New York Areas
Set to great movies and many television series, this popular park isn't just the “lungs” of New York, but it is also great for walking, jogging, skating, bike riding, renting boats or shooting some spectacular photos. It was designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Olmsted in 1857 and it took 16 years to build. The park is huge, with a total of 843 acres (341 hectares) and a 6 miles (9.65 km) perimeter. Starts on 59th Street and ends on 110th between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West Avenue.
Among other attractions Central Park includes the New York Zoo, on the southeastern part of the park where both children and adults will be able to enjoy nature without leaving town. The "Wollman Rink" in the south, is another one of the great places that Central Parks offers visitors. It's a great spot for photography all year round and in the winter months it becomes a huge ice rink. If you walk north you will find the Boathouse and Bethesda Fountain, where a part from being able to rent a boat you will find yourself in one the most charming spots in the park. To the west you find "Strawberry Fields", on 72nd Street and Central Park West, where the famous mosaic that honors the legendary John Lennon song, Imagine, is to be found. It is not strange to find John Lennon nostalgic fans around the place.
Central Park also hosts the incredibly popular “Shakespeare in the Park", an open-air theater festival where plays of all different kinds are put on during the summer season: usually with two to four daily performances. Each season the lineup changes but every year it includes at least one Shakespeare play.
Chelsea/ Flatiron District
Chelsea is one of the districts with the most personality in town. Contemporary art lovers come together in this particular neighborhood. You'll find it north of the Meat Packing District and up to 34th Street. Chelsea has become the worldwide center of contemporary art. Between 19th and 29th Street and between 10th Avenue and 11th there are more than three hundred galleries, a constant melting pot of exhibits, new ideas, and new proposals. If you like contemporary art, there is nowhere in the world like Chelsea. It is important to note that the galleries are open to the general public and entrance is free.
Recently, Chelsea has also become an important shopping spot as it has been chosen by some of the most important and original fashion designers for their boutiques. Among other brands, you will find: Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Balenciaga, Barneys Coop, Christian Loboutin and Comme des Garcons.
You shouldn't miss the Flatiron building, at the crossroad of Broadway and Fifth Ave., which became famous for its original architecture in the shape of an iron, and for being the first skyscraper in New York.
Located in the southern part of Manhattan, the New York Chinatown is the largest in the United States. Narrow sidewalks, filled with shops and restaurants, fish markets, fruit stands and above all, people. People everywhere.
The most popular part of Chinatown is the area between Canal and Mott Street. Canal Street is famous for its fakes: on the north side dominated by jewelry stores, while on the south side, complementary items, accessories and watches. Shops on Mott Street and its surroundings usually have good bargains. The most authentic Chinatown is on East Broadway, where Chinese is the official language. It is also important to note that in Chinatown you can negotiate prices.
The East Village is a bohemian feel neighborhood. Technically the East Village is considered part of the Lower East Side, but in the 70s it began to develop its own identity. What was once basically an immigrant neighborhood, gradually grew into an area full of musicians, artists, students and writers. This fact evokes a certain cultural mysticism around the neighborhood that still remains.
Possibly St. Marks Place (8th Street) with its many shops, bars and restaurants, is one of East Village's most characteristic streets. In this area you shall find the famous St-Mark's-in-the-Bowery church, dating from 1799, and built by Peter Stuyvesant, the last Duke of New York.
If you're a fan of alternative art, the Nuyorican Cafe (New York and Puerto Rican fusion) has become a beacon for non-traditional artists. Art ranging from poetry to music, visual arts to comedy or theater. The East Village is also home of one of the most important public theaters in town, the Joseph Papp theater.
The Financial District is undoubtedly one of the most characteristic and visited places in New York. Important landmarks such as the New York stock exchange and the Statue of Liberty are located in this district. The Financial District is located in the southern cone of the island, in the area known as Downtown. This area and its skyscrapers serve as headquarters for some of the most prestigious commercial firms, so during the day it is swarming with people, not so much at night.
If you wish to visit the Statue of Liberty and the interesting Immigrants Museum you must take the ferry that leaves from Battery Park. You can also stroll on Wall Street, where the well-known NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) building is located. Close to Wall St, to the west, is ground zero, the place where the fateful September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks took place, and which have meant a turning point in the city. Even today, reconstruction works carry on.
The Financial District is also a very interesting shopping area as prices are often cheaper. Among other stores is the very well-known Century 21 that boasts great discounts on premium brands throughout the year.
Harlem is one of the more well-known neighborhoods in town and with the most character. It lies north of 96th Street between the Hudson River and East River.
This area houses the largest African American community in New York and is undoubtedly one of the most authentic neighborhoods. It has undergone a major revival and has gained much in security, being home to numerous students and young families.
For Black music lovers Harlem is a must. There are many spots, but perhaps the most celebrated is the Apollo Theater. Some of the most important artists, such as Aretha Franklin, Bessie Smith, New Edition, The Fugees, and others have played that venue.
Undoubtedly one of the biggest attractions in the area are the Gospel Choir Masses, which are usually held on Sunday morning. Some of the most popular are: 'The Abyssinian Baptist Church' and the 'Mother Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church'. For those wishing to find out more about African American culture the bookstore "Liberation" is a good starting point.
Within Harlem is also Spanish Harlem, also known as El Barrio, home to a large majority of the New York Hispanic community, with more than 120,000 Latinos. It is located between 96th and 125th street, on the east side of town. To learn more about the customs and history of this community you can visit the Museum “del Barrio”, the neighborhood museum. In this neighborhood you will also be able to savor some typical Caribbean cuisine, especially Puerto Rican dishes in well known restaurants such as La Fonda Boricua.
Lower East Side
It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in town. Originally, the Lower East Side, was home to the poor working class and an ethnically diverse population. In the past the neighborhood brought together a great number of Germans and became known as Little Germany. Over time, the Lower East Side went on to become an important center of Jewish culture. Even today remnants of those times, such as synagogues and typical Jewish kosher delis can be found there. The dominant community is now that of Puerto Rican and Dominican origin.
In recent years the Lower East Side lives a major turnaround, becoming one of the most modern and indie neighborhoods found in New York City. Taken over by young people, bars and designer restaurants, good atmosphere, and chic shops it is no doubt a neighborhood on the rise.
In the Lower East Side you also find one of the most interesting museums in town, the Tenement Museum. The most vivid example of the type of lifestyle that awaited immigrants on their arrival to New York in the late 19th and early 20th century.
If you're looking for skyscrapers and the most spectacular views in town, Midtown East should be your destination. In this area you shall find the famous Empire State Building (the tallest skyscraper in town), the Chrysler Building and the Rockefeller among others. Midtown East occupies the central area of Manhattan from 30th Street to 59th on the east side of the island.
Among its many attractions, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), where you can find works from famous painters such as Pablo Picasso, Miro, Kandinsky, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Pollock, Matisse and Mondrian, among others. The Radio City Music Hall is the place for major concerts and shows throughout the year, as well as being the venue where the MTV Music Awards take place. Another great wonder is the Public Library, on 42nd Street, where the impressive reading room is simply dazzling. Walking north on Fifth Avenue you will come across the imposing St. Patrick Cathedral, where if you so wish you can hear mass in Spanish every Saturday a 4 p.m.
If you wish to go shopping, on Fifth Avenue you'll be in for luxury shopping and excellence. You'll find brands and stores such as Tiffany & Co (as in Breakfast at Tiffany's), Henri Bendel, Berdgorf Goodman, the famous toy store Fao Swartz, the Apple Store, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Abercrombie & Fitch, Versace, Jimmy Choo , J. Crew...
Another major asset in Manhattan is Central Station, which besides being an exceptionally beautiful piece of architecture, it also counts numerous restaurants, bars and shops. This is where the movie “The Untouchables” staring Sean Connery, Robert De Niro and Kevin Costner was filmed.
To enjoy the best views of New York you have to go up the tallest skyscrapers: the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller. Going up half hour before sunset will allow you to see New York by daylight, the sunset and night lights all in one go. It's a great experience.
Midtown West hosts some of the great New York City icons. Among others, you will be able to visit emblematic places such as Times Square, the major Broadway theaters, and Carnegie Hall.
You can't miss Times Square, one of the city's most important symbols, today achieving status as an universal icon. Located at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue, its quite a show of light and color both day and night which you just can't be indifferent to.
The surroundings of Times Square are full of theaters showing a multitude of productions, musicals, and plays. So much so that the area is called the Theater District and is known as one of the major entertainment capitals worldwide. It is said that if you want to make it big, you must succeed on Broadway. If you'd like to check it out, you can buy tickets at discounted rates (50%) on the steps of Times Square.
Further west, on Eighth Ave. is the Port Authority bus station, from where you can hop on a bus to practically anywhere, including the famous outlet stores that are on the outskirts of town.
Murray Hill /Gramercy
Gramercy is one of the most beloved placed in New York. It is a small area of the city located between 14th and 23rd and between First Avenue and Broadway.
It is a quiet residential area, safe and almost aloof. Between 20th and 21rst street you will find the "Gramercy Park”, one of the few remaining private parks, surrounded by an architecture that you will hardly find anywhere else in the city.
In Gramercy you shall find famous Union Square, a place always south after, fine for shopping and also famous for its "Green Market" (home grown agricultural products).
Murray Hill is located between 34th and 42nd street and between Madison and the East River. This is a residential area, where skyscrapers and young people abound. This area is also famous for its numerous Indian restaurants and is therefore popularly known as "Curry Hill". One of the main attractions is the United Nations headquarters and if you would like to know more you can thanks to the guided tours offered Monday through Friday.
To speak of the New York Soho means talking of one of the trendiest neighborhoods in town. Turned into one of the most exclusive areas, it is a great place to go for a walk and do some shopping. Its name refers to its geographical location: SOuth of HOuston Street. Today a cool and glamorous neighborhood, in the 19th century the Soho was an industrial area known as the "Cast Iron". Going back to that time, you can see the Singer Building (on Liberty and Broadway), former HQ of the famous sewing machine factory. Much later, in the seventies, the area was taken over by artists who transformed these industrial warehouses and reconverted them into homes, resulting in the characteristic New York Lofts.
If what you are looking for is shopping, Broadway Street between Prince and Grand should be your choice destination. On display you will find a combination of top fashion boutiques (Armani, Marc Jacobs, Victoria's Secret, Bloomingdale's, Urban Outfitters, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Chanel, Apple store, Adidas...) and its famous T-shirts, jewelry and clothing accessories stands.
On the other hand, Little Italy, takes its name from the area originally populated by a large number of Italian immigrants. What's left of Little Italy can be found on Mulberry St. and Grand St. It's a lovely area where there are numerous Italian restaurants. In September, you can catch the “San Genaro" festivities, which lasts 11 days and have a long standing tradition.
In the 90s, an area to the north of Little Italy developed, becoming very popular and which came to be known as Nolita (North of Little Italy). Fashion shops and restaurants blend in with older monuments such as the first Catholic cathedral in New York, the St. Patrick's Old Cathedral.
As in contrast to Soho, the area that lies to the NOrth of HOuston Street is called NOHO. The Noho is considered a culturally protected area due to the beauty and variety of its architecture.
Tribeca is one of the coolest and most modern neighborhoods in town. Its name means Triangle Below Canal Street. As suggested by the name itself it is located south of Canal Street and up to Park Place.
In the past, Tribeca was a commercial district, with numerous warehouses and industrial buildings. Over time this area has experienced a strong revival and many of the old buildings are now luxury lofts and apartments. Gradually, this neighborhood has become one of most trendy and expensive.
Nowadays Tribeca is a modern and dynamic district. Among other things it hosts the Tribeca Film Festival. The neighborhood is full of celebrities, so it is not strange to come across one of them on the streets or even at any of the fancy restaurants in the area. One of the best known is Nobu, owned by famous actor Robert de Niro.
This neighborhood has also been set for numerous films, such as "Ghostbusters".
Upper East Side
The Upper East Side is the most exclusive and elegant district in town. The most distinguished and prestigious buildings and apartments in New York are on Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue, up to Central Park. It's the area where many of the city's great personalities have their million dollar homes.
It is also a great place for shopping, and along Madison Street you shall find a large variety of boutiques, jewelry stores, and luxury items. Some of the top notch designers that have boutiques in this distinguished neighborhood are: Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Chanel, Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Dior, Prada, Chloe, Juicy Couture, Gucci, Ralph Lauren...
If you walk north along Fifth Avenue, you shall enter the area known as Museum Mile, which brings together a total of eight museums, among which two of the greatest: the Metropolitan and the Guggenheim.
In recent years this neighborhood has gained much fame due to the popular TV series Gossip Girl, and you shouldn't be surprise if you walk into a set just around any corner.
Upper West side
The Upper West Side is located north of 59th Street between Central Park and the Hudson River. Full of charm, it is now a quiet residential area, with shops, bars and restaurants. It has a reputation for being home to great artists and people in the culture business in general. It is endowed with a peculiar architecture. Be sure to visit the Dakota building (1890) on Central Park and 72nd Street. This building is famous for its architecture and for its neighbors. John Lennon lived there when he was shot outside its entrance door in 1980. Great legends and Hollywood stars still live within its walls.
One of the great assets of this neighborhood, is the American Museum of Natural History. Founded in 1869, its ideal for both children and adults. Its admired for its emphasis on science and constant study of human cultures, nature and the universe. It is worth visiting and if you do, don't forget to visit the butterfly conservatory. <
The other great asset of the Upper West is the Lincoln Center. An impressive cluster of buildings that hosts theaters, auditoriums and different halls occupying a total of 17 blocks (6.3 acres or 6.6 hectares). It is impressive and in it you can enjoy a great many shows, performances, exhibitions and all kinds of events. Famous worldwide for its opera, ballet, dance, classical music and theater, it organizes about 400 events per year.
Up north, all the way out on 116th Street, you shall find the magnificent Columbia University. It is certainly worth your while going to see its buildings, the campus, and the student lifestyle that is out on the streets.
West Village/Greenwich Village
The West Village, also known as Greenwich Village or simply the Village, is one of the most characteristic neighborhoods in New York. Although it has no definite limits, it is more or less located between the Hudson River and Sixth Ave., from 14th Street to Houston Street.
During the day it's an excellent place for walking and sitting at anyone of the many restaurants or bars. It's a charming neighborhood, with small, tree lined streets, few storey houses, exclusive shops, and unexpected corners. One of its more famous street is Mineola, known as the street where more television shows and movies have ever been shot. The popular Tv series "Friends" among others. At night, the West Village is famous for its jazz clubs, and live music in general.
Around Washington Square is the prestigious NYU (New York University), with many of its campus buildings in this area. This provides extra energy and vitality to The Village, easily tangible all around.
Going further along 9th Avenue, one comes across the Meat Packing District, known for being one of the quintessential nightlife spots. Its where some of the most modern and trendy nightclubs, restaurants, and discos come together.