Start spreading the news... New York has always been in the Holy Trinity of fashion capitals along with Paris and London. Home to literati, celebrated in Sex and the City, and the historic first step for all the immigrants seeking a better life in the new world, New York is larger than life and as Beck Piper found out, an awful lot of fun!
Beck Piper investigates...
What to eat?
Food in the United States of America is both cheap and plentiful! Portions sizes may mean that you have some trouble fitting into the wonderful fashion purchases you make! You should try, as an experience, a typical American breakfast of pancakes, syrup, eggs and bacon, washed down with coffee. Typical foods include hotdogs, which you can buy from hotdog stands in the street, just like in the movies, and of course deli sandwiches.
What to drink?
Coffee is famous in New York and appears to have more syllables than in British English. If you love Italian or French coffee you might find American coffee quite watery in comparison but it is the home of the bottomless cup. Beer is also famous in the USA, although New Yorkers have been known to indulge in cocktails and the hard stuff (no, I didn't mean crack cocaine..)
Where to go out?
Catch a show on Broadway.. Jazz is alive and well in NYC, check out http://www.ny.com/clubs/jazz/ for up to date jazz news and venues. In addition there are many clubs, bars, diners and restaurants to choose from.
http://www.ny.com/clubs/nightclubs/ recommends China Club and Cococabana, the former for peoplewatching, the latter for dancing. It's wise to remember that the legal age to drink alcohol in the USA is twenty-one.
Where to go shopping
5th Avenue beckons with all the leading designers to tempt you. Of course, a trip to the world famous Bloomingdales is absolutely compulsory. And for Breakfast at Tiffany fans, you can peer at sparkling treasures through their windows just like Hepburn did. Madison Avenue, 57th Street and 5th Avenue all compete for your attention. Where to go? Macy's? Saks? Louis Vuitton? Van Cleef & Arpels? Bargains include buying Levis,
Where to chill out?
Central Park is an oasis in the middle of Manhattan. Rollerblade, jog or stroll along with all the other New Yorkers. The Plaza Hotel also serves a rather decadent afternoon tea of minature cakes, delicate sandwiches and blinis with caviar accompanied by fresh tea in their opulent dining room to the sounds of a harpist who gives a performance while you eat. Soothing until you get the bill...
What to see?
The Statue of Liberty (which is much smaller than you would expect) if only for the experience of being herded around rather like the first immigrants at Ellis Island. Check out the suits in Wall Street, get nostalgic in Times Square.. And a visit to Ground Zero is a poignant moment.
For museum and art gallery buffs, a trip to the Met (the Metropolitan Museum) is unmissable. Peruse the X floors of art and then indulge yourself with a cocktail on the rooftop garden with views over Central Park. The Guggenheim is also a must-visit with fascinating ever changing collections of modern art.
Where to stay?
Your travel agent can usually secure better rates by booking accommodation with flights. There is a wide selection of accommodation for every budget, ranging from 5 star hotels to motels and hostels. Manhattan though is a must! Newark and JFK airports serve the city and Newark is further out than one would like.
The mayor has done a lot to clean up New York in the past few years and the crime rate is lower than in other US cities. Pickpockets and muggers do frequent the streets but just be taking precautions not to stand out as a tourist may help you not to become a victim of crime. Some areas of New York are dangerous with gang crime. Stay below 96th Street and avoid Alphabet City in the East Village. Avoid the subway after 11pm if you are alone.