Sightseeing Overview: Most tourists end up spending the majority of their trip on Manhattan and this is where most of the recognizable attractions are located. The remaining four boroughs are primarily residential – the Bronx to the north, Queens to the east, Brooklyn to the southeast and Staten Island to the southwest – although there is a sprinkling of worthwhile attractions located in them all, which will reward the visitor with time to explore. Almost completely flat and, for the most part, arranged on an easily navigable grid system, Manhattan itself is very easy to walk around, with the excellent subway system handy for the longer hops between attractions. Avenues run north–south and streets run east–west just with a few neighbourhood exceptions. Fifth Avenue is the city centre and the starting point and zero for all addresses (i.e. addresses increase the farther they are from Fifth).
The city is packed with things to do and places to see – each street and neighbourhood offers its own varied sights and flavours. The top attractions, like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, are renowned throughout the world but there are enough less heralded places to fill weeks of sightseeing.
Manhattan has several distinct areas that are worth wandering around, from the ritzy shopping and residential districts uptown, to the financial district of downtown, taking in the villages in between. SoHo is famous for its art galleries and shopping opportunities. Greenwich Village traditionally contains a literary and gay community and has the quaint bookstores and cafés to go with it. The young-and-hip East Village retains its edgy atmosphere, which is reflected in its quirky shops, record stores, nightclubs and drinking spots. Historical Lower East Side, once an immigrant neighbourhood, is now filled with boutiques and vintage shops, nightclubs and restaurants. Chelsea, with warehouse conversions mingling with more cutting-edge art galleries, is another gay-friendly neighborhood. Away from the city, Long Island and a number of city beaches provide an escape on hot and humid summer days.
Tourist Information: NYC & Company – Convention and Visitors Bureau
810 Seventh Avenue, between 52nd and 53rd Streets
Tel: (212) 484 1222 or (212) 397 8200. Fax: (212) 246 6310.
Opening hours: Mon–Fri 0830–1800, Sat and Sun 0900–1700.
Times Square Visitors Center
1560 Broadway, between 46th Street and 47th Street
Tel: (212) 768 1560. Fax: (212) 869 5667.
Opening hours: Daily 0800–2000.
The City Pass (tel: (888) 330 5008; website: www.citypass.com) offers a combined ticket to selected New York attractions, including the Metropolitan Museum (The Met), the Museum of Modern Art (currently honored at MoMA QNS), Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, American Museum of Natural History, Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum and the Empire State Building Observatory. The pass costs US$38 (concessions are available), is valid for nine days and is available for purchase at any of the attractions or online, at the above address.