Manhattan is one of New York's five boroughs and is what people most often think of when they picture New York. Manhattan is actually an elongated island and includes most of the best known and most popularly visited neighborhoods, including the Financial District downtown.
Map of Manhattan Districts
The districts located south of 14th Street are considered part of "Downtown" (note: to go "Downtown" in Manhattan means to "go south"):
- Lower Manhattan - Long the center of the American economy, the Financial District is full of impressive turn-of-the-century buildings and is a hive of activity during the day. At night it clears out considerably, though it is becoming an increasingly residential area, giving it more flavor than it has had in the past. Wall Street, the World Trade Center site, South Street Seaport, and Battery Park, a departure point for ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Staten Island, and Governors Island are all in this neighborhood.
- TriBeCa - The "Triangle Below Canal Street". Home to trendy restaurants and Robert DeNiro's annual film festival, it is popular with the affluent trendy crowd and replete with trendy restaurants. Unlike SoHo to the north, Tribeca is not over-filled with shoppers on weekends, and Greenwich Street could be mistaken for the main street of a beautifully preserved small town.
- Soho - "South of Houston Street" flows north from Canal Street between the Hudson River and Lafayette St. The ultimate urban gentrification story, SoHo was a rundown industrial area until the 1960s, when artists began inhabiting its spacious and then-cheap lofts. After the artists came the galleries, then the celebrities, then the shoppers, and now the visitors. Filled with gorgeous cast-iron architecture (Greene Street especially), SoHo is a great shopping and dining destination, even if many of the artists have moved on.
- Chinatown retains its scruffy, exotic atmosphere, especially around Mott and Canal Streets. The diminishing Little Italy still exists on Mulberry Street (and comes out in full force for Italian festivals such as the Feast of San Gennaro in September), but the surrounding blocks are morphing into fashionable Nolita ("North of Little Italy") or have been annexed by Chinatown.
- Lower East Side - Famous as the Jewish immigrant ghetto of the early 20th century, the neighborhood today is enjoying a renaissance, with dozens of bars and restaurants.
- Greenwich Village - Coffee houses, wine bars, lowrise but high art and literary connections, located between Houston and 14th Streets. The bohemian center of yore, today's Village is strongly upmarket but retains its diverse flavor, with its historic community around Christopher Street and thousands of students who attend NYU.
- East Village - Gritty and diverse but redeveloping, this area lies east of Broadway. Pockets of Ukrainians, Japanese, Indians and young professionals make it one of the most vibrant Manhattan areas. The once-shabby area formerly known as Alphabet City, centered on Avenues A through D, is now considered part of the East Village.
As the name suggests, Midtown Manhattan occupies the approximate middle reach of Manhattan Island, sandwiched between Lower Manhattan (below 14th Street) and Upper Manhattan (above 59th Street / Central Park). Midtown is divided into a number of neighborhoods, often indistinct. (Considerable overlap exists between them!) They are as follows:
- Chelsea Garment District - Now the center of New York's "village", this district will appeal to all with its great mix of fashion, design, art, culture, bars and restaurants.
- Gramercy Flatiron - A chic, stylish district of stately residential areas, gardens and squares, trendy restaurants and bars.
- Theater District - 34th-59th Streets, roughly west of 6th Avenue - the name says it all: Broadway, Times Square, 42nd Street, Hell's Kitchen, Columbus Circle; often overlapping in the area between Fifth and Sixth Avenues with Midtown East. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is down on the Hudson River.
- Midtown - Also termed "Midtown East", this extensive area east of Sixth Avenue includes a number of New York icons: the Empire State Building, the United Nations, Grand Central Station and more.
Uptown / Upper Manhattan
- Central Park - With its lawns, trees and lakes, it is popular for recreation and concerts and is home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park Zoo.
- Upper East Side - Primarily a residential neighborhood, it remains New York City's wealthiest. Museums and restaurants abound.
- Upper West Side - Often called the city's quintessential neighborhood and made famous by TV's Seinfeld, it includes delightful residential streets, the twin-towered facades of the old apartment hotels on Central Park West and Riverside Drive, Columbia University, large and impressive churches, two of the city's best-known markets (Zabar's and Fairway) and one of its major museums - the American Museum of Natural History.
- Harlem and Upper Manhattan - Harlem, America's most famous black community, is home to an increasingly diverse mix of cultures. East Harlem (aka Spanish Harlem), the traditional center of Latino culture in Manhattan, has been joined by the lively, predominantly Dominican neighborhood of West Harlem, and Washington Heights to the north. Washington Heights is notable for Fort Tryon Park, the home of The Cloisters (the Medieval annex of the Metropolitan Museum). At the northern tip of Manhattan, Inwood's claim to fame is Inwood Park, the last remaining virgin forest on the island.
- Roosevelt Island - An elongated strip of land in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. Part of the island is actually across from Midtown, but because of its quiet character, it really doesn't belong in the "Midtown" category.
The avenues (e.g., Fifth Avenue, Seventh Avenue) run north-south and are the long, wide streets. The numbered streets (e.g., 14th Street, 42nd Street) run east-west and start at 1st Street (just above Houston Street), running up to 220th Street at the northern end of the island. (Warning: There is one exception to this. Numbered streets are not all parallel to one another in Greenwich Village, which is on the West Side between W. Houston St. and West 14th St. West 4th St. slants to the northwest, crossing higher-numbered streets up to 13th St). For ease in calculation, note that a distance of 20 city blocks (north-to-south, counting numbered streets only, not avenue blocks) is approximately equal to one mile. Going east to west, one mile is very approximately 7 avenues. Note that Park Avenue South and Park Avenue are continuations of 4th Avenue, north of Union Square (17th St.) and 34th St, respectively; Lexington Avenue is between 3rd and Park Avenues, and can be thought of as a "3½ Avenue". Madison Avenue is between Park and 5th Avenues, and can be thought of as a "4½ Avenue".
(Please see the New York City pages for details on how to get to New York City.)
There are three railway stations with access to points outside of New York City. The largest, Pennsylvania Station in Midtown, is served by Amtrak with connections all over the country; by the Long Island Rail Road which serves Long Island; and New Jersey Transit which serves New Jersey. Grand Central Station, an art deco delight, is the home of Metro-North Railroad which connects the city to points in southern New York State and southern Connecticut. Many trains from Grand Central Station also stop at Harlem/125th street, a useful stop for travelers headed for Harlem or other points in Upper Manhattan.
A subway system, PATH, connects some points in downtown and midtown Manhattan with Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark.
Manhattan being an island, access (whether by car, taxi, bus or by foot) has generally to be made by means of either a bridge or a tunnel. A pedestrian can walk into Manhattan over the Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Williamsburg Bridges from Brooklyn, the Queensboro or RFK (formerly Triboro) Bridges from Queens, all the numerous small street bridges from the Bronx, and the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey. Probably the most famous of these is the Brooklyn Bridge. If you're coming from LaGuardia Airport (LGA) by cab, consider asking the driver to take the Queensboro or Williamsburg Bridges into Manhattan if you're going to Midtown or Downtown, respectively, and save yourself the RFK Bridge or Queens-Midtown Tunnel toll.
While there is no airport in Manhattan (see New York City for details on airports serving the area), there are helicopter and seaplane services into the city. At least two companies provide helicopter services between Manhattan and area airports ,  from helipads on W34th street, E34th Street, and Wall Street. Seaplane services  are available to East Hampton from E23rd street during the summer months. Neither are for the faint of pocket - the helicopter service costs $125+ while the seaplane service costs $425 per person. Scheduled Helicopter services are also available to the airport in Bridgeport, CT from Manhattan .
Passengers from Staten Island usually take the free Staten Island Ferry to get to the Battery at the lower tip of Manhattan. The Battery also houses ferries to Liberty and Ellis Islands and Governors Island. Other ferries transport passengers to and from Brooklyn and parts of New Jersey.
(See the New York City page for specific information on getting around.)
The best ways to get around Manhattan are on foot, by cab, or by taking the subway or bus. Driving is strongly discouraged; most Manhattanites do not own cars and the infrastructure of the city is designed for people, rather than for automobiles.
When traveling by cab, it is best to ensure that you are using a licensed cab; the easiest way is to ask at the concierge at your hotel to flag down one of the ubiquitous yellow cabs or do so yourself. All licensed cabs are yellow, and no unlicensed (as a taxicab) livery services may be yellow. Cabs which are available have their lights on and do not have their "Off Duty" sign lit. Off duty taxi drivers may choose to drive you if they are going your way, but are under no obligation to pick you up, and cabs which are not lit have customers inside and cannot pick up more customers. Fare for trips within Manhattan is strictly by meter (ask the cabbie to turn the meter on if s/he makes no move to turn it on after you've said where you want to go), plus whatever tip you choose to give (note that it is customary and expected to tip at least 10% to 15% for normal service). For trips to the Outer Boroughs, if toll bridges or tunnels are taken, you are responsible for the tolls in addition to the fare on the meter plus the tip. Do not try to take cabs during shift changes (such as around 4 PM on weekdays), if you are in a rush, because you'll find that they are almost all off duty. Limousines (approximately $30 per hour for in-Manhattan use of a sedan) are an attractive alternative to medallion (yellow) cabs if you know you'll need to be driven around a lot during a short period of time.
Maps of the New York subway system and Manhattan buses, schedules of subway and bus lines, and information about temporary service changes due to construction can be found online . Bus schedules and route maps are also usually posted on poles at bus stops. Note that bus schedules in Manhattan are only approximate, and actual times depend on traffic and other variables.
One of the more prosaic ways of getting around Manhattan include riding in a horse drawn carriage. Horse drawn carriages around Central Park South offer rides around the park for 15 minutes, half an hour, or one hour. Rates should be posted on the carriage. Can be a romantic or fun way to see the city.
Pedicabs have appeared in New York of late. The city in the the early stages of licensing the and enforcing safety regulations.
Downtown Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge
Midtown as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge
The United Nations Headquarters
Manhattan is home to many of New York's premier tourist attractions. Following is a selection of the highlights / "must sees" - the remainder will be found within the articles for the various Manhattan districts and neighborhoods.
With constant portrayals in every method of media known, Manhattan's landmarks are known around the world, and seemingly every visitor to the city will make an effort to glimpse these most famous of buildings and monuments. Every neighborhood of Manhattan has local landmarks, and in many cases the neighborhoods themselves are landmarks in their own right; this is just a summary of the very most monumental architecture on the island.
Starting where the city began in Lower Manhattan, you can view some of the most powerful and evocative landmarks of the city. Wall Street, the center of the financial world and the heart of Lower Manhattan, is home to the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall (where George Washington was inaugurated as president). Just to the north of Wall Street is the City Hall area, flanked on the east by the Brooklyn Bridge and the west by the Woolworth Building (the "Cathedral of Commerce", once the tallest building in the world). A different kind of landmark lies to the west, where the World Trade Center site sits, fenced-off to the public due to ongoing construction. To the south, out in the harbor are the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, once the first impressions of many Americans-to-be.
Heading north across the "valley", the neighborhoods of shorter buildings separating the two major business districts, you'll come to Midtown Manhattan, a hub of activity non-stop. The Empire State Building dominates the surrounding area, while the iconic Chrysler Building stakes its ground nearby. In the midst of all these tall structures you'll also find Grand Central Terminal, the main branch of the New York Public Library, and the touristy Rockefeller Center. Facing the East River is the United Nations Headquarters, while to the west sits the insanely crowded tourist hub of Times Square.
New York City is home to museums of every kind, and Manhattan is where the grandest and some of the most fascinating are.
Why not start at "Museum Mile", or 5th Avenue along Central Park in Uptown Manhattan? Here you'll find the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the largest and most important museums of art in the world. Nearby in the Upper East Side and the Harlem area sits the famous Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, the El Museo Del Barrio, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Across Central Park in the Upper West Side is the massive American Museum of Natural History, one of the largest science museums in the world. At the northern end of Manhattan sits The Cloisters, a medieval-themed extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In Midtown you'll find the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), one of the most popular collections of modern art in the world. Nearby is the Museum of Television & Radio and the American Folk Art Museum. Theodore Roosevelt's Birthplace is just to the south in Gramercy Flatiron, while the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum sits on the Hudson River to the west.
The neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan are home to a number of small, more specialized museums. Near the Financial District you'll find the African Burial Ground National Monument, the Museum of American Finance, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the South Street Seaport Museum. Just north in Chinatown is the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, while over in the Lower East Side is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and the Museum at Eldridge Street Synagogue.
Parks and gardens
Here is a partial listing of Manhattan parks you may enjoy:
- Central Park is situated between Central Park West and Fifth Avenue, stretching from 59th Street to 110th Street. The park was brilliantly designed in the 19th century by Vaux and Olmstead, who also designed Prospect Park in Brooklyn and parks in various other American cities. By far the largest park in Manhattan, Central Park is also known as the "lungs of New York." Visit the park on a sunny day and join the many New Yorkers and other visitors relaxing on the park benches, biking, looking at the ducks on the pond, boating on the lake, visiting the small Central Park Zoo, sunbathing on the Sheep Meadow, iceskating at the Wollman Rink, or seeing a concert or play. Guided tours are also available. For something different, consider one of the foraging tours led by "Wildman" Steve Brill (see  for more information).
- Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan contains one of the highest points and some of the best views on the island. Also in the park are the Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum that features Medieval art, including the famous Unicorn Tapestries.
- Riverside Park is a long stretch of parkland running along the Hudson River from 59th Street all the way to 155th Street. Riverside Park makes for a lovely stroll or picnic overlooking the waters of the Hudson River and New Jersey on the opposite bank, and also has many bike paths and playgrounds.
- Washington Square Park is a good place to hang out and feel the pulse of Greenwich Village and New York University. Easily accessed from the southern terminus of 5th Avenue, Washington Square Park is a shining example of a cosmopolitan space. People from every walk of life congregate in this park, making it one of the most dynamic people-watching locations in all of New York.
- Bryant Park is behind the New York Public Library, 40-42nd Streets between 5th and 6th Avenues. One of the great success stories of urban parkland, Bryant Park is a small but completely charming park that springs up out of nowhere just a block away from Times Square. Those of you who visited some years ago may remember this park as a no-man's land of drug addicts, drunks, and the deinstitutionalized mentally ill; the fact that the park is a good place to eat your lunch or just relax is due to a hard-won renovation. Free movies on summer nights are incredibly popular.
- Battery Park, located at the extreme end of Lower Manhattan, is famous for its great views of the New York Harbor, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. The ferries to the Statue and Staten Island depart from here.
- City Hall Park, north of the junction of Broadway and Park Row. This small but delightful square (most of the grass is fenced off for security) makes an excellent spot to rest after walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. Sit near the fountain and gaze up at the Woolworth Building, a classic turn-of-the-20th-century skyscraper and once the tallest in the world.
- Columbus Park, between Bayard and Worth, and Mulberry and Baxter Streets, was part of the heart of Five Points, the worst slum in mid-19th-century New York. Now it is a tranquil space, filled with people performing Tai Chi in the mornings and children playing in the afternoons.
- Hudson River Park is on the western edge of Manhattan, from Battery Park to 59th Street. Pieces of this park are still in progress, as New York moves to create an 'emerald necklace' of parkland running the entire length of Manhattan's waterfront. More of a promenade than a park, this is a great spot for a waterside stroll. Free movies play on the piers on summer nights.
- Tompkins Square Park is situated between Avenues A and B from 7th to 10th Sts. A center for the street drug trade and homelessness into the early 1990s, Tompkins Square has undergone dramatic gentrification. Its heterogeneous crowds and large dog run make it popular with gawkers.
- Union Square is located between 14th and 17th Sts. and bordered on either side by Union Square West (extension of University Place) and Union Square East (extension of Park Av. South/4th Av.). Broadway is interrupted by the park. Long the center for political protests, Union Square is also the home of a popular greenmarket and resting visitors and locals alike. Youths skateboard on the 14th St. end. Trying to find a seat in the park during lunch hour is a test of one's patience.
- Gramercy Park Irving Place and 20th Street. New York's only remaining private park, Gramercy is a lovely London-style square. If you know someone who has a key, consider yourself among the blessed.
- Madison Square Park is located between 5th and Madison Avs. from 23rd to 26th St. Madison Square Park is a lovely oasis in a bustling area, complete with views of the Flatiron, Metropolitan Life, and Empire State buildings. The Shake Shack take-out stand is enormously popular.
- Carl Schurz Park East End Avenue and 86th Street. Home of Gracie Mansion, the Official Residence of the Mayor of New York, Carl Schurz Park also boasts wonderful views of Hell Gate and the East River. Compared to other New York parks, Carl Schurz is extremely quiet, given that the surrounding area is almost exclusively residential.
- High Line Park is built on a defunct railway that runs 30 feet above Manhattan between 10th and 11th Avenues, from 34th Street to Gansevoort Street.
- Take the Staten Island Ferry for a great view of New York Harbor.
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
- Take a walking tour with Big Apple Greeters or a self-guided tour.
- See a concert at Carnegie Hall, an opera at the Metropolitan Opera, or go bar hopping in search of some jazz, rock, salsa, etc.
- Go to a Broadway, off-Broadway, or off-off Broadway play.
- See the New York Rangers or New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden
- Take a neighborhood dessert walking tour.
If you plan on staying in Manhattan for some time, there are many types of classes you can take, as you can imagine. The offerings are way too numerous and varied to cover here, but include continuing education and extension courses at famous institutions of higher learning like New York University, Columbia University, the New School, and the Juilliard School of Dance, Drama, and Music; classes and lectures at the 92nd St. Y and many other neighborhood organizations serving the community; cooking classes at any of several cooking schools in Manhattan; martial arts classes; yoga classes; classes in religion at any of the numerous places of worship in the borough; etc., etc., etc.
New York is the fashion capital of the United States, and is a major shopping destination for people around the world. The city boasts an unmatched range of department stores, boutiques, and specialty shops. Some neighborhoods boast more shopping options than most other American cities and have become famous in their own right as consumer destinations. Anything you could possibly want to buy is found in Manhattan, including clothing, cameras, computers and accessories, music, musical instruments, electronic equipment, art supplies, sporting goods, and all kinds of foodstuffs and kitchen appliances.
- Fifth Avenue. From 59th Street to 42nd Street Fifth Avenue boasts numerous flagships stores of national chains. Perpetually mobbed with shoppers and tourists, Fifth Avenue is a virtual standstill during the Christmas shopping season, when Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Cartier, Tiffany's, and Lord and Taylor put out their holiday displays.
- Macy's- 151 W. 34th Street (at 6th Avenue). The flagship store of the national chain, this is the largest department store in the world, covering an entire city block. Its holiday window displays are so popular that they usually have a corporate sponsor. One useful tip for visitors is to go to the Macy's guest center on floor 1 1/2 and they will give you a guest card that discounts virtually everything in the store by 11%.
- Bloomingdale's- 1000 3rd Avenue (at 59th Street). An enormous department store that is frequented by the glamorous and the masses alike. A must-visit for any serious shopper.
- Barney's- 660 Madison Avenue (at 60th Street). Anyone who hopes to make it into New York's high society makes regular trips to Barney's, where the clothes and accessories are priced to empty all but the fattest wallets.
- Madison Avenue- In the heart of the ultra-wealthy Upper East Side, Madison is the center of New York's haute couture, full of small shops selling fabulously expensive clothes, accessories, and housewares to people who can afford not to look at the price tag. Even if it's out of your price range, it's worth a visit just to gawk.
- Canal Street- The polar opposite of Madison and Fifth Avenues, Canal Street east of Broadway is a paradise for bargain hunters and people looking to buy counterfeit knock-offs of high-end clothes and accessories. If you want to impress people back home with the fake Louis Vuitton bag you got for $30, this is the place to go. Also look at the stores that line Mott Street between Canal and Chatham Square.
- SoHo- Formerly an artists' colony in a run-down part of town, Soho is now a prime shopping destination, especially on the weekends, when the sidewalks of West Broadway, Prince Street, and Broadway become almost impassible. Be warned though that the boutique stores have mostly been replaced by high-end chain stores.
- NoLiTa- First derided as a real-estate nickname and now repeated often enough to become official, the name NoLiTa (North of Little Italy) has become synonymous with avant-couture boutiques in charmingly dilapidated buildings. Some stores are so idiosyncratic that they appear not to sell anything at all, yet are perpetually crowded and passionately trendy.
- FAO Schwarz- 767 Fifth Avenue (at 58th Street). One of only two FAO Schwarz stores remaining in the country, this is the Holy Grail of toy stores, with toys and collectibles ranging from the small, cheap, and mainstream to the enormous, expensive, and exotic. Take a walk across the giant piano on the floor to feel like Tom Hanks in 'Big.'
- Strand Books- 828 Broadway (at 12th Street). The largest used bookstore in the world, reportedly housing over 18 miles of shelf space, all of it crammed to capacity. A recent renovation has opened up the space tremendously, though that will be a surprise to any newcomer, who will marvel at the wall-to-wall crowds. If bibliophiles are good in life, they get to go to the Strand when they die.
- J&R- Directly across from City Hall, is the most likely place in the city to find the electronics or computer accessories you're looking for, usually at a good price. They also have a separate section selling CDs. Their cameras are good, but they occupy second place to B&H in that category. Don't miss their Discount Annex, where they sell discontinued and remaindered items at very low prices.
- B&H- on 34th St. and 9th Av, is the place to go for any of the cameras and camera accessories you might want. The selection is good and the staff is knowledgeable and willing to discuss things with you. The store is run by Hassidic Jews and is closed on Friday nights, Saturdays, and all Jewish holidays, but open on Sundays.
- Three Lives & Company- 154 W. 10th Street (at Waverly). This microscopic yet utterly delightful bookstore is the essence of Greenwich Village. With its extremely knowledgable and passionate staff, Three Lives has carved out a place in the heart of every New York reader. When people talk about the character of local independent bookstores, Three Lives is what they mean.
- Zabar's- 2245 Broadway (at 80th Street). Probably the most famous grocery store in the world, Zabar's has an enormous selection of delicious (and expensive) foods. On their second floor, they sell kitchen accessories at price points ranging from inexpensive bargains to very expensive luxury items. Going on a weekend is tempting fate, but it is wiser to go on a weekday: Beware of the crush of crowds and their elbows. And do not go the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas unless you are either a masochist or dressed like a football player!
- Pearl Paint- 308 Canal St (across from Mercer and between Broadway and Church) is considered by many artists to be the best and least expensive art supply store in New York. You can have a meal in Chinatown and then walk west to the store.
- Adorama- 42 W. 18th Street (b/t 5th and 6th Avenues). One of the country's largest suppliers of cameras, film, and photographic accoutrements of all kinds. Staffed almost entirely by Orthodox Jews, Adorama is closed on Saturdays, but packed to the rafters every other day of the week.
- Kalustyan's- 27 St. and Lexington, has the widest selection of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Mediterranean foodstuffs in Manhattan. Don't miss a trip to their second floor for their fabulous mujadara sandwiches, which you can eat there.
- Hong Kong Supermarket- Pike St. and East Broadway, is a large Chinese supermarket. Travelers unfamiliar with Chinese food will find it fascinating and those familiar with Chinese food will enjoy the selection and pricing.
- 48th Street- Between 6th and 7th Avenues is just off to the northeast of Times Square. Most of this block is occupied by musical instrument dealers. The largest, Sam Ash, has multiple storefronts there, each of which caters to a different family of instruments and equipment.
- 47th Street- Between 5th and 6th Avenues is a large wholesale and retail Jewelry District. It is said that nearly every diamond sold in the US passes first through this street. On this street a dealer's reputation among the community of jewelry dealers is all-important, and million-dollar contracts are agreed to with just a handshake because of the reputation of each dealer.
- Kinokuniya- On 6th Ave. between 41st and 40th Streets is a Japanese book dealer, carrying a huge selection of Japanese reading material. It also sells a number of books by Japanese authors in English translation. It is also known as a source of excellent Japanese anime and manga, much of which is difficult or impossible to find anywhere else in the United States.
- Uniqlo in Soho is a Japanese clothing store for men and women. This location is the retail chain's only North American store.
- Morrell Wine, 1 Rockefeller Plaza (49th st. between 5th & 6th ave.). 10-7 Mon-Sat. Perhaps the best wine selection in the city, this is the place to go if you want to find that unusual bottle to take home as a gift. They also ship all over if you want to take home more than you can carry!
- Chelsea Market- The original Oreo cookie factory, now a block-sized market selling gourmet foods, flowers, knick-knacks and offering restaurants, bars, art space and special shows. Has free Wi-Fi throughout and smells like a slice of heaven.
Discount Clothing Stores
- Century 21- 22 Cortland Street (across from the World Trade Center site) arries various designer brands at prices which are often heavily discounted. Very popular with European and East Asian tourists and locals alike, the store is mobbed throughout the Christmas season.
- Filene's- Has three locations: 79th and Broadway on the Upper West Side, on 6th Avenue between 18th and 19th Streets, and a newer and much bigger branch at 14th St./Union Square. You may find their selection of discounted designer clothes more limited than Century 21's, but their prices are sometimes still cheaper.
- Daffy's- Another good discount store with several locations in New York.
New York has hundreds of records stores scattered around the area. Also, though vinyl has disappeared from the shelves of regular record stores, many stores still sell used and new vinyl.
Iconic New York city souvenirs are available in most tourist spots and along pushcart stalls on the street. That said, it's far cheaper (~ 50 % less) to purchase them from shops in Chinatown, near Canal Street.
New York City has a large number of great street food vendors. There are also many run-of-the-mill street or otherwise outdoor more or less food-centered festivals and a few more notable ones, such as the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, in Madison Square Park; the celebration of Bastille Day, which occurs the weekend after July 14 on 60 St. between 5th and Lexington Avs.; Taste of Chinatown; and the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival, taking place on the first weekend after Mother's Day each year. If you come across a street festival by chance, beware the food vendors who make all their money at street festivals, because with a few exceptions, they are usually bad, and look for booths of food establishments from the area. If no sign is up with the location of the booth's store, you can ask the people at each booth where their store is; if it's far away or they don't know where it is, be wary.
If there is one thing that makes New York City, particularly Manhattan, one of the most expensive cities in the world, it is hotel accommodations. Sometimes, the average room rates in Manhattan exceed those of the more expensive cities in the world such as Tokyo and London. Consider yourself lucky if you can get a room at a full-service hotel at $250/night, not including taxes. While prices vary depending on the season and on the availability, approximate price ranges for Manhattan hotels are:
- A bed in a large dormitory in a hostel: $15-$40/night.
- A double room with shared bath: $60-$120/night.
- A double room with private bath in a budget hotel: $100-$250.
- A room in a mid-range hotel: $250 and up.
- A room in a luxury hotel: If you need to ask ....!
For budget conscious travelers many new hostels have opened in recent years. While some, like Hostelling International - New York  (in a landmarked historic building renovated in the early 1990s) and the many branches of the Jazz Hostels  in the Upper West Side, East Village and Times Square have built a reputation for providing good value for money, many others are SRO (Single Room Occupancy) conversions where renovated hotel rooms share space with run down rooms for low income residents. It is best to research a budget hotel carefully before reserving a room.
Occupancy rates in New York hotels have been very high in recent years and, especially if traveling to the city during Thanksgiving week, in the month of December, or in the month of May, it is best to book well in advance for the best prices. The best way to spend the night in New York is, of course, on the couch of a friend or relative. So, if you want to stretch your dollar, check your address book when planning a trip to New York! Another option is to check short-term room or apartment rentals on Craigslist, but of course it's risky to pay up front for an apartment you haven't seen, so you might want to spend at least your first day or two at a hotel or other place of more or less known quality while checking out possible alternate locations. Inexpensive short-term rentals of decent quality are likely to run for $100/night and up for a double.
Hotels in the other boroughs or New Jersey may be generally less expensive, but if spending a lot of time in Manhattan is important to you, make sure you know what the transportation situation will be like before you make your decision. Also, remember that complimentary meals are usually a disadvantage in hotels in New York, because with a few notable exceptions the better values in food tend to be outside of hotels.
Throughout Manhattan, open WiFi access points are abundant. Some stores, such as Apple SoHo, and Tekserv, offer free wireless Internet to customers, and T-Mobile pay Internet access is available in Starbucks and other select locations.
Find more free wireless hotspots across the city at NYC Wireless .
WiFi access can be used free of charge in many of the city's major parks and squares, such as Bryant Park and Union Square.
All of the many branches of The New York Public Library  offer free internet access to anyone with a photo id (driver's license from anywhere is fine) or, of course, a NYPL library card.
Manhattan and New York generally have experienced a major falloff in crime during the past decade - in fact, for the past few years, New York City has been the safest major city in the United States - so there is no need to be afraid to walk most of the streets day and night and take the subways and buses. However, precautions should still be taken.
Keep your wits about yourself. Try your best to know or at least look like you know where you're going, particularly in areas which are deserted or otherwise feel potentially dangerous to you. Keep your wits about yourself by being aware of what's happening around you on the street, where the open shops are, where you may have spotted any police officers around, etc. Do not hesitate to calmly increase your pace, alter your route, or cross to the other side of the street if you sense it might be the safest course of action.
Beware of pickpockets. During the holiday season, pickpockets like to target shoppers near tourist attractions such as Times Square, 42nd Street, and Macy's, and anywhere where there is a crush of crowds. In order to foil pickpockets, never put your wallet or anything of value in your back pockets, but only in your front pockets. If you use a purse, make sure it is tightly closed and hold on to it. And when you sit down, such as in a restaurant, be careful to keep your valuables in places where an opportunistic thief would be hard pressed to snatch them and run.
Traffic hazards. Manhattan is in certain ways a pedestrian's paradise, but beware that traffic regulations are not always obeyed to the letter. Watch for aggressively turning cars and bicyclists riding the wrong way on one-way streets or on sidewalks. The problem is not constant, but these things happen often enough for them to be worth keeping in the back of your mind while walking on the streets and sidewalks. Also, you'll note that jaywalking is commonplace among New Yorkers, but it can be hazardous to those not experienced in judging the speed of oncoming cars. So do not blindly follow a local, for there's a chance you'll be staring at the headlights of a car if you are not careful.
Too many travelers probably spend all or too much of their time in New York solely on Manhattan; the island makes a great base from which to travel to one or more of the Outer Boroughs -- Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island.
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