New York cityscape
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New York cityscape

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New York City travel guide

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New York’s capacity to surprise and delight never waivers - this is a metropolis which constantly reinvents itself, setting trends which every other world city clamours to follow.

Manhattan remains the vibrant centre, the first among the Five Boroughs. Walk its long, unending avenues and you’ll see a cross–section of the globe: the frenetic buzz of Chinatown, the bookish hush around New York University and Washington Square Park, the epicentre of African-American culture in Harlem.

Ticking off every cultural highlight in the city is nigh on impossible. First timers should make a beeline for the big–hitters: the Statue of Liberty, MoMA, the Empire State Building. For those returning, the city’s outer neighbourhoods and green spaces are a must. Brooklyn’s stunning Prospect Park and Inwood Hill Park (the latter the only undeveloped part of Manhattan) are great ways to spend an afternoon.

Foodies will be overwhelmed with options. The Astoria neighbourhood in Queens is a great bet for those looking to eat cheaply and well, with a melting pot of Greek, Italian, Egyptian and Chinese restaurants. This is New York at its most real, away from the razzle dazzle of Fifth Avenue and fast gentrifying areas of Brooklyn.

If you’re more interested in shopping than eating, then New York has it covered. Music lovers are blessed with a first rate record shopping scene, led by Rough Trade NYC and South Slope’s ace Permanent Records, while the weekly Brooklyn Flea Market (held at various locations throughout the year) is great for unique treasures and one–off fashion.

Night owls can find a dark booth and a great selection of cocktails and beers all over the city, but the Lower East Side and Brooklyn’s Greenpoint and Williamsburg neighbourhoods serve up some of the best spots. Maison Premiere’s absinthe cocktails are a great way to kick off a night on the tiles on uber-hip Bedford Avenue.

Just remember that even the hardiest New Yorker hasn’t seen everything the city has to offer. Pick a few highlights and you’ll be certain to want to come back for more.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.