New York City – the city that never sleeps
Whether it’s your first stop on your USA trip, or whether it’s a lifelong dream to visit: multifaceted NYC with its 8,4 million residents is incredible. It’s downright impossible talking about it in only one article.
New York City is one of New York’s main cities, consisting of five boroughs. Most famous is Manhattan, which harbors the most attractions. The other four boroughs are Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. They’re all worth a visit, and in this article we will showcase highlights from each borough.
The Bronx – a vibrant mix of art, music, and culture
We begin our trip in the northernmost borough: The Bronx. This part of the city has relatively fewer tourists. It unfortunately has a rather disturbing reputation, especially amongst tourists. This reputation stems from the high rates of hunger and criminality the borough has suffered from in the past. The south of the Bronx is riddled with drugs, violence, and gangs.
The situation has generally improved now, except for the sketchy corners and dark alleyways, which you should always avoid as a general rule. The Bronx remains one of the most impoverished areas in the USA, and it’s best to avoid residential areas like Hunts Point, Mott Haven, Fordham, and Port Morris.
Well, after all this information, you’re probably thinking of not visiting this borough at all. Trust us when we say: the Bronx has so much to offer. It is totally underestimated and a once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience. As long as you know beforehand where to go and at what time, as well as how to get there, it isn’t as dangerous as you’d think.
One of the Bronx’s most famous attractions, the Yankee Stadium, is constantly calling thousands of baseball fans. In 2006 the old stadium was demolished and three years later the current one stood in its place. It is the most expensive stadium and accommodates 49,642 football fans.
The stadium is home field to the baseball team New York Yankees, who compete in Major League Baseball and have won 27 World Series Champions. There’s always a game going on in the arena, so whenever you visit, there’s a big chance you might catch one.
Other than baseball games, soccer games as well as college football matches also take place here. Not to mention concerts too.
Home of hip-hop
The Bronx is considered the birthplace of hip-hop. Locals were living a pretty tough life here in the 70s, and many African-American youth felt hopeless. Music to them was an escape. DJ Kool Herc founded hip-hop by creating a new method of DJing and mixing two tracks together to make a new song.
These new songs got lyrics added to them, which mainly discussed topics like living in poverty, social injustice, violence and criticism of society. The lyrics resonated with many black youths, and a new wave of music took the planet by storm.
The Bronx has so many places to offer which were shaped by hip-hop; you can find out more by visiting the Museum of Bronx History.
The Bronx Zoo & New York Botanical Garden
This zoo, right in the heart of New York, is worthy of mentioning as it spans over 300 hectares, making it the biggest metropolitan zoo in the USA. The biodiversity is astounding, and you can swiftly go from an African savanna to an exotic Asian forest. The zoo is a fantastic escape from the hectic bustle of the buzzing city.
New York Botanical Garden is also located in the Bronx and next to the zoo. It has over 50 themed gardens as well as a 20-hectare historical forest and a waterfall.
Manhattan – The Big Apple
Manhattan is a place so full of attractions that this article won’t be enough. Perhaps you want to visit the most popular attractions first, like the Empire State Building, or Times Square, maybe even Central Park. We want to dedicate this part of the article to some of the best places in Manhattan.
Midtown Manhattan is the business mecca of the city. That being said, it is rather hectic and if you aren’t careful you can easily get lost between the ginormous skyscrapers. The great thing about New York is that there is something to discover at every corner.
In Midtown, you will find the attractions New York is most known for: the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station and of course, Time Square, where you definitely have to watch a Broadway show.
You’ll find everything about finance in this area, and most importantly, Wall Street, the world’s biggest stock exchange. The Charging Bull sculpture of bronze is also on Wall Street. Many other attractions like the Trinity Church or the Fearless Girl sculpture are worth a visit. Today, One World Trade Center stands tall where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of those who tragically lost their lives on 9/11 are engraved in the memorial.
Little Italy & China Town
Chinatown, with its 100,000 residents, is home to the biggest Chinese community in North America. Try real authentic food at the restaurants in Chinatown. In this lively district you will also find bright lights, grocery stores, Asian shops and even a Buddhist temple.
Neighboring Chinatown is Little Italy. It used to be the biggest district of the city, but as Chinatown expanded, Little Italy now only covers Mulberry Street and Grand Street. However, you can still find numerous traditional Italian restaurants, cafés, bakeries, and shops.
The Meatpacking district is a real hip district where millionaires meet, eat, and party in industrial and factory buildings. The history of this neighborhood is not as glamorous, as there once were over 250 slaughterhouses and butcheries here, in addition to the infamous dubious night activities and prostitution.
Today, however, the district has shed its infamy and is now a party destination for millionaires and non-millionaires alike. Walk the High Line, which is an elevated park built on railroad tracks, and enjoy a view of Manhattan and the Hudson River.
SoHo & Tribeca
SoHo (South of Houston Street) used to be known as a hub for the textile industry. Today it is a popular part of town, standing out in its cast-iron façade and indie art galleries, shops, cafés, and restaurants. No wonder, rent in this elegant neighborhood is the highest in all of New York.
In case cool SoHo isn’t enough, head over to Tribeca. It is overflowing with art galleries, shops, and restaurants as well.
Brooklyn- the trendy district
Of course, visiting the Brooklyn Bridge on your New York tour is an absolute must! The end of the bridge is also not to be missed, as the hip streets of Brooklyn will enchant you with their unique charm.
Brooklyn Heights & DUMBO
From the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, you have an incredible view of Lower Manhattan. Sunsets in summer are extra extraordinary.
DUMBO stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”; a neighborhood famous for the old factory buildings which have been repurposed today. Perhaps you know the famous photo motif of the Brooklyn Bridge between factory buildings.
You can walk for hours on end through these streets and discover other cool photo themes of Brooklyn.
Williamsburg is a special mecca for artists. The old factory buildings have stunning graffiti on them. The young people and chill atmosphere are a stark contrast to Manhattan. Smorgasburg is an open-air food market where a plethora of street food is on offer. The club situation is super hip here, and many nice bars are open for a relaxing end to your sightseeing day.
Coney Island is located on the southernmost corner of Brooklyn, and 20 kilometers away from Manhattan. The dilapidated state of the surrounding apartment buildings, as well as the park, adds to the charm of the island. It coats it with an aura of nostalgia, which makes it even more special.
It is home to the 90-year-old Cyclone Roller Coaster and many other rides. Coney Island is also the birthplace of hot dogs! Fans of the American cuisine will rejoice at the food here (not to forget the iconic New York pizza). Coney Island Avenue has restaurants left and right, and the 30 kilometer long coast is the ideal destination to escape Manhattan’s heat.
Queens- the urban multicultural district
Queens is the biggest borough and the most culturally diverse region in the state. The reason for this is that more than half of the residents come from abroad. This is why the culinary experience in Queens is out of this world: Thai in Woodside, Hotpot or Korean BBQ in Flushing, Greek in Astoria or Mexican in Corona. The possibilities are endless.
In Queens, there is something for everyone. If you’re overwhelmed by which cuisine to indulge in, we suggest you visit the Night Market in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Here, individual vendors from over 80 countries sell their street food.
The district is one of the most peaceful in the city, and a great place to raise a family. Alongside the cultural food, there is also a breathtaking view of the city’s skyline. In summer, many choose to spend the evening outdoors with a beer or cocktail while admiring the magnificent view ahead.
Staten Island- ferries, beaches, and tons of green
Staten Island is the southernmost borough and is heavily disregarded by tourists. It is the least populated borough and the one with most greenery. Boring? Hardly. Its nice houses, fantastic beaches, and free ferry rides ensure fun around the clock.
There are a few bridges connecting Brooklyn and New Jersey to Staten Island, and that’s only one way to get there. A better alternative would be using the Staten Island ferry that links Staten Island with Manhattan. A ferry ride is a must-do on your trip. From the ferry, you will have a splendid view of the famous skyline and the Statue of Liberty. There are over 104 ferry rides per day! Best thing is: they’re completely free of charge.
Not far away from the terminal where ferries land is the 9/11 Memorial in the shape of an angel’s wings. The memorial is located precisely where the Twin Towers once were on the New York skyline.
The borough offers beach lovers the chance to pull themselves away from the city’s noise. A walk along the beach boardwalk will truly make you forget that you’re in one of the world’s biggest cities.
From the Bronx to Coney Island, the New York City has many more attractions beyond Times Square and Central Park.
Skyscrapers in Manhattan, hip cafés in Brooklyn, hip-hop in the Bronx, green parks in Queens and beaches on Staten Island – sightseeing in NYC is endless. Whether you’re spending a few days or a few weeks, this city is far from boring.
We can say with utmost certainty: This city never sleeps.