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New York City Travel Guide

About New York City

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.

Key facts

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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Featured Hotels


Ye Olde Carlton Arms Hotel

A somewhat divisive 'art' hotel that lots of people really love for its location and pricing, but which you're going to dislike if you're humourless, or are a stickler for high levels of cleanliness. The rooms are individually designed with striking, and sometimes shocking, motifs, and the casual air recalls a backpacker's hostel but with individual rooms. Bohemian, definitely.

Lowell Hotel

New York hotels don't come too much classier than this 1927 landmark building, set on a leafy street in one of the Upper East Side's most fashionable spots. Discreet and aristocratic, the liveried doormen escort you to opulent rooms crammed with period furniture and antique décor. It manages to retain an understated air, though, and is the ultimate retreat for those that can afford it.

The Greenwich Hotel

This hip downtown spot fills a renovated historic building in the Tribeca neighbourhood. From the eclectic lobby with its comfy chairs and imported Moroccan screens, to the luxurious bathrooms featuring Carrara marble and hand-laid Turkish tiles, you'll feel a rich combination of style and decadence.

Crosby Street Hotel

This chic downtown hotel features 86 individually designed guestrooms and suites, all with floor-to-ceiling windows, original artwork and a stylish contemporary design. Guests also enjoy the leafy garden, the private screening room and a whimsically designed bar. The hotel is beautifully located on a cobblestone street just a short stroll from the great dining and shopping in Soho and Nolita.

The Gershwin

Not far from the much-photographed Flatiron Building is The Evelyn, set in a historic building that has housed one hotel after the other since 1905. Recently renovated rooms feature soft cocoa colour schemes, crisp white linens and spacious bathrooms, and the location is superbly central.


This sleek, contemporary hotel is well located in Little Italy, at the border with Chinatown, and boasts relatively spacious (for New York) guestrooms with hardwood floors, patterned walls and large flat-screen TVs. There's a rooftop terrace with great views, and an Asian restaurant downstairs.