New York City
New York City  (also referred to as "New York", "NYC", "The Big Apple", or just "the City" by locals), is the biggest city in the United States. It lies at the mouth of the Hudson River in the southernmost part of the state, which is part of the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA.
The New York Metropolitan Area spans parts of three states—lower New York, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut. It is the USA's largest metro area, with a population of 18.7 million. As of 2007, it was 5th in the world, after Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Mexico City and Seoul.
New York City is a center for media, culture, food, fashion, art, research, finance, and trade. It has one of the largest and most famous skylines on earth, dominated by the iconic Empire State Building.
New York City consists of five boroughs, which are five separate counties. Each borough has a unique culture—each could be a large city in its own right. Within each borough individual neighborhoods—some only a few blocks in size—have personalities lauded in music and film. Where you live, work, and play in New York says something to New Yorkers about who you are.
The five New York boroughs are:
New York City is one of the global centers of international finance, politics, communications, film, music, fashion, and culture, and is among the world's most important and influential cities. It is home to many world-class museums, art galleries, and theaters. Many of the world's largest corporations have their headquarters here. The headquarters of the United Nations is in New York and most countries have a consulate here. This city's influence on the globe—and all its inhabitants—is hard to overstate, as decisions made within its boundaries often have impacts and ramifications literally across the world.
Immigrants (and their descendants) from over 180 countries live here, making it one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Travelers are attracted to New York City for its culture, energy and cosmopolitanism.
At the center of New York City sits the borough of Manhattan, a long, narrow island nestled in a natural harbor. It is separated from The Bronx on the north east by the Harlem River (actually a tidal strait); from Queens and Brooklyn to the east and south by the East River (also a tidal strait); and from the State of New Jersey to the west and north by the Hudson River. (Staten Island lies to the south west, across Upper New York Bay.)
In Manhattan, the terms “uptown” and “north” mean in the direction of the Bronx, north east on the compass, while “downtown” and “south” mean in the direction of the Battery, to the south west. To avoid confusion, simply use “uptown” and “downtown.”
The term “the city” may refer either to New York City as a whole, or to Manhattan alone, depending on the context. The Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens are sometimes referred to as “the outer boroughs.”
New York City has a humid continental climate and experiences all four seasons with hot and humid summers (June-Sept), cool and dry autumns (Sept-Dec), cold winters (Dec-Mar), and wet springs (Mar-June). Average highs for January are around 38°F (3°C) and average highs for July are about 84°F (29°C). However, temperatures in the winter can go down to as low as 0°F (-18°C) and in the summer, temperatures can go as high as 100°F (38°C) or slightly higher. The temperature in any season is quite variable and it is not unusual to have a sunny 50°F (10°C) day in January followed by a snowy 25°F (-3°C) day. New York can also be prone to snowstorms and nor'easters (large storms similar to a tropical storm), which can dump as much as 2 feet (60cm) of snow in 24-48 hours. Tropical storms can also hit New York City in the summer and early fall.
The diverse population runs the gamut from some of America's wealthiest celebrities and socialites to homeless people. There are hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the city. New York's population has been diverse since the city's founding by the Dutch. Successive waves of immigration from virtually every nation in the world make New York a giant social experiment in cross-cultural harmony.
The city's ethnic heritage illuminates different neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. In Manhattan, Little Italy remains an operating (if touristy and increasingly Chinese) Italian enclave, though many New Yorkers consider Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to be the "real" Little Italy. Manhattan's Chinatown remains a vibrant center of New York City's Chinese community, though in recent years the very large Chinese community in Flushing, Queens has rivaled if not, eclipsed it in importance, and three other Chinatowns have formed in New York City: the Brooklyn Chinatown in Sunset Park, Brooklyn; the Elmhurst Chinatown in Elmhurst, Queens; and the Avenue U Chinatown located in the Homecrest section of Brooklyn. Traces of the Lower East Side's once-thriving Jewish community still exist amid the newly-gentrified neighborhood's trendy restaurants and bars, but there are Chassidic communities in Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Harlem has been gentrifying and diversifying lately but remains a center of African-American culture in New York. East (Spanish) Harlem still justifies its reputation as a large Hispanic neighborhood. Little known to most tourists are the large Dominican neighborhoods of Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. Brooklyn's Greenpoint is famous for its large and vibrant Polish community. Queens and Brooklyn are known for being home to many of New York's more recent immigrant groups, which since 1990 have included large numbers of Russians, Uzbeks, Chinese, French, Yugoslavians, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Japanese, Koreans, Thais, Africans, Arabs (from throughout the Middle East and northern Africa), Mexicans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Brazilians, Colombians and Jamaicans.
Home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other city in the country, New York City is considered the engine of the U.S. economy. Its gross metropolitan product of $488.8 billion (2003) was the largest of any American city and the sixth largest compared to U.S. states. If it were a nation, the city would have the 16th highest GDP in the world.
New York is the national center for several industries. It is the home of the three largest U.S. stock exchanges (NYSE, NASDAQ, and AMEX) and a wide array of banking and investment firms. Though these companies have traditionally been located in the area around Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, many are in Midtown and other parts of the city. New York is the hub of the country's publishing, fashion, accounting, advertising, media, and legal industries. The city boasts several top-tier hospitals and medical schools, which train more physicians than those in any other city in the world.
New York City (IATA: NYC for all airports) is well connected by air with flights from almost every corner of the world. Three large airports (and several small ones) serve the region. John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport are large international airports while LaGuardia Airport is a busy domestic airport. All three airports are run by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey .
All airports- It would be wise to allow a minimum of 90 minutes for trips between midtown and the airports whether you use public transport or a taxi. Rush hour traffic in New York is notorious, especially on the congested Van Wyck Expressway to Kennedy airport. The lack of elevators at most subway stations makes lugging luggage up and down subway stairs difficult and peak hours should be avoided. Refer to a subway map to find disabled access stations which will have elevators. Suburban shared ride vans are available: use the phones provided near baggage claim for information. If taking a taxi, go to the taxi dispatcher. Do not accept offers of rides from people hanging around in the terminal because there is a high risk of being cheated. Since only the subway runs 24 hrs, if leaving for an early flight with a two-hour check in, you may need to take a taxi. Check bus schedules carefully if your flight leaves during the wee hours.
Connection to Other Airports- Connections between airports are poor at best. New York Airport Express runs buses between LGA and JFK. ETS Air Shuttle runs (very infrequent) buses between LGA and Newark Airport. A taxi is your best, although slightly more expensive, option when changing airports in New York — unless you have plenty of time! Set aside a minimum of two hours for public transportation, using the information below to pass through Manhattan.
John F. Kennedy International Airport
John F. Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK)  is in the borough of Queens to the east of the city. Many international airlines fly into JFK and it is a major international hub for Delta Airlines (Terminals 2 and 3) and American Airlines (Terminal 8). Air France and Lufthansa (Terminal 1), British Airways (Terminal 7), and Virgin Atlantic (Terminal 4) each provide several flights daily into JFK. JetBlue, a large low-cost carrier, occupies Terminal 5. A free AirTrain connects the terminals. Always make sure you know which terminal your flight arrives at or departs from.
Left luggage services are available in the arrivals areas of Terminal 1 and Terminal 4. There are plenty of ATMs (almost all charge a small fee). Luggage trolleys are available either for a fee of $3 (Terminals 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and all departures) or free (Terminals 1 and 4). There are many hotels in all categories close to the airport and most run shuttle buses to/from the airport.
Taxi - The most flexible route into the city from JFK is a taxi, although the wait for one can be long when many flights arrive simultaneously. Cab fare runs a flat $45 to anywhere in Manhattan, not including tolls (up to $5.50) or tips (15-20% depending on the level of service). Follow signs "Ground Transportation" and "Taxi" to the taxi line outside the arrivals area and look for the taxi dispatcher. Taxis to points other than Manhattan and taxis to the airport from anywhere use the meter (see taxis in Getting Around). During peak periods, you may have to wait up to 30 min for a taxi. Note that the arrivals terminals are filled with drivers hawking illegal livery rides at grossly inflated prices that prey on newly arrived tourists, so beware. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can sometimes bargain with the touts to get down to $35-40. (This saves the wait in the taxi line.)
Car Service/Limousines - An alternative to taxis, car services are useful for getting to the airport from the outer boroughs where taxis are harder to find, or if you prefer to have transportation reserved in advance. Typically $60+ between JFK and Manhattan.
Coach services - That provide bus service from JFK and La Guardia to Grand Central Station and Penn Station.New York Airport Express provides services into Grand Central Station, Penn Station, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal for $15/person. Trans-Bridge Lines provides infrequent service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal for $12.SuperShuttle with blue vans provides service to Manhattan hotels for about $25. goairlinkshuttle serves the Bus Terminal, Grand Central, Penn Station, and some midtown hotels for $17-20. The 'New York Airport Express' service is not as well organized as made out on their website. They recommend which bus you take, however this does not take into account the huge delays in immigration queues at JFK, especially Terminal 4 (2 hr+ at peak times) upon arrival in Manhattan, the bus drops you off at Grand Central Terminal, and you transfer to another smaller bus. The whole situation at this point is chaos and confusion, the drivers are unhelpful and nobody seems to know what is going on. Also the website advertises a transfer to your hotel, but they just drop you off in the general area.
Commuter rail - The JFK AirTrain , which stops at each terminal, runs to Jamaica station on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). The LIRR runs frequent trains to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, taking 20-25 min. Total time from the airport to Penn Station is about 45 min. At Jamaica, you can also catch trains to points further east on Long Island, or to Flatbush Ave. station in downtown Brooklyn. When going from the airport to Manhattan, taking the train can be significantly faster than a taxi, especially during peak travel times. This route is less attractive if you have a lot of baggage, though elevators are available at Jamaica and Penn Stations. Fare: the AirTrain will cost $5. To Penn Station, the LIRR will cost an additional $8 during the morning rush hour on weekdays, $5.75 at other times, and $3.75 on weekends for a total cost of $8.75-13. To get the weekend fare, you'll need to purchase a special CityTicket.
Note that you can also take the Long Island Railroad at the Kew Gardens station by taking the Q10 bus to Austin Street (See below). This allows you to avoid the $5 AirTrain ticket by paying $2.25 for the local bus and gives you a cheaper fare than at Jamaica ($6.50 peak, $4.50 off-peak, though the $3.75 CityTicket is valid for travel to/from both stations. The total cost is anywhere from $5.70-$8.75). However, you have fewer options and less frequent service at this station then at Jamaica, and the transfer is not as simple.
Subway The JFK AirTrain  runs to Howard Beach Station to connect with the "A" subway and to Jamaica Station to connect with the "E" and "J/Z" subways (Sutphin Blvd station). For Manhattan, the "A" is marginally faster for reaching downtown (the Financial District), while the "E" saves a few minutes to Midtown. Either way, expect to spend about an hour in total. If you do go to Jamaica and want to reach downtown via a fairly scenic route, the J/Z are marginally faster than the E and can be much less crowded during peak times than the E. The J/Z are elevated throughout most of Queens and all of Brooklyn and go over the Williamsburg Bridge. Also, during AM rush towards Manhattan and PM rush away from it, the J and Z do skip-stop service, meaning that some stations are J-only and Z-only. Keep this in mind if you are waiting at one of those stations. When taking this route into or out of Manhattan during the overnight hours (when only the J runs) be alert of your surroundings as you will be passing through some rough neighborhoods.
If returning to the airport on the "A" train, make sure the destination signs read Far Rockaway or Rockaway Park. Trains to Lefferts Blvd. do not connect to the airport! If you board the wrong train, transfer at any station at or before Rockaway Blvd. If you forget and overshoot, go to the end of the line and either backtrack or take the Q10 bus, as seen below. As with the J train, when taking this route into or out of Manhattan during the overnight hours be alert of your surroundings as you will be passing through some rough neighborhoods.
The Cheap Option Taking the bus  from Terminal 4 lets you avoid the $5 AirTrain ticket. These can save some time if your destination is in the outer boroughs, though keep in mind that these are ordinary city buses mostly catering to airport employees - little room for luggage, and most head to decidedly non-touristy neighborhoods in the outskirts of the city. On the flip side, they do offer many more connection options than AirTrain. Bus to train transfers include:
During rush hours, you can also pick up express buses to Manhattan (the X63, X64, X68, QM18, and QM21 at the Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike subway station). While these routes are delay-prone, they do offer a ride on cloth seats without the crowding. Ask where the bus stops are located. The fare is $5.50, but it is $3.25 if you used the same MetroCard on the Q10 bus.
Note: Transferring between bus and subway requires a MetroCard; the single ride ticket does not allow transfers so this is likely to cost you $4.50, as you will be charged $2.25 twice. Coins are needed to board the buses without a MetroCard. If you want to get a Metrocard before making the trip, they are available for sale at Hudson Newsstands in Terminals 1 and 6. If the newsstands are closed and you're feeling patient, take the Airtrain to the Howard Beach Station where you can buy a multiple ride Metrocard from the vending machines without leaving the airport. Then take the Airtrain back to Terminal 4, where the buses are easiest to catch (on the right side of Terminal 4 when facing). The Q10 and B15 also stop at the Lefferts Blvd. AirTrain station, but are a little more difficult to figure out.
Newark Liberty International Airport
Newark Liberty International Airport, 1-800-EWR-INFO, (IATA: EWR)  is located to the west of the city in Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey. The airport has three terminals labeled A, B, C. Terminal C is the home of Continental Airlines which has a major hub at Newark. Most other international airlines use Terminal B while domestic flights are from Terminal A but there are exceptions, so check your terminal before you head for the airport.
Taxi - Taxis are available outside the terminals (look for signs labeled 'Ground Transportation' and 'Taxi' when leaving the arrivals area). Travelers to New York City are charged a flat rate based on the destination (the dispatcher will note the fare and destination on the taxi form). The fare to most parts of Manhattan is $50-70. Tips (15%-20%) and tolls are extra (except for destinations to Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, expect to pay $8 for bridge or tunnel entry into Manhattan. You may also pay a small toll, under $2, if the driver uses the New Jersey Turnpike). If you go to Manhattan, you must pay the "return" toll. Limousines fares are just a bit more expensive than taxis
If you want to save some money, you could have the driver take you to Penn Station and take the PATH.
Train - From Newark Airport, take the AirTrain (easy elevator and escalator access from Terminals) to the Newark Airport Train Station (about 10 min) to connect to a NJ Transit or Amtrak train running along the Northeast Corridor line for connecting service to New York Penn Station (34th St and 8th Ave in Manhattan). Expect to spend around 5 minutes getting ticketed and to the correct platform. One-way fares to Penn Station are $15 if you take a NJ Transit train, and between $20 and $30 on Amtrak. Note that if you take the NJ Transit train there is also a stop at Penn Station, Newark, New Jersey - stay on till Penn Station, New York. The NJ Transit train from Newark Airport to Penn Station, New York takes about 30 minutes and trains come every 15-30 min. Note that NJ Transit tickets are not valid on Amtrak so, if you are going to Manhattan, don't get onto an Amtrak train at the Newark Airport Rail Station. The Amtrak connection is only useful if you are traveling away from the New York Metropolitan Area to areas not served by NJ Transit (New Haven, Philadelphia, or even Washington D.C. and Boston). Port Authority personnel are available at the rail station to help you figure out what ticket you need and what train to take.
Airport Shuttles - A popular shuttle service comes from way of goairlinkshuttle, Newark Airport Shuttle . Rates from all major airports starting at $12 to $15 per person to Grand Central Port Authority, Penn Station, Bryant Park, and Midtown Hotels.
Airport Bus - Olympia Trails  ($15 one way, $25 round trip) runs buses every 15 minutes to Manhattan, with stops at the Port Authority Bus Terminal (41st St between Eighth and Ninth Aves), Bryant Park, and Grand Central Station. One-way trip time is about 40 min depending on traffic.
Private Car Service - An alternative to taxis, car services are useful for getting to the airport from the outer boroughs where taxis are harder to find, or if you prefer to have transportation reserved in advance. Typically $45+ between EWR and Manhattan. The 3 most common are LimoRes Airport Car Service , Dial7 (formerly Tel-Aviv) , and Carmel .
Public Transit - For the most inexpensive option, take the New Jersey Transit bus #62 from in front of the terminals to Newark Penn Station (one-way fare $1.35; must have change; 25 min). From there, you may take a PATH subway train ($1.75) either to World Trade Center station in lower Manhattan (25 min), or, by transferring at the Journal Square station to the 33rd St. train (across the platform), to the following stops along Sixth Avenue: Christopher St in Greenwich Village, 9th St, 14th St, 23rd St, and 33rd St. Note that transfer to the New York Transit subway system almost always requires an exit onto the street. The combined fare for the bus/PATH option ($3.10) is significantly lower than the EWR AirTrain with NJ Transit, but will take longer —plan on 1.5–2 hours with waiting times— and requires 1-2 transfers. As a word of caution, note that this is not a well-publicized option; you may well find yourself to be the only tourist on the bus, so don't expect much help or companionship in finding your way.
Since public transport will drop you off at only a couple of points in Manhattan, you should make your choice of transport depending on where you are headed and how much luggage you are carrying. For points near New York Penn Station, the AirTrain/NJ Transit option works well. For points downtown, it may be faster to take the NJTransit bus and then a PATH train. For places on the east side, near Grand Central Station, the airport bus would be perfect. Be aware that, if you have luggage, getting into Manhattan and then looking for a taxi, while cheaper, won't be easy during rush hour. However, it may be faster, as traffic into Manhattan can be heavy. As an alternative, once you are in Manhattan, you can take a bus or train from your destination. (Keep in mind that they may be very crowded). You can go to MTA and click on either the subway map or Manhattan bus map to find a way from your drop-off point in Manhattan. If you are by Grand Central, you are served by the 4, 5, 6, and 7 trains. If you are by Penn Station, you are served by the A, C, E (on 8th Ave) , 1, 2, 3 (on 7th Ave), and the B, D, F, V, N, Q, R, and W (at 6th Ave).
LaGuardia Airport (IATA: LGA)  is a smaller, older airport providing many of the domestic services for the city including the frequent shuttles to Boston and Washington, D.C.. Direct flights are available to all large and most small airports east of the Mississippi, with a few international flights to Toronto and Montreal. The Marine Air Terminal, currently the terminal used by Delta Airlines for shuttle services to Washington D.C. and Boston, is one of the oldest, still-in-use, airport terminals in the world. LaGuardia is conveniently located for getting to and from the city and is connected by public transport.
Taxi - Taxis to and from most points in Manhattan cost $20-$30 plus tips and tolls. You can save on tolls by asking the driver to use Queensboro Bridge for points midtown and on the Upper East Side, the Williamsburg Bridge for the Village and downtown, or Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges for points downtown. If going above about 72nd Street, it is better to pay the toll ($5.50) and take the RFK Bridge (formerly called the Triboro) into Manhattan.
Public Transport - LaGuardia is served by three city bus lines, which are a cheap alternative but can take a very long time due to all the stops the bus makes. The M60 bus connects with N and W trains at Astoria Blvd., and crosses Manhattan using 125th St, connecting with several stations along that street (4, 5, 6 at Lexington Ave.; 2 and 3 at Lenox Ave./Malcolm X Blvd.; A, B, C, D at 8th Ave./St. Nicholas Ave.), finally reaching the 1 train at Broadway and 116th St. This is a useful service if you are staying in Harlem, the Columbia University area or Hostelling International New York, as it goes south on Broadway (west side) to 106th St. Keep in mind that the M60 is an ordinary city bus with little room for luggage, and is often very crowded. Connections are also available into Queens via the Q33 and Q47 buses, reaching the Roosevelt Ave./Jackson Heights station (E, F, G, R, V, and 7 trains). For all buses you need $2.25 in coins or a MetroCard. There is a change machine in the airport terminal and Hudson News, the newsstand operator for LaGuardia, has some types of MetroCards for sale. It is worth noting that the MetroCard vending machine at the airport does not accept cash.
If you are traveling to eastern Queens, you can take the Q48 to Flushing for buses or the Long Island Railroad to points east, or the E or F from Roosevelt Avenue to their terminals in Jamaica, where bus service is available to eastern Queens, in addition to the Long Island Railroad from the Sutphin Boulevard E station. Check the bus and subway maps at .
Airport Shuttles - A popular shuttle service comes from way of goairlinkshuttle, LaGuardia Airport Shuttle . Rates from all major airports starting at $12 to $15 per person to Grand Central Port Authority, Penn Station, Bryant Park, and Midtown Hotels.
Airport Bus - New York Airport Express runs buses to Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station for $12. There are also shuttle buses that will take you straight into Manhattan and cost $12. These run about every 10-15 minutes from LGA and stop off at Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station.
Private Car Service - An alternative to taxis, car services are useful for getting to the airport from the outer boroughs where taxis are harder to find, or if you prefer to have transportation reserved in advance. Typically $40+ between LGA and Manhattan. The 4 most common are LimoRes Airport Car Service , Dial7 (formerly Tel-Aviv) , Carmel  and Carroll Transportation .
Long Island MacArthur Airport (Islip Airport) (IATA: ISP)  located in Ronkonkoma (Town of Islip) on Long Island is served by Southwest Airlines, a major discount carrier in the US. US Airways has a minor presence at the airport. MacArthur Airport can be reached by rail from Penn Station in Manhattan by Long Island Railroad to Ronkonkoma (1.5 hours, $10.75) and then a shuttle to the airport (10 minutes, $5), by bus on the Hampton Jitney ($25), or by a taxi ($10). The Long Island Railroad offers a discount package for MacArthur Airport travelers on its website .
Westchester County Airport (IATA: HPN) , near White Plains, NY, is served by several airlines. It is most convenient to Westchester County and adjacent areas of Connecticut, but it is possible to access New York City from there by taking the AirLink bus (fare $1.75; call 914-813-7777 for details) to the White Plains Metro-North station, and a Metro-North train to any of various points in the Bronx, or 125th St./Park Av. and Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. Trains to Grand Central ($6.25 off-peak and $8.50 peak for ordinary fares; see www.mta.info for further information on fares and schedules) run roughly every half hour for most of the day and take approximately 40 minutes.
New York City is also served by Teterboro Airport (IATA: TEB), in Teterboro, NJ, though this airport is used primarily for general aviation and receives no commercial flights.
Amtrak, 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245), , operates from New York Penn Station, which is directly under Madison Square Garden, its largest hub in Amtrak's east-coast system, with dozens of arrivals and departures daily. Amtrak's Acela express train provides regular fast commuter service between major points on the east coast from Washington, D.C. up to Boston, with stops at Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Haven, and Providence. Direct Amtrak services are available to points along the East Coast down to Florida; to points between New York and Chicago (including Pittsburgh, and Cleveland); to New York State (including Albany, Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls); and to Toronto and Montreal in Canada. Service to California (three days) requires a change of train in Chicago. Popular trains leaving near rush hours can fill up quickly: it's a good idea to make reservations online , or via phone, and pick up your ticket at one of the electronic kiosks.
Amtrak's ClubAcela, located near the big security desk in Penn Station, offers airline style lounge amenities (and clean bathrooms). Travelers with sleeper tickets, First Class Acela tickets, Amtrak GuestRewards SelectPlus membership, or Continental Airlines BusinessFirst tickets (for travel from Newark to Hawaii, Guam, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, or Transatlantic destinations) and Continental Airlines President's Club members may use this lounge.
Tickets for Northeast corridor trains can be purchased from QuikTrack machines with a credit card. Tickets booked online can be collected at these machines (keep the credit card or reference number handy). It is best to buy your tickets in advance for popular services.
A note to international travellers: Amtrak is notoriously slow in America, except for the Northeast Corridor (Washington, DC, through Baltimore and Philadelphia to New York, Providence, and Boston), the Keystone Corridor (New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Harrisburg, PA) and some other relatively short hops (for example, to Albany, NY). The bus can be quicker in some cases, and car rentals are far cheaper here than in say, Europe. For instance, Amtrak to Montreal can take 13 hours with the border crossing, even though it is just a 6 hour drive from New York.
Penn station centrally located in Midtown Manhattan and is located near the 1, 2, 3, A, C, and E lines at the 34th Street-Penn Station stop and is a block away from the B, D, F, M, N, Q, and R trains at the 34th Street-Herald Square station.
New York City is served by three commuter railroads.
Bus travel to/from New York has become extremely popular in recent years. Direct buses travel across North America. There are classic coach lines many stopping at the 24-hour Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) these normally have the widest variety of destinations but the highest walk-up fares. Its located in Midtown Manhattan on the A, C, and E lines and 1 block away from the Times Square station on the N, Q, R, W, 1, 2, 3, 7, and 42nd Street Shuttle trains. Web-based discount new-combers often stop at nearby on-street stops. So-called Chinatown buses have the lowest walk-up fares and mostly stop in Chinatown on-street or at storefront stations. Increasingly diverse services make stops across Manhattan and offer assorted services like wifi, outlets and even straight-up business-class style luxary.
Also see BoltBus, Greyhound, Megabus, and Peter Pan serving "assorted destinations". Trip takes about 4.5 hours.
Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC
Also see BoltBus, Greyhound, and Megabus serving "assorted destinations".
Parking in the city
Think twice about driving in Manhattan. Traffic there is almost always congested. Parking is scarce and garages are quite expensive (up to $40 per day.) If you park illegally you may get a $150 parking ticket; if towed you may have to pay $300 to get your car back. When entering New York from New Jersey, as well as with many bridges and tunnels within New York City, you will incur tolls (up to $10)  and associated traffic delays. Many New Yorkers (and almost all Manhattanites) don't even own cars, and driving from one attraction to another in Manhattan is all but unheard of. Driving to one of the stations served by the Metro North railroad, New Jersey Transit, or Long Island Railroad (see above) and taking the train in is a better option. There are often secure parking areas in some of these stations. Alternate side parking restrictions are practically non existent in Staten Island; parking near the ferry and ditching the car for the weekend is a sane idea that will save you money and time in the long run.
As a general rule, hotels in New York do not supply parking. The few that do will charge you handsomely for the privilege. It is suggested that you look at the following four websites:
Be wary of your surroundings. While NYC is a safe city for its size, it's not necessarily safe for your car as well. Make it as unworthy to steal as possible.
Most of Manhattan is laid out in a grid. Accounting for Manhattan North, which is the convention stating that the island of Manhattan is oriented exactly north to south (it's actually northeast to southwest), streets run east and west and avenues run north and south. This makes it relatively easy and straightforward to find your way. Streets are numbered (except in downtown Manhattan) and the numbering rises as you go north. Most avenues are numbered from east to west (so First Avenue is east of Second, etc.) below 59th Street. Building numbering on avenues starts at the south end of the avenue and rises as you move north, while building numbering on streets starts at Fifth Avenue (for the most part - see below) and increases as you go east or west crosstown.
Above Washington Square, Fifth Avenue divides Manhattan into east and west; numbering starts at Fifth Avenue on each side (except where Central Park interrupts) and increases in either direction. Addresses west of Fifth Avenue are written as, for example, 220 W. 34th Street, while those east of Fifth Avenue are written as 220 E. 34th Street. However, for numbered streets below Washington Square (fortunately, there are only two, 3rd and 4th streets), Broadway divides the streets into East and West. Because of this dual-numbering system, it is always advisable to keep in mind the closest intersection to your destination (6th Avenue and 34th Street, Broadway and 51st, etc.). You might also see addresses written in a kind of shorthand in terms of the nearest crossing streets, for example "1755 Broadway b/w 56th & 57th." In Greenwich Village and downtown Manhattan (generally considered as below Houston (HOW-ston) Street), all bets are off as streets meander, dead-end and intersect themselves. Streets in Greenwich Village are particularly notorious for defying logic. For instance West 4th Street intersects with West 10th Street and West 12th Street, and you can stand on the corner of Waverly Place and Waverly Place.
As a convenient guide to distance, there are 20 blocks per mile along the avenues (walking North/South). The average person can walk roughly 1 block per minute, or 60 blocks (3 miles) per hour. Walking East/West on the streets, the blocks are generally much longer.
For shorter distances, there is no better way of getting around New York than hitting the sidewalk. If you use the subway or buses, you will almost certainly need to walk to and from stations or stops. In all areas of New York a traveler is likely to visit, all streets have wide, smoothly-paved sidewalks. For long distances, walking is also fine and a great way to see the city.
Jaywalking is extremely common among New Yorkers, but can be extremely dangerous. If you cannot properly gauge the speed of oncoming cars, it is recommended you wait for the walk signal. An average New Yorker typically jaywalks 10-15 times a day, so do not blindly follow one as they are quite adept at making split-second choices -- and while they might have time to make it across, the person behind them might not. If you do jaywalk, driving is on the right-hand side of the road on two-way streets so remember to look left to check for on-coming traffic on your side of the road. Be aware that most streets are one way, so you may have to look right. Most New Yorkers who know which streets go which way will only look in the direction traffic is coming from rather than looking in both directions. A useful mnemonic to remember which way streets (not avenues) go is "evens go east" -- or if there are cars parked, look which way they are facing. This helps about 98% of the time. But beware of any bicyclists unlawfully going against the proper flow of vehicular traffic -- or, for that matter, police or other vehicles doing the same. (It never hurts to just look both ways, even on a one-way street.)
If you do not wish to jaywalk, be considerate of New Yorkers by not blocking them from crossing at an intersection while you are waiting for your signal. Also, it is considered extremely poor etiquette to walk several people across along the sidewalk without providing a space for New Yorkers to pass.
The New York City Transit Authority issues MetroCards for using the bus and subway system in the city. While it is possible to pay for a bus using exact change (in coins) you must have a MetroCard to enter the subway system. Cards can be bought online, at stations (either from a vending machine or from a token booth), or at many grocery stores and newstands (look for a MetroCard sign on the store window). It is possible to purchase MetroCards with a credit card from the ticket machines, however they require that you type in your 5-digit zip code to confirm the card (or just your regular pin on international cards). Information on types of MetroCards and fares can be found online at the Metrocard website. 
Which MetroCard is right for you? It depends on how long you plan to stay, how you intend to use the system, and how often you intend using the system. The base fare is $2.25 which you pay when you enter a bus or pass through a station turnstile for the first time. However, most MetroCards discount this fare:
MetroCards can also be used to obtain discounts throughout the year at venues across New York City in the form of "MetroCard Deals." Subways, buses, and stations will post signs announcing these "Deals," which is usually redeemed by showing a MetroCard at a ticket booth, or a merchandise counter. The MetroCard website also posts the most recent MetroCard Deals.
The New York City subway is easily the best way to travel around the city. It may look grungy and dirty, but few New Yorkers would trade their 24 hour, extensive, and fairly reliable subway system for a better looking, less efficient one. The subway charges a flat fare of $2.25, regardless of distance traveled. The much-feared subway crimes of the 70s and 80s are for the most part a thing of the past, and it is almost always completely safe. Just use common sense when traveling late at night alone and try to use heavily-traveled stations. Nowadays, you are statistically more likely to get struck by lightning than be a victim of crime on the subway.
There are many different bus lines, which provide good transport away from the subway. Bus lines are identified by letters followed by numbers. The letters indicates the borough in which the line mostly operates (M=Manhattan; Bx=Bronx; B=Brooklyn; Q=Queens; S=Staten Island). Bus maps for each borough can be found at the MTA website .
Even in Manhattan, with its dense subway network, buses can often be the best way of making a cross-town (i.e. east to west or vice versa) journey. And outside peak hours, a ride by bus from the tip of Manhattan at Battery Park to Midtown is a good and cheap way of taking in the sights.
Buses are particularly useful when going across Central Park (e.g., going from the Metropolitan Museum to the Museum of Natural History). The buses that traverse the park are the M66, M72, M79, M86, M96, and M106. These generally operate on or around 66th, 72nd, 79th, 86th, 96th, and 106th Streets, respectively; however, the eastbound M66 runs on 65th St on the West Side and 67th St. east of Madison Av., the westbound M66 runs on 68th St. on the East Side east of Madison Av., the M79 uses 81st St. to go around the Museum of Natural History on the West Side, and the M106 crosses the park at 96th/97th street and travels the same route as the M96 on the West Side.
When boarding a bus with a MetroCard, insert the card into the card slot in the top of the fare box by the driver. The fare box will swallow the card, read it and return it to you. You should see that the notched corner of the MetroCard will be in the far left corner when you place it into the fare box. It will be vertically oriented. This is different from entering the subway where you don’t stick it in as much, but slide it horizontally oriented through the swipe device, with the front toward you and the magnetic strip on the bottom.
The fareboxes also accept coins but not paper money as they are unable to read paper money, and even so, bills would be shredded in the "fare collection vacuum". As a safety precaution, drivers do not handle money. Change is not given, so exact fares must be paid. The fareboxes accepts all coins (dollar coins included) except pennies. Rarely used half-dollar coins cannot be used because the coin slots on the fareboxes are not big enough.
Note that in fall 2010, the MTA will begin to convert some routes in Manhattan, starting with the M15 Limited route on 1st and 2nd aves, to Select Bus Service (SBS) the MTA's brand for Bus Rapid Transit. SBS, already in use on one route in The Bronx, does not use the same fare collection method discussed above. Fares are paid before boarding at machines on the sidewalk. The lack of a receipt of this transaction, if asked to present one by a fare inspector, will get you a fare evasion summons of $100 or more.
Ferries provide an interesting alternative to getting around New York. The most famous ferry is the Staten Island Ferry , running from the tip of Manhattan at Battery Park to Staten Island. The ferry carries passengers and bicycles only, runs every 15 minutes during rush hours, and is free.
As it gives a really good view of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor on its way, this is a very popular trip for visitors. Ride on the starboard (right facing forward) side of the ferry from Manhattan and the port side from Staten Island for the best views (to the west). If you want to take good photographs, try to get on the ferry as soon as the gates open and walk briskly to an open window (few windows are open to the air and will populate quickly), and also note that the Manhattan to Staten Island route passes slightly closer to the monument than on the return route.
New York Water Taxi  runs ferries between points within Manhattan, with some connections to Brooklyn and New Jersey. Their boats are painted to look like taxis.
By commuter rail
Commuter rail runs into areas that aren't as well served by the subway system. The three commuter rail systems in NYC are the Long Island Railroad, Metro-North Railroad and New Jersey Transit Railroad. The Long Island Railroad runs out of Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, Flatbush Avenue/Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, and has limited rush hour service to Long Island City, Queens. It is geared towards commuters in the eastern sections of Queens. The Port Washington Brach goes into neighborhoods such as Flushing, Bayside, and Douglaston in the northern section of the borough. The Main Line, which contains most of the branches to the different parts of Long Island, goes into neighborhoods in Southeastern Queens, such as Jamaica, Laurelton, and Rosedale. The Atlantic Branch, which ends in Downtown Brooklyn, goes into East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant, both in Brooklyn. The Metro-North Railroad runs into the Bronx, with the Hudson Line running along the west side of the Bronx to neighborhoods like University Heights, Marble Hill, and Riverdale, as well as Yankee Stadium. The Harlem Line runs through the central Bronx, into neighborhoods like Fordham, Woodlawn, and Wakefield. New Jersey Transit trains aren't good for going around the 5 boroughs, as they only stop at Penn Station, Midtown Manhattan. They connect with other smaller cities near NYC, like Newark, Elizabeth, and Paterson (through a transfer at Secaucus Junction).
WARNING: Whatever you do, do not jump on a commuter train with only a MetroCard. It is NOT accepted and will result in a fine that your wallet won't like. Separate single or period tickets MUST be bought.
Yellow Cabs- Real NYC taxis are yellow, have a metal seal on the hood ("medallion"), a light with a taxi number on the roof, a meter for billing, stickers on the windshield for various licenses, special taxi license plates, and a divider in the car. If only the medallion number on the roof is lit, the taxi is available for hire. If the medallion number on the roof is not lit or the off-duty sign on the roof is lit, the taxi is not available for hire. However, sometimes the taxi will stop for you even if the off-duty sign is lit, usually if you are going in the same direction as the taxi driver to turn the cab in after his shift, so if you are desperate, it's worth a try to hail it. The meter starts at $2.50, and then $.40 for each 1/5 mile afterwards. There is a night surcharge of $0.50 (8PM to 6AM) and a rush hour surcharge of $1 (4PM-8PM M-F). There is a state surcharge (tax) of $0.50. A tip of 10-20% is expected and passengers must pay all tolls. "Yellow cabs" cruise in most of Manhattan and are available at dispatcher lines at airports, but are harder to find in the other four boroughs.
All yellow cabs are required to accept credit cards for payment and the three major credit cards are accepted. In the unlikely event that the card reader is broken, the driver will let you know before you get into the taxi.
Info on fares, flat fares, group rides and rules are online at the NYC.gov website .
Livery or Black Car- Known as car services or livery cabs, these cars may only be called by phone, are flat rate rather than metered (ask for the fare before getting in), and are not allowed to cruise the street or airports for fares. Their license plates will say either "Livery" or "TLC" on the bottom. Since yellow cabs are hard to come in the outer boroughs, limos are particularly useful for getting to the airport (your hotel can arrange one or look up the yellow pages). In some areas, livery cabs can be flagged on the street. Though this is technically illegal (the cabbie, not you, can get into trouble), it is useful in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs and is accepted practice. Negotiate the fare before you get inside. A tip of 10-20% is expected and passengers must pay all tolls.
Tipping- Tips of 10-20% are expected in both yellow cabs as well as livery cabs. A simple way of computing the tip is to add 10% of the fare and round up from there. Thus, if the meter reads $6.20, you pay $7 and if the meter reads $6.50, you pay $8. Always tip more for better service (for example, if the cabbie helps you with your bags or stroller). Don't tip at all if the service is lousy (for example, if the cabbie refuses to turn on the AC on a hot day). For livery cabs, tip 10-20% depending on the quality of the service but you don't need to tip at all if you hail the cab on the street and negotiate the fare in advance (leave an extra dollar or two anyway!).
All licensed taxis and sedan limousines are authorized to take 3 passengers in the backseat and 1 in the front seat for a total of 4. However, some of the newer minivan and SUV yellow cabs can seat more passengers and may take more than four passengers (even though the licensed limit is posted in the cab). Larger than sedan limousines can be reserved, also useful for airport trips with lots of luggage, by calling any of the dozens of companies in the yellow pages.
Be wary of unlicensed cars (known as 'gypsy cabs') cruising for passengers, especially near the airports. While drivers may claim to offer you a cheaper rate than an actual taxi, your chances of actually getting this rate (not to mention getting to your destination safely and quickly) are slim. If you are in doubt, ask an airport staffer for help finding a cab or cabstand. Major airports have taxi information cards for passengers.
For all cabs, you pay the tolls for bridges, tunnels and highways, even if the cab has an E-ZPass to use the express toll lane. Be careful of being overcharged by cabbies for toll crossings—on some bridges and tunnels (like the Queens-Midtown Tunnel) rates are not posted in plain view. So, a crossing which actually cost the cab driver $4 is easily passed onto the unsuspecting passenger as a $5 charge. Outside the city, other than flat fare destinations and Newark Airport, meter rates are doubled (when going to Westchester or Nassau County).
There are also bizarre van and shuttle services in different parts of the city. You will have to ask where it is going and how much it costs. Usually, you will see people lining up and some mysterious van will appear and they will board. There are services between Chinatown and Queens (you won’t have to make any transfers if it goes where you need to go!), and also there are separate services in Brooklyn, and Queens. Many of these services are branded as "Dollar Vans" (actually costing $1.25), and follow major bus routes. One should use good judgment before using these vans to prevent getting cheated out of money, or something considerably worse than losing money.
A car is not only unnecessary but also inadvisable; street parking is practically nonexistent near crowded areas and tourist attractions, and garage parking rates range from very expensive to plainly extortionate. Note that a large percentage of city cab drivers are aggressive drivers. Traffic can be mind-blowing for the uninitiated, especially in midtown and around rush hours. Manhattan is compact and has excellent public transportation. While this is somewhat less true of the other boroughs (particularly Queens and Staten Island, the only boroughs to be developed with auto and expressway in mind), visitors to New York do not need a car and indeed will be hampered by having one. (One exception can be blamed on Robert Moses: certain outer-borough parkways are perhaps best seen by car, although this is best done outside of peak periods, as that is when the parkways get clogged by rush hour traffic.)
Traffic in New York City roughly follows a hierarchy of precedence, which is unwise to challenge. Fire engines, ambulances, and police cruisers are at the top of the heap, followed by other public service vehicles such as buses, road crews, and sanitation trucks. Beneath them are the cabbies and the delivery trucks. Below those are the locals and the "bridge & tunnel" crowd, but even they will devour you alive if you don't know what you're doing. Note also that driving a car with out-of-state license plates (save for perhaps Connecticut or New Jersey) will instantly mark you as an outsider, sometimes resulting in other drivers being more aggressive around you than they would with a local. Suffice it to say, driving in New York is not for the timid, fearful, or otherwise emotionally fragile.
The major car rental agencies have offices throughout the city. Smaller agencies are also well represented. Be warned that car rentals in New York are generally more expensive than elsewhere in the United States, and frequently require a deposit of up to $500, if you do not have a credit card. Insurance rates also tend to be higher in New York than in most other cities.
While cheap or free parking can be found in some parts of New York at some times, parking is generally extremely expensive. Paying $40 a day is not at all uncommon. Street parking can be free or at least much cheaper, but can be extremely hard to come by. Also, "bumping" cars in front of and behind of you to get into and out of a parking spot (known to some as "Braille Parking") is not uncommon, so if you choose to park on the street, don't be surpised if you find a few new scratches and scrapes on your bumper. Note also that New York has "alternate side of the street" parking rules , which may require street parkers to move their cars at different times of the day (such as early morning, or overnight in a few business districts). Alternate side rules are suspended on many obscure holidays, while parking meters and other weekday restrictions are only suspended on a few major holidays (not even on all Federal holidays). Parking enforcement officers are very efficient in New York and quite enthusiastic about their jobs - trying to leave a car parked illegally for very long will often end with a ticket, and a vehicle illegally parked in an overcrowded place is very likely to be towed away. In fact, the whole of the city is a Tow Away zone, so if you're parked illegally, it's safe to assume your car probably won't be there when you come back, especially if a sign reading "TOW AWAY ZONE" or showing a tow truck towing a car (symbolic sign) is posted. The New York Police Department operates the tow pounds. 
Also, note that gas stations are few and far between, especially in Manhattan, where only a handful exist around the perimeter of the island. Be prepared to pay much higher prices than in the surrounding suburbs, sometimes up to 50 cents per gallon more. Especially if you're heading west, it's often a much better idea to wait until you get to New Jersey to fill up, though make sure you have enough gas in the tank so as to not run out while waiting in traffic at the river crossing!
Words of Warning
Unlike other places in the United States, right turns on red lights are illegal within New York City limits, except where otherwise posted, like a sign reading "AFTER STOP RIGHT TURN PERMITTED ON RED". Given the number of pedestrians on the streets, these turns may be dangerous, and will be met with a hostile reception and possibly a kick to the side of your beloved vehicle. However, as gateway signs reading "NYC LAW - NO TURN ON RED - EXCEPT WHERE POSTED" are sometimes but not always posted when entering the city limit, do be aware of vehicles driven by out-of-state drivers who do not know this.
Talking on hand-held cell phones (without a hands-free device) while driving is also illegal and punishable in New York State, and very dangerous, though this regulation is still fairly new and spottily enforced, and you will see other drivers doing this. But don't even think of driving while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs! The NYPD will seize your car and sell it at auction if you are caught DUI.
There are red light cameras at 100 intersections in New York City used for issuing summonses, officially called Notices of Liability, for running red lights , but they take the pictures of vehicular license plates only without attempting to identify the drivers, so the summonses, which can be paid or disputed in person or by mail , are sent to vehicular owners without any points against drivers' licenses.
And please, if there is an emergency vehicle trying to get through with its siren blaring, pull over to the side and move forward as necessary. Note that on many one-way streets (avenues in particular), the middle lane is designated as the "FIRE LANE." Generally, pedestrians understand the need for emergency vehicles to go through red lights and are usually cooperative, mostly because dashing in front of a fire truck is a great way to leave your mark on the city (in a manner of speaking).
Also, check all parking signs carefully, especially if you're lucky or persistent enough to score a parking spot in Manhattan. Parking meters demand constant feeding, and are hungry late into the night in some areas. In some parts of Midtown Manhattan, there are pay-and-display meters which are only in effect from 6PM to midnight on weekdays (and all day on weekends), during the workday, parking is prohibited except for commercial trucks. It is a good idea to keep a roll of quarters in your glove compartment. Parking is permitted at broken meters, but only for one hour, even if the meter would have let you park longer. Parking is Illegal at ALL bus stops and within 15 feet of fire hydrants. Yellow lines on the curb have no legal meaning in NYC, so they cannot be relied upon to tell you if you are parked far enough from a hydrant. Many motorists simply pay garaging fees to relieve the anxiety of finding a parking spot and avoid the risks of parking tickets, which can be expensive (especially if a vehicle is towed away) and serve as a major source of income for the city treasury!
Some avenues and many streets in Manhattan have only one-way traffic. Thankfully, one-way streets generally alternate direction, so if your destination is down a one-way street going in the wrong direction, go another block and double-back. A handy mnemonic is "Evens go East," meaning that, for the most part, streets with even numbers will head east, and vice-versa.
Get a map
This advice is even more important for intrepid travelers to the outer boroughs, where the street patterns are irregular. Good maps to use, if you are not driving, are the free bus maps which have each street, though the subway map can work in a pinch (also used for small boat navigation). There is no north-south or east-west. In Queens, numbers identify not only avenues and streets, but also roads, places, crescents, and lanes, all of which might be near each other. Read the entire street sign. Outer borough highways are confusing and often narrowed to one lane, the potholes could trap an elephant, the signs are sometimes misleading, exits which should appear do not, and signs directing a highway approach drag you through miles of colorful neighborhood (in the wrong direction) before finally letting you onto the highway with a stop sign and six inches of merge space.
That said, there are several points of entry/exit into the city from the New Jersey side: the Lincoln Tunnel (midtown/41st Street), the Holland Tunnel (downtown/Canal Street), and the George Washington Bridge (way uptown/178th Street) — all are accessible from the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95) and from I-80. The Midtown Tunnel under the East River is convenient for Long Island travelers, as it becomes the Long Island Expressway. The Queensborough Bridge (aka The 59th Street Bridge) also crosses the East River into Queens, is toll-free, and lands near the mouth of the Midtown Tunnel but requires some automotive manipulation to get onto the Long Island Expressway. Other routes head north and east out of the Bronx, including Interstates 87 (north to Albany) and 95 (northeast to Boston) and the Henry Hudson Parkway, which is along the Hudson River.
Traveling at off-hours makes sense to avoid rush hour traffic, but some highways and roads are surprisingly packed even so. The Cross Bronx Expressway, which is part of I-95 and leads to the George Washington Bridge, is almost always choked with traffic. The Long Island Expressway has heavy eastbound traffic between the morning and evening rushes. The Holland and Lincoln Tunnels are 10 minute waits on good days. The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) is notorious, and an accident on the Verazzano Bridge without shoulders can cause a backup all the way through the northern part of Staten Island into New Jersey. It is a good idea to check radio traffic reports, especially before crossing a bridge or tunnel. Three different stations have reports every 10 minutes around the clock: 880 AM (on the 8's), 1010 AM (on the 1's), and 1130 AM (on the 5's).
Driving cross-town (east-west) in Manhattan during rush hours is especially troublesome because the street lights are optimized to move traffic along the north-south roads. Your best bet is to avoid driving in Midtown Manhattan (between the 30s and 50s) whenever possible. If you do drive in Midtown Manhattan cross-town, posted Midtown Thru Streets  may reduce delays.
If you are traveling with commercial traffic, such as a moving truck, remember that commercial traffic is prohibited on many roadways throughout the city. Commercial traffic is permitted only on multiple-lane roadways designated as "expressways" (such as the Long Island Expressway, Cross-Bronx Expressway, or Brooklyn-Queens Expressway) and the surface streets unless marked otherwise. Commercial traffic is prohibited on all multiple-lane roadways designated as "parkways" (such as the Grand Central Parkway, Cross-Island Parkway, or Henry Hudson Parkway). Unfortunately, the majority of fast-moving roadways are designated as parkways in New York City. Commercial traffic is also prohibited on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Drive in Manhattan. The only viable option for traveling with commercial traffic in Manhattan is the surface streets.
Cycling in Manhattan can often be quicker than taking the subway or a taxi, but it isn't for the fainthearted. New York City's tumultuous traffic makes biking difficult. Aggressive cab drivers, jaywalking pedestrians, potholes and debris on the roads create a cycling experience that might just as well have been taken from Dante's Inferno. If you do venture into the concrete jungle on a bike, make sure you wear a helmet and have sufficient experience in urban cycling. Despite the hazards, around 100,000 New Yorkers commute to work by bicycle every day, taking advantage of the reasonably flat geography and compactness of the island. Conditions are likely to improve in future, as the city expands the cycle lane network and completes the traffic-free greenway encircling the whole of Manhattan.
PATH to Jersey City, Newark, and Hoboken
PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) is a subway type system connecting Newark and various points on the New Jersey shore of the Hudson River with New York City. Two lines pass under the Hudson and enter the city, one terminating at a temporary World Trade Center site station in downtown, the other at 33rd Street in midtown. The 33rd Street Station was once connected underground to Penn Station, but now, presumably due to security concerns, the underground passage is closed and you must walk a block west on the surface of 33rd.
PATH train fares are $1.75 per trip. An RFID-type stored value card known as the Smartlink  affords PATH users discounts: $13 for 10 trips; $26 for 20 trips. However, the card itself must be purchased ($5, $18 including 10 trips). Fortunately, the PATH system accepts the Metrocard. For the visitor traveling from New Jersey daily, it is more convenient and possibly cheaper to purchase the Metrocard to travel on both the PATH and the MTA systems.
Like most of the great world cities, New York has an abundance of great attractions.
A number of multi-attraction schemes give reduced prices and line-skipping privileges.
See also the district pages for detailed information about attractions. Detail is gradually being moved from this page to the district pages.
Subway: B, D, F, V, N, Q, R or W to 34th Street-Herald Square and walk one black east.
Subway: 7 to 5th Avenue, B, D, F, or V to 42nd Street-Bryant Park.
Subway: 4, 5, 6, 7, or 42nd Street Shuttle to 42nd Street-Grand Central.
Museums and galleries
New York has some of the finest museums in the world. All the public museums (notably including the Metropolitan Museum), which are run by the city, accept donations for an entrance fee, but private museums (especially the Museum of Modern Art) can be very expensive. In addition to the major museums, hundreds of small galleries are spread throughout the city, notably in neighborhoods like Chelsea and Williamsburg. Many galleries and museums in New York close on Mondays, so be sure to check hours before visiting. The following is just a list of highlights; see district pages for more listings.
Arts and Culture
Science and Technology
Like all great cities, New York is made up of distinct neighborhoods, each of which has its own flavor. Many of the neighborhoods are popular with visitors, and all are best experienced on foot. See individual borough pages (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx , and Staten Island) for a comprehensive listing of neighborhoods.
Though the image many people have of Manhattan is endless skyscrapers and packed sidewalks, the city also boasts numerous lovely parks, ranging from small squares to the 850-acre Central Park, and there are worthwhile parks in every borough. From the views of the New Jersey Palisades from Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, to the grand Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx, and the famous Flushing Meadow Park in Corona, Queens, site of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, there is more than enough to keep any visitor busy. And almost any park is a great spot to rest, read, or just relax and watch the people streaming past. To find out more about New York City parks, look at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation website and the WikiTravel pages for each borough.
Note that except for special events, all NYC parks are closed 1AM–6AM.
A general word of advice on sightseeing in New York:
Tourists often spend their entire vacation in New York standing in line (or as New Yorkers say, "standing on line"). This is often unnecessary; there are usually alternatives. For example, one can choose to avoid the Empire State Building during the day (it is open, and empty, late, until midnight or 2AM on weekends during summer), skip the Statue of Liberty in favor of the Staten Island Ferry, and stay away from the Guggenheim on Monday (it is one of the only museums open that day). Also, there is no reason to stand in line for a Broadway show if you already have a ticket with an assigned seat. If you prefer, get a drink nearby and come back closer to curtain time, when you can walk right in. The lines for bus tours can be absurd because tourists all seem to have the exact same itinerary - which is get on a bus in the morning in Times Square, get off for the Statue of Liberty, and finish on the East Side in the afternoon. Why not go downtown in the morning, and save Midtown for the afternoon? You will thank yourself for avoiding the crowds. Also, understand that buses are the slowest way to go crosstown in Midtown Manhattan during peak hours, and taxis are not much better. You are often better off on foot.
Theater and Performing Arts
New York's Broadway is famous for its many shows, especially musicals. You might want to visit TKTS online, which offers tickets for shows the same night at discounted prices, usually 50% off or visit BroadwayBox.com, or NYTix.com, community sites posting all recent Broadway discounts. TKTS has two offices, one at Times Square with lines often hours long, and a much faster one (sometimes minutes) at South Street Seaport (Corner of John St, just south of Brooklyn Bridge). Note that only cash is accepted at South Street. Show up at opening time for best selection. Tickets to most Broadway shows are also available from the Broadway Concierge and Ticket Center, inside the Times Square Visitor Center. They offer restaurant and hotel recommendations, parking help, and other services in addition to ticket sales, available in several languages.
New York boasts an enormous amount and variety of theatrical performances. These shows usually fall into one of three categories: Broadway, Off-Broadway, or Off-Off-Broadway.Broadway refers to the shows near Times Square that usually play to theaters of 500 seats or more. These include the major musicals and big-name dramatic works, and are the most popular with visitors. Tickets for Broadway shows can run to $130 a seat, though discounters like TKTS (above) make cheaper seats available. Off-Broadway indicates performances that are smaller (less than 500 seats) and usually of a certain intellectual seriousness. Some of these theatres are located around Times Square in addition to different locations throughout Manhattan. Tickets to Off-Broadway shows tend to range from $25–50. Off-Off-Broadway refers to those shows that play to very small audiences (less than 100 seats) with actors working without equity. These can be dirt cheap and often very good, but some may be sufficiently avant-garde as to turn off conservative playgoers. Off-Off-Broadway Theaters worth checking out are Rising Sun Performance Company , Endtimes Productions , and The People's Improv Theater .
For current and upcoming Broadway and Off-Broadway info and listings, visit Playbill.com. This site also has lots of articles on what's going on in the NY commercial theatre scene. Broadway.com  and Newyorkcitytheatre.com  also has plenty of info, as well as some videos and photos. Theatermania  has many discounts to the bigger shows, and also provides listings for the Off-Off scene. If visiting in the summer, brave the huge lines and attempt to get tickets to the Public Theater's  annual "Shakespeare in the Park," which often features big-time stars of stage and screen. Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Natalie Portman, and Liev Schrieber are just a few of the actors to have appeared here in recent years. Oh, and it's free. Just get to one of the box offices ridiculously early, especially the one at the Park.
It's possible to purchase tickets to The Tony Awards, Broadway's biggest award ceremony and the culmination of the theatrical season in the city. These aren't cheap, but if you're into the theatre scene and know something about the various performers being honored, it can be an exciting night. In any case, the performances are always fun, and you can catch moments that aren't in the broadcast. Always the first or second Sunday night in June, visit The Tony Awards website  for the most current details.
New York has a wide variety of musical and dance companies, including several that are among the world's most renowned. There are also numerous small companies putting on more idiosyncratic shows every night of the week. The following are just a few of New York's most high-profile music and dance options.
Subway: N, Q, R, or W to 57th Street-7th Avenue.
Subway: 1 to 66th Street-Lincoln Center
New York is one of the world's greatest film cities, home to a huge number of theaters playing independent and repertory programs. Many major US studio releases open earlier in New York than elsewhere (especially in the autumn) and can be found at the major cineplexes (AMC, United Artists, etc.) around the city. Be advised that, as with everything else in New York, movies are quite popular, and even relatively obscure films at unappealing times of the day can still be sold out. It's best to get tickets in advance whenever possible.
As many films premiere in New York, you can often catch a moderated discussion with the director or cast after the show. Sometimes even repertory films will have post-screening discussions or parties. Check listings for details.
In addition to the more than 15 commercial multiplexes located throughout the city, some of the more intriguing New York film options include:
Subway: N (weekends only), R, or W (weekdays only) to Prince Street.
Subway: F or V to 2nd Avenue-Lower East Side
New York City hosts many parades, street festivals and outdoor pageants. The following are the most famous:
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 New York, including clothing, cameras, computers and accessories, music, musical instruments, electronic equipment, art supplies, sporting goods, and all kinds of foodstuffs and kitchen appliances. See the borough pages and district sub-pages for listings of some of the more important stores and major business districts (of which there are several).
In New York City street artists have an advocacy group ARTIST that has won numerous Federal lawsuits on their free speech rights. Based on their lawsuits anyone can now freely create, display and sell art including paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, DVDs, CDs etc. based on First Amendment freedom of speech. Thousands of artists now earn their livings on NYC streets and in parks. Among the areas where many can be found are SoHo in Lower Manhattan and near the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 81st Street.
New York City has a number of retail outlet locations, offering substantial discounts and the opportunity to purchase ends-of-line and factory seconds. See the Manhattan page for descriptions of Century 21 and Filene's, where many New Yorkers get designer clothing for less.
If you need everyday items such as bottled water, packed snacks, photo developing and medicine, you can go to a Duane Reade  convenience store. They are located virtually everywhere in Manhattan and in a few instances, particularly in Midtown, there may be more than 1 Duane Reade per block. There are some CVS and Rite Aid pharmacies in the city as well.
For a more authentically New York experience, stop by one of the thousands of bodegas/delis/groceries throughout Manhattan. Although sometimes dirty-looking and often in apparent need of repair, you can purchase groceries, water, inexpensive flowers, coffee, and cooked food -- typically 24/7.
Shopping in Airports
JFK: Most shops are chain outlets, the same as can be found in most of large airports in the world--so it's pretty difficult to feel the spirit of the fashion capital if you only have 2 hours in JFK waiting for a connection flight. JetBlue Airways' new terminal 5 is the most populated with modern, cutting-edge restaurants and shops, but terminals 4 and 8 are also a good place for retail and duty free shopping.
New York has, as you might expect of the Big Apple, all the eating options covered and you can find almost every type of food available and every cuisine of the world represented. There are literally tens of thousands of restaurants, ranging from dingy $2-a-slice pizza joints to the $500-a-plate prix fixe sushi at Masa. Thousands of delis, bodegas, and grocery stores dot every corner of the city and DIY meals are easy and cheap to find. Street food comes in various tastes, ranging from the ubiquitous New York hot dog vendors to the many middle eastern carts at street corners in mid-town.
Fruit stalls appear at many intersections from Spring to Fall with ready to eat strawberries, bananas, apples, etc available at very low cost. Vegetarians will find New York to be a paradise with hundreds of vegetarian-only restaurants and good veggie options in even the most expensive places.
Don't leave without trying
Delis & Street Food
New York has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the world--maybe because of the size of New Yorker's tiny kitchens, or the enormous melting-pot immigrant populations, but this city excels at every kind of restaurant. There are fancy famous-chef restaurants, all ethnic cuisines and fusion/updates of ethnic cuisines (second-generation immigrants tweaking their family tradition), plus all the fashionable spots, casual bistros, lounges for drinking and noshing and more. A hot list of New York restaurants is bound to become quickly out of date, but here are a few of the moment.
The Standard Grill--Latest big, fabulous, fashionable hotel-bistro. Celeb-packed. Superb food. Momofuku Saam Bar--The chef here, David Chang, is the biggest new name to come out of the '00s. Prune--This is a classic tiny spot with a well-known female chef, and, for those willing to wait for a table at brunch, will give the ultimate NYC brunching experience, plus Bloody Marys. Buttermilk Channel--It's in Brooklyn at the tail end of Carroll Gardens near Red Hook. Simply great updated locavore comfort food.
A number of restaurants in New York do not take credit cards, particularly smaller establishments, and especially restaurants in Chinatown and Williamsburg. Still, others maintain minimum purchase amounts for credit/debit purchases. Most establishments will prominently display this requirement, so keep your eyes open if you typically pay for meals with plastic.
New Yorkers often calculate the base tip by doubling the tax. Since tax is 8.875%, if you double this, 17-18% approximates the tipping customs elsewhere in the US. Most New Yorkers tip 20% and above if they feel they were treated well. Many restaurants include a mandatory service charge for large parties, and if this charge is shown on your bill, you may be stuck tipping at least that much, but you don't need to tip more. (If service is horrible, you can choose to refuse to pay the service charge and so inform the manager, but never do that unless something really terrible happened.) If you receive poor service and tip less than customary, the waiter may confront you and ask for a normal-sized tip. This isn't totally uncommon and might happen because the waiter's accustomed to European tourists who accidentally give low tips because they don't understand the US custom. A confrontation is different from an included service charge. Remember that while it is expected for you to tip normally for adequate service, you are never obligated to tip and owe the waiter no argument if your service was truly awful.
When paying cash (without a tab) in a bar, tipping a dollar or two per drink is common in bars where drinks cost $5 - $15. But 20% is a good rule. Though this custom is looser than restaurant tipping, you're likely to blend in a bit better if you do it.
Restaurants with entrees under $20 are unlikely to have any preference about what their customers wear. If you're from elsewhere in the US and wish to "pass" as a local within Manhattan, pay attention to your shoes and coat, though it's hard for wikitravelers to arrive at consensus on fashion. Most local exclusiveness is pretty understated, but where it exists it's to the B&T crowd or "bridge and tunnel people," nightlife commuters from New Jersey and Long Island that supposedly threaten to rob bar-filled neighborhoods of their local color, so if your style doesn't fit in but is obviously from outside the US, you may find yourself as welcomed as graciously as any local, if not more so. And New Yorkers are mostly underdressed compared to Sydney, London, or Paris.
Like most major cities, New York has some expensive, extremely fashionable restaurants that care about, and enforce, a certain level of dress among their customers - but "jackets only" restaurants are very uncommon nowadays.
New York is a friendly place for vegetarians and vegans. There are many vegetarian only restaurants with offerings varying from macrobiotic food to Ayurvedic thalis or Asian Buddhist food. But, more importantly, almost every restaurant at every point on the price scale has vegetarian dishes that are more than an afterthought. Even Per Se, one of the most expensive and sought after restaurants in the city, has a seven course vegetarian tasting menu well worth the expense. DIY vegetarians will have no problem finding fresh vegetables, a wide variety of cheese, bread, and prepared vegetarian foods in New York supermarkets.
Nothing differentiates New York more from other American (and European) cities than the astonishing amount of food cooked and served on the streets. Starting with the thousands of hot dog stands on almost every street corner (try Hallo Berlin on 54th and Fifth for the best rated sausages), the possibilities are endless. People trek to Jackson Heights in Queens for a nibble of the famous arepas of the Arepa Lady. Freshly cooked Indian dosas are served up for a pittance at the NY Dosas stand in Washington Square Park. The Trinidadian/Pakistani Trinipak cart on 43rd and Sixth. Danny Meyer, the famous restaurateur, has a burger stand ("Shake Shack") in Madison Square Park as well as a new location on the upper west side. The halal offerings in midtown are legendary (Kwik-Meal on 45th and Sixth; Chicken Guy/Halal Chicken on 53rd and Sixth and many others). Most carts serve lunch (from about 11AM to 5 or 6PM in the evening) and disappear after dark, so look for a cart near you, smell what's cooking, and enjoy a hot and often tasty lunch for a few dollars (a meal costs anywhere from about $2 to $8). Mornings, from about 6AM to 10AM, the streets are dotted with coffee carts that sell coffee, croissants, bagels, and danish pastries and are good for a cheap breakfast: small coffee and bagel for a dollar or so. Other street vendors sell italian ices, ice cream, and roasted peanuts. Also, look around for the coffee truck (often found in Union Square), dessert truck, as well as Belgian waffle truck that roam around the city.
Do It Yourself
New York's many markets and grocery stores make preparing your own food interesting and easy. Almost every grocery store, deli, or bodega has a prepared foods section where you can make your own salad (beware, you are charged by the pound!) or buy ready to eat foods such as burritos, tacos, curries and rice, lasagna, pastas, pre-prepared or freshly-made sandwiches, and many other types of foods. Whole Foods has five New York City locations, all with a variety of foods, and a clean place to sit and eat but any supermarket will have enough to take away to the park or your hotel room for a low cost meal. If you have a place to cook, you'll find almost any kind of food in New York though you may have to travel to the outer boroughs for ethnic ingredients. Most supermarkets have Thai, Chinese, and Indian sauces to add flavor to your pot, and many, especially in upper Manhattan, have the ingredients necessary for a Mexican or Central American meal, but go to Chinatown for the best Chinese ingredients, Little India in Murray Hill for Indian ingredients, Flushing for all things Chinese or Korean, Jackson Heights for Peruvian, Ecuadorian, and Indian, Flatbush and Crown Heights for Jamaican, Williamsburg for Kosher. Ask around for where you can get your favorite ethnic ingredients and you'll find traveling around in local neighborhoods a rewarding experience. There is also a Trader Joe's at Union Square for cheap but delicious supermarket buys. Western Beef Supermarkets offer more foods from different ethnicities than average supermarkets.
The only thing about New York City that changes faster than the subway map or the restaurants is the bar scene. While some established watering holes have been around for decades or centuries, the hot spot of the moment may well have opened last week and could likely close just as quickly. New York on Tap  maintains an up to date map of all of the city's bars, but the best way to find a decent bar is to ask the advice of a native dweller with trustworthy taste. Barring that, a copy of Time Out New York, the Voice, or some other nightlife guide will help you find a den of iniquity tailored to your personal needs.
Greenwich Village is probably the classic destination to go out if you are in town for just a brief period- it is the equivalent somewhat of a Latin Quarter- full of students, locals, and people of all ages. There is a vast density of bars around Bleecker Street and MacDougal, also near lower Seventh and Sixth Avenues.
Chelsea has lots of clubs and a thriving gay scene along Eighth Avenue in the twenties--which is not to say every bar in Chelsea is gay (far from it, there is a mix, just like everywhere else in NYC). West Chelsea (27th-29th streets, west of 10th avenue) is loaded with clubs- if you are European and looking for a discotheque, this is where you want to be.
The Meatpacking District has the trendier bars and clubs and some expensive restaurants too- check out the Old Homestead- NYC's oldest steakhouse. Located around 14th street and 9th avenues- this area is located between Greenwich Village and Chelsea
The Lower East Side used to be the dingy alternative to the West Village, but today is probably considered trendier. Ludlow Street is crawling with bars in an area that may remind you of the Bastille in Paris. Rivington and Stanton Street are also viable options.
The East Village has lots of bars located on second avenue- there is also a sizeable cluster of Japanese bars (which are great fun) located on St. Mark's between 2nd and 3rd.
Past the East Vilage is Alphabet City- once a dangerous drug addled hell hole, today loaded with bars.... heroin dens have been replaced with brunch places!
Murray Hill is more hip with the 30 year old crowd- the area around 29th and Lex has loads of Indian restaurants, but within three blocks there are tons of watering holes, including a couple of fireman bars and an all Irish whiskey pub.
Times Square is just not where you want to go out. Sorry tourists from the other 49 states.
Williamsburg in Brooklyn, has loads of bars along Bedford Avenue, one stop into Brooklyn on the L train. This is the capital of NYC's hipster scene- if you like pale boys with tight jeans and no job this is the place for you.
Woodside in Queens (few stops on the 7 train) is great for happy hour and pre Met game drinking festivities- there is a sizeable amount of Irish pubs by the Woodside train station (10 min from Times Square on the 7 train). In summer you should check out Queens' Bohemian Hall Beer Garden in the adjacent neighborhood, Astoria (25 minutes from Times Square on the N/W, get off at Hoyt Ave) which is an entire city block, walled, filled with trees, tables and a cool crowd, given over to Czech and German beer.
Bay Ridge in Brooklyn has more bars than any neighborhood in the city outside of Manhattan- and more bars than most Manhattan neighborhoods! Old Time Irish Italian neighborhood- get a taste of what New York was like before the hipster/yuppie transplants ruined the place.
Park Slope in Brooklyn is the yuppie capital of New York and you are more likely to find a tea house serving soy milk than a bar at this point, lots of nightlife, low key however. A number of lesbian bars are located around Park Slope. For more specific suggestions, see the relevant district pages.
St. George in Staten Island has a few bars located south of the ferry terminal, make a left when you leave the boat. Tourists take the trip on the ferry every year and never get off- look for live music at the Cargo Cafe or Karl's Klipper, both located on Bay Street w/ phenomenal views of the Verrazano Bridge.
The Marriot Marquis has a lovely revolving bar on the 50th floor (broadway & 45th), the Peninsula hotel (5th avenue near fifty fifth) has probably the classiest rooftop bar in New York. The Rainbow Room, which is often closed and has a dress code, is at Rockefeller Center. The Hotel Metro on 35th and 5th also has a rooftop bar with fantastic, stress free, views of the Empire State Building.
Last call is 4AM although many establishments will let you stay beyond that (especially in the boroughs). It is not uncommon to be locked in a bar after 4AM so people can keep drinking. Tip your bartender well and buy backs happen- especially in the boroughs. Wine and liquor is not sold at delis or supermarkets- that Chateau Diana wine at the delis is not what people in New York drink, I am not sure if it is even wine. You have to go to a Liquor Store- if you are staying in midtown these are located along 8th avenue. The cheapest liquor store in Manhattan is on Broadway and 8th street. Beer cannot be bought between 4AM and 8AM on Sunday morning (although if you look hard, you can get around this... but you should probably just call it quits at that point).
There are various local beers to try. Chelsea Brewing Company and Heartland Brewery are worth a visit.
Keep in mind that like most of the US, the legal drinking age is 21. Even if you're over 21, make sure to keep your drivers license (sufficient for US & Canadian citizens) or passport (sufficient for everyone else) on hand. Especially in touristy neighborhoods, it's not uncommon to be asked to prove your age as a matter of policy- even at a restaurant. Outside of the touristy areas, and especially in Brooklyn, people tend to be more relaxed.
New York has some of the most expensive hotels in the world. Expect to pay up to $50 for a hostel style hotel; around $100-$200 for a budget room with shared bath; $250-$350 for a mid-range hotel with a decent room and a restaurant and/or room service; and much higher in the many high end hotels in the city. In the mid-range and splurge hotels, it often pays to ask for a corporate rate. Most rooms below $ 200 in Manhattan are small with room for a bed, a tv and little else. Be warned that the quality of hotels varies a lot and, in many cheap hotels away from the center (along the West Side Highway, or in the outer reaches of Queens) you may share the premises with hourly customers!
A better alternative than New Jersey might be Queens, more specifically Long Island City. There are 10-15 mid-range (you can probably sleep for $50) and clean and safe hotels in the region just across the Queensborough (59th Street) Bridge from Manhattan. This area is being developed by the city as its new "hotel zone." Take advantage of it! And the subway runs all night so you can go out in Manhattan and come back at any time.
Airport hotels serving Newark Airport are inexpensive ($50+ booked online; $69 walk in). Multiple transfers (airport shuttle to airport; #62 to Penn Station; PATH train to the city) are required, and services are of low frequency. Expect 1.5 to 2 hours each way from your Newark airport hotel to Manhattan.
Another option for customers coming from Newark Airport is to stay in Staten Island. While the cab fare is still high, the traffic isn't as bad and there is reasonably good access to the rest of the city. The Hilton Garden Inn at 900 South Avenue offers shuttle bus service to the St George Ferry (from which the free ferry offers a great view of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty) and the Staten Island Hotel is well-served by express buses to Manhattan and local buses to the Staten Island Ferry.
If you know ANYONE in New York and can stay with them this is highly advised. New Yorkers love showing off their city and understand what local hotels cost. Taking an old friend out to dinner one night as a thank you is far more economical than a hotel- and you will see a real take on New York as opposed to the fake Times Square New York that tourists see on TV.
Find free wireless hotspots across the city online at openwifinyc, NYC Wireless , and WiFi Free Spot. Wireless is available in city parks and quite a few public libraries. The Apple store has dozens of computers setup and doesn't seem to mind that many people use them for free internet access, but they can be pretty busy at times. Easy Internet Cafe and FedEx Kinkos are just some of the internet cafes which offer broadband internet at reasonable prices. Finding a store with an open power outlet may be difficult.
Public phones are found all over the city so carry quarters if you plan to use them. Remember to include the 1 and area code when dialing, as 11-digit dialing is in effect.
Commonly believed to be very dangerous, New York is statistically the safest large city in the United States, and its crime rate has fallen so low that it is comparable to many American small towns. In fact, the crime rate in New York is now below the average crime rate for the nation as a whole, and the city is statistically much safer than other popular tourist destinations like Orlando or Las Vegas. While it is unlikely that you will be a victim of a crime while in the city, it is best to always keep your property with you, and exercise care if you find yourself on a lightly traveled or poorly-lit street. Always be aware of your surroundings, and realize that certain sections of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens are off the tourist path and should be avoided.
The most common crime against tourists (not including being overcharged!) is bag snatching, and it is easy to reduce the possibility of this happening. Never let go of your bag, especially in the subway but also when eating at a restaurant (take special care if sitting outdoors or in a crowded self-service restaurant). Leave your passport and other valuables in a hotel safe (or squirrel it away in your suitcase) and don't flaunt a wad of dollars.
While it is rare for a tourist to be a victim of a violent crime, muggings do take place in the city. Stick to crowded streets and that won't happen. When walking in Manhattan, the best way to get to your destination is to walk up or down an avenue to a point as close to your destination as possible. Riverside Park and Central Park can be dangerous at night, so unless you know what you're doing, don't go at night. (If you go to an evening concert at Central Park, Prospect Park, et al., follow the crowd out of the park before heading toward your destination.)
If you think you've inadvertently wandered into a dangerous area, hop into a cab (if available) or into the nearest subway station and go elsewhere. If a subway platform is deserted, stay within sight of the token booth. (Subway stations have well marked "off hour waiting areas" but these are mostly a throwback to the dangerous times of the mid-80s. Subway crime is a rarity these days.)
New York has its share of odd people: talkative pan-handlers, lonely people just wanting a chat, people with psychological disorders, etc. If someone approaches you for a chat, do what most New Yorkers do: completely ignore them or say "Sorry, gotta go" while continuing to walk at a brisk pace.
The stereotypes of New Yorkers that you may see on television or hear about is to simply be ignored; they are generally nice people and they tend to keep to themselves and don't mind giving out directions so don't be afraid to ask if need be. If you ever get into trouble, approach the nearest police officer. There are plenty of them around, especially in tourist areas, and you'll find them to be friendly, polite, and very helpful.
Smoking in public places is highly restricted. It is prohibited in indoor sections of bars, restaurants, subway stations and trains, both indoor and outdoor stadiums and sports arenas in the city, and many other public places. If you light up in any of these places, you may be subjected to a summons and fine, ejection, and/or indignant reactions from residents. There do remain a small number of legal cigar bars that are exempt, as are the outside areas of sidewalk cafes and the like, but these are very much the exception. If you need to smoke while eating or drinking, be prepared to take a break and join the rest of the smokers outside in the weather (many establishments have large space heaters). Drinking alcoholic beverages on the street is illegal, so bars will not let you take your drink outside with you.
Locals would ask why you ever wanted to leave, but the truth is that New York is a great jumping-off point for a visit to other locations in the metro area (including New Jersey and Connecticut), or anywhere in the Boston-Washington corridor.