New York City has three major airports. JFK and Newark are the International airports, with JFK being the largest and most popular airport to fly into, all three are used regularly by tourists coming into the city. There is another small airport, called MacArthur (ISP) located 60 miles from Manhattan on Long Island. MacArthur handles a lot of domestic Southwest Airlines flights and other regional flights.
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) - As one of the busiest airports in the world, JFK handles some 60 million passengers per year, and is a full-service airport, complete with shops, restaurants and all manner of airport services.
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) - The second largest NYC airport is actually located outside of New York in Newark, New Jersey, just across the river from Manhattan. It is the international hub of Continental Airlines, and is a full-service airport. Newark airport has three terminals (A, B and C) and all offer convenient and fairly inexpensive shuttle buses called Air Train to get into the city.
LaGuardia Airport (LGA) - Located in Queens, it is the smallest of the major airports, and handles mainly domestic flights. As a hub for US Airways and Delta Airlines, it is the closest airport to Manhattan. There are many helpful facilities for travellers, but it should be noted that there is no baggage storage or lockers in the airport due to security reasons.
New York City is a very walkable city, especially Manhattan. There is certainly no need for a car while in the city.
Subway - The MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) runs the famous NYC subway system and bus lines. Buy a MetroCard at any station using their automated machines (using cash or card, or from booth attendants (cash only). The MTA is inexpensive and the best way to see the sights within the five boroughs, operating 24/7. It is also very accessible for those with visual, hearing or mobility disabilities. A single subway or bus ride costs $2.75. An unlimited MetroCard allows you to ride as often as you like within a fixed period of time (7 days or 30 days) at a discounted price, with further discounts for seniors and those with disabilities. Children below certain heights can ride for free and always with a fare-paying adult.
New York City Subway Map
Taxi - The famous yellow taxi cabs are another option, but obviously more expensive. They are available all over and sometimes seem more plentiful than regular cars on the streets. There are also green Boro taxis. Both are equally good, and they are licensed and run by state commission. Taxis are always good in a pinch when you need to get somewhere quickly or have heavy bags weighing you down. Don't forget to keep some cash in reserve to tip your driver.
Spring - Springtime is when the city thaws out from the frigid winter making it a great time to visit. Central Park is especially nice, as trees and flowers start to bloom. Temperatures are cool and mild, with light wind and occasional rain. April temperatures average between 6°C (43°F) - 16°C (61°F).
Summer - A popular time of year to visit, with the hottest temperatures occurring July through September. Prepare yourself to endure stifling heat and humidity as you battle the mass of tourists during this popular season. July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 30°C (86°F). There's little relief by night as temperatures settle in the 20's (70s Fahrenheit).
Autumn - Fall is another great time to visit NYC weather-wise, as the climate is generally mild. Temperatures can reach 21°C (70°F) by day, and the city experiences less rainy days than Spring or Summer. Autumn is also a chance to witness the golden colors of the Central Park foliage.
Winter - The weather starts to really change October through December, with snowfall being an occasional occurrence, and there is chance of heavy snowstorms November through February. Temperatures in Winter can certainly get below freezing. January is the coldest month with highs of just 6°C (43°F) and a low of -3°C (27°F).
The standard voltage in New York is 110-120V/60Hz. A two-pronged, polarized plug is standard, and sometimes outlets will have a third, rounded prong for grounding. If your appliance takes a higher voltage (eg 220V), you will need a step-down convertor.
The official currency is the US Dollar (USD). New York City is the financial capital of the world, so you will have no problem finding places where you can exchange your currency for USD. However, it is good to know which will give you the best rates. Generally, exchanging money at the airport or your hotel will not give you the best rate.
Credit card usage in New York, as in much of the US is very common, perhaps more-so than cash. Visa, Mastercard and American Express are the most widely accepted credit cards in the city. Carrying some cash with you will be useful not only for tipping (which is absolutely commonplace in the U.S) but also at some of the cheaper New York restaurants that mostly cater to locals, some of these are cash only establishments. Note that withdrawing cash from an ATM can incur a charge of $1 to $3 per transaction. At the ATM, when you are prompted to decide being charged in your home currency or US Dollars, always choose US Dollars as this will save you money. Finally, US dollar banknotes are the same physical size and look very similar to one another which often confuses visitors.
This is America which means tipping is not only accepted, it is expected. The city lives and breathes by its service industry as this is a tourist town, and those whose livelihood largely depends on tips rely on tourists for their bread and butter.
The most commonly spoken language by New Yorkers is English so if you can read this sentence you'll be just fine. Of course given its diversity, don't be surprised to hear numerous world languages. New Yorkers do have their quirks and have developed certain phrases that are helpful to be familiar with when you are in their town.
New York City is famous for so many things, there are too many to list here. Here are some highlights not to be missed for any trip to the Big Apple.
The Statue of Liberty - Taking the ferry to see this world-famous landmark up close and personal is one of the great joys of visiting the city. If you are able, go to their website well before your trip and try to get a reservation to go up inside Lady Liberty for a tour.
Broadway - Catching a Broadway play is one of the quintessential New York experiences. There are discounts to be had once you’re in town for those last-minute theater goers. Or book a ticket to your favorite show online before your trip.
Central Park - America’s most beloved urban park is huge and cannot be tackled in just one day. Visit it in small snippets and you will get more out of the experience.
Times Square - The 'center of the universe' has become so much more pedestrian-friendlier and a whole lot safer than even 20 years ago. It is especially great to walk around at night, as the light show will surely dazzle you and it is always buzzing with people.
Empire State Building - There is a lot of history to be learned in this iconic landmark. Take a tour and go up to the 102nd floor observatory for incredible 360-degree views of the city. If you would prefer the Empire State Building in your photos, then pay a visit to the observation deck of the Rockefeller Center to get the best view of the Empire State and Downtown.
One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) - This newly-built landmark will take you on an emotional journey, as it is the replacement of the Twin Towers that were destroyed on September 11, 2001. Also called the One WTC, it is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Bon voyage 👋