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It’s original, it’s famous, it can only be: New York
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Feel the change of the season in New York this autumn. As Central Park turns 50 shades of orange, grab your reusable coffee cup and stroll around this big, brilliant and beautiful city. Everyone’s experience of famous New York is totally original. Whether you want to tick off iconic sights from the bucket list, or explore the city’s best kept secrets, let British Airways take you there to see it for yourself – and make your own mark on Manhattan.
In a city with 20 million people, an abundance of festivals, hundreds of museums – one pair of eyes won’t seem enough. With the start of hockey and basketball season, get tickets and head to a local stadium to don that foam finger and soak up the all-American atmosphere. Time your holiday to New York to catch the Village Halloween Parade or Thanksgiving Day Parade for a city showstopper. When the evening draws in, catch a Broadway show, then head out to a rooftop bar for the best city views of the skyline at night.
First-time visitors will jaw-drop in awe at the famous landmarks that mark the streets of Manhattan. From the Empire State Building, to Grand Central Station, check out our list of top things to do and feel like a city slicker in no time. Regulars will always find something new: whether it’s the latest rooftop bar opening in Midtown, exploring the newest venues around Hudson Yards or hitting up the city’s best farmer’s markets. Then there’s the city’s five boroughs. We'll take Manhattan – and then Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island for afters.
There’s almost too much to see. No wonder people return time and time again, New York changes with the seasons and everyone’s New York experiences are different. But New York isn’t just a state of mind: it’s also a state – and a beautiful one at that. Niagara Falls, Vermont, the finger lakes and the Catskill mountains are all within reach when you hire a car and leave the city. What are you waiting for? Book your flights for your next amazing holiday.
If you’re visiting New York City for the first time, then start here. Our run-down of the top ten things to do in New York helps you check off the biggest sights in the city, from the Top of the Rock to the end of Brooklyn Bridge. Book your tickets for the best classic attractions in advance and get ahead of the game.
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Think New York can’t be done in a weekend? Think again. We’ve packed all the classic sights into a handy weekend itinerary, proving you don’t need to book any holiday leave to leave the everyday behind. From pizza in Brooklyn to people-watching in Times Square, have we got the trip for you.
New York-based writer and editor
Whether it’s your first or fifth visit to NYC, it’s difficult to tire of a city that’s so full of curiosities and quirks. Whether it’s a park in the sky on the High Line, or that amazing tiny shop in the West Village, you’ll uncover something new and unexpected with our alternative weekend guide.
New York-based writer and editor
It's the city that gave us Bill Cunningham and Carrie Bradshaw. It’s where the devil wears Prada, and street wear reigns Supreme. From the Met Ball to Fashion Week, NYC is one stylish city. Take a bit of the glamour back home with you by following our guide to the best shops, department stores and outlets in the area.
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New York Insiders: Seasonal Tips
Summer weekends are the time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds, as most New Yorkers take off on weekend breaks, so you can see the city at a more leisurely pace without being caught in the fray. The down side is that many of the art galleries are not open in August – so do check before you come if there’s one you particularly want to visit.
- Lyn Slater, New York based fashion and beauty blogger
My favourite part of the year is fall (autumn). Central Park looks especially stunning from above, if you are able to take a helicopter tour over New York. And if you can get out of the city and to head to the Catskills in upstate New York, peak ‘leaf-peeping season’ is late October.
– Dan Rookwood, US Editor of Mr Porter
It sounds so cliché, but ice-skating in Bryant Park is an unmissable winter experience in NYC. It’s a little less touristy than Rockefeller Center, and the seasonal market surrounding the rink is superb.
– Jess Parr, British Airways Cabin Crew and Travel Blogger
There’s no better time to catch the High Line in full bloom. The blossoms in Madison Square Park are not to be missed. It’s also the perfect time to eat outside, even when it’s a little nippy. People are so desperate for summer to arrive that they usually start al fresco dining earlier than you’d expect. The Pavilion in Union Square Park and Shake Shack in Madison Square Park are two of my favorite casual outdoor spring spots.
- Vishaan Chakrabarti, New York based architect
Our best foodie tips
Absolute Bagels Food
Voted the best bagels in New York by Time Out, we tend to agree. These chewy, delicious, hand-rolled boiled delicacies come with a great selection of schmears (creamy cheese spreads). Our recommendation is the scallion schmear with lox (smoked salmon) and cucumber, a true New Yorker’s bagel. Journey up to the Upper West Side on Broadway to sample these bagels, close to Columbia University. A student-staple, you will not be disappointed. As there is no seating inside, maybe sit in the nearby Riverside Park for a mini-picnic.
Supposedly secret – but often with queues – this quirky, 70s-inspired hole in the wall is inside the exclusive Le Parker Meridien. Behind a red curtain, down a corridor with a lively neon-burger, diners sit in a small room strewn with graffiti eating some of the best burgers in Manhattan. Juicy, char-grilled beef patties with a liberal amount of cheese, salad, and pickles all in a grilled bun. Crispy fries and thick milkshakes complete the experience. This is a cash-only joint, in keeping with the grungy theme, so visit a cash point before you arrive.
Friend of a Farmer
Brunch in New York can be the most important meal of the weekend. With that in mind, head over to local favourite Friend of a Farmer in Gramercy Park for a superb hangover cure. Choose from farm-fresh, home-made dishes that will remind you of your grandmother’s cooking. From superb omelettes with spinach and mushrooms to crab eggs benedict, you will find something you want. The griddle specialities are especially appealing, as are the Bloody Marys. A small warning – get there early as it gets busy, which is always a good sign.
Known as the first pizzeria in the US, Lombardi’s first opened its doors in 1905. Gennaro Lombardi, a Neapolitan immigrant, reinvented a humble staple dish into the massive worldwide phenomenon it is today. Smoky-based dough baked in a stone-baked oven, with his famous tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella await the eager diner. Signature toppings include Italian meatballs and pepperoni – a traditional treat. In the family since 1897, you know you are going to be well looked after when you walk through the doors.
Want some more inspiration before you go? Read up on our five most fascinating facts about New York. Find out what makes this one of the greatest cities in the world.
There are over 800 languages spoken in New York. The Jewish population is the largest outside Israel, the Polish population is the largest outside Poland – and if you happen to meet 38 Americans, chances are that at least one of them will be from New York. These chances increase if you’re standing in Brooklyn.
The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building rank among the USA’s most beloved pieces of architecture – and the Flatiron Building is still fondly regarded as an architectural curiosity. But the iconic New York skyline is constantly evolving. It now includes a skyscraper with no windows, and the new One World Trade Center – which has the sixth tallest tower in the world.
Baseball is a real New York sport. The Yankee Stadium has been home to the sport’s biggest heroes: Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio among them. But it isn’t the only activity that's well-represented in the city. The New York Marathon is one of the world’s biggest races, and Queens holds the US Open, one of tennis’s major tournaments.
New York loves its parades and pageantry. The city holds the world’s largest St Patrick’s Day Parade – you’ll see seas of green frothing in the street every year on the 17 March. Not to be outdone, Coney Island holds a Mermaid Parade in June. It’s smaller (fewer people can claim mermaid ancestors than Irish ones) but just as fun. In June, PrideFest marks one of the USA’s largest Pride festivals, and in November you’ll see the enormous balloon floats of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
This city cares about coffee – New Yorkers drink, according to some claims, seven times as much of the stuff than the average American. But they might love their food even more. Cheesecake, pizza, pastrami, bagel, pretzels: all had their recipes perfected in NYC. What’s more, the Bloody Mary, eggs Benedict and Waldorf Salad were ‘invented’ here. What a brunch that makes!
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