New York City

New York City, the "city that never sleeps," is a place of longing for USA travelers from all over the world. Nowhere else will you find as many world-famous sights and events in one place as in the vibrant metropolis on the east coast of the United States.

New York City facts

State: New York
County: Bronx County (The Bronx), New York County (Manhattan), Queens County (Queens), Kings County (Brooklyn), Richmond County (Staten Island)
Area: 1,214.4 km²
Population: about 8.8 million
Nickname: Big Apple, The city that never sleeps
Time zone: Eastern (UTC -4 / -5)

New York City: location & population

New York City is located in the US state of New York in the Northeast of the USA, where the Hudson River flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

With around 8.8 million inhabitants, New York City is the most populous city in the USA. Together with the surrounding towns, New York City forms the New York metropolitan region, which, with over 20.1 million inhabitants, also ranks first in the USA. New York City is also part of the Boswash megalopolis that stretches along the Atlantic coast from Boston to Washington, D.C.

New York City Boroughs

The five districts of New York are also called "The Five Boroughs," and they offer the following highlights.

Manhattan

Manhattan, geographically the smallest and most densely populated borough of New York City, is best known for its imposing skyline with dozens of skyscrapers and world-class landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and Central Park. The heart of Wall Street beats here, and some of the world's best show highlights come from the theaters of Broadway.

Brooklyn

The borough of Brooklyn is connected to Manhattan by the famous Brooklyn Bridge, and for a long time, it did not have a good reputation. However, to date, it has developed into a real trendy district. Especially Dumbo, which borders directly on the Brooklyn Bridge, has established itself as one of the most popular art districts in New York. Here, you will find a colorful variety of stores, art galleries, restaurants, and bars.

Queens

The geographically largest of New York's five boroughs, Queens, is also the most ethnically diverse borough in the United States. Queens is home to areas dominated by high-rise buildings (e.g., Ozone Park, Jackson Heights, Flushing, Astoria), and streets with many low-rise buildings. The multicultural borough is known for colorful festivals and parades, a lively music scene, and rich culinary diversity.

Bronx

The Bronx is the only borough in New York City that is almost entirely on the mainland. The district north of Manhattan is also known for its multicultural diversity. About 41% of the Bronx's 1.4 million residents were born outside the United States. Here you can find the famous Bronx Zoo and the stadium of the New York Yankees baseball team.

Staten Island

So if you want to live in New York City and still enjoy a quiet place, Staten Island is the place to be. Although it is the third-largest borough in New York City, it has the fewest people. As a result, there is a certain suburban flair to it.

However, because of the constantly rising rents in New York City, more and more people are now moving to Staten Island, which means that the neighborhood is steadily gaining in liveliness. It is connected to Manhattan by the free Staten Island Ferry, from which you can enjoy a great view of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan.

New York City climate

New York City is located in the northeastern United States, where the climate is moderate. You can experience all four seasons. In winter, average temperatures are around freezing point, while in summer, they reach an average of 25 - 30 °C.

How to get to New York City

New York City's major airport is called John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and is located at the southern end of Queens.

American Airlines and Delta offer direct flights from London Heathrow to JFK. You can also fly directly from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, for example with Air France or Delta. For a direct connection from Central Europe, you should plan on a flight time of about 8 hours and ticket prices starting at about €400.

Once you arrive at the New York airport, you can take one of the iconic yellow cabs to your accommodation. But beware: the trip of 60 to 90 minutes will cost you around $75! A cheaper way to get downtown is to take a shuttle bus (about $19), or a combination of the JFK AirTrain and LIRR trains ($15.50 - $18.50 depending on the time).

Tip
Another option is Newark Liberty International Airport, better known as New York Newark Airport, located on the territory of the neighboring state of New Jersey. It is only about 17 km away from New York City and has excellent public transport connections. With Lufthansa or United Airlines, you can fly directly to Newark from Frankfurt am Main or Munich, for example.

New York City travel authorization

If you are not a US citizen or Green Card holder, you will need a US visa or ESTA to enter the United States. You can obtain the latter as a citizen of one of the Visa Waiver Program countries (e.g., Japan, Australia, and most EU countries). The ESTA application is cheaper and less complicated than the US visa. Once approved, you can stay in the US visa-free for up to 90 days.

ESTA – visa-free to the USA

With an ESTA, you can stay 90 days visa-free in the USA. Apply online now!

Getting around New York City

The metropolis New York City has a distinctive infrastructure, which offers you various ways to get from A to B:

Public Transportation

New York City offers one of the largest subway networks in the world! It includes 27 lines, 476 stations, and about 6,000 cars. Covering a total distance of about 400 km, the New York Subway trains take you to all corners of the city around the clock. In addition, the LIRR trains run to Long Island, and the New Jersey Transit trains to New Jersey.

All areas of the city and suburbs that you can't get to by subway can still be reached by New York's well-developed bus network, which consists of 235 lines with more than 4,000 buses.

The free Staten Island Ferry takes you across the Hudson River from Manhattan to Staten Island. In addition, several other commercial ferries operate on the Hudson River and East River, with which you can also reach the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

Taxicab

There are more than 13,000 of the iconic "Yellow Cabs" on New York's 10,200 km road network, but it is not the cheapest way to get around. The basic fee for a New York cab is $2.50, and you pay $1.56 for each additional kilometer driven. In case you get stuck in traffic, you will be charged for the standing time $30.00 per hour.

Rental Car

When it comes to getting around, New York City is a rather "un-American city" with residents preferring to use public transportation rather than cars. This is mainly due to the high parking fees and tolls for bridges and tunnels. So if you want to drive in New York City, be sure to budget for these fees.

Bicycle

Biking is becoming increasingly popular in New York City. You should have no trouble securing a rental bike at one of New York City's 700 or so bike stations. We would recommend a guided bike tour through Central Park or along the Hudson River in western Manhattan. A day ticket costs about $12.

On foot

There's so much to see in New York City - so one of the best ways to get around Manhattan & Co is definitely by walking! Be sure to pack some comfortable walking shoes in your luggage. Also, bring an umbrella, because the weather in New York City has already surprised many tourists.

Accommodation in New York City

Central Manhattan, where most sights and nightlife are located, is understandably the most popular place for travelers to stay.

However, a good city location comes at a price: for a nice room in a mid-range hotel, you should budget €200 per night. Sometimes, you can get a cheaper hotel for around €100. If you are looking for more luxury, the sky's the limit.

The travel season also matters: the cheapest hotel bargains can usually be found in January, February, July, and August. At popular travel times in April, May, September, and October, room rates go up.

Booking.com

Hotels

You can find places to stay in New York City in every price range. Some popular hotels are:

Pod 51

This 3-star budget hotel has a cafe, bar, free Wi-Fi, and a large rooftop terrace with city views. Empire State Building, 5th Avenue, Grand Central Terminal, and UN Headquarters are within walking distance.

  • Borough: Manhattan, Turtle Bay
  • Address: 230 E 51st St, New York, NY 10022, USA
  • Price category: $
  • Hotel details: Pod 51

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New York Times Square West

Overlooking the Hudson River, this 4-star hotel is within walking distance of Times Square and Hudson Yards. It features a terrace restaurant, a rooftop bar with city views, and a fitness center.

Warwick New York

This 4-star hotel is just a stone's throw from the Empire State Building and Central Park. The historic building has a restaurant and a fitness center.

  • Borough: Manhattan, Diamond District
  • Address: 65 W 54th St, New York, NY 10019, USA
  • Price category: $$
  • Hotel details: Warwick New York

New York Marriott Marquis

This modern 4-star hotel is located in the middle of the lively theater district with its many Broadway shows and restaurants, where you can plunge right into New York nightlife.

  • Borough: Manhattan, Theater District
  • Address: 1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, USA
  • Price category: $$
  • Hotel details: New York Marriott Marquis

The Plaza

Money doesn't matter? Congratulations! The luxurious Plaza welcomes you with all amenities at a room price starting at €700. You'll also get a large dose of nostalgia: the New York icon in the style of the French Renaissance has been around since 1907.

  • Borough: Manhattan, Diamond Districtt
  • Address: 5th Avenue, Central Park S, New York, NY 10022, USA
  • Price category: $$$
  • Hotel details: The Plaza
Sparen Sie bei Ihrem Hotel – hotelscombined.de

Apartments

Apartments are a good alternative to hotels in New York City, especially if you are traveling with a group of friends. You can find suitable offers at:

  • hometogo.com
  • apartments.com
  • airbnb.com

Hostels

If all you need is a shower and a mattress to crash on for a few hours, hostels offer a cheap place to stay for as little as €40 - 50.

Best sights in New York City

New York City is bursting with world-famous sights. You should take enough time to discover all the highlights of this fascinating metropolis. These top five should definitely be on top of your to-do list:

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

Since 1886, the landmark of the USA welcomes travelers and immigrants in New York City. The 93-meter-high Statue of Liberty is THE symbol of freedom and democracy and awaits your visit to Liberty Island in New York Harbor. Not far from it lies Ellis Island, where about 12 million US immigrants set foot on American soil for the first time between 1890 and 1954.

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Empire State Building

Already visible from afar is the striking silhouette of the Empire State Building, which became world-famous through Hollywood films such as "King Kong." After its completion in 1931, the 443 m high skyscraper was the tallest building in the city for a long time. When you reach the 86th floor, a magnificent panoramic view of Manhattan opens up to you from the outdoor observation deck.

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Times Square

At New York City's most famous intersection, you'll be immersed in a sea of large screens and flashing lights. The square got its name from the daily newspaper New York Times, which had its editorial office here for a long time. The square is especially famous for its New Year's Eve party, where the new year is rung in with the traditional ball drop at midnight.

Brooklyn Bridge

Your best New York photo? The Brooklyn Bridge has the perfect potential as a background! Completed in 1883, the icon of New York spans the East River and takes you from Manhattan to Brooklyn in a 20-minute walk. Once you've crossed the architectural masterpiece, Brooklyn's lively Dumbo neighborhood awaits you with a variety of small stores, cafes, restaurants, and bars.

9/11 Memorial

Approach the 9/11 Memorial with great respect, as it features two large reflecting pools that mark the spot where the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11th, 2001. Since the memorial was built, the area has once again become a vibrant business district, including the new One World Trade Center skyscraper and the futuristic Oculus train station.

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The Edge, Top of the Rock, or Grand Central Station: your favorite sight wasn't featured yet? Then take a look at our top sights in New York and find many more New York travel tips!

The American Dream recommends:

Sightseeing in the Big Apple can be quite a strain on your vacation budget. With a New York Pass, you can save big on admission to New York's most popular attractions, museums, and tours!

But the choice of New York Passes is huge. We have compared all the offers: our extensive New York Pass comparison will tell you which New York Pass fits your travel plans best.

Click here for our extensive New York Pass comparison!

Cultural highlights in New York City

New York City is not called the "city that never sleeps" for nothing: the Big Apple is one of the most vibrant entertainment capitals in the world. You'll find cultural highlights around every corner.

On legendary Broadway alone, you can choose from 41 major theaters in search of the best show! And the variety of museums in New York City is almost endless. Culture fans are spoiled for choice, among other things from these highlights:

  • (Musical) theaters on Broadway
  • Concerts and events at Madison Square Garden
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • 9/11 Museum
  • Whitney Museum of American Art

Event highlights 2022

The New Year in New York City begins with what the "city that never sleeps" does best – spectacular highlights! With world-class shows and culinary delights, you're guaranteed to melt away during the cold days of January. And best of all, in 2022, you can save big with the 2-for-1 ticket deal!

NYC Broadway Week 2022

The world's most famous theaters line up on New York's Broadway. Twice a year, the Big Apple celebrates its great shows and artists during NYC Broadway Week. The first edition this year takes place from January 18th to February 13th. You can expect top highlights like "Moulin Rouge," "Aladdin," "The Lion King," "Wicked," and many more. Book your favorite show now and let yourself be enchanted by the magic of Broadway!

The tickets are available from now on. Just enter the following discount codes when booking and save a whopping 50 %:

  • 2-for-1 tickets: BWAYWK
  • 2-for-1 tickets wirth an upgrade (better seats): BWAYUP

Reserve your seats to Broadway's hottest shows here!

NYC Restaurant Week 2022

Since you're in the never-sleeping city, there is plenty more to come after the show! NYC Restaurant Week runs at the same time as Broadway Week, from January 18th to February 13th. Again, great discounts are waiting for you at the 400 participating restaurants. Depending on the location, you can treat yourself to new, unusual, or typical New York dishes for a fixed price of $ 29, $ 39, or $ 59.

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New York City nature and parks

Although New York City is a densely populated metropolis, you'll find many green oases in the Big Apple that invite you to relax or exercise.

Central Park

The huge Central Park in the heart of Manhattan is the green lung of New York. Listen to open-air concerts on the Great Lawn in the summer, skate across the ice at Wollman Rink in the winter, visit the John Lennon memorial Strawberry Fields, or have a picnic at Sheep Meadow - Central Park is the perfect balance to hectic city life!

High Line

You won't find a park like the High Line anywhere else in the world! It was built on a former elevated train line and runs parallel to 10th Avenue for 2.3 km through Manhattan. More New York highlights await you at both ends of the High Line: whether it's climbing the futuristic staircase structure, The Vessel in Hudson Yards, or sipping cocktails in the Meatpacking District, you're in for a treat!

Bryant Park

Between 5th and 6th Avenue in Manhattan is Bryant Park, another retreat for stressed-out city dwellers. In the summer months, Bryant Park offers a huge program of free events, while in the winter, you can skate around the Bank of America Winter Village ice rink. Need to work during your New York trip? No problem - thanks to Bryant Park's free Wi-Fi access, you can easily relocate your office to the green!

Flushing Meadows Park

In New York City's second-largest park in Queens, the symbols of the 1964 World's Fair will immediately catch your eye: the gigantic steel globe Unisphere, the Observatory Towers, and the New York State Pavilion still make an impression today. In addition, the area offers a boating lake, a skate park, an aquatic and field hockey center, and numerous playgrounds. Flushing Meadows Park is particularly sporty at the beginning of September when the US Open is held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Shopping in New York City

Leave plenty of room in your suitcase, because New York City is a shopper's paradise! From luxury designer shopping to flea market bargains, you can do it all in fashionable New York City! If you visit the following places, you certainly won't come back without full shopping bags:

  • Fifth Avenue – Designer boutiques and luxury shopping
  • Macy’s – Huge department store with a great variety of brands
  • Meatpacking District – Individual and creative boutiques
  • Times Square – M&M's World, Disney Store, and more
  • Woodbury Common Premium Outlet Center – Huge outlet center with 220 stores outside Manhattan

Food and drinks in New York City

New York City is a melting pot of different cultures. Accordingly, you can enjoy a wide range of culinary delights here. No matter what you're in for - you don't have to look far in New York City! In the overabundance of more than 17,000 restaurants, you will find specialties from all over the world.

Treat yourself to a few typical American specialties when you're in New York City:

  • Pizza New York Style
  • New York Cheesecake
  • Manhattan Cocktails
  • Hot Dogs
  • Bagels
  • Pancakes
  • Burgers

New York City nightlife

After you have strengthened yourself in a restaurant with your favorite food, your stroll through the nightlife of New York City can start. When the sun goes down, the "city that never sleeps" really comes alive! A great place for fun and nightlife is the Meatpacking District, where you'll find an abundance of cocktail bars, beer gardens, and dance clubs.

You can really feel the unique New York atmosphere while drinking cocktails in the city's numerous breathtaking rooftop bars. The selection is gigantic, and creativity knows no bounds. Of course, there are always new hip locations where you can let a night end with a blast:

  • 230 Fifth – The largest rooftop bar in New York City offers a wide selection of specialty cocktails and a great view of the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building.
  • Bar SixtyFive – The wraparound open-air terrace on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Plaza offers a great view of Manhattan's skyscrapers.
  • St. Cloud – The glamorous St. Cloud on the rooftop of the Knickerbocker Hotel overlooks vibrant Times Square.
  • Azul On The Rooftop – The bar above the Hotel Hugo charms you with colorful decor, tropical cocktails, outdoor movie nights, and panoramic views of Lower Manhattan.
  • Mad46 – The Roosevelt Hotel's rooftop terrace lounge is the perfect location for after-work cocktails in the summer.

New York City sporting events

Sports freaks will be delighted in New York City. You can watch the matches of your favorite teams from all popular US sports or visit world-famous sporting events.

Basketball

Basketball is present in almost every park in New York. If you want to see the NBA pros play, you can watch either the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden or the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.

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Baseball

New York is home to two Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. You can see the New York Yankees play at the famous Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. The home stadium of the New York Mets is Citi Field at Flushing Meadows in Queens.

American Football

Among the 32 teams of the professional league in American football (NFL) are two teams from New York City. However, to enjoy a match of the New York Jets, or the New York Giants, you'll have to travel to MetLife Stadium in the neighboring state of New Jersey.

Ice Hockey

The North American professional ice hockey league NHL also features two New York teams. You can watch the New York Rangers live at Madison Square Garden. To see the games of the New York Islanders, you have to leave the city limits of New York: they play their matches at the UBS Arena in Elmont on Long Island.

Tennis

The US Open is one of the four major Grand Slam tournaments in the tennis world. It takes place every year from late August to early September at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens.

New York Marathon

The New York City Marathon, held on the first Sunday in November, attracts more than 50,000 avid runners each year - more than any other running event! The popular marathon course runs through all five New York City boroughs.

Instagram hotspots in New York City

Even though you could fill more than one Instagram account with your experiences in New York City, quality goes before quantity! For the most impressive photos, we recommend these five places:

  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Top of the Rock (Tip: Here, you can take a selfie with the Empire State Building in the background!)
  • Meatpacking District (Tip: Graffiti and art installations are the perfect background for your photo!)
  • Little Island
  • NYC Rooftop Bars

The history of New York City

In 1524, the Italian Giovanni da Verrazano was the first European to set foot on New York soil. Today, the bridge over the entrance to New York Harbor is named after him. It was not until 1609 that the navigator Richard Hudson arrived in Manhattan and sailed up the river that today bears his name.

The first European colony on the territory of New York City was established by the Dutch in 1625, who christened the place New Amsterdam. The warships of Great Britain took control in 1664, and so New Amsterdam was renamed New York. From then on, immigration increased steadily, and by 1700 New York already had about 5,000 inhabitants.

On July 4th, 1776, the United States declared its independence. When the first US President George Washington was sworn in at Federal Hall in 1789, there were almost 30,000 inhabitants in New York - and the trend was rising.

In the 19th century, the city attracted more and more Europeans, and with 3.5 million inhabitants in 1900, it was the second-largest city in the world after London. Strong immigration continued until the 1920s, ending for the time being with the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.

In the 1930s, some of New York's most beautiful skyscrapers were built, giving the city its distinctive skyline. After the end of World War II, the importance of the United States as a world power increased, and with it, the importance of the metropolis of New York City. In 1952, the UN moved its headquarters to New York.

A drastic event in the history of New York was the terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001, in which 2,996 people lost their lives. Due to COVID-19, the city had been on lockdown from March 22nd, 2020, for several months.

Today, New York City has returned to its old bustle. New, spectacular construction projects that will further change the city's skyline in the coming years are in the works.

New York City fun facts

You probably didn't know these interesting facts about New York City:

  • The Statue of Liberty is actually French! The proud lady was mainly designed by sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi in Paris and came to the US as a gift from the French people.
  • The iconic yellow cabs first graced the streets of New York in 1912. Before that, cab companies in the Big Apple used red and green vehicles.
  • It takes you almost 22 hours to stop at every station on the New York subway without leaving the tunnel system in between.
  • There are about 1,600 pizzerias in New York City. The first one opened in 1905.
  • One in 36 Americans lives in New York.

Moving to New York City

The vibrant New York City inspires you so much that you don't want to leave ever again? Here are some tips on how to tackle the project of immigrating to New York City.

Working in New York City

A large number of companies have their headquarters or a branch office in New York City, which is one of the most important economic areas in the world, along with London and Tokyo. In total, the city has more than one million companies - so the opportunities are endless!

Of course, New York is particularly famous for its Wall Street stock exchange and financial sector. For example, two of the four major American banks, JPMorgan Chase and Citibank, are located here. Other global corporations based in New York City include Altria Group, American International Group, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Jetblue Airways, Steinway & Sons, Estée Lauder, Sony Music, and DC Comics. In addition, many prestigious law firms operate in New York, and there are also numerous opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industries.

Living in New York City

Probably the biggest drawback of New York City: despite comparatively high salaries, many New Yorkers struggle to pay the high rents and other living costs.

Therefore, residents of the most expensive major city in the US usually manage to live in small spaces. With such a huge range of cultural facilities, restaurants, bars, parks, and events – who wants to spend their time in their own four walls anyway?

Coming to New York City with a Green Card

Of course, you can get to the USA via a job or for study, but the only lasting way is the Green Card. Only with it can you live and work in the USA indefinitely.

It is quite easy to get the popular US immigrant visa by participating in the Green Card Lottery. In the annual lottery of the US government, 55,000 Green Cards are given every year to people from all over the world. Sign up now - just a few clicks, and you're in!

Green Card CheckAre you eligible?