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New York - Statue of Liberty

New York

New York - Empire State Building

"The Big Apple"

New York City is located on the eastern coast of the United States about 1000 miles north of Florida and 200 miles South of Boston. It is situated at the mouth of the Hudson River, and is divided into five districts called boroughs. Long Island stretches almost 100 miles to the east of New York City and the state of New Jersey lies just across the Hudson River to the west. The "Big Apple", as the city is often called, is the largest city in the US with over 12 million residents. It is filled with a diverse mixture of inhabitants including immigrants from many countries. Some of its many neighborhoods, such as Chinatown, Little Italy, and Spanish Harlem reflect the rich ethnic heritages of the resident's original homelands.

Manhattan borough, the business and commercial center of New York City, is situated on a large island in the middle of the Hudson River. Just south of it, across the main harbor, lies the borough of Staten Island, a large residential community. Across the East River branch of the Hudson, the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens are situated on the western tip of Long Island. The borough of Bronx is on the mainland to the north. New Jersey lies across the Hudson to the west. 

New York is one of the most exciting cities in the world. It is often called "the city that never sleeps." In fact, Times Square at midnight seems more vibrant and active than most other cities at noon. New York has many tourist attractions like the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations headquarters, the Empire State building and over 300 museums. It is renown for its wide variety of entertainments including the world famous Broadway theaters. There are over 30,000 restaurants in New York City plus countless bars and clubs. If you like big cities and lots of excitement, the Big Apple is a great place to visit.


Manhattan Island ( the heart of New York City)

Manhattan Island is about two miles wide and over 12 miles long. It contains most of the business, economic, entertainment and cultural sights of the city. A four-miles long by half-mile wide Central Park, located at the very center of the island, neatly divides the city into sectors. The southern part of the island is called "Downtown" and the section directly south of Central Park is called "mid-town". Everything from the middle of the park to the northern tip of the island is usually called "Uptown". The part of the island closest to Long Island is called the "East Side" and the part closer to the Hudson River is the "West Side". The two neighborhoods lying on either side of Central Park are called "Upper East Side" and "Upper West Side".

The numbered streets of Manhattan all run east-west beginning with First Street just above Greenwich Village, and extending all the way up to 218th Street at the far northern tip of Up-town. Avenues run north-south beginning with First Avenue on the East Side and extending to Twelfth Avenue along the Hudson River on the West Side. These numbered Avenues are interspersed with named Avenues such as Park Avenue, Lexington, Madison and Broadway. Broadway is a bit unusual as it starts out as a typical north-south avenue in the middle of the island downtown, but angles sharply to the west just below Central Park and continues on up the West Side to the top of the island. 

Navigation in Manhattan is not difficult as long as you remember compass directions and use the proper terminology. Subways and Busses go "uptown" when heading north to the higher numbered streets and go "downtown" when heading south. They go to the "East Side" or the "West Side" when crossing the island. Building Numbers, especially on the avenues, often do not follow a logical pattern. When asking directions, always try to specify the nearest intersection of streets and avenues. For example: "On Broadway, near 42nd Street" or "near Third and fifty fourth".


Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island

Brooklyn is across the East River on the southwestern tip of Long Island. It is accessible via bridge or tunnel. This borough is nearly four times as large as Manhattan Island and has a population of about four million. It is one of the primary bedroom communities for New York City. Unlike Manhattan, there are few tall buildings in Brooklyn. Typically, the tree-lined streets are filled with brownstone townhouses and small apartment buildings. There are very few hotels in Brooklyn, but those few offer a quiet alternative to the noisy hectic streets of Manhattan. Coney Island Beach and Amusement park are located along the southern shore and John F. Kennedy Airport lies just east of Brooklyn. 


Queens is north of Brooklyn on the tip of Long Island. It is also a residential community with many high-rise apartment complexes. LaGuardia airport, Shea Stadium and the crumbling ruins of the old World's Fair are located there. There are a few hotels near the airport. 


The Bronx is another mainly residential community almost due north of Manhattan on the mainland. The large and impressive Bronx Zoo is located there.


Staten Island is due south of Manhattan across the main harbor basin. It is most easily reached via the Staten Island ferry from Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan. The ferry ride offers spectacular views of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty and is absolutely free for all pedestrians. Staten Island has a small town atmosphere with many single-family homes.


The Airports

There are three major airports near New York City. John F Kennedy (JFK) airport is on Long Island about 12 miles east of Manhattan. LaGuardia is in Queens about 6 miles from downtown and Newark airport is across the Hudson river in New Jersey about 12 miles to the southwest of the city. Ready access is available from each airport via taxi or bus. Public transportation is excellent in New York City. Busses, subway trains and taxis provide the most convenient means of transportation. New York City is one of the few cities in the USA with adequate train service. Commuter trains cover most of the nearby communities and neighboring states. Longer distance passenger trains travel the east coast corridor and go to many major cities across the country.


Useful Addreses

New York Convention & Visitors Bureau (for information on New York City)

Two Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

Tel: (212) 397 8222. Fax: (212) 245 5943.

New York Division of Tourism

633 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Tel: (212) 803 2247. Fax: (212) 803 2279.

Also: 1 Commerce Plaza, Albany, NY 12245

Tel: (518) 474 4116. Fax: (518) 486 6416.

Niagara County Tourism

139 Niagara Street, Lockport, NY 14094

Tel: (716) 439 7300. Fax: (716) 439 6069.


Other Areas

There is only one New York City, of course. No other American metropolis even comes close to it in terms of population, diversity of culture, entertainment, business and commerce.

Yet within a day's drive, you can find fine beaches and seascapes; quiet, forested mountains; quaint, small towns; and plenty of historical sightseeing. Visitors will soon realize that New York is a great, majestic State as well as a magical city.

Broadly speaking, New York State can be divided into 11 vacation regions -- New York City, Long Island, The Catskill Mountains (known as `The Catskills'), the Capital-Saratoga area, The Adirondacks, The Finger Lakes, Thousand Islands, Chautauqua-Allegheny, Central Leatherstocking, The Niagara Frontier and The Hudson Valley.


Long Island, just off the New York City border, stretches for 190km (118 miles) into the Atlantic and is the largest island adjoining the continental USA. A popular destination for native city dwellers, Long Island has recently been discovered by everyone else and it is not hard to see why. It boasts some of the world's most beautiful white sand beaches, such as the Fire Island National Seashore, a short train and ferry ride from Manhattan. It also offers the celebrated Hamptons and Montauk seaside resort and fishing villages. Whale-watching, deep-sea fishing, hiking and cycling are just some of the possible leisure options in this region. There are also wineries and `pick-your-own' produce stands, as well as the mansions made famous in the books of F. Scott Fitzgerald.


To the north of the city lie the Hudson River Valley and the resort area of The Catskills. Many visitors have compared the Hudson River with the Rhine -- both lay claim to busy boat traffic, dramatic cliffs, green hills and magnificent mansions. The trip upriver can be made by coach or train, aboard a sightseeing boat, or by car.

Leaving Manhattan, visitors can follow the Henry Hudson Parkway on the eastern side to Yonkers. At the Hudson River Museum, paintings by the famous Hudson River School of artists are on display.
At Tarrytown, the restored home of the writer Washington Irving can be visited and nearby is Lyndhurst, the estate and mansion formerly owned by the 19th-century tycoon, Jay Gould. Tours of the recently opened Rockefeller Estate, Kykuit, are also available.

Crossing the river to Newburgh and traveling southwest, the journey continues to Washingtonville and the Brotherhood Winery, the country's oldest winery with the largest wine cellars. At West Point, visitors can observe the precision and concentration of the
impressive military parades by cadets at the United States Military Academy.

Crossing the river to Poughkeepsie and stopping at Hyde Park, the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites preserve two outstanding Hudson River mansions as well as the graves of President F. D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor. The Vanderbilt Mansion is a striking 54-room Italian Renaissance structure, furnished elegantly in marble and mahogany, overlooking the river.

Visitors should certainly consider taking a meal at one of the five restaurants operated by the Culinary Institute of America, one of the world's great cooking schools.

At Rhinebeck, the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome houses an extensive museum of antique warplanes, including several World War One models.

The Catskill Mountains, situated almost in New York City's backyard, are among the State's leading resort areas. Hundreds of small resorts offer dude ranch vacations, fishing cabins beside trout streams or mountain house retreats. The resort of Phoenicia is particularly noted for its fine trout fishing on Esopus Creek.

Perhaps the loveliest and least-spoiled highway in the area is Highway 28, the `Onteora Trail'. This skirts the big Ashokan Reservoir and runs to the artists' colony of Woodstock which is a haven of art and craft galleries and shops. Chamber music recitals and dramatic performances also feature here.

It is hard to believe, but this area also promises skiing for six months of the year, just two hours from the metropolis. The ski resort of Belleayre operates a summer chairlift to picnic areas over 1000m (3285ft) high. At Hunter, there is a 1.5km (1 mile) chairlift journey to a summit lodge operating in the summer months. Finally, the Catskills area is noted for the variety of its game farms, the most celebrated of which is the Catskill Game Farm, which features 2000 birds and animals, as well as an amusement area.


In the Capital-Saratoga region, the Governor Nelson A Empire State Plaza is a striking 10-building complex that includes the 44-storey Corning Tower, the venerable State Capitol and the city's performing arts theatre, nicknamed `The Egg', for its unusual shape. The Empire State Plaza, of which the capitol is a part, features the New York State Museum, which portrays the urbanization of New York City, with lifelike dioramas among the exhibits on Native Americans, gems and birds.

The Albany Institute of History and Art is the oldest museum in the State; its collections relate the history of Albany and the Upper Hudson Valley. StPeter's Church, notable for its stained glass and floor mosaics, is well worth visiting.

Saratoga Springs was a leading spa and horse-racing centre in the late 1800s. The National Museum of Racing is housed here. The Saratoga Race Track season takes place in August, while harness-racing is held at a nearby track from April to January. The New York City Opera and Ballet, Philadelphia Orchestra and other groups perform at Saratoga Spa State Park in the summer and at Saratoga National Historical Park, two important battles of the Revolutionary War (the American War of Independence) are commemorated.

The region is noted for its mud baths and mineral springs, its sunrise and sunset hot-air balloon flights as well as for Waterford Flight, the highest rise of lift locks in the world.


Central New York offers one of the finest summer vacations in the east. The Finger Lakes region is dotted with resorts, camp sites, water recreation areas, fine lakes and woodland scenery.

Gouged into the land by the action of prehistoric glaciers, 11 slender lakes extend from north to south like the fingers of a hand. From west to east, they include: Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga, Owasco and Skaneateles.

The outstanding scenery here invites visitors to select a waterside location and there are a number of fine old lodges on the shores, as well as modest resorts in many of the smaller lake towns.

Aside from its lush scenery, the area lays claim to fame as New York's prime wine-producing region. Many wineries offer free guided tours and tasting and the Greyton H Taylor Wine Museum details the history of wine-making and explains the process. Historically, the region was also noted for its expertise in another industry: glass-making. At the Corning Glass Center, exhibits spanning 3500 years of glass-making are on display and craftsmen can still be seen shaping the famous Steuben glass.

Other notable attractions here are the National Motor Racing Museum and Hall of Fame at Watkins Glen and the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, a resting and feeding area for more than 235 species of migratory birds.

At Rochester, host to the celebrated annual Lilac Festival, visitors can call at the home of Eastman Kodak, founded by George Eastman, the inventor in 1892 of roll film and the Kodak camera. The Eastman house is today a national historic landmark and its outstanding International Museum of Photography details the development of the art from Daguerre's day to the satellite photos of the space age.


Still in western New York, the State's second-largest city is Buffalo in the Niagara Frontier region,  worlds apart from Rochester in terms of what is on offer. It is a major centre of industrial activity and traffic, with a strong sense of history and architecture. Delaware Park is home to a zoo, while the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is considered to be the most important museum in the State outside New York City. The gallery contains works by Gauguin, Modigliani, Pollock, Van Gogh, Dégas and Cézanne, among others.

We should not forget that Buffalo is a major port city and a good base from which to plan an excursion to the most celebrated natural attraction in New York State: the Niagara Falls which can be visited on foot, by boat or by helicopter.

The Niagara flows north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, plunging over the celebrated 56m (184ft) falls in the process. Visitors can board the Maid of Mist excursion boat at Prospect Point for a cruise into the spray or explore the Cave of the Winds on Goat Island in the middle of the river above the Falls, or even enjoy a stomach-churning journey on the huge wooden roller coaster at Darien Lake Theme Park.

Indeed, western New York seems to have been designed with the aquatic visitor in mind. Following the course of the mighty St Lawrence River, the scene of imperial clashes between the French and the British in the 18th century, visitors can explore 730km (454 miles) of scenic byways. Anthropological tastes are catered for in the Chautauqua-Allegheny Region where visitors can take tours of Amish communities and Native American reservations.

The Native American theme is continued in the Adirondack region, where James Fenimore Cooper set the action of his legendary novel The Last of the Mohicans. This region also boasts the presence of the largest State park in America (6 million acres of land), cabins in the woods, luxurious lakeside resort hotels and the prospect of canoeing, salmon fishing and big-game hunting.

Camping trips on horseback and scuba-diving for sunken ships in Lake Champlain complete the picture of a vacation region which will quench the most adventurous appetite.

The Central Leatherstocking Region is perhaps more urbane in its range of pleasures and activities, although the outdoor theme is maintained with the chance of a trip to see an underground lake and other geological wonders at Howe Caverns. Chartered boat trips along the Erie Canal are another possibility.

A distinctly metropolitan note is sounded, though, with the opportunity to lose or gain a fortune on the 24-hour tables of the casino at Turning Stone. There are also museums devoted to soccer and boxing in the towns of Oneonta and Canastota, charming inns to visit and an opera house with acoustics to satisfy the most sensitive ear.


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