There are three main airports in New York - John F. Kennedy (JFK) which is the biggest international airport located in Queens and about 15 miles from Midtown in Manhattan, then Newark (EWR) about 16 kilometres from Midtown and La Guadia (LGA) which is just 8 miles from Midtown.
An Air train runs from JFK to the MTA Subway in Manhattan, or you could share a Transit van or catch a taxi. From EWR you can also take a shuttle van/bus or take an Air Train, and LGA has van/shuttles and taxis to take you to the City. Depending on traffic it could take up to an hour to get to your hotel from any of these airports.
Most tourists coming to New York head to Manhattan Island – the center of New York. Manhattan is an island and is where all the Broadway shows, museums, art galleries, Central Park, the Empire State Building and other attractions that New York is famous for are located.
While it is possible to stay in other parts of the City and often cheaper too, if you can book a hotel in Midtown, Manhattan near Times Square, then you are right in the heart of the City with many of its attractions walking distance away. Another part of the city that is popular is around Soho and Chelsea, but equally you could stay in Brooklyn and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, just like a ‘New Yorker’. There are lots of choices.
Manhattan Island is a long island bounded on the west side by the Hudson River which runs into New York Harbor and on the east side by the East River. You will have heard people refer to Upper Manhattan, Midtown and Lower Manhattan – and these refer to their location, north or south. In the north – Upper Manhattan is Harlem which is north of Central Park. The Bronx on the mainland is north of Harlem, separated from Harlem by the Harlem River. Central Park is bounded by two sides- Upper East Side and Upper West Side, and then right in the center of the Island is Midtown. South of Midtown you will find on the west side – Greenwich Village, Chelsea, the Meat Packing District, Soho and Chinatown and on the east side – Union Square, Flat Iron District, Gramercy, East Village and Lower East side. Lower Manhattan is on the southern end of Manhattan and this is where you will find Lower Manhattan and the Financial District where Wall Street and Battery Park are located. Across the East River are Queens and Brooklyn, while across the Hudson River to the west in New Jersey.
You can get to know New York at street level by walking, biking, by car, bus, taxi or limousine, below ground on the subway or look down over the City from the Empire State Building and most likely you will do all three. It is worth getting a map to help guide you.
Remember too that New York can be snow bound in the middle of winter around Christmas time, and very hot in summer too – but year round and especially in summer, fall (Autumn) and spring there are lots of things happening both indoor and outdoor.
New York is a relatively safe city, something that New Yorkers takes pride in. There is great wealth but also poverty too, rich opulent areas and places that been abandoned or neglected. You will see both.
On these pages we have set down what we think are the best things to see and do in New York –
TOP PRIORITIES –
CENTRAL PARK – has to be one of the highlights of a visit to New York, being one of the famous parks in the world. This is big urban green space covering 843 acres of land in the center of Manhattan. Construction began in 1858. Here you will find places to walk, sit, rest, bike ride, people watch, walk a dog, push a pram, roller-blade, play checkers or chess, ice skate in the winter and just take time out from the busy streets of New York.
In the Park look for –
Walking, hiring a bike or taking a tour of Central Park is a great way to get a real feel for New York.
NEW JERSEY –
New Jersey is in New Jersey State, not New York State, but the state border is right in the middle of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge that separates the two states. The bridge is a suspension bridge and was built between 1927 and 1933 when it was a single level bridge, but a second roadway level was later built, and today the traffic heads over the bridge on two levels, with around 102 million cars passing over the bridge each year.
New Jersey, “The Garden State” may be different state, but it is part of Greater New York City, with thousands of commuters heading from New Jersey to Manhattan every day. The State is also home to more than 10,000 farms that send their produce to New York and across the nation, as well as more than 4000 lakes and rivers, with beautiful parklands and forests and the Jersey Shore oceanfront where there are a number of historic lighthouses and small towns and villages along the coastline.
The State was the 3rd State in the Union with its history dating back to the 1700’s, becoming a State in 1787. There is around 127 miles of coastline, historic landmarks and you will no doubt have heard of Atlantic City, Newark and Princeton University that are all here, but may not have heard of the State Capital, which is Trenton.
In Trenton you will find the New Jersey State House and Annex, the New Jersey State Museum, State Planetarium and War Memorial, with the Old Barracks Museum that was built in 1758 located at 101 Barracks Street.
Atlantic City – has a long boardwalk along the beach front, and the City is known for its gambling casinos, though the city has hit hard times and some of the Casinos have closed down, as other cities and states have opened newer casinos. Boardwalks along the beachfront have become a part of American culture, and the Atlantic City Boardwalk was the first one to be built in 1870.
Newark – is best known as a transport hub, with Newark Airport being one of the three big airports in Greater New York. The city has a population of around 270,000 people and being so close to Manhattan a number of big companies have moved here out of Manhattan. The New Jersey Performing Arts Center is located here at One Center Street.
Frankie Valli, the famous singer with the ‘Four Seasons’ group, now made famous again through the show ‘Jersey Boys’ was born and grew up in Newark. This is a great show to see, if you haven’t seen it already.
While American highways, freeways and turnpikes provide the fastest way to get to a destination, it is the smaller roads that lead to villages and smaller towns. If you are seeking that more leisurely drive and small town experience – head to some of the small towns listed here –