The city that never sleepsAs Frank Sinatra sang, New York, New York is the place to be. Quite frankly (if you’ll excuse the pun), Maria Pierides couldn’t agree more. Here’s our guide to a trip to the Big Apple
Seeing the major tourist attractions will always be a top priority for most people visiting a big city, especially for first-timers; and New York City isn’t short on those. Taking a boat to the Statue of Liberty, visiting Ground Zero, the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, going to a Broadway show and Central Park (where the John Lennon memorial lies) should all be on the to-do list – there’s a reason New York’s attractions are so famous and everyone should get the chance to see so for themselves.
New York certainly knows how to do luxury, which is evident from the city’s hotels alone. Some of the more lavish places to stay include the 70 Park Avenue Hotel, the Plaza and Hotel Chandler, which is also conveniently located by the Empire State building, Times Square and the Chrysler building. If the budget isn’t endless but you still want prime location and quality, Morgans is marketed as a home away from home and is in one of the more quiet and sedate regions of the city, while the Holiday Inn on Lafayette Street is a fine choice for tourists with some of the city’s hottest attractions close by.
Even if you’ve never been to New York, you’ll have heard the term Park Avenue crop up in American films or sitcoms in which wealthy New Yorkers are portrayed. Park Avenue is indeed that – the crème de la crème of the finest part of New York. Even if you don’t have the funds for a prolonged stay here, it is definitely a worthwhile visit, even if just to gaze in awe and wonder at the people who live here.
Window-shopping is another great pastime in Park Avenue, but if you want to go home laden with purchases, some of the big department stores would be more appropriate. Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Barneys are the most famous, where even the carrier bags will become souvenirs in their own right.
If you’re feeling brave and have a map handy, you should get on the subway and venture off to discover some of the less commercial streets for some vintage and alternative apparel. There are some kitsch boutiques to find one-of-a-kind items in NYC’s answer to Camden Town, and if you’re a music lover, there are plenty of old music shops around that have everything from rare band t-shirts to discontinued instruments.
The Hard Rock Café, and pretty much anywhere in Little Italy, is a firm favourite for daytime eating; as for the nightlife, anything goes here in New York. There is always something going on, be it a high-profile party, new club opening, or even just a regular Tuesday night, it’s entirely accurate when they say that it’s the city that never sleeps. And unlike the UK, where all you’ll find after a night out is the local kebab joint (if you’re lucky), a lot of places are open 24/7, giving you a wider choice of late-night snacks. But, of course, if you do want that doner meat fix, you’ll find that quite easily here too.
Everything in NYC seems to run by the rule that bigger (and brighter) is better; just walking in Times Square and absorbing the lights and larger-than-life buildings is enough to prove that. Despite it being a part of everyday New York life, even the simplest things like the yellow taxis are enough to warrant getting the camera out in a cringeworthy, tourist-like manner that would make us shake our heads and tut if we saw the same behaviour in London. But everything in NYC is exaggerated and overstated. It’s one of the reasons why we can’t seem to get enough of it.
WHERE’S THE ACTION? There is a diverse range of gambling to be found throughout New York, with everything from private poker games to plush casinos. Unlike most US gambling jurisdictions where the minimum age is 21, the New York laws allow over 18s to gamble in most places (bar a few exceptions). The Seneca Casino is one of the exceptions, but is one of the biggest the that New York State has to offer, boasting over 4,200 slot machines and 100+ tables. As well as a host of Indian casinos, there are five “racinos” (combined race track and casino) and five horse-racing tracks around if they are more your scene.