Dollars every year.

Business Etiquette: While on business in New York, normal business courtesies should be observed, although New Yorkers are less formal than Europeans and usually use first names. Both men and women in finance usually wear suits; in other industries, attire might be much less formal. Appointments and punctuality for business meetings are naturally expected. Business hours are officially weekdays, 0900–1730, although an extended working day is very common in certain sectors and it is not unusual for people to be working well into the night or over the weekend. Business meetings frequently take place over breakfast, brunch and lunch. For lunch meetings, alcohol, in moderation, is acceptable.

Manhattan Antiques and Collectibles Triple Pier Expo

New York Culture

From the bright lights of Broadway to the revered stages at the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, from the high kicks of the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall to the cutting-edge works performed at BAM, New York City continues to be one of the most diverse and heavily textured urban cultural centres in the world the BIG apple has it all.


The principal entertainment districts are the Theater District in the Broadway/42nd Street/Times Square area and the LincolnCenter for the Performing Arts on the Upper West Side. Most Broadway theatres are located in the blocks just east or west of Broadway, between 41st Street and 53rd Street. Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theatres are sprinkled throughout Manhattan, with a concentration in the East and West Villages, Chelsea and several in the 40s and 50s west of the Broadway theatre district. The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, Columbus Avenue at 64th Street (tel: (212) 721 6500; website:, is America’s first and largest performing arts complex, containing many venues. It is also the home of the Metropolitan Opera (website:, the New York City Opera (website:, the New York City Ballet (website:, the New York Philharmonic (website:, among others.


New York continues to grow and, as well as these established attractions, offers something new each day. Times Square is one of the prominent areas to receive attention. Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, 234 West 42nd Street (tel: (800) 246 8872; website:, which includes a movie complex, the New Amsterdam Theater, 214 West 42nd Street, owned by Disney, as well as a number of similar renovations of historic theatres – such as the New Victory Theatre, 209 West 42nd Street (tel: (646) 223 3020; website: and the Academy/Apollo (see Theatre below) – have ensured that New York remains the cultural capital of the USA.


Tickets are available for purchase through Telecharge (tel: (212) 239 6200; website:, which handles, Broadway, Off-Broadway and some concerts. Ticketmaster (tel: (212) 307 7171; website:, also offers Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as tickets to MadisonSquareGarden and RadioCity. Reduced-priced tickets of up to half-price for same-day Broadway and Off-Broadway are available for purchase at the TKTS booth, 47th Street and Broadway (website:, open daily 1500–2000 for evening performances, 1000–1400 for Wednesday and Saturday matinees and 1200–1830 for all Sunday performances. Credit cards are not accepted.


Information on cultural events in the city is available online (website: and Time Out New York (website: also is a good source of information published weekly and sold at newsagents and kiosks for US$2.99.


Music: The Avery Fisher Hall, in the LincolnCenter, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, Columbus Avenue at 64th Street (tel: (212) 875 5030; website:, is the permanent home of the New York Philharmonic (tel: (212) 875 5709; website: and a temporary one to visiting orchestras and soloists. Tickets for the New York Philharmonic cost approximately US$15–50. Avery Fisher also hosts the very popular annual Mostly Mozart festival (tel: (212) 875 5103) in August. The Alice Tully Hall, also in the LincolnCenter (tel: (212) 875 5050; website:, is a smaller venue for chamber orchestras, string quartets and instrumentalists. The greatest names from all schools of music – from Tchaikovsky and Toscanini to Gershwin and Billie Holiday – have performed at Carnegie Hall, 154 West 57th Street, at Seventh Avenue (tel: (212) 247 7800; website:, which boasts an astonishing and eclectic repertoire at moderate prices. Other leading venues that draw the world’s top performers include Kaufman Concert Hall, in the 92nd Street Y, at 1395 Lexington Avenue (tel: (212) 996 1100), and Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx (tel: (718) 960 8232; website:


Metropolitan Opera House
Metropolitan Opera House

Known as the Met, the Metropolitan Opera House, in the LincolnCenter (tel: (212) 362 6000; website:, is New York’s premiere opera venue and home to the Metropolitan Opera (website:, from September to late April. The New York State Theater, also in LincolnCenter (tel: (212) 870 5570; website:, is where the New York City Opera (tel: (212) 870 5630; website: perform. Its wide and adventurous program varies wildly in quality – sometimes startlingly innovative, occasionally mediocre – but seats go for less than half the Met’s prices. Other venues include the JulliardSchool, 155 West 65th Street, at Broadway (tel: (212) 799 5000; website:, where talented students perform with a famous conductor, usually for low prices.


Theatre: Theatre venues in the city are referred to as Broadway, Off-Broadway or Off-Off-Broadway – groupings that represent a descending order of ticket price, production polish, elegance and comfort and an ascending order of innovation, experimentation, and theatre for the sake of art rather than cash. Off-Broadway is still the place for theatre punters to see the works of the world’s most innovative playwrights – social and political drama, satire, ethnic plays and repertory … in short, anything that Broadway would not consider a guaranteed money spinner. Lower operating costs also mean that Off-Broadway often serves as a forum to try out what sometimes ends up as a big Broadway production. Off-Off-Broadway is New York’s fringe. Unlike Off-Broadway, Off-Off doesn’t have to use professional actors and shows range from shoestring productions of the classics to outrageous and experimental performance art.


The National Actors Theatre, 1560 Broadway, Suite 409 (tel: (212) 719 5331; website:, presents the classics on Broadway, while Manhattan Theatre Club, 311 West 43rd Street, Eighth Floor (tel: (212) 581 1212; website:, produces some of the finest new plays in American theatre. Other theatre groups include Walt Disney Theatrical Productions, 1450 Broadway, Suite 300 (tel: (212) 827 5412; website:, which brings the magic of Disney to life on the Broadway stage. For a more ethnic flavour, Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, 253 West 125th Street (tel: (212) 531 5300; website:, has celebrated the legacy and culture of African-American music and entertainment since 1934.


Dance: New York has five major ballet companies as well as dozens of contemporary troupes and the official dance season runs from September to January and April to June. Metropolitan Opera House, in the LincolnCenter (tel: (212) 362 6000; website:, is the home of the renowned American Ballet Theater (tel: (212) 477 3030; website:, which performs the classics from early May into July. New York State Theater, also in the LincolnCenter (tel: (212) 870 5570; website:, is home to the revered New York City Ballet (website:, which performs more contemporary ballet for a nine-week season each spring.


Brooklyn Academy of Music
Brooklyn Academy of Music

Universally known as BAM, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Street, between Flatbush Avenue and Fulton Street, Brooklyn (tel: (718) 636 4100; website:, is America’s oldest performing arts academy and one of the busiest and most daring producers in New York. During autumn, BAM’s Next Wave Festival showcases the hottest international attractions in avant-garde dance and music. Winter brings visiting artists, while, each spring, BAM hosts the annual DanceAfrica Festival, America’s largest showcase for African and African-American dance and culture.


The most eminent and celebrated troupes in modern dance perform at City Center, 131 West 55th Street, between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue (tel: (212) 581 1212; website: Big-name companies include Merce Cunningham Dance Company (website:, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (website:, Joffrey Ballet (website: and Dance Theater of Harlem (website: Merce Cunningham Studio, 55 Bethune St at Washington St (tel: (212) 691 9751; website:, the home of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, stages performances by emerging modern choreographers.


Film: A movie centre second only to Tinseltown itself, New York has hundreds of modern cinema complexes and arthouse cinemas. Cinemas worth visiting include Sony Lincoln Square, Broadway at 68th Street (tel: (212) 336 5000 (recorded information) or (212) 336 5020), which is more a theme park than a multiplex, and The Ziegfeld, 141 West 54th Street, between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue (tel: (908) 918 2000; website:, which often holds glitzy premieres and is the grandest picture palace in town – once home to the Ziegfeld Follies. Arthouse movies are screened at Angelika Film Centre, 18 West Houston Street (tel: (212) 995 2000 or 2570), Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, 30 Lincoln Plaza (tel: (212) 757 2280), and Quad Cinema, 34 West Street, between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue (tel: (212) 255 8800). General information, show times and advanced tickets are available from Moviefone (tel: (212) 777 FILM or 777 3456).


New York has been portrayed through celluloid in a number of ways, ranging from the ridiculous yet enduring images of King Kong, swinging from the EmpireStateBuilding, in the 1933 classic starring Fay Wray, to the psychological horrors of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976). In the latter, Robert De Niro plays the part of a mentally isolated New York cabbie and Vietnam vet, driven to violence by the decadence of the city. It is New York decadence of a slightly different nature that Alan Rudolph explores in Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994), which looks at New York literary life and society during the 1920s. The life and times of one of New York’s most famous daughters, the acid and hilarious writer and wit, Dorothy Parker, is brought to life amid a lavish New York setting.


Manhattan Antiques and Collectibles Triple Pier Expo
Manhattan Antiques and Collectibles Triple Pier Expo

Cultural events:New York’s biggest antiques event, Manhattan Antiques and Collectibles Triple Pier Expo, is held at three piers on the Hudson River, in February. The annual harbinger of spring, the New York Flower Show, is held on piers 90 and 93, 51st Street and 12th Avenue, in March. Meanwhile, Art Expo New York, the world’s largest show of popular art, features a wide range of works from paintings and sculpture to posters and decorative arts, at the Javits Convention Centre, also in March. Ninth Avenue International Food Festival is a gastronomic feast of a street fair in May, with live bands and hundreds of food stalls selling a wide assortment of ethnic and junk food. Summerstage, a festival of free or low-cost concerts in Central Park, features world music, pop, folk and jazz artists throughout the summer.


Literary Notes

The vibrant city of New York has spawned some of America’s most celebrated writers and provided the backdrop and inspiration for countless best-selling novels and hit movies. Washington Square, at Fifth Avenue and Waverley Place, was home to the 19th-century aristocracy and provided the inspiration for the classic study of the American upper classes, Washington Square (1881), by New Yorker Henry James. Bohemian Greenwich Village has long been the favoured haunt of America’s literati. The ChelseaHotel, on West 23rd Street, is something of a writers’ emporium. Here Arthur Miller penned After the Fall (1964) and William Burroughs worked on Naked Lunch (1959). New Yorker Arthur Miller is celebrated as America’s greatest living playwright, whose numerous works have delighted Broadway and international audiences for decades. His knowledge of the Brooklyn waterfront helped to form his characters in his play A View From the Bridge (1955) and powerful reflections upon his home town are revealed in The Price (1968).


New York’s most famous contemporary novelist is Paul Auster, who won international acclaim for The New York Trilogy (1987), a book comprising three novellas – City of Glass, Ghosts and The Locked Room – all set in New York. Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace’s Gotham (2001) is one of the most illuminating and readable histories of New York. One of the most striking works from the flurry of post-11 September 2001 publications is September 11: A Testimony (2001), assembled by press agency Reuters, with some of the most dramatic WorldTradeCenter photographic images.


New York Excursions

For a Half Day


Coney Island
Coney Island

Coney Island: Located just a 45-minute subway ride from Manhattan (on subway B, D, F or N to Stillwell Avenue), in south Brooklyn, Coney Island is a popular haunt for New Yorkers and tourists alike, because of its stretch of beach and historical amusement parks. Major attractions include the New York Aquarium, Surf Avenue and West Eighth Street (tel: (718) 265 3400; website:, located halfway to BrightonBeach. The Aquarium is open daily 1000–1630. Its Aquatheatre is home to dolphins and sea lions, the Sea Cliffs Exhibition, features walrus, penguins and giant Pacific octopus, while Discovery Cove is an interactive entertainment complex for children. Entrance is US$11 (concessions available). Coney Island’s amusement area comprises several amusement parks, featuring the Cyclone roller coaster and the Wonder Wheel, the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. Many visitors partake of a Nathan’s Famous hot dog on the boardwalk – a seaside treat for generations.


For a Whole Day


Long Island: Situated to the east of New York City, Long Island stretches for 190km (118 miles) into the Atlantic. Coastal parts of residential Long Island have some of the world’s most beautiful white-sand beaches and are popular with New Yorkers and tourists alike for weekend retreats. The north and south shores differ greatly. The south shore is fringed by almost continuous sandy shores, including such public beaches as JonesBeach (website: and gay-oriented Fire Island National Seashore (website:, a ferry ride away.


Meanwhile, the north shore is more immediately beautiful; its cliffs topped with luxurious mansions and estates. The Hamptons combines the attractions of the well-to-do, such as shops and excellent restaurants, with wooded nature reserves filled with sand dunes and pristine stretches of accessible beach. A bicycle trip to The End, a nickname for the bohemian village of Montauk at the island’s eastern reach, could well be the pinnacle of a long summer weekend spent in a cottage or inn.


The quickest way to reach Long Island is via the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station, although numerous bus services cover most destinations. Parking permits for Long Island’s beaches are issued only to local residents. The Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, 330 Vanderbilt Motor Parkway (tel: (631) 951 3440 or (516) 951 3440 or (800) 386 6654; website: can provide further information.

National Hockey League

New York Sport

Boasting some of the USA’s top sports teams, acres of parkland and beaches and state-of-the-art sports complexes, New York is a sports hotbed, offering the very best in spectator sports and a comprehensive array of activities for lovers of the great outdoors. The city’s best indoor participant sports venue is the ultra-modern Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex, a 12-hectare (30-acre) facility situated on four beautifully restored early 20th-century piers at 23rd Street at West Side Highway, on the Hudson River. The complex has everything from a rock-climbing wall to an inline skating rink.


Visitors interested in tickets to the top sporting events in the city should book in advance, as seasonal sell-outs are not uncommon. Ticketmaster (tel: (212) 307 7171; website: is the best and most recognised way for one to purchase a ticket to a New York sporting event.


Major League teams

With two Major League teams, the baseball season, which runs from April to October, attracts huge crowds to two major stadiums in the area. Shea Stadium, 123–01 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, Queens (tel: (718) 507 METS or 6387 or TIXX or 8499 for tickets), is home to the New York Mets (website: The New York Yankees (website:, the most successful baseball team in US history, can be found at Yankee Stadium, East 161st Street and River Avenue, in the Bronx (tel: (718) 293 6000).


The local basketball season runs from October to April. MadisonSquareGarden, Seventh Avenue, between 31st Street and 33rd Street, Manhattan (tel: (212) 465 6741; website:, is the home of the celebrated New York Knickerbockers, or Knicks (website:, as well as New York Liberty (website:, the popular women’s team.


American football teams from New York include the Giants (tel: (201) 935 8222; website: and New York Jets (tel: (516) 560 8200; website: The American football season kicks off in September. These two leading teams now play in New Jersey, at the Giants Stadium, in the Meadowlands Sports Complex (tel: (201) 935 3900; website: Tickets sell out well in advance and there are long waiting lists.


National Hockey League
National Hockey League

Ice hockey is also hugely popular and the National Hockey League (NHL) teams include the local New York Rangers (website: The team plays at MadisonSquareGarden (see above). Other local teams include New York Islanders (tel: (800) 883 ISLES or (800) 8834 7537; website:, whose home ground is the Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale (tel: (516) 794 9300; website:, and New Jersey Devils (website:, who play at the Meadowlands Sports Complex (tel: (201) 935 3900; website:


The Arthur Ashe Stadium, Flushing Meadows, Queens, hosts the US Open Tennis Championships (website:, which takes place in late August to early September, featuring some of the world’s top seeded players.


Beaches: There are several beaches in New York City, such as Coney Island, BrightonBeach and Manhattan Beach. The best beaches for tanning and swimming, however, are located on Long Island (see Excursions).


Bowling: Bowlmor Lanes, 110 University Place, between 12th Street and 13th Street (tel: (212) 255 8188), is Manhattan’s premier bowling centre with 42 lanes and an atmosphere of 1950s kitsch. The venue, which serves pricey cocktails, becomes a veritable nightclub on some evenings, when it is open until the wee hours, with a DJ and glow-in-dark bowling on offer.


Fitness centres: The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers, Pier 60, 23rd Street (tel: (212) 336 6000; website:, is a 14,000sq-metre (150,000sq-foot) adult sports and fitness club. Facilities include an indoor track and swimming pool, sundecks, basketball courts, an indoor sand volleyball court, boxing ring, rock climbing wall and gym. Day membership passes cost US$50 and allow access to all facilities.


The Black Course at BethpageState Park
The Black Course at BethpageState Park

Golf: The Black Course at BethpageState Park, 99 Quaker Meeting House Road, Farmingdale (tel: (516) 249 0700), was the first public golf course to host the US Open. It is located just east of the city, on Long Island. Play costs approximately US$30, depending upon the course chosen. Clearview Golf Club, 202–12 Willets Point Boulevard (tel: (718) 225 4653), is open to the public for US$22 (weekdays) and US$24 (weekends). The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers, Pier 59, 23rd Street (tel: (212) 336 6400; website:, is America’s most high-tech super range. There is a 200-yard fairway, all-weather driving range, putting green and a full-service GolfAcademy. A session on the driving range starts at US$20 and prices rise with the number of balls used in session. American Golf (website: allows online booking of tee times.


Horseracing: New Yorkers love the races and the main racetracks include Aqueduct Racetrack, OzonePark, Queens (tel: (718) 641 4700), and Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford (tel: (201) 935 8500).


Running: New York Road Runners Club, 9 East 89th Street, between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue (tel: (212) 860 4455; website:, are the organisers of the NYC Marathon and promote the sport through races, events and publications.


Chelsea Marina at Chelsea Piers
Chelsea Marina at Chelsea Piers

Sailing: Chelsea Marina at Chelsea Piers, West 23rd Street (tel: (212) 336 5600; website:, is the city’s largest marina, featuring a sailing school as well as boats for dinner cruising and deep-sea fishing.


Skating/ice skating: The Roller Rinks at Chelsea Piers, Pier 62, 23rd Street (tel: (212) 336 6200; website:, has two indoor ice skating rinks, two outdoor in-line/roller skating rinks and a skate park. There are two outdoor ice skating rinks with skate hire in Central Park, 59th Street to 110th Street, and one in the Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, 47th Street to 52nd Street (see Sightseeing).


Tennis: The tennis courts at Central Park, located at 93rd Street (tel: (212) 280 0201), are open to the public during the summer.