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The Big Apple - a NY City Guide

Updated on June 17, 2014

Welcome to the Big Apple, the City that Never Sleeps

When most people say "New York City" they are really referring to the island of Manhattan, a borough of NYC.  When most people visit New York, this is where they go.  The area is small compared to the State, but the history is a rich, multi-cultural one.  Those who love to live here are a special breed. Some people think that New Yorkers are a tad brusque. Others find it very refreshing how they seem to get right to the point.

Ever hear somebody say "What is this?... Grand Central Station?"  Here's a picture I took of the main hall the last time I visited. If you watch the movie THE FISHER KING you can watch hundreds of couples waltz in this space, and in THE AVENGERS you can see one of the alien beasts/ships crash here after being shot down.

NY Public Library, photo by Relache
NY Public Library, photo by Relache

Hot Time, Summer In The City

The Big Apple's Best Summer Events

If it's a classic NY street fair that you're looking for, they tend to run from April to November. Here's a great guide that will let you see if there will be one during your visit.

All summer you can help revitalize and celebrate Lower Manhattan at the River to River Festival, which takes place each summer from June through September, in a variety of public venues that canvas all of Downtown New York - from Chambers Street down to the southern tip of Manhattan and across the island from river to river.

Most Friday mornings from April to August, you can catch a free concert as part of the Today Show Concert Series. The range of musical guests is really diverse and if you get on camera, you can wave to the folks back home.

The Delacorte Theater in Central Park will play host to the Public Theater's productions of Shakespeare In The Park from June through August. These free performances reach over 75,000 visitors and city residents alike.

At the end of June is a NY one-of-a-kind event, the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

If you're in the city over the 4th of July, it's pretty much guaranteed you won't miss Macy's Fireworks Show.

If you'd like to get out of the city, and take a step back in time, NY offers two Renaissance Fairs. Running from July into August is the Sterling Renaissance Festival held in Sterling, NY. Then, running from early August into September is the New York Renaissance Festival held in Tuxedo, NY.

The Heart of the Big Apple Map - navigate Manhattan and more

A marker -
New York City, NY, 10020
get directions

New York Travel Guides - take yourself on a tour of Manhattan or beyond!

Free Wireless in NYC

Many folks traveling today hope to be able to get online somewhere to keep up with email and other developments back home. If you're traveling with a laptop, you'll be able to log on from these free wireless hotspots.

The Skyline - of the City That Never Sleeps

NY Skyline, photo by Relache
NY Skyline, photo by Relache

Looking out over Manhattan...

New York Pizza - Best In The World!

I was in New York City for the first time in 20 years in the fall of 2005. I had a small list of to-dos. Right at the top in the #1 spot was eat real NY pizza. Number two was eat a real NY bagel. Obviously, it's got to be something in the water.

New York pizza is one of those things. It's like Chicago pizza. Once you eat it in the hometown where it's from, you get what everyone is talking about. I grew up eating NY pizza, going into the city on weekends as a teenager. You ate it standing up, at crowded shops with greasy counters. You fold your pizza. Hey, that's just what you do there, like how you read the NY Times on the train. (I played 'spot the Tri-state commuter' for many years in the Bay Area). If you watch the movie "Saturday Night Fever" I learned to eat my pizza the same way that John Travolta's character Tony eats his in the movie: walking down the street, folded in half.

The crust of a NY pizza is thin, whereas Chicago is thick. I think both have their merits, but my preference is for the NY style. There's something about the NY sauce too. That's what struck me the most this fall with that first bite. Right after the perfect crunch of the crust, the sauce was a spicy burning flood over my tongue. Aaahhh....

Real NY pizza does not have things like artichokes, shrimp, eggplant, bbq chicken and the like on it. It does not blaspheme itself with things like whole wheat crust. A classic plain cheese pizza done well NY-style will have enough flavor to satisfy, enough texture to fulfill. Too often, NY-style fails, becoming soggy instead of capturing a necessary crispiness.

The worst pizza I ever ate was in London in the summer of 1985. 'Nuff said on that.

New York Websites - Take a bite out of the Big Apple

New York City web sites, including major museums and arts organizations, travel sites, and New York guides.

New York for the Holidays

starting in late November and running into early January

New York doesn't just do things big, it does them BIG! The holiday season definitely gets off to a start in November, with the city setting up displays and decorations thoroughly by the end of the month. Two of the City's regular ol' celebrations are so big, they get televised nationally. Think about that. The rest of the country is willing to watch average New Yorkers going about their thing in the streets.

One of the BIGGEST events in NYC during the holidays is the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade which inevitably gets shortened verbally to "Macy's Parade." This parade and it's large scale balloons is unlike any other in the world. It also features lip-sync and live dance performances by current Broadway stars and show casts.

If you're attending the parade live, bundle up! Traditionally, it's very "nippy" this time of year, so extras like gloves, hats and scarves are really required to ensure comfort. Also, bring binoculars if you have them, you never know how far away or close you'll wind up. And don't forget a digital camera!

At the end of November, the famous New York City Christmas Tree will be officially lit in Rockefeller Center. This too is such a well-known event, it too is given national tv coverage. The entire center is decorated elaborately and the massive installation will stay up through New Years. It gets taken down shortly thereafter.

The City also lights an official Menorah to mark the eight nights of Hannukah.

New Year's Eve spent in Times Square is a NY classic! Hundreds of thousands turn out no matter what the weather to watch the famous ball drop down the spire of the building at One Times Square.

Share Your NY State Of Mind - comments and contributions

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      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      I would hope you could post more things about the different boroughs of NY and the individual neighborhoods. If you go to NY you absolutely have to eat at local places, there's no excuse for eating at an (overpriced) chain where you can eat anywhere else.

    • Candlemakingsup profile image

      Candlemakingsup 6 years ago

      My son wants to live in NY once he graduates.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Just came back to tell you I added you to the NY section of my East Coast road trip lens.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      I haven't been to NYC in five years or so. I'm anxious to get back there. Last time I went we were there for the Feast of San Gennaro Festival (every September) in Little Italy. Blessed by the US Travel Angel!