What to do in NYC? Really? I can’t believe you’re asking that! There’s so much to do in NYC that you couldn’t possibly get bored even if you tried. There’s something here for everyone. That is what makes NYC one of the World’s Coolest Cities!
(This Guide was written by native New Yorker Sara Sarit Nakash of Brooklyn Travel. Check out her website for more information about the Big Apple!)
NYC is unlike any other city, it’s so big and diverse that to mention a few must-sees, isn’t going to do the city any justice. NYC is also one of the most Internet-centric cities in the world. New Yorkers love to inform the world about their latest finds, so there are always tons of reviews online to help you plan along the way.
So, instead of just mentioning a few of the famous landmarks such as Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and Central Park, this article will break the city up into individual interests. As if that’s not enough for you, I’ll also point out some of the Internet resources that local New Yorkers use on a daily basis to find events, activities and restaurants in this enormous metropolis.
Climate – Crazy cold and windy in the winter to Crazy hot and humid in the summer and everything in between. Distinctly four seasons. Best seasons to visit spring & fall, when the weather is more temperate and comfortable.
Language – English… each borough and ethnicity has their own version and accent of “newyorkese”. Try and see if you can tell the difference! NYC is also the most linguistically diverse city in the world, so as many as 800 languages are spoken in NYC.
Population – 8,391,881
Currency – US Dollar
All you foodies out there, a visit to NYC is a must! Many of USA’s most famous chefs have restaurants in NYC and take part in the bi-annual Restaurant Week every summer and winter, offering prix-fixe meals at very discounted price that the average person can afford. Food trucks are a growing trend with items ranging from cupcakes to tacos and everything in between. And of course, you can’t visit NYC without enjoying some of city’s food staples ranging from street vendor hot dogs, pizzas by the slice – go for the small independent “corner” pizzerias rather than the touristy Grimaldi’s or Lombardi’s. And when (not if!) venturing in to Brooklyn, head to Coney Island for a taste of the original Nathan’s famous hot dogs, soft serve ice cream on the boardwalk (or my recommendation: Denny’s Delight not far from the Cyclone on Surf Street) and traditional Brooklyn bagels.
Internet resource: www.yelp.com
Didn’t think you’d see this section in an article about NYC, did ya? As I said, NYC has something for everyone. And when, I said everyone, I meant it. There’s actually plenty of nature opportunities within the city boundaries. And I’m not even talking about the plethora of man-made parks, botanical and community gardens, and zoos. In the summer, head over to Redhook in Brooklyn for free urban kayaking with amazing views of the Statue of Liberty especially as the sun sets. Another place to Kayak is along Jamaica Bay. If hiking is more your thing, check out the least urban borough of NYC – Staten Island. Hey, bird-watchers -there’s something in NYC for you too. Bring your binoculars to Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn and be on the lookout for monk parakeets.
Internet resource: http://www.nycgovparks.org/
NYC played an important part in the American Revolutionary War especially in Brooklyn where the first and largest battle of the war, appropriately named “Battle of Brooklyn, was held. The Old Stone house, now a museum in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, was a dutch farmhouse used as an Artillery position for the British during the battle. The Fraunces Tavern in the Financial District of Manhattan is where George Washington held his farewell speech. Now a museum, the tavern, holds some of Washington’s most prized possessions including a lock of his hair and one of his teeth. To experience some of the city’s more recent history, the Coney Island Museum has some memorabilia from the 1830s-1960s when the neighborhood was a resort town. If you have family that lived in Brooklyn during this period (1 in 7 Americans can trace their roots to Brooklyn!), they, more than likely have been to Coney Island during it’s Luna Park and Steeplechase days. The City Reliquary in Williamsburg Brooklyn, collects remnants of NYC and has a collection of NYC water, old seltzer bottles, metrocards and subways tokens from various eras.
For history on a global level, visit one of the world’s largest museums, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. AMNH exhibitions highlight everything from the beginning of time to the earth’s future. Exhibits include taxidermy animals from all the regions of world. Ethnic and cultural items also world- , dinosaur bones, a hall devoted to gems and minerals, and cosmic pathway explaining the big bang theory and theories of the world’s future.
Internet resource: http://www.forgotten-ny.com/
NYC is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and the best way to experience it is to visit the boroughs’ residential neighborhoods. Purchase an unlimited metrocard (either daily or weekly, or if you’re here long term then monthly), get on one of the city’s many buses or trains and get off at random stops. Sure, you can visit Chinatown or Little Italy, but these are catered to the tourist masses. Go and explore the real New York instead!
Manhattan – Harlem for African, Caribbean, and African-American food, culture, and arts
Brooklyn – Brighton Beach for Little Odessa – Russian and Eastern European food and treasures at it’s finest, Coney Island Avenue for Little Pakistan, Boro park and Williamsburg have a large Orthodox Jewish presence with many Judaica shops and kosher restaurants.
Queens – is the most diverse borough in NYC. Go to Flushing to experience the real chinatown, Astoria – Greek churches and pastries, Jackson Heights for South Asian jewelery and sari shops.
Bronx – Arthur Avenue and the surrounding streets in Belmont have excellent Italian restaurants, delis, and bakeries.
Staten Island – For the 3rd largest Sri Lankan community outside of Sri Lanka, take the Staten Island ferry over to Tompkinsville.
Internet resource: http://www.walkingaround.com/
Spring and summer is the best time for people watching – one of New Yorkers favorite past-times. There are many great places to people watch, but these are among my favorite: Union Square southern steps. From this vantage point you can watch both the amateur skateboarders strut their stuff and the evangelists preach to the crowds. 5th Avenue during parade season, Central Park’s Skate Circle to watch the dancing skaters, Washington Square Park to check out local musicians. Some of the best people watching, though, occurs right on the NYC’s subway lines. You never know who or what might just turn up in your train car.
Attending street fairs and festivals are another one of New Yorkers’ favorite spring and summer hobbies, and it goes hand in hand with people watching. Every weekend during these seasons there is some celebration going on in the streets of NYC. These celebrations tend to bring out many diverse and interesting people. Attending these street festivals means you get to watch performers, vendors, and even other attendees. Certainly, there will be some great photo ops for you.
Internet Resource: http://newyork.timeout.com/things-to-do/this-week-in-new-york
NYC is the fashion capital of the USA and 1 of the 5 fashion capitals of the world, so NYC is definitely the place to shop till you drop. Everything from the most well known fashion designers and brands along 5th Avenue (think: Saks, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Prada, and more) to local designers’ boutiques concentrated in various northern Brooklyn Neighborhoods (esp. Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Williamsburg) and southeastern Manhattan neighborhoods ( esp. LES, East Village, Nolita). For vintage and thrift clothes shopping, wander the side streets of the East Village in Manhattan and Williamsburg in Brooklyn.
To discover the latest fashion trends by the world’s hottest designers, come to NYC for the semi-annual and much talked about New York Fashion Week.
Internet Resource: http://www.boutiqued.com/
Appreciators of Art
No doubt, you’ve heard of the Guggenheim, MoMA, and Metropolitan Museum of Art, but there’s way more to the NYC art scene than these major museums. There are plenty of small independent galleries around Chelsea in Manhattan, LIC in Queens, and DUMBO in Brooklyn.
Photographers will enjoy the annual NY Photo Festival held in DUMBO each May.
Internet Resource: http://www.nyartbeat.com/
NYC is also enjoyed by:
Music lovers – NYC has a growing music scene, many famous bands got their start at local venues
Architects – NYC’s buildings are as architecturally diverse as the people who reside and work in them
Sports fans – Home to 2 Major league baseball teams, 2 NFL teams, an NHL and an NBA team as well as the US Open (Tennis), there’s always a sporting event going on.
Go and Explore New York for Yourself
New York is one of the World’s Coolest Cities. Go there and have an adventure for yourself! Click here to look for flights and hotels