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View from 30 Rock, New York
View from 30 Rock

New York is a place that you fall in love with once you experience it.  Before that, you likely wonder why people rave about it.  It's the largest city in the United States, with a population of over 8 million.  Its five boroughs are household names  - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.  The city was founded by the Dutch in 1624 and has kept growing and adapting ever since.  It's commonly referred to as the Big Apple.


The Atlantic Ocean moderates the climate in New York and makes it fairly humid.  Summers can be very hot, with average highs in July and August of 84 F (29 C) and average lows of 70 F (21 C).  January and February are the coldest months, with average highs of 40 F (5 C) and average lows of 27 F (-3 C).  Precipitation is fairly constant throughout the year.  Snowfall is possible from December to February.  Winter can be just as popular as summer with tourists due to attractions such as the Christmas tree and skating at Rockefeller Center.



New York is served by three large airports.  The most heavily used is JFK, which is about 40 minutes southeast of downtown.  La Guardia (LGA) is located 25 minutes northeast of the downtown area.  La Guardia handles mainly domestic traffic, but it also handles many flights to Canada.  Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in New Jersey is only about 45 minutes southwest of the city center.

The New York Subway is one of the most extensive in the world and provides reliable, low cost access to the sights and attractions.  It's estimated that 1.5 million people commute into Manhattan each day, so a rental car isn't recommended for visiting New York.  The subways are excellent during the day and taxis are a great alternative at night.

Statue of Liberty, New York

Statue of Liberty

Transportation at JFK in 2012 isn't that intuitive or well documented, but it is very logical once you understand how it works.  A train runs in a continuous circle between the various terminals.  One of the stops is Federal Circle, which is where all the hotel shuttles do pick ups.  This is also the stop to catch the Air Train out of the airport.  You pay an exit fee of $5 from the Air Train at Jamaica Station or Howard Beach Station.  At those stations you also pay an entry fee of $2.25 to the sub way.  The Jamaica Station meets the E train while the Howard Beach Station meets the A train.  Catch the E train to Times Square.  Alternately, take a cab downtown for about $75.  The subway is a much more entertaining and cost effective ride, even though it takes a lot longer.  During rush hour the subway is likely to be just as fast as a cab, though.

At Newark Airport the AirTrain Newark transports passengers to Newark Airport Rail Station, where the subway then connects passengers with New York Penn Station in Manhattan or the Amtrak.  La Guardia has an Airporter bus to Grand Central Terminal, but a taxi is likely a better alternative from this airport.

Once you've arrived in downtown Manhattan, a Hop-on Hop-off bus is a great way to get familiar with the city.

Brooklynn Bridge, New York

Brooklynn Bridge

Things to see and do in New York:

  • Times Square - the heart of New York and best place to start your visit and wander 5th Avenue and Broadway.

  • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

  • Top of the Rock Observation Tower - 70th Floor 30 Rockefeller Center, great views, especially at night, plus the Christmas tree and skating at their plaza in the winter.  Skating admission and rentals are both expensive compared to Citi Pond nearby.

  • Grand Central Station - don't forget the lower floor where you can use the acoustics of the roof line to talk to a friend at the opposite corner

  • Citi Pond - a couple blocks from Times Square at Bryant Park.  Skate for free, but skate rentals are expensive.

  • Central Park with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the American Museum of Natural History on its borders.

  • Empire State Building

  • Ground Zero - site where the Twin Towers once stood.

  • World Trade Center Memorial

  • Harbour Tour - see the skyline, sail under the famous bridges and out past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  All the major bus tour companies offer this tour and include shuttles from Times Square.  Departs at Pier 83 near the Lincoln tunnel.

Ground Zero, New York

Ground Zero

Times Square, New York

Times Square

View Manhattan map

New York Tours:

Hotels in New York:

Take That Vacation Recommendations for New York:

John F. Kennedy International Airport - (JFK) - includes list of hotels with a shuttle.

LaGuardia Airport - L(GA) - includes list of hotels with a shuttle.

Newark Liberty International Airport - (EWR) - includes list of hotels with a shuttle.

Be able to afford to see the sights of New York by saving on accommodation at the Days Inn Jamaica - JFK.  The shuttle to the airport, which is shared with the Holiday Inn Express, arrives every half hour.  The subway from the airport to Manhattan is a quick, efficient and affordable.

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