What you need to know about New York
New York City is irresistible – you may have seen the iconic yellow cabs, towering skyscrapers and historic landmarks a thousand times in movies, yet nothing truly prepares you for infectious buzz and excitement of America’s largest city.
Whether you’re in town for work, shopping, Broadway shows, big nights out or a combination of all these and more, New York is truly a city that provides 24/7 crowds, bustle, and in-your-face tenacity like no other, with surprises on every corner. It’s not enough to simply explore New York politely – you need to throw yourself into the fray and let your senses guide you in a choose-your-own-adventure kind of way. Be prepared to be entirely blown away by the culture, creativity and extraordinary energy of the Big Apple.
Food and drink
There's never been a better time to dine out in NYC – in recent years the city has embraced local, seasonal and sustainable cooking, with unique flavours that could keep the most dedicated foodie happy for years. However, that’s just the tip of the New York iceberg – the city has 24,000 restaurants, from the best haute cuisine eateries in the world, to authentic international cuisine influenced by the city’s rich and diverse immigrant history. You won’t know where to start, but it won’t matter. Walk the streets until you get a waft of something irresistible, then get stuck in! As for drinks, NYC has thousands of bars serving everything from swanky artisan cocktails to fine wines and cheap bottled beers. Buy a few drinks, make some new friends, and make yourself at home in this good time city.
Nowhere beats New York for shopping – wander the streets and you’ll discover everything from high fashion to old books and curiosities, with everything the shopaholic could possibly want (and plenty more they’ve never even thought of). Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, and the surrounding streets in Manhattan are where you’ll find all the famous department stores like Macys and Bloomingdales, couture labels, big retailers and fancy jewellers, whilst SoHo and Greenwich Village are both an Aladdin’s Cave of vintage clothes, specialist boutiques, ancient bookshops, gorgeous gifts, homewares and flea markets. And of course don’t forget the other New York boroughs like Brooklyn - it’s too much to explore in one day or even a weekend, so plan your shopping well!
New York is a global hub of international business and a huge centre for the world economy – 45 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in New York, with some of the largest companies including Verizon, JP Morgan Chase & Co, IBM, Citigroup, Pepsico and Goldman Sachs. It’s the US centre for banking and finance, as well as media, retail, legal services, accountancy, fashion and the arts, so you’ll find most large US and global businesses have an office here.
Getting around New York may seem like an overwhelming prospect, but it’s pretty easy – you can walk, cycle, ride the subway, take a bus, go by ferry or water taxi, hail a cab or even hire a helicopter! By far the best way to see New York is to pop on a pair of trainers (or sneakers, if you prefer) and walk the streets and avenues – the grid system makes navigation easy, and it’s the best way to experience the unique sights and sounds of the city. Cycling in New York is increasingly popular – if you’re not ready to brave the traffic, stick to the parks and cycle paths along the river. If you need to get around the city a little faster, the New York Subway is cheap, efficient and runs 24/7, and you’ll feel just like a local. New York’s buses are accessible, eco-friendly and will probably drop you outside the front door of your serviced apartment. Of course, no trip to New York would be complete without hailing a yellow cab from the sidewalk!
Things to watch out for
Street food vendors are a way of life in New York City, and you can pick up anything from pretzels to hot dogs and French pancakes. On Sundays, the midtown section of Lexington Avenue is closed to traffic for a street market selling clothes, gifts and amazing food. You’ll find street performers everywhere too, particularly in the parks and squares – another great reason to explore the city on foot!