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Manhattan is a borough of New York City.

Wall Street. Madison Avenue. 34th Street. Broadway. Manhattan is so well known that even the names of its streets have become iconic and understood the world over. This long, thin island is only one of New York City's five boroughs, but it's Manhattan that has the concrete canyons and the inimitable skyline; Manhattan that has the world's brightest and most renowned theater district; Manhattan that has Central Park, Rockefeller Center, the Guggenheim Museum, and the World Trade Center; and Manhattan that comprises iconic neighborhoods like Harlem, the Upper East Side, Times Square, and Greenwich Village.

The rest of New York City has much to see and do, but it's Manhattan that represents the city—and sometimes the entire United States—to the world. You could spend a week on this tiny island and still not see all there is to see. Grab a yellow taxi, hop on the subway, or just start walking, and you're sure to begin to understand just what it is that makes Manhattan, Manhattan.


Manhattan Skyline

Manhattan is divided broadly into four sections: Downtown, Midtown,Uptown, and Harlem & the Heights. In common parlance locally, to go "Downtown" in Manhattan means to "go south", while going "Uptown" means to "go north". Harlem is often forgotten when people think of Manhattan, but has a lot to offer, has gentrified and is up and coming.

The areas located south of 14th St are considered part of Downtown. Midtown extends from 14th St to the southern end of Central Park at 60th Street. Midtown is divided into a number of neighborhoods. Between Uptown is considered 60th St to 116th. north of 116th street is considered Harlem.

Map of Manhattan Districts
Lower Manhattan
Long the center of the American economy, the Financial District is full of impressive turn-of-the-century buildings and is a hive of activity during the day. At night it clears out considerably, though it is becoming an increasingly residential area, giving it more flavor than it has had in the past. Wall Street, the World Trade Center, South Street Seaport, and Battery Park, a departure point for ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Staten Island, and Governors Island are all in this neighborhood.
The "Triangle Below Canal Street". Home to trendy restaurants and Robert DeNiro's annual film festival, it is popular with the affluent trendy crowd and replete with trendy restaurants. Unlike SoHo to the north, Tribeca is not over-filled with shoppers on weekends, and Greenwich Street could be mistaken for the main street of a beautifully preserved small town.
"South of Houston Street" flows north from Canal St between the Hudson River and Lafayette St. The ultimate urban gentrification story, SoHo was a rundown industrial area until the 1960s, when artists began inhabiting its spacious and then-cheap lofts. After the artists came the galleries, then the celebrities, then the shoppers, and now the visitors. Filled with gorgeous cast-iron architecture (Greene St, especially), SoHo is a great shopping and dining destination, even if many of the artists have moved on.
Chinatown retains its exotic atmosphere, especially around Mott and Canal Sts. The diminishing Little Italy still exists on Mulberry St (and comes out in full force for Italian festivals such as the Feast of San Gennaro in September), but the surrounding blocks are morphing into fashionable Nolita ("North of Little Italy") or have been annexed by Chinatown.
Lower East Side
Famous as the Jewish immigrant ghetto of the early 20th century, the neighborhood today is enjoying a renaissance, with dozens of bars and restaurants.
Greenwich Village
Coffee houses, wine bars, low-rise but high art and literary connections, located between Houston and 14th Sts. The bohemian center of yore, today's Village is strongly upmarket but retains its diverse flavor, with its historic community around Christopher St and thousands of students who attend NYU.
East Village
Gritty and diverse but redeveloping, this area lies east of Broadway. Pockets of Ukrainians, Japanese, Indians and young professionals make it one of the most vibrant Manhattan areas. The once-shabby area formerly known as Alphabet City, centered on Avenues A through D, is now considered part of the East Village.
Chelsea Garment District
Having superseded Greenwich Village as the primary center of New York's gay community, this appealing district has a great mix of fashion, design, art, culture, bars and restaurants.
Gramercy Flatiron
A chic, stylish district of stately residential areas, gardens and squares, trendy restaurants and bars.
Theater District
34th-59th Sts, roughly west of 6th Ave - the name says it all: Broadway, Times Square, 42nd St, Hell's Kitchen, Columbus Circle; often overlapping in the area between Fifth and Sixth Aves with Midtown East. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is down on the Hudson River.
Also termed "Midtown East", this extensive area east of Sixth Ave includes a number of New York icons: the Empire State Building, the United Nations, Grand Central Terminal and more.
Central Park
With its lawns, trees and lakes, it is popular for recreation and concerts and is home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park Zoo.
Upper East Side
Primarily a residential neighborhood, the lower area New York City's is one of the wealthiest. While the Lenox Hill portion of this area still retains it's wealthy mantra, many areas have given way to middle-income housing, which for Manhattan, is still quite a lot. Museums abound.
Upper West Side
Often called the city's quintessential neighborhood and made famous by TV's Seinfeld, it includes delightful residential streets, the twin-towered facades of the old apartment hotels on Central Park West and Riverside Dr, Columbia University, large and impressive churches, two of the city's best-known markets (Zabar's and Fairway) and one of its major museums - the American Museum of Natural History.
Harlem and Upper Manhattan
Harlem, America's most famous black community, is home to a diverse mix of cultures. East Harlem (aka Spanish Harlem), the traditional center of Latino culture in Manhattan is distinct from West Harlem and the Heights. West Harlem, heavily gentrified due to its proximity to Columbia University is a seat for Jazz. Washington Heights to the north blends into West Harlem and is known for its large Dominican population. Fort Tryon Park sits at the top of this area and is the home of The Cloisters (the Medieval annex of the Metropolitan Museum). At the northern tip of Manhattan, Inwood's claim to fame is Inwood Park, the last remaining virgin forest on the island.


Street Map of Manhattan


Manhattan, the original core out of which modern New York City grew, is now one of the five boroughs of New York City. It's coextensive with New York County, and consists primarily of Manhattan Island. The land was inhabited by Lenape Native Americans when first discovered by European explorers.

The Early Years[edit]

In 1624, the Dutch founded New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island — this is widely counted as the beginning of New York City's history. The Dutch bought the island from the Canarsee Indians for 60 guilders, which is often valued at $24 and around $1,000 in today's dollars. The Canarsee, however, did not do poorly in the exchange — for it was not they, but the Weckquaesgeeks, who controlled most of the island. In 1664, the British captured New Amsterdam and renamed it New York after the Duke of York.

During the American Revolution, there were a number of battles fought in Manhattan early on, but for most of the war, the British firmly controlled it and made it the center of their military operations. The British finally withdrew on November 25th, 1783.

From 1785 till 1788, New York was the U.S.. capital under the Articles of Confederation, and it was also the U.S.. capital under the Constitution in 1789 and 1790. The construction of the Erie Canal (finished 1825) opened up more ship trade and helped Manhattan prosper greatly. By 1810, New York overtook Philadelphia as the most populous city in the United States.

The Formative Years[edit]

During the Civil War, the New York Draft Riots erupted in July of 1863 and led to 119 deaths. The cause of the riots was multifaceted, including economic ties with the South and anger over the rich hiring draft replacements for $300. However, another factor was the slowly melting pot of diverse immigrants that was coming to define Manhattan. The "old immigrants" had come from Ireland and Germany, while the "new immigrants" were largely Italians and Eastern European Jews. Competition for jobs was intense, and the perceived threat of freed blacks from the South taking those jobs helped trigger the riots.

After the war, Manhattan saw further waves of immigration from an even wider diversity of lands. New York and the Statue of Liberty became the symbol of America as a bastion of freedom for the world's "poor, huddled masses." During the 1920's, the Great Migration of African-Americans from the South added a large new element to the city's polyglot make-up. This trend continued until the "white majority" only constituted 58% of the population in 1990.

New York City finally expanded beyond Manhattan beginning in 1874 and culminating with the union the City of Greater New York in 1898. The newly-united city continued to grow even in the midst of the Great Depression.

The Modern City[edit]

When veterans came home after World War II, a post-war housing boom began in Manhattan and elsewhere. In the 70's, the economy slumped; in the 80's it exploded until Manhattan (and Wall Street) was the center of the world's economy. During both periods, crime soared. It was not until the 90's that new police methods lowered the crime rates.

On September 11th, 2001, two planes hijacked by Jihadists slammed into Manhattan's Twin Towers, and the World Trade Center collapsed, raining debris on the surrounding area. Around 3,000 people died, including fire fighters and police who rushed into the towers to save others. It has been rebuilt, but a memorial and a museum now sit at the site. The new One World Trade Center is the tallest building in New York.


The avenues (e.g., Fifth Ave, Seventh Ave) run north-south and are the long, wide streets. The numbered streets (e.g., 14th St, 42nd St) run east-west and start at 1st St (just above Houston St), running up to 220th St at the northern end of the island. (There is one exception to this: Numbered streets are not all parallel to one another in Greenwich Village, which is on the West Side between W Houston St and W 14th St. W 4th St slants to the northwest, crossing higher-numbered streets up to 13th St.) For ease in calculation, note that a distance of 20 city blocks (north-to-south, counting numbered streets only, not avenue blocks) is approximately equal to one mile. Going east to west, one mile is very approximately 7 avenues. Note that Park Ave S and Park Ave are continuations of 4th Ave, north of Union Square (17th St) and 32nd St, respectively; Lexington Ave is between 3rd and Park Aves, and can be thought of as a "3½ Ave". Madison Ave is between Park and 5th Aves, and can be thought of as a "4½ Ave".


In 2014, the population of Manhattan was estimated at 1.6 million, a three percent increase from the 2010 Census figure. The 23 square miles of New York County is more densely populated than any other county in the U.S.., having around 72,000 residents per square mile. That number, however, is much lower than the 101,000 per square mile figure of 1910. Nonetheless, the relatively small island of Manhattan accounts for over eight percent of the population of New York State.

Manhattan Neighborhoods[edit]

The idiomatic phrase "in a New York minute" grew out of the fast-paced lifestyle of New York City, which was originally just Manhattan, and Manhattanites in general continue to exemplify what a New York minute looks like. However, specific neighborhoods of Manhattan display much diversity as well. For example:

  • Koreatown, Chinatown and Little Italy each have their own "melting pot" immigrant culture.
  • Washington Heights holds a large number of immigrants from the Dominican Republic.
  • Alphabet City, comprised of A, B, C and D Avenues, is famous for its "Bohemian," anti-establishment subculture.
  • Curry Hill, between 25th and 30th Streets, has an abundance of Indian diners and spice shops.

Ethnic Breakdown[edit]

There are a plethora of ethnic identities present in modern Manhattan, and the breakdown runs thusly according to Census estimates:

  • 65% was White, but only 48% non-Hispanic White
  • 26% was Hispanic/Latino
  • 18% was African American
  • 12% was of Asian descent
  • 1% was of American Indian blood
  • 3% was of two or more races
  • 27% of the population was foreign-born
  • 8% were of Irish ancestry, 7% of Italian, 7% of German, 6% of Russian


The linguistic situation in Manhattan is as follows:

  • 60% speak English only in the home, though most of the 40% who speak a foreign language also speak English
  • 23% speak Spanish
  • 5% speak Chinese
  • 2% speak French
  • Between 0.5% and 1% speak Japanese, Russian, Korean, German, Italian, Hebrew or an African language


Manhattan is rather diverse religiously and not much similar to the rest of the country in its breakdown of religious adherents:

  • Over 560,000 (36%) identify as Roman Catholic, and there are over 100 Catholic congregations
  • Over 310,000 (21%) are affiliated with Jewish congregations, of which there are also over 100
  • Around 140,000 (9%) are Protestants
  • About 37,000 (2.5%) are Muslims

Other Demographics[edit]

Other important facts about Manhattan's population include:

  • Around 60% of those over 25 years old have a bachelor's degree, and around 25% have a graduate degree. This makes Manhattan one of the most educated counties in the country.
  • The average household had 2.1 people, and the average family had 3.2 people.
  • 25% of households consisted of married couples and 48% of individuals
  • 17% of Manhattanites were minors, and 12% were senior citizens. 38% were between the ages of 25 and 44, and the median age was 36.
  • There are about 90 males in Manhattan for every 100 females.
  • Manhattan had the highest per capita income of any U.S.. County in 2010, but it also had high costs of living and astounding income inequality.


Manhattan's reputation for financial might (Wall Street) and theatrical prowess (Broadway) sometimes overshadows the fact that it has been a source, topic and inspiration of much great literature over the course of its history. Most people know of the New York Times' Bestseller List, but fewer are aware that so many best-selling works of literature have been produced in New York City, and more specifically, in the borough of Manhattan.

Below is a list of works written by Manhattanites, set in Manhattan or in some way connected with Manhattan — these works and their authors will be familiar to many, while their relation to Manhattan may not be:

  • Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, written in 1819 and 1820 (respectively) by Washington Irving, are the product of a Manhattan native. Besides the two short stories mentioned above, Irving also wrote longer works of note, such as a five-volume biography of George Washington, after whom his mother named him, and his 1809 A History of New York.
  • Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is an 1893 novel by Stephen Crane set in the southern part of Manhattan known as "the Bowery." Another famed work of Crane is his Civil War novel entitled The Red Badge of Courage.
  • The Melting Pot, by Israel Zangwill, is a play that was partly inspired by William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and is set in New York City. The term "melting pot" was popularized by Zangwill to describe early 20th-Century immigrant populations of Lower Manhattan. Today, the term is still a perfect description of many of Manhattan's neighborhoods.
  • Age of Innocence is a 1920 novel by Edith Wharton that won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction — the first such prize to be won by a female author. The story takes place in 1870's New York City and critiques the upper-class society of the day. While Wharton brings societal norms into questions, she does not openly condemn them as in her earlier The House of Mirth.
  • Manhattan Transfer is a 1925 novel by John Dos Passos that tells the story of New York social history from the Gilded Age up to the Jazz Age by means of overlapping accounts of a succession of individual lives. The consumerism and brutal indifference of urban life in Manhattan and New York City are under attack in this highly acclaimed critique.
  • The Godfather, by Italian-American Mario Puzo, was published in 1969 and later gave inspiration to the film The Godfather in 1972, which later had several sequels. The novel is set in New York City in the 1940s, though the earlier life of the fictional Mafia boss Don Vito Corleone is also covered. The book exposed the public to little-known Italian crime terms and Italian Mafia culture.
  • The Catcher in the Rye was written in 1951 by Jerome David Salinger, who was raised in Manhattan. It tells of the alienation felt by adolescents growing up in New York. It was popular when first published and sells 250,000 copies annually to this day.

Get in[edit]

Please see the New York City page for details on how to get to NYC.

By rail[edit]

There are three railway stations with access to points outside of NYC. The largest, Pennsylvania Station is in Midtown West. The NJ Transit, Amtrak, and the Long Island railroad can be found here. Grand Central Terminal, one of the finest examples of beaux-arts architecture, is the home of Metro-North Railroad which connects the city to New York State and southern Connecticut. Many trains from Grand Central Terminal also stop at Harlem/125th St Station.

A subway system, the PATH, runs from 34th street to parts of downtown depending on the route. It offers three stops in New Jersey: Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark.

By road[edit]

Manhattan being an island, access (whether by car, taxi, bus or by foot) has generally to be made by means of either a bridge or a tunnel. A pedestrian can walk into Manhattan over the Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Williamsburg Bridges from Brooklyn, the Queensboro or RFK (formerly Triboro) Bridges from Queens, all the numerous small street bridges from the Bronx, and the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey. Probably the most famous of these is the Brooklyn Bridge. If you're coming from LaGuardia Airport (LGA) by cab, consider asking the driver to take the Queensboro or Williamsburg Bridges into Manhattan if you're going to Midtown or Downtown, respectively, and save yourself the RFK Bridge or Queens-Midtown Tunnel toll.

By plane[edit]

While there is no airport in Manhattan (see New York City for details on airports serving the area), there are helicopter and seaplane services into the city. At least three companies provide helicopter services between Manhattan and area airports, New York Helicopter[1], [2] from helipads on W 34th St, E 34th St, and Wall St. Seaplane services [3] are available to East Hampton from E 23rd St during the summer months. Neither are for the faint of pocket - the helicopter service costs $125+ while the seaplane service costs $425 per person. Scheduled helicopter services are also available to the airport in Bridgeport, CT from Manhattan [4].

By ferry[edit]

Passengers from Staten Island usually take the free Staten Island Ferry to get to the lower tip of Manhattan. The Battery also houses ferries to Liberty, Ellis Island, Governors Island, parts of Brooklyn and New Jersey.

Get around[edit]

See the New York City page for specific information on getting around.

There are many ways to get around in Manhattan, due to an abundance of public transport and a generally simple street-grid that is "forgiving" to tourists. While walking and travel by subway, bus and cab are most common, some may still wish to drive a private car or utilize an alternative form of transportation.

Below, we cover the basic facts about getting around in Manhattan by all of the major methods tourists may choose to use:

Private Car[edit]

Most Manhattanites do not even own their own vehicle because it is not convenient. Many visitors choose to park their car for the entire stay rather struggle with finding parking:

  • Streets run east-west, while avenues travel north-south and almost all are one way. Broadway is an exception to the city's grid-system. It runs diagonally across almost all of Manhattan's avenues.
  • Many areas are blocked off from traffic such as much of Central Park, Harold's Square, and Times Square. Additionally, street festivals which run through much of the spring, summer, and fall months will close off Avenues thereby limiting access from one side of the city to the other.

Instead of owning a car, most Manhattanites will use a Car Service App. The most relevant include: LYFT, UBER, GETT and VIA. VIA and Uber also offer shared ride services, the former being currently slightly better at routing.


Manhattan is the easiest New York borough to travel by foot, and many pedestrians take advantage of this fact. The regular, square blocks and attention to the facts noted above under Private Car combine to reduce the chances of getting lost. Also note that Fifth Avenue is the dividing line between the East and West sections of Manhattan streets so you can find specific addresses with ease. There are many pre-packaged walking tours, some free but most very cheap, but if you go out on your own, count on 20 blocks equaling a mile and taking 20 to 30 minutes to walk.


Manhattan cabs are yellow. Cabs going to another Borough are green. They cannot pick up south of 125th street. Available cabs have their TAXI sign light on but their Off Duty light dimmed. Fares are strictly by meter, a 10% to 15% tip is customary and you are responsible for any tolls. Be aware that during shift-changes almost all cabs are off-duty.

Most people will instead use a Car-Service App as cabs can be inefficient during rush hour.

Buses and Subways[edit]

Free bus and subway maps are often available at tourist centers, hotel lobbies and public libraries. Alternatively, you can download the NYC Subway app, use google, or Citymapper. The benefit of these options is that it will often show construction rerouting. Trains are not always on-time. Note that precise arrival times vary based on traffic/weather.

Buses are wheelchair accessible. For those who are looking for a sightseeing vehicle rather than rapid transport, a HOHO (hop-on-hop-off) bus is a great option. Subways run 24/7/365 and are the fastest way to travel the city, but watch out for rerouting on weekends and at night and also construction.

Alternative Transport[edit]

Three other means of transport of note are:

  • Limos, which can be convenient for pre-booking. You can also get these via car service apps.
  • Horse-drawn carriages for a romantic, classic excursion around Central Park.
  • Pedicabs, expensive, but fun. It can be found primarily around the Central Park, Midtown area.

See[edit][add listing]

See the Districts articles for more listings.

Manhattan is home to many of New York's premier tourist attractions. Following is a selection of the highlights / "must sees" - the remainder will be found within the articles for the various Manhattan districts and neighborhoods.


Downtown Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge

With constant portrayals in every method of media known, Manhattan's landmarks are known around the world, and seemingly every visitor to the city will make an effort to glimpse these most famous of buildings and monuments. Every neighborhood of Manhattan has local landmarks, and in many cases the neighborhoods themselves are landmarks in their own right; this is just a summary of the very most monumental architecture on the island.

Starting where the city began in Lower Manhattan, you can view some of the most powerful and evocative landmarks of the city. Wall Street, the center of the financial world and the heart of Lower Manhattan, is home to the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall (where George Washington was inaugurated as president). Just to the north of Wall Street is the City Hall area, flanked on the east by the Brooklyn Bridge and the west by the Woolworth Building (the "Cathedral of Commerce", once the tallest building in the world). A different kind of landmark lies to the west, where the National September 11 Memorial sits at the site of the former World Trade Center towers. To the south, out in the harbor are the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, once the first impressions of many Americans-to-be.

Heading north across the "valley", the neighborhoods of shorter buildings separating the two major business districts, you'll come to Midtown Manhattan, a hub of activity non-stop. The Empire State Building dominates the surrounding area, while the iconic Chrysler Building stakes its ground nearby. In the midst of all these tall structures you'll also find Grand Central Terminal, the main branch of the New York Public Library, and the touristy Rockefeller Center. Facing the East River is the United Nations Headquarters, while to the west sits the insanely crowded tourist hub of Times Square.


New York City is home to museums of every kind, and Manhattan is where some of the grandest and most fascinating are.

Why not start at "Museum Mile", or Fifth Ave along Central Park in Uptown Manhattan? Here you'll find the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the largest and most important museums of art in the world. Nearby in the Upper East Side and the Harlem area sits the famous Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (Note: closed until December 12th, 2014), the Jewish Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, the El Museo Del Barrio, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Across Central Park in the Upper West Side is the massive American Museum of Natural History, one of the largest science museums in the world. At the northern end of Manhattan sits The Cloisters, a medieval-themed extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In Midtown you'll find the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), one of the most popular collections of modern art in the world. Nearby is the The Paley Center for Media and the American Folk Art Museum. Theodore Roosevelt's Birthplace is just to the south in Gramercy Flatiron, while the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum sits on the Hudson River to the west.

The neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan are home to a number of small, more specialized museums. Near the Financial District you'll find the African Burial Ground National Monument, the Museum of American Finance, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the South Street Seaport Museum. Just north in Chinatown is the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, while over in the Lower East Side is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and the Museum at Eldridge Street Synagogue and the New Museum.

Parks and gardens[edit]

Of course, no visit to Manhattan would be complete without a visit to Central Park, by far the largest and most famous park in this borough. Visit the park on a sunny day and join the many New Yorkers and other visitors relaxing on the park benches, biking, looking at the ducks on the pond, boating on the lake, visiting the small Central Park Zoo, sunbathing on the Sheep Meadow, ice skating at the Wollman Rink, or seeing a concert or play. But Central Park is far from the only green space to be found in Manhattan.

In Uptown Manhattan, Fort Tryon Park contains one of the highest points and some of the best views on the island, as well as the Cloisters Museum, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nearby at the northern tip of Manhattan is Inwood Park, the last remaining virgin forest on the island; many arrowheads and other Native American artifacts have been found here. Along the Hudson River is Riverside Park, a long stretch of parkland running from 59th St all the way to 155th Str which makes for a lovely stroll or picnic overlooking the waters of the Hudson River and New Jersey on the opposite bank. Carl Schurz Park at East End Ave and 86th St is the home of the Gracie Mansion, the Official Residence of the Mayor of New York, and boasts wonderful views of Hell Gate and the East River and is extremely quiet compared to other New York parks.

Moving into the bustle of Midtown, the parks get smaller but are no less frequent. Here you'll find the social centers of New York life, like Bryant Park, a small and charming park behind the New York Public Library which has gone through a major renovation recently and has gained a hard-won reputation for being much better. Free movies on summer nights are incredibly popular. Just south of the canyons of Midtown is Union Square, a crowded social center and long the center for political protests, as well as the home of a popular greenmarket and resting visitors and locals alike. Madison Square Park, a lovely oasis in a bustling area, has beautiful flowering trees and bushes in the spring and boasts views of the Flatiron, Metropolitan Life, and Empire State buildings. On the western side of Manhattan is Hudson River Park, whose promenade, still in progress, will run along the Hudson River from 59th St to the southern tip of the island. Nearby is the new High Line Park, built on a defunct railway that runs 30 feet (9 m) above the street.

In Lower Manhattan, parks like Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, Tompkins Square Park in the East Village, and Columbus Park in Chinatown are excellent cosmopolitan spaces which are centers of neighborhood life. In the Financial District is City Hall Park, a small but delightful square (most of the grass is fenced off for security) which makes an excellent spot to rest after walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. At the very southern tip of the island, Battery Park is popular with tourists; famous for its great views of the New York Harbor, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. The ferries to the Statue and Staten Island depart from here.

Do[edit][add listing]

See the Districts articles for more listings. Tourists to Manhattan will find no shortage of activities to engage in, and we cannot list more than a small fraction of them here. Every time you re-visit Manhattan Island, you can find some new attraction that you missed the last time, but below are some of the most popular things to do in Manhattan that many first-time tourists will want to include in the itinerary:

  • Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Ferries at Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan will take you to both Liberty and Ellis Islands seven days a week. Travel times run from 9:30am till 5:00pm (8:30 from March 19 to May 27). The last ferry leaves Battery Park at 3:30; that one doesn't visit Ellis Island.

On Liberty Island, you can see up-close the most iconic symbol of New York City, the 305-foot statue gifted to the U.S.. by France as a 100-year-birthday present. It is officially known as Liberty Enlightening the World but more popularly called the Statue of Liberty. You can climb to the crown for an incredible view of New York Harbor, and the museum on the island will inform you of its rich history.

On Ellis Island, you can visit the Ellis Island Museum, which is located in the very building where immigrants were registered as they entered the United States. In fact, over 40% of present-day Americans are descended from immigrants who entered through Ellis Island.

  • Visit the Empire State Building, the 1,454-foot structure that is as definitive of Manhattan's skyline as anything. Built at rapid pace in only 13 months' time, it was the tallest building in New York by the time it was finished in 1931. You can take a high-speed elevator to the observatory on the 86th floor and look out over the city or get a closer look from an open-air deck if you're brave enough.
  • Attend a Broadway theater. There are 40 theaters that seat 500 or more people each in the Theater District" and Lincoln Center on Broadway. While Hollywood may dominate the film industry, there is no replacement for a classic stage-performance on Broadway, and in 2014, shows sold nearly $1.4 billion and had 13 million attendees.
  • Stop by Times Square, which is at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. Times Square is the hub of Broadway theater and is known as The Crossroads of the World. Some 50 million tourists pour into Times Square annually and over 330,000 daily.
  • The American Museum of Natural History offers a large collection of dinosaur fossils, a sea-life display, an exhibit on human origins/culture and 3-D IMAX presentations in the on-site Hayden Planetarium.
  • The Jewish Museum on Fifth Avenue has the largest collection of Jewish art and cultural artifacts (over 30,000) in the U.S.. Only Israeli museums have more extensive displays.
  • Visit Roosevelt Island, a long, thin island in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. The most scenic way to arrive is by the Roosevelt Island Tramway, and on the island, you can get amazing views of the Manhattan skyline at Southpoint and on the Meditation Steps.


New York City, especially Manhattan, is world-renowned for having some of the top higher education institutions on the planet. Famed educational institutes include:

  • New York University - Founded in 1831, NYU's main campus is centered in Manhattan, located with its core in Greenwich Village, and campuses based throughout New York City. NYU is also a worldwide university, operating NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, and centers in Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Washington, D.C. Among its faculty and alumni are 36 Nobel Laureates, over 30 Pulitzer Prize winners, over 30 Academy Award winners, and hundreds of members of the National Academies of Sciences. Alumni include heads of state, royalty, eminent mathematicians, inventors, media figures, Olympic medalists, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and astronauts.
  • Columbia University - established in 1754, one of the 8 private Ivy League research university. It is often cited as one of the world's most prestigious universities. One of the most selective colleges in the USA since its founding.
  • The Juilliard School of Dance, Drama, and Music - a performing arts conservatory established in 1905, informally referred to as Juilliard. The school trains about 850 undergraduate and graduate students in dance, drama, and music. It is widely regarded as one of the world's leading music schools, with some of the most prestigious arts programs. Graduates of the school have enjoyed successful careers as solo musicians, orchestral/ensemble musicians, opera, ballet, and as actors.
  • The New School - organized into five schools which teach a variety of disciplines, including social sciences, liberal arts, humanities, architecture, fine arts, design, music, drama, finance, psychology, and public policy. Among the five schools include the Mannes College of Music and the Parsons School of Design.

The 92nd St. Y holds many classes and lectures, as do many other neighborhood organizations serving the community; cooking classes at any of several cooking schools in Manhattan; martial arts classes; yoga classes; classes in religion at any of the numerous places of worship in the borough.

Buy[edit][add listing]

See the Districts articles for more listings.

New York is arguably the fashion capital of the United States, and is a major shopping destination for people around the world. The city boasts an unmatched range of department stores, boutiques, and specialty shops. Some neighborhoods boast more shopping options than most other American cities and have become famous in their own right as consumer destinations. Anything you could possibly want to buy is found in Manhattan.

Of course, Midtown is the hub of shopping; home to Fifth Avenue with its numerous flagship stores (Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Cartier, Tiffany's, Lord and Taylor, Niketown, NBA Store, Versace, Gucci, Armani Exchange, FAO Schwarz, etc.) and perpetually mobbed with shoppers and tourists. Nearby is the massive Bloomingdale's, while over in the Theater District, "The Largest Department Store in the World", the flagship store of Macy's, covers an entire city block.

In the heart of the ultra-wealthy Upper East Side is Madison Ave, the center of New York's haute couture, full of small shops selling fabulously expensive clothes, accessories, and housewares to people who can afford not to look at the price tag. Even if it's out of your price range, it's worth a visit just to gawk.

Down in Lower Manhattan, Canal St east of Broadway around Chinatown is the polar opposite of Madison and Fifth Avenues; a paradise for bargain hunters and people looking to buy counterfeit knock-offs of high-end clothes and accessories. If you want to impress people back home with the fake Louis Vuitton bag you got for $30, this is the place to go. Also look at the stores that line Mott Street between Canal and Chatham Square. Nearby is NoLiTa, which has become synonymous with avant-couture boutiques in charmingly dilapidated buildings. Some stores are so idiosyncratic that they appear not to sell anything at all, yet are perpetually crowded and passionately trendy.

West of Broadway, the former artists' colony SoHo is now a prime shopping destination, especially on the weekends, when the sidewalks of West Broadway, Prince St, and Broadway become almost impassible. Be warned though that the boutique stores have mostly been replaced by high-end chain stores.

In the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan you will find New York's flower market, wholesale shops selling everything from costume jewelry to pocket books, even obscure shops like Rock Star Crystals, which sells crystals and mineral and gemstone metaphysical tools out of a second floor industrial loft next to a wholesale flower shop.

New York has hundreds of records stores scattered around the area. Also, though vinyl has disappeared from the shelves of regular record stores, many stores still sell used and new vinyl.

Iconic New York city souvenirs are available in most tourist spots and along pushcart stalls on the street. That said, it's far cheaper (~50% less) to purchase them from shops in Chinatown, near Canal St.

Eat[edit][add listing]

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You can, of course, eat "general American fare" in Manhattan just like in any other part of the country, but to get a true taste of makes Manhattan and New York City unique, you may want to try some "Manhattan cuisine":

Native New York City Dishes[edit]

Probably the best-loved "signature" New York food is New York Style Pizza, a thin-crust variety that is hand-tossed, crispy on the edges, and soft enough underneath to be folded over into a "pizza sandwich."

Also famous is New York Style Cheese Cake, which is usually made with heavy cream to give it a thick, smooth, creamy texture as well as enable it to withstand freezing. A variant adds sour cream, mixed with vanilla and sugar, as a baked-on topping.

The following foods are claimed, rightly or wrongly, by New Yorkers to be their own original creations:

  • Reuben Sandwich Hot corned beef, sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese, and either Russian or Thousand Island salad dressing is placed between two grilled slices of rye.
  • Manhattan Cocktail A mix of whiskey, bitters and sweet vermouth that a popular theory suggests was first served at New York's Manhattan Club in the 1870's.
  • Eggs Benedict A breakfast/brunch dish consisting of Canadian bacon, a poached egg and hollandaise sauce on top of the two halves of a split English muffin.
  • Chicken a la King Diced chicken is mixed in a cream sauce along with sherry, mushrooms and vegetables. The whole dish is poured onto rice, pasta or bread.
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs This simple combination of spaghetti pasta, tomato sauce and large meatballs is thought to be the invention of Italian immigrants.
  • General Tso's Chicken This dish consists of fried chicken covered in a sweet, mildly spicy sauce. It is an adaptation from Hunan cuisine and Manhattan restaurant Shun Lee Palace claims it as its creation.

Ethnic Foods of Manhattan[edit]

The numerous ethnic groups that immigrated to Manhattan not only set up their own neighborhoods and created a "melting pot of cultures," but they also created a "culinary melting pot."

The single most widespread ethnic cuisine to become characteristically New York is that of Jews from Eastern Europe. They are famous for their delicatessens, which introduced the city to such things as bagels and pastrami on rye.

Other ethnic foods commonly found in various Manhattan neighborhoods include:

  • Chinese and Vietnamese food in Chinatown
  • Italian food in Little Italy and Greenwich Village
  • Indian cuisine on Murray Hill
  • Korean dishes in Koreatown and East Village
  • Various Latin American food traditions, especially Puerto Rican, in East Harlem, Washington Heights, and the Lower East Side
  • African-American and West African food in Harlem
  • German, Czech, and Hungarian food in the Upper East Side

Street Food

Manhattan is famous for its street foods, which are ready-to-eat for busy locals and tourists alike, including such treats as New York style pizza, New York style hot dogs, soft, salty pretzels, corn dogs, fried chicken, gyros, Indian shawarma, honey-roasted peanuts, grilled chestnuts, calzones, Chinese kebabs, fried noodles and Italian ice.

Drink[edit][add listing]

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Manhattan has no shortage of options if you are looking for places to drink: taverns, cocktail lounges, saloons, rum shacks and all other manner of beer bars. Thus, choosing a small sliver of drinking establishments out of Manhattan's thousands of bars is a very subjective enterprise. Nonetheless, here are 10 of the most popular places that both tourists and locals alike flock to when they want a drink.

Manhattan's signature drink — The Manhattan Cocktail is made from a combination of whiskey, bitters and sweet vermouth. The ingredients are mixed, strained over a cold glass full of cold ice and served with a little garnishing on top. Traditionally, the whiskey variety used is rye, but bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and another substitutes are sometimes used.

Ten of the best places to get a Manhattan or another drink of your choosing are:

  • The Rusty Knot on West Street, where tiki drinks, Tecates and pretzel dogs are among the most popular cuisine.
  • The Mayahuel on East Sixth Street serves some of the most famous tequila in Manhattan.
  • Milano's Bar on East Houston Street, which is a vestige of the "Old Bowery days" — it's been serving beer since 1880.
  • King Cole Bar on East 55th Street, which serves macadamia nuts along with its bloody Marys and boldly insists it invented the drink despite a total lack of evidence.
  • Little Branch on Seventh Avenue, which is famous for meticulous bar tenders, jazz music and classic drinks like the Old Fashioned.
  • Death & Company on East Sixth Street makes expert cocktails that are yet rather simple, avoiding things like liquefied nitrogen and recipes that are 17 ingredients long. Their snacks are another reason that people who come stay awhile.
  • The Blind Tiger on Bleecker Street is a low-key beer establishment full of "beer buffs," microbrews and longtime friends.
  • The Old Town Bar on East 18th Street, which has been a part of Manhattan since 1892, is one of the locals' favorites. Besides its "authentic-tasting brew," the place is well loved for its excellent burger menu.
  • McSorley's Old Ale House is another popular drinking establishment that has few rivals in Manhattan. Besides its beer selection, it is famous for its cheese platters, which means crackers, sharp cheddar cheese, raw onions and hot and spicy mustard served on a plate.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

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If there is one thing that makes New York City, particularly Manhattan, one of the most expensive cities in the world, it is hotel accommodations. Sometimes, the average room rates in Manhattan exceed those of the more expensive cities in the world such as Tokyo and London. Consider yourself lucky if you can get a room at a full-service hotel at $250/night, not including taxes. While prices vary depending on the season and on the availability, approximate price ranges for Manhattan hotels are:

  • A bed in a large dormitory in a hostel: $15-40
  • A double room with shared bath: $60-120
  • A double room with private bath in a budget hotel: $100-250
  • A room in a mid-range hotel: From $250
  • A room in a luxury hotel: $500-4,500, occasionally but rarely dipping into the $10,000-20,000 range.

Asking, "Where is the best place to sleep in Manhattan?" is a question without an easy answer because the ideal hotel depends on many factors. Factors include: what sights you wish to see, how much traveling you are willing to do, what kind of accommodations you need/prefer and what kind of a budget you are on.

Budget-conscious tourists may wish to use hostels such as Hostelling International and numerous branches of the Jazz Hostels in Times Square, the East Village and the Upper West Side. You can also save 10% on many hotels that honor AAA memberships and by watching for prices to drop seasonally and based on room availability. If you do decide to visit Manhattan during busy holidays or in the tourist-packed month of May, make sure you book well in advance to secure a good room.

Covering various neighborhoods, from north to south, some of the best Manhattan hotels include:

  • In Harlem, just north of Central Park, try Aloft Harlem. This three-star hotel is located on Frederick Douglass Boulevard only a few minutes' walk from the Apollo Theater and within 15 minutes' walk of Columbia University. It is also very close to the 125th Street subway station.
  • The Upper West Side's Lucerne is a four-star hotel on West 79th Street in the vicinity of the Children's Museum and the American Museum of Natural History. Central Park lies just a bit to the east. Rooms come with Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, and suites add kitchenettes and sometimes pull-out sofa beds. Facilities include: a spa, a fitness center and a French restaurant.
  • Midtown contains the Museum of Modern Art and is nearby the headquarters of Food on Foot Tours and iconic shopping experiences like Tiffany's and Saks Fifth Avenue. The Roosevelt Hotel on East 45th Street is also within a block or two of Grand Central Terminal and within a mile of Central Park. It is a four-star hotel with an art-deco ambiance, elegantly designed rooms and full suites. You can choose from several on-site dining options (grill, bar and rooftop lounge), and the ballroom offers panoramic views of the city.
  • In Times Square, there are many luxury-level hotels on 44th Street, including The Chatwal, which is only two blocks from the square and not far from numerous Broadway theaters. Rooms have suede-covered walls, personal butler service, private terraces and, optionally, whirlpool bathtubs. The many amenities include a spa and an indoor saltwater swimming pool.
  • In Lower Manhattan, near Wall Street, City Hall and Battery Park, you might stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton. This business-oriented hotel on Stone Street is within five minutes' walk of the Financial District, ferry service to the Statue of Liberty and nine different subway lines.

Occupancy rates in New York hotels have been very high in recent years and, especially if traveling to the city during Thanksgiving week, in the month of December, or in the month of May, it is best to book well in advance for the best prices. The best way to spend the night in New York is, of course, on the couch of a friend or relative. So, if you want to stretch your dollar, check your address book when planning a trip to New York! Another option is to check short-term room or apartment rentals on Craigslist, but of course it's risky to pay up front for an apartment you haven't seen, so you might want to spend at least your first day or two at a hotel or other place of more or less known quality while checking out possible alternate locations. Inexpensive short-term rentals of decent quality are likely to run for $100/night and up for a double.

Hotels in the other boroughs or New Jersey may be generally less expensive, but if spending a lot of time in Manhattan is important to you, make sure you know what the transportation situation will be like before you make your decision. Also, remember that complimentary meals are usually a disadvantage in hotels in New York, because with a few notable exceptions the better values in food tend to be outside of hotels.


Throughout Manhattan, open WiFi access points are abundant, including many parks and squares such as Bryant Park and Union Square. Starbucks now offer free internet, and some stores such as Apple SoHo and Tekserv offer free wireless Internet to customers.

All of the many branches of The New York Public Library [5] offer free internet access to anyone with a photo id or NYPL library card.

Stay safe[edit]

Manhattan and New York generally have experienced a major falloff in crime during the past decade - in fact, for the past few years, New York City has been the safest major city in the U.S. - so there is little need to be afraid to walk most of the streets day and night and take the subways and buses. However, precautions should still be taken.

Keep your wits about yourself. Try your best to know or at least look like you know where you're going, particularly in areas which are deserted or otherwise feel potentially dangerous to you. Keep your wits about yourself by being aware of what's happening around you on the street, where the open shops are, where you may have spotted any police officers around, etc. Do not hesitate to calmly increase your pace, alter your route, or cross to the other side of the street if you sense it might be the safest course of action.

Beware of pickpockets. During the holiday season, pickpockets like to target shoppers near tourist attractions such as Times Square, 42nd Street, and Macy's, and anywhere where there is a crush of crowds. In order to foil pickpockets, never put your wallet or anything of value in your back pockets, but only in your front pockets. If you use a purse, make sure it is tightly closed and hold on to it. And when you sit down, such as in a restaurant, be careful to keep your valuables in places where an opportunistic thief would be hard pressed to snatch them and run.

Traffic hazards. Manhattan is in certain ways a pedestrian's paradise, but beware that traffic regulations are not always obeyed to the letter. Watch for aggressively turning cars and bicyclists riding the wrong way on one-way streets or on sidewalks. The problem is not constant, but these things happen often enough for them to be worth keeping in the back of your mind while walking on the streets and sidewalks. Also, you'll note that jaywalking is commonplace among New Yorkers, but it can be hazardous to those not experienced in judging the speed of oncoming cars. So do not blindly follow a local, for there's a chance you'll be staring at the headlights of a car if you are not careful.

LGBT are tolerated in some parts of Manhattan, but are met with aggression and hostility in Harlem. LGBT are strongly advised to stay out of Harlem.

Some areas of Manhattan still see their share of crime. Here is the official map of crimes in Manhattan: [6]

Get out[edit]

Manhattan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, but it is also a centrally-located base from which to explore the other four New York City boroughs.

Exiting Manhattan for Long Island[edit]

Long Island can be reached from Manhattan by train using the Long Island Railroad. Starting at Pennsylvania Station, you can ride directly to Oceanside, for example, in about 45 minutes. Other branches will take you to Port Washington, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, to Greenport on the North Fork or to Montauk on the South Fork.

By road, you can enter Long Island from the tip of Lower Manhattan via the Brooklyn-Battery (toll) Tunnel or via any of three bridges connecting FDR Drive to I-278: Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge. From Middle Manhattan, you can use the Queens-Midtown (toll) Tunnel between FDR Drive and I-495 or you can take the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge over Roosevelt Island. In Upper Manhattan, you can exit East Harlem on the two-part Robert F. Kennedy (toll) Bridge, which crosses the Harlem River, Ward's Island and the East River.

Exiting Upper Manhattan for All Points North[edit]

The Harlem River cuts Manhattan Island off from Bronx and other more northerly parts of New York City. There are 10 bridges, fairly evenly spaced, all along the river, most notably: Macomb's Dam Bridge nearby Yankee Stadium, the Alexander Hamilton Bridge (I-95), Broadway Bridge (US-9) and the Henry Hudson (toll) Bridge (NY-9A). The main outbound highways from north Manhattan are: I-87/US-9 to Albany and I-95 to New Haven.

Exiting Manhattan across the Hudson River[edit]

To exit Manhattan toward the west or south, you will need to take one of the bridges/tunnels that cross the Hudson River. Holland Tunnel (I-78) takes you from Lower Manhattan to Jersey City and Newark, from where you can connect to I-95 on your way to Philadelphia. Lincoln Tunnel (NY-495) takes you from Middle Manhattan to Union City and West New York. George Washington Bridge (US-9) puts you on a good route toward Scranton.

Other Ways to Leave Manhattan[edit]

Penn Station can take you from Midtown, via Amtrak, across the nation, or via New Jersey Transit to points in New Jersey. Grand Central Terminal is a good starting point for taking the Metro-North Railroad to southern New York State and southern Connecticut.

There is no airport in Manhattan, but you can quickly reach La Guardia Airport on Long Island via I-278/Grand Central Parkway. You can also utilize helicopter services at helipads on 34th Street and Wall Street or seaplane services from facilities on East 23rd Street.

Ferries are often taken from The Battery on the tip of Lower Manhattan to Staten Island and Liberty Island, and other ferries are available to take you to Brooklyn and various parts of New Jersey.

Routes through Manhattan
NewarkJersey City  W noframe E  END
New HavenBronx  N noframe S  Fort LeePhiladelphia
Weehawken ← Becomes NJ-495.png  W noframe E  QueensRiverhead
New HavenBronx  N noframe S  Fort LeePhiladelphia
AlbanyBronx  N noframe S  Fort LeeCape May

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