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New York

New York City

They don't come any bigger than the Big Apple - king of the hill, top of the heap, New York, New York. No other city is arrogant enough to dub itself Capital of the World and no other city could carry it off. New York is a densely packed mass of humanity and all this living on top of one another makes the New Yorker a special kind of person. Although it's hard to put a finger on what makes New York buzz, it's the city's hyperactive rush that really draws people here. Come take a bite!

In a city that is so much a part of the global subconscious, it's pretty hard to pick a few highlights - wherever you go you'll feel like you've been there before. For iconic value, you can't surpass the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park and Times Square. The Museum of Modern Art has to be one of the world's top museums, and the Guggenheim Museum and American Museum of Natural History aren't far behind. Bookshops, food, theater, shopping, people: it doesn't really matter what you do or where you go in New York because the city itself is an in-your-face, exhilarating experience.

Population: 18 million
Area: 303 sq mi (784 sq km)
Elevation: 87ft (27m)
State: New York
Time Zone: Eastern Time (GMT/UTC -5)
Telephone area code: Manhattan 212, 646 & 917, outer boroughs 718, 347 or 917


Most of Manhattan is extremely easy to navigate, thanks to a grid system of named or numbered avenues running the north-south length of the island, cut across by numbered streets that run from east to west. Above Washington Square, Fifth Ave and Central Park serve as the dividing line between the East Side and the West Side. Cross-street numbers begin at Fifth Ave and grow higher toward each river, generally (but not exclusively) in 100-digit increments per block. Therefore, the Hard Rock Cafe, at 221 W 57th St, is slightly less than three blocks west of Fifth Ave. Broadway, the only avenue to cut diagonally across the island, was originally a woodland path; it runs in some form from the southern tip of the island all the way to the state capital of Albany, 150 miles (240km) away.

Craning your neck amongst the skyscrapers of Manhattan, it's easy to forget that islands make up most of New York City's land mass. Manhattan and Staten Island stand alone; Queens and Brooklyn comprise the western end of Long Island. Only the Bronx is connected to the continental mainland. The water gap between Brooklyn and Staten Island - the 'narrows' through which the first Europeans entered the area - serves as the entrance to New York Harbor, which is also accessible to ships from the north via Long Island Sound. Manhattan is bordered on the west by the Hudson River and on the east by the East River, both technically estuaries subject to tidal fluctuations.

There are three major airports in the New York area: John F Kennedy (JFK), 15 miles (24km) southeast of midtown Manhattan; La Guardia, 8 miles (13km) east of Manhattan; and Newark 10 miles (16km) west of Manhattan in New Jersey.


New York City map