New York City Information

Everyone knows New York is famous for its glamor and hustle. The surprise is that America's safest large city is also an easy place to visit, with a logical layout, good mass transit, and a wide range of attractions.

The best way to enjoy the city is on foot, adding transportation as needed. A week-long transit pass, good for unlimited bus and subway rides, is a worthwhile investment, as is a guidebook with detailed maps. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, since the concrete-over-bedrock landscape is harder on the feet than most cities. Overly dressy clothes aren't necessary, New Yorkers like to be as comfortable and casual as everyone else.

Almost everything visitors want to see is in Manhattan, a densely packed island that's a patchwork quilt of neighborhoods and districts. A good plan is to pick a neighborhood, research its attractions, and work your way through.

A day could begin with a subway ride to the southern tip of Manhattan, where ferries depart for the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Staten Island. A short walk north brings visitors to historic Trinity church and the Wall Street area, which contains the city's most visited attraction. No, not the stock Exchange, but the iconic Charging Bull statue. Just a short walk east is the South Street Seaport with its tall ships and excellent view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Near the bridge is Chinatown and, just around the corner, Little Italy. Greenwich Village is now just two subway stops away.

Another full day can be spent in the mile-long stretch from 34th to 59th Streets, whose attractions include Macy's, the Empire State Building, the theater district, Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, the NBC studios at 30 Rock, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Central Park, an attraction in itself, separates the Upper East Side from the Upper West. On the East Side, visitors can shop at Bloomingdale's and the designer boutiques of Madison Avenue, or visit some of New York's best museums, including the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim and the Frick. West Side attractions include Lincoln Center, the American Museum of Natural History and, along Broadway in the '70s, a foodie's paradise of gourmet groceries and delis.

Anyone shopping for something unusual or hard to get can find it in New York, and it's a good idea to look at a shopper's guide to the city before arriving. The only thing New York doesn't have is public rest rooms. Large stores like Macy's have facilities; restaurants reserve theirs for patrons only, so take advantage of those meal stops. Failing this, spot the nearest hotel. sail in as if you're a guest and use their facilities.