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
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.
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
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.
you've arrived in downtown Manhattan, a Hop-on
Hop-off bus is a great way to get familiar with the city.
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.
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
Citi Pond - a couple blocks from Times
Square at Bryant Park. Skate for free, but
skate rentals are expensive.
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.
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.