This post will focus only on Manhattan, as I simply did not have the time to visit the other boroughs! However, that certainly does not mean that they have nothing to offer.
New York is a city of five boroughs, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. Two of the airports serving the area, JFK and LaGuardia (LGA), are located in Queens, the largest borough while the third, Newark Liberty airport (EWR) is located in New Jersey.
The island of Manhattan is long and thin, and can be broadly divided into Downtown (the southern part with the main financial district), Midtown and Uptown. These definitions are not precise, and are used here simply for the purpose of this post.
New York's downtown is home to some of the city's globally famous icons, such as the Statue of Liberty.
Statue of Liberty and Battery Park
"Liberty ... is one of the greatest blessings that Heaven has bestowed upon mankind"
- Miguel de Cervantes
A supreme symbol of friendship, the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States, the Statue of Liberty is the first sign many new immigrants saw of America- a symbol of freedom. A large proportion of newcomers arrived in these very waters, and were processed for entry at Ellis Island, where the immigration center now houses a museum.
|Statue of Liberty|
|View of the city from the Statue of Liberty|
Battery Park to Wall St
If you walk north on Broadway as soon as you leave Battery Park, you will come across the beautiful facade of the National Museum of the American Indian. Continue walking straight and you will come across the Charging Bull, also known as the Bull of Wall Street. The bull is a symbol of financial optimism and this sculpture was installed following the 1987 stock market crash. Tourists are constantly huddled around the bull for photos.
|The Charging Bull|
|Interior of Trinity Church|
Center of global finance, with some of the most important financial institutions in the world, Wall Street has a large impact on the entire world. Some great architecture here includes the buildings of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Federal Hall.
|New York Stock Exchange|
The area around City Hall Park is home to some grand buildings which house major municipal institutions, such as the City Hall and Civic Centre.
Very nearby begins the Brooklyn Bridge, connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Completed in 1883, the bridge was an engineering marvel of the time as it was the first steel-wire suspension bridge. Pedestrians and cyclists have a nice path offering good views over both the boroughs.
|Brooklyn Bridge, looking towards Brooklyn|
New York is truly a multicultural city. You can experience this first-hand if you walk into, say, Mulberry St and enter Chinatown. There are a great number of Chinese and Vietnamese shops, and not to forget the food!
|Washington Square Park|
|Empire State Building|
|View of a Chelsea street from the High Line|
|View from the TKTS ticket booth|
|View from Bryant Park|
|New York Public Library|
|Grand Central Terminal|
|Interior of the Grand Central Terminal|
This section considers the area between 6 Av, 51st St, Park Av and 49th St.
At Park Av between 50th and 51st St is St Bartholomew's Church, with a lovely neo-Byzantine interior.
|St Bartholomew's Church|
|Interior of the church|
|St Patrick's Cathedral|
|Interior of the cathedral|
|View from the Top of the Rock|
Home to the city's largest park, Central Park, Uptown too has a large range of sights to keep visitors interested.
Upper East Side
This area covers Uptown east of Central Park.
The area is home to some of the greatest museums in the city. Most are located on Museum Mile, the stretch of 5 Av between E 80th and E 92nd St.
Occupying a portion of Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art straddles 5 Av between 80th and 84th St. With an eclectic range, from ancient Egyptian to Byzantine to Renaissance, one can spend hours in the museum.
The suggested donation is $25 per adult but you are free to pay below that amount.
The highlight of the Egyptian section is the Temple of Dendur, moved from its Nile-side location to the museum.
|Temple of Dendur|
|The studiolo walls|
We stayed at The Lucerne Hotel, located in Upper West Side.
Rooms- 7/10 Good rooms, though small (yes, it is Manhattan). No minibar or kettle in the room was very surprising though.
Staff- 8/10 Helpful staff, no special comment here.
Location- 8/10 Great location- just a block from the subway, two blocks from Museum of Natural History and Central Park. Many dining options in the vicinity.
Overall- 23/30 Recommended.
With its stunning diversity, New York offers a large variety of cuisines. It is true that the city may be expensive but given its diversity, there are a surprising number of places to eat cheaply and well.
CHINATOWN AND LOWER EAST SIDE
Ah, Chinatown, where you can pop into unassuming bakeries and enjoy baked, steamed and fried treats for around $1 each.
Deluxe Green Bo Restaurant - Extensive menu of delicious Chinese dishes. They have good options for vegetarians too and while service may be on the slower side, people are courteous and the food is fabulous and portions are filling.
Lung Moon Bakery - Delicious variety of buns, sesame balls and other bakery items. Very good value for money.
Good Century Cafe - Another great stop for superb Chinese and Vietnamese delights.
Vanessa's Dumpling House - Much cleaner and organized than you may expect, this busy little place serves excellent dumplings, other simple fare and a heavenly steamed red bean bun. Be prepared to share tables assuming there is space or take out.
GREENWICH VILLAGE AND AROUND
Taim - A decent falafel place, they have some interesting falafel flavours beyond your average falafel place. Seating is very limited.
Bantam Bagels - An interesting concept of small bite-bagels stuffed with cream cheese and served warm (each bagel is about 100-110 calories). There are some interesting flavours and the bagels are very good.
Maoz Vegetarian- Get your sandwich and add any toppings from the salad bar for free. Very nice apple cider too.
Max Brenner- Very popular place for all things chocolate. A bit overpriced and overrated in my opinion, though.
Chelsea Market - A city highlight, Chelsea Market brings together dozens of gourmet vendors, from bakeries to gelato to numerous other things.
TIMES SQ and around
Abitino's Pizzeria- At Broadway between 40th and 41st St. Tasty, if a bit too oily, pizzas by the slice.
UPPER WEST SIDE
Zabar's- A New York landmark, Zabar's is both a supermarket and a restaurant next to each other at the corner of W 80th St and Broadway. Good sandwiches, and the supermarket has interesting items too.
Cafe 71- At Broadway and W 71st St. Wide variety of sandwiches.
Celeste - A very popular neighbourhood spot, Celeste offers superb Italian cuisine. No cards accepted. The owner greets everyone at the door and service is professional and courteous.
Coffee Break - This is not your average unassuming tiny coffee shop/bakery. The bakery products are delicious and they also whip up simple, quick meals. Prices are much lower than their quality should suggest, for New York.
Levain - A branch of the popular bakery, come here for its mammoth and sinful cookies - deliciously gooey from the inside.
Best Market - Not only a great place to pick up on groceries, but their bagels are of top quality at very reasonable prices.
Within Manhattan, subway is generally a good way to get around. A single ride costs $2.75. If using the machines to buy, note that machines will not dispense more than $8 in change, and tickets can only be bought individually so if buying single-ride tickets, have coins (pennies are not accepted).
Walking is also a great way to get around the island.
If taking taxis, note that Midtown is especially prone to terrible rush-hour traffic.
The tourist areas of Manhattan are generally safe during the daytime and shouldn't cause problems while walking. As in any big city, trust your instincts.
The subway has become much safer and cleaner over the decades, but as always, watch your pockets and bags when the car is crowded.
Last visit- Dec 2014
No of visits- 2
First visit- May/Jun 2002