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New York City

The colourful city

New York City, is the most populous city in the United States. It lies at the mouth of the Hudson River in the southernmost part of the state, which is part of the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. The city spans a land area of 305 square miles (790 km2).

New York City is a centre for media, culture, food, fashion, art, research, finance, and trade. It has one of the largest and most famous skylines on earth, dominated by the iconic Empire State Building.

City Characteristics

Landmarks

Naturally, Manhattan possesses the lion's share of the landmarks that have saturated American popular culture. Starting in Lower Manhattan, perhaps the most famous of these landmarks is easy to spot - the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of the nation standing atop a small island in the harbor, and perhaps also the most difficult attraction to access in terms of crowds and the long lines to see it. Nearby Ellis Island preserves the site where millions of immigrants completed their journey to America. Within Lower Manhattan itself, Wall Street acts as the heart of big business being the home of the New York Stock Exchange, although the narrow street also holds some historical attractions, namely Federal Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States. Nearby, the World Trade Center Site is undergoing construction of a memorial to the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Connecting Lower Manhattan to Downtown Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Bridge offers fantastic views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines.

Moving north to Midtown, Manhattan's other major business district, you'll find some of New York's most famous landmarks. The Empire State Building looms over it all as the tallest building in the city, with the nearby Chrysler Building also dominating the landscape. Nearby is the headquarters of United Nations overlooking the East River and Grand Central Terminal, one of the busiest train stations in the world. Also nearby is the main branch of the New York Public Library, a beautiful building famous for its magnificent reading rooms and the lion statues outside the front door; and Rockefeller Plaza, home to NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall, and (during the winter) the famous Christmas Tree and Skating Rink.

Still in the Midtown area but just to the west, in the Theater District, is the tourist center of New York: Times Square, filled with bright, flashing video screens and LED signs running 24 hours a day. Just to the north is Central Park, with its lawns, trees and lakes popular for recreation and concerts.

Museums and Galleries

New York has some of the finest museums in the world. All the public museums (notably including the Metropolitan Museum), which are run by the city, accept donations for an entrance fee, but private museums (especially the Museum of Modern Art) can be very expensive. In addition to the major museums, hundreds of small galleries are spread throughout the city, notably in neighborhoods like Chelsea and Williamsburg. Many galleries and museums in New York close on Mondays, so be sure to check hours before visiting. The following is just a list of highlights.

Art and Culture

New York City is home to some of the finest art museums in the country, and in Manhattan, you'll find the grandest of them all. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park has vast holdings that represent a series of collections, each of which ranks in its category among the finest in the world. Within this single building you'll find perhaps the world's finest collection of American artwork, period rooms, thousands of European paintings including Rembrandts and Vermeers, the greatest collection of Egyptian art outside Cairo, one of the world's finest Islamic art collections, Asian art, European sculpture, medieval and Renaissance art, antiquities from around the ancient world, and much, much more. As if all that wasn't enough, the Metropolitan also operates The Cloisters, located in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, houses a collection of medieval art and incorporates elements from five medieval French cloisters and other monastic sites in southern France in its renowned gardens.

Near the Metropolitan, in the Upper East Side, is the Guggenheim Museum. Although more famed for its architecture than the collection it hosts, the spiraling galleries are ideal for exhibiting art works. Also nearby is the Whitney Museum of American Art, with a collection of contemporary American art. In Midtown, the Museum of Modern Art(MoMA), holds the most comprehensive collection of modern art in the world, and is so large as to require multiple visits to see all of the works on display, which include Van Gogh's Starry Night and Picasso's Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, as well as an extensive industrial design collection. Midtown is also home to the Paley Center for Media, a museum dedicated to television and radio, including a massive database of old shows.

In Brooklyn's Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum of Art is the city's second largest art museum with excellent collections of Egyptian art, Assyrian reliefs, 19th-century American art, and art from Africa and Oceania, among other things. Long Island City in Queens is home to a number of art museums, including the PS1 Contemporary Art Center, an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of the Moving Image, which showcases movies and the televisual arts.

Science and Technology

In New York City, no museum holds a sway over children like the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan's Upper West Side. Containing the Hayden Planetarium, incredible astronomy exhibits, animal dioramas, many rare and beautiful gems and mineral specimens, anthropology halls, and one of the largest collections of dinosaur skeletons in the world, this place offers plenty of stunning sights.

Near Times Square in the Theater District, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum takes up a pier on the Hudson River, with the aircraft carrier Intrepid docked here and holding some incredible air and space craft.

Over in the Flushing district of Queens, on the grounds of the former World's Fair, is the New York Hall of Science, which incorporates the Great Hall of the fair and now full of hands-on exhibits for kids to enjoy.

Another standout museum is the Transit Museum located in an abandoned station in Downtown Brooklyn. The old subway cars are a real treat and the museum is a must if you're in New York with kids (and well-worth it even if you're not).

Parks

Though the image many people have of Manhattan is endless skyscrapers and packed sidewalks, the city also boasts numerous lovely parks, ranging from small squares to the 850-acre Central Park, and there are worthwhile parks in every borough. From the views of the New Jersey Palisades from Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, to the grand Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx, and the famous Flushing Meadow Park in Corona, Queens, there is more than enough to keep any visitor busy. And almost any park is a great spot to rest, read, or just relax and watch the people streaming past.

Theatre and Performing Arts

New York's Broadway is famous for its many shows, especially musicals.

New York has a wide variety of musical and dance companies, including several that are among the world's most renowned. There are also numerous small companies putting on more idiosyncratic shows every night of the week. The following are just a few of New York's most high-profile music and dance options: Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic.

Films:

New York is one of the world's greatest film cities, home to a huge number of theaters playing independent and repertory programs. Be advised that, as with everything else in New York, movies are quite popular, and even relatively obscure films at unappealing times of the day can still be sold out. It's best to get tickets in advance whenever possible. As many films premiere in New York, you can often catch a moderated discussion with the director or cast after the show. In addition to the more than 15 commercial multiplexes located throughout the city, some of the more intriguing New York film options include: Film Forum, the American Museum of the Moving Image, Angelika Film Center, the Anthology Film Archives, the Cinema Village, the Film Society at Lincoln Center, the MoMA renovated theatre, the New York Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival.

Parades:

New York City hosts many parades, street festivals and outdoor pageants. The most famous are New York's Village Halloween Parade, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, St. Patrick's Day Parade, Labor Day (also known as West Indian Day Parade or New York Carribean Carnival).

Country Characteristics

Area

9.826.630 sq.km.

Population

305.700.000 ppl. (2007).

Capital City

Washington (589.000 ppl.; 5.300.000 ppl. living in the wider area)

Official Language

English

Religion

There is no official religion. Protestants (51%), Catholics (24%), Muslims (2%), Jews (1,7%) and Orthodox (1,2%) (most of them are Greeks). There are thousands of religions’ and dogmas’ sects.

Currency

1 Dollar (USD)

Social Habits

The Americans are usually hospitable and friendly. The social life is not formal, with some exceptions. Alcohol is allowed, but there are some restrictions depending on the State. Smoking is not allowed in public areas.

Clothing

Light to tropical clothing in the summers, with warmer clothes for the mountains and some colder night. Heavier clothes are necessary for the winter and much heavier for the mountainous areas. Raincoat is necessary all year round. Sport clothing is generally accepted. In Hawaii, clothing should be tropical.

Shopping

In the land of consuming, it is obvious that one can find everything in a wide price range.

Beverly Hills is the place for luxury brands’ and expensive articles’ shopping.

Dining

10.000 fast-food restaurants throughout the country

International cuisine

Californian wines

Dining

10.000 fast-food restaurants throughout the country

International cuisine

Californian wines

Hospitals

For hospitals in USA click here

Emergency Line

911

Embassies

For a full list of countries’ embassies abroad, please click here.