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New York Travel Guide

The New York Traveler's Guide to Make The Most Out of Your Trip

By The Non Fiction Author

Published by The Non Fiction Author

Smashwords Edition

Copyright ©2017 The Non Fiction Author

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Welcome to New York - It’s Been Waiting For You!

Chapter 1: New York City At a Glance (Manhattan and Its Surroundings)

Chapter 2: Things You Must Absolutely Do and See In New York

Chapter 3: Planning Your Trip Ahead (Tips & New York Itinerary

Chapter 4: Where to Sleep (Hotels, Hostels, Tips, & More)

Chapter 5: How to Use New York City’s Public Transport (Without Getting Lost!)

Chapter 6: Travel Smart, Experience More, and Spend Less

Chapter 7: Where to Shop - Crash Guide to New York Best Stores

Chapter 8: Holidays in New York City (It's Simply Amazing!)

Chapter 9: Uptown Manhattan

Chapter 10: Midtown Manhattan

Chapter 11: Lower Manhattan

Chapter 12: Brooklyn and Queens

Conclusion: See You in the Big Apple!

Welcome to New York - It’s Been Waiting For You!

If you’re reading this, then you’re thinking of or heading to one of the greatest cities in the entire world. New York City (aka the Big Apple) is often referred to as the “City that Never Sleeps”, and it stays true to its nickname for a reason. It is the most populated city in the United States of America, known as the cultural and financial capital of the world, and is seen as a major “melting pot” due to the early twentieth century mass immigration, extreme tourism, and it’s global impact. New York City consists of five boroughs: “trendy” Brooklyn, “food heavy” Queens, “powerhouse” Manhattan, the cultural Bronx, and traditional Staten Island. New York City is home to many corporate offices for commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. Additionally, it is home to the headquarters of the United Nations.

Besides it’s impressive resume of headquarters, commerce, Ivy League colleges, and trade, New York City has life like no other. The bright lights, hurried cabs, and bustling streets attract over 55 million tourists per year.

Any map or list can tell you the popular places to go to in New York City. You can spend hours in the Museums (which I do recommend if you have time), and not know anything else but that. However, New York City isn’t just Midtown Manhattan. It’s the running path along the East River or the hidden speakeasy in the Upper East Side. It’s the place where those who want to make it come and give it their all. It’s a city filled with opportunity, hidden gems, and activities to ensure you don’t sleep while you’re there. The historical sites are truly breathtaking and unforgettable. The true New York charm is a bit gritty, a bit unkempt, but full of heart. This guidebook celebrates both the traditional historic charm of the concrete jungle known, as New York City, as well as the hidden gems not the average tourist will find.

New York City is what you make it. With that, what will you choose in your time visiting? Will you head to Brooklyn, home of the “hipster”, sipping fresh cold dripped coffee and talking about the latest off-Broadway play, underground band, or vintage boutique? Or, will you head to the Bronx, grab a beer with a buddy, watch the famous New York Yankees play, and eat some authentic Italian. What about strolling along one of the biggest shopping streets in the world, 5th Avenue, stopping at a gourmet deli, and dancing the night away in SoHo? What will your New York be?

This guidebook takes you to both the traditional and beyond the average tour route. A true New Yorker wrote this guidebook; one who has lived in multiple boroughs, worked in multiple neighborhoods, and drank anywhere they can find a bar after noon. Who else would give you the best knowledge of where you can find the best pastrami sandwich or martini at a moment’s notice? As we’ve said before, this guidebook is to take you to places that interest and excite you. New York is what you make of it. It won’t create your itinerary, nor will it tell you every little thing that is offered in this city. It would take years to fully understand what New York has to offer. Even those born and raised in New York wouldn’t claim to have seen it all. This guidebook will be your essential pal that will nudge you along your way, your beacon in sea of fast moving locals, and your guide through transportation, hot spots, historical sites, and shopping.

But first, take it in.

Breathe in the city smog, chuckle at the angry New Yorker trying to get by you, and look up at the skyscrapers in awe. This is the home of the American Dream; the land of ideas.

I hope you like caffeine, because you’re going to need it to get through all that we have to cover (and if you want to look like a real New Yorker you must have a coffee in your hand).

Here's a quick rundown of our guide for easy reference.

• Chapter 1: A brief overview of New York City-Historical knowledge on its boroughs and neighborhoods to give you an initial understanding of the city and its landscape.

• Chapter 2 – Essential New York Experiences: A brief “To Do” list of New York City’s top attractions from a visitor's perspective, helping you to narrow down your list and help set your itinerary.

• Chapter 3 – Essential New York Trip Planning: This chapter starts with a rundown of the best of New York City, important things to consider when planning your trip, and a “To Do” list of top attractions. Whether looking for historical, famous, sights or preferring adventure with the unknown attractions, we have you covered. The weather got you down? We even have options on what to do on a rainy day!

• Chapter 4 – Where to Sleep: From hostiles to five star luxuries, New York City hospitality is just as diverse as the city itself. Whether staying in a penthouse or sleeping on a couch, we have options for every preference. This chapter covers it all and includes what apps to use, what websites to check out, and what places to look for specifically.

• Chapter 5 – How to use New York City’s MTA/Public Transportation: Everyone uses public transportation. From cabs to subways to buses, we have the inside scoop on all you need to know. Before you know it, you’ll be nudging people out of the way like a true New Yorker.

• Chapter 6 - How to Travel Smart, Experience More, and Spend Less: New York City regularly appears in the top lists of the world's most expensive cities. However, you don't need to max out three credit cards to experience the Big Apple like a local. We can’t afford rent and buy shoes without cutting some corners! This chapter helps take the spending out of the stratosphere.

• Chapter 7- Where to Shop-Ready to shop until you drop? This Chapter provides the best shopping areas as well as great stops along the way to keep you nourished.

• Chapter 8-Holidays in NYC-The holidays in NYC are truly a magical time. There is something about the twinkling Christmas lights, snowy streets, and mulled wine that put anyone in a good mood. Here is our list of the best places to go and get in the holiday spirit.

• Chapters 9-12: An in depth look into New York City’s Most Popular Neighborhoods These chapters provide great tips, details, insights, noteworthy attractions, and hidden gems in each of New York City’s distinguished neighborhoods. They're packed with local tips of where to eat, drink, party, and how to experience the New York City off the beaten path

• Chapter 9-Uptown Manhattan

• Chapter 10-Midtown Manhattan

• Chapter 11-Lower Manhattan

• Chapter 12-Brooklyn and Queens

• Chapter 13: See you in the Big Apple! A brief conclusion and thank you.

Chapter 1:
New York City At a Glance (Manhattan and Its Surroundings)

In 1609, English explorer Henry Hudson re-discovered the New York Metro region when he sailed his ship into the natural New York Harbor. Although he was searching for the Northwest Passage to the Orient, the Dutch’s claim on New York City and Hudson’s employer the Dutch East India Company helped New York City start to grow as an initial trading post. It wasn’t until the 1700s when the British acquired the land and saw the growth potential, and invested in the land to make it a major trading port.

New York City is in the Northeastern United States. The location at the mouth of the Hudson River and along the East River, feeds into a natural sheltered harbor and then into the Atlantic Ocean. This has significantly the city grow into a major trading port. Most of New York City is built on the three islands of Long Island, Manhattan, and Staten Island.

New York City's five boroughs are home to some of the world's most recognizable, cherished landmarks and attractions. From the bright lights of Times Square to the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building to beautiful Central Park. Our prestigious museums include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, and the Museum of Natural History, among many others. The island of Manhattan packs more famous icons into one compact area than any other place on earth; and we haven’t even started talking about the City's four other boroughs—The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island—each of which contains its own roster of must-see destinations. With so much to see and do, a trip to NYC may seem a little overwhelming. New York’s neighborhoods are each distinct with their own characteristics and personalities.

• Manhattan Island is the most densely populated and well-known borough. Home to Central Park, most of the city skyscrapers (including the world’s tallest skyscraper), as well as all of the major shopping, theater, and arts districts. Randall's Island, Wards Island, and Roosevelt Island in the East River, and Governors Island and Liberty Island to the south in New York Harbor also reign under the Manhattan borough. Manhattan is home to most of the cultural and financial capital to New York City. It is home to many corporations, the United Nations Headquarters, universities, and many cultural attractions. Iconic scenes such as the Plaza Hotel from Home Alone 2 or Audrey Hepburn strolling the streets in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, are all filmed in Manhattan.

Manhattan Island is separated into neighborhoods that fall into the Lower, Midtown, and Uptown sections. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, and above the park is Harlem. New York City's remaining four boroughs are known as the "outer boroughs".

• The Bronx is home of the famous home of the New York Yankees, as well as the Bronx Zoo: the world's largest metropolitan zoo. The Bronx is also the birthplace of rap and hip-hop culture. It is known for its growing restaurant scene

• Brooklyn is currently one of the fastest growing areas of New York City. It’s located on the western tip of Long Island. Brooklyn is known for its “hipster” culture, art scene, ethnic neighborhoods, and architectural heritage. Iconic Coney Island and their world famous hot dog competition reside at the tip of Brooklyn.

• Queens on Long Island east of Brooklyn is the largest borough as well as the most ethnically diverse county. Queens is home to the New York Mets and their renowned Citi Field stadium. The annual U.S. Open tennis tournament takes place in Queens. Additionally, two of the three main airports for New York City (LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport), are located in Queens. (The third is Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey.)

• Staten Island is the most suburban and stereotypical (due to media) of the boroughs. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island to Brooklyn and to Manhattan by way of the free Staten Island Ferry, a daily commuter ferry (Insider’s Tip: It’s FREE) and popular tourist attraction, which provides unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan. Getting Started-Manhattan’s neighborhoods

Although Manhattan is smaller in comparison to Brooklyn or Queens (Brooklyn is actually three times the size of the big island!), it is a melting pot of culture and variety. The Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 was the design that established Manhattan’s famed street grid. The plan is well known to be called “the single most important document in New York City’s Development”. Although this plan was commissioned before the building of Central Park, its planned grid that uses Streets for roads East to West and Avenues from North to South is not only used today, but it’s organization has been contributed to helping the city’s fast growth. During this grow, many immigrants moved to certain neighborhoods due to the strong language barrier. Decades later, these neighborhoods stuck! Manhattan’s diverse and largely populated area is split into distinct neighborhoods, which are separated by both architecture and culture. To truly understand New York City is to understand the neighborhoods and the history behind each.

• Uptown Manhattan-the area above 59th Street (The Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Lenox Hill, Carnegie Hill, Yorkville, etc.)

• Upper Manhattan-the area above 96th Street (Inwood, Harlem, Washington Heights, Fort George, Morningside Heights, etc.)

• Downtown Manhattan-the area below 14th Street (NoHo, East Village, West Village, Lower East Side, Alphabet City, Greenwich Village, Nolita, SoHo, etc.)

• Between Downtown and Midtown- (Kips Bay, Gramercy Park, Chelsea, Flatiron District, Union Square, Waterside Plaza, Stuyvesant Town, etc.)

• Lower Manhattan-the area below Chambers Street. (TriBeCa, Financial District, Battery Park City, Chinatown, Little Italy, etc.)

• Midtown Manhattan-the area between 34th Street and 59th Street (Midtown, Columbus Circle, Sutton Place, Rockefeller Center, Diamond District, Turtle Bay, Madison Square, Hell’s Kitchen, Times Square, Herald Square, Murray Hill, Garment District, etc.)

• The West Side refers to the area west of Fifth Avenue, while the East Side refers to the area east of Fifth Avenue. In the cases of the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, the two areas are split by Central Park.

Tricks for Street Orientation: Walk Like a True New Yorker!

Here are some useful memory tricks that are easy to remember and might help you get your bearings in NYC.

• Although the island of Manhattan is actually tilted toward the northeast, everyone here uses north/south, or uptown/downtown.

• Traffic on 1st Ave, 3rd Ave, and Amsterdam Ave goes north, aka uptown. You can remember this by picturing the number 1 as a rocket (it goes up), the number 3 as two balloons (they go up), and the letter "A" as the head of an arrow pointing up.

• Traffic on 2nd Ave, 5th Ave, and Columbus Ave goes south, or as New Yorkers call it, “downtown”. You can remember this by thinking of the numbers 2 and 5 as being s-shaped (for "south"), and the word "Columbus" as the country Columbia, which is south of NYC.

• Streets run east/west. Even streets run east, which you can remember by thinking of how "even" and "east" start with the same letter, while odd streets run the opposite way (west)

• Street addresses use "west" or "east" depending on which side of Fifth Avenue you're on—for example, 157 E 68th Street and 157 W 68th Street. You know you’re not a local when…you mistake is to walk the wrong direction along a street because you're looking for the address on the wrong side of Fifth Avenue

• Houston Street is pronounced “HOWston” not “HOOUSTON”

• When giving directions in a cab, make sure to say the street first and then the avenue. Example: “I need to go to 71st and 2nd please. AND STEP ON IT!”

Each of Manhattan’s neighborhoods pack diversity and culture into each area, which makes it hard to choose which neighborhoods to travel to, especially if your travel is limited. Most of the iconic New York areas and skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, the United Nations and Times Square are found in the heart of the Big Apple: Midtown Manhattan. The Financial District holds major corporate hubs such as the Freedom Tower, the World Trade Center Memorial, as well as many international corporations. Cultural areas mostly speak for themselves in their name. From Chinatown to Little Italy to Little Korea you can find some of the world’s best ethnic cuisine at the drop of a hat.

Transportation is not only accessible but also easy to understand throughout Manhattan and it’s boroughs. Whether by bus or subway, locals commute on publish transportation. Although they may moan and groan about delays or subway construction, it’s much more affordable than a taxicab, and can take you home sometimes in the same amount of time. Everywhere in Manhattan and the other boroughs are connected through one line or another. Chapter five of this guide provides detailed information on how to effectively use New York City’s public transportation like a pro.

Understanding Manhattan’s Neighborhoods

Manhattan’s neighborhoods are as unique as their residents. Depending on the neighborhood, you can find that shopping, museums, and even culture vary depending on the location. When you’re looking at where to go, where to stay, or where to eat, we’ve compiled a few noteworthy destinations for each neighborhood!

Upper West Side

The iconic Upper West Side is known for it’s “old money” roots and high end suits. From baby strollers to dog walkers, the Upper West Side is indeed the most family oriented of the more popular Manhattan neighborhoods. Traditional brownstone buildings line the streets with picturesque views. Many of the most expensive retail shopping is available in this area, along with quiet tree strewn streets and local bakeries. Keep an eye out for celebrities, as many prefer this posh and quiet neighborhood. The Lincoln Center for the Arts, prestigious Columbus Circle, and satellite classrooms to the prestigious Fordham University and Columbia University can be found in the Upper West Side.

Upper East Side

The Upper East Side is one of the more quiet neighborhoods of New York. Located along the east side of famed Central Park, it extends from 59th Street to 96th street. Important museums run along the Upper East Side’s section of Fifth Avenue, which is nicknamed the “Museum Mile”. This “mile” includes the Metropolitan Museum of Art (www.metmuseum.org/), the Jewish Museum of New York (www.thejewishmuseum.org), The Frick Collection (www.frick.org), as well as the Guggenheim Museum (www.guggenheim.org), among others. Although the subways run along Lexington Avenue, stroll down to 2nd Avenue, where an array of local known restaurants and pubs are found along the street.


If looking for New York City’s renowned bright lights and city hustle, then head to Midtown. This small neighborhood is not to be judged by size, as its streets are home to some of the most well known buildings such as Chrysler Building, Grand Central, and the Empire State Building, and the iconic Bryant Park. Be sure to look at the New Year’s Eve Ball and the bright billboards in Times Square.

Hell’s Kitchen

Due to the large corporations and tourist attractions like Times Square, you will find your most expensive options for dining and nightlife in Midtown. Popular chains and retail stores reside closer to Times Square. If you’re traveling on a budget or looking for local cuisine, walk west to 9th Avenue in Midtown to the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Hell's Kitchen, also known as Clinton or the Midtown West neighborhood, is located between 34th to 59th street, between Eighth Avenue and the Hudson River. “Restaurant Row” is located between 8th and 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen.

Lower East Side

The Lower East Side is seen as one of the “trendier” areas of New York. It consists of shorter buildings, street graffiti, street vendors, and laid-back vibe are a far cry from looking like the tall cityscape of Midtown. Whether in the mood for a quick bite at the famous Katz’s Deli (katzsdelicatessen.com), or strolling the streets to view the street art, the LES filled with buzzing restaurants and bars.

East Village

If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path, the East Village is for you. Don’t be weary of the graffiti signed walls and flannel wearing hipsters. Instead, bask in the freedom of art. The East Village is known for its vibrant history in the arts and nightlife. Their kitschy restaurants are unusual and delicious; so don’t be afraid to go right in! Some of the best coffee houses are in the East Village such as the East Village Coffee Lounge.


SoHo is known for its eclectic shopping, art galleries, and restaurants. The traditional cobblestone streets of New York’s past offer landmark cast iron buildings, which hold some of the most unique and pricier shopping in the world. Whether looking for local boutiques, chain retail stores, or high-end items, SoHo has every shop you could want.


The rapidly growing Brooklyn area of Williamsburg has a lot to offer if you’re willing to take the journey. The easiest access is by subway. The redefined Williamsburg area will likely surprise you, as its recycled and renovated industrial buildings hold new apartment buildings and local businesses. Bedford Avenue, the longest street in Brooklyn, is know for its versatile nightlife and gorgeous brownstone buildings.


DUMBO stands for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass, and is one of Brooklyn’s fastest growing neighborhoods. From exclusive art galleries to Brooklyn Bridge State Park, DUMBO is becoming a trendy area for startups and boutiques. The East Rive Ferry stops at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and allows scenic views of the skyline as well as Brooklyn and Queens.


Astoria is 15 minutes or less from Midtown Manhattan by subway or cab. The N and W subways lines run through the heart of the vibrant neighborhood, above 31st Street. This area is not known for it’s heavy nightlife, but rather it’s authentic restaurants and corner bars. From a bohemian beer garden to breathtaking views of the skyline, Queens is not to be forgotten on your stop.

Queens-Long Island City

Many become confused between Long Island and Long Island City. Long Island City is currently under a dramatic renovation and revitalization. Luxury apartments with amazing views of the skylines are rising everyday, and there is a reason for it. Long Island City’s bars and restaurant nightlife is upping their game. With only one stop on the subway from Manhattan, it’s easy to get to and worth the trip. From Skinny’s Cantina mouthwatering margaritas to the relaxed atmosphere of the Alewife Pub, Long Island City offers something for anyone’s taste.

Chapter 2:
Things You Must Absolutely Do and See In New York

As we’ve said before, New York is what you make of it. From the thousands of restaurants, dozens of original Broadway shows, to the art and nightlife scenes, New York City is a mecca for anything you can dream of. As any New Yorker will tell you, there's no way to see all the highlights of this vast, complex city in just one visit. That's part of the thrill of visiting the Big Apple—there's always something new to discover. From iconic landmarks to local favorites these essentials must be at the top of your list.

The “City That Never Sleeps” is a fast paced, hustling, metropolitan island filled with dreams and go-getters. Countless movies, television shows, and other forms of media place their settings in New York due to its limitless boundaries and interesting characters. As a cultural melting pot, many true “New Yorkers” are actually not be originally from New York. Those that have wanted to follow the New York dream have moved to fulfill their goals. In return, they have developed certain characteristics/preferences that they learn and evolve to in New York will make them locals. We’ve compiled a list of ways you not only can spot a New Yorker in New York City, but also how you can spot them outside of their habitat.

Ways to Spot a true New Yorker in New York City (so you know how to act like one)

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