Featured Hotels in New York
Luxury New York Holidays
New York is the city that's larger than life - not just in area or population, but in activity, spirit and dynamism. There are good reasons why it's called the City that Never Sleeps - it's buzzing round the clock with energy, vigour, zest and style. New York holidays will amaze and excite you, but will always leave you wanting more.
New York (correctly referred to as New York City, to distinguish it from New York State), is actually fairly compact, despite its population of 8 million people. Most of the city is built on three islands, Manhattan, Staten Island and Long Island, and consists of five boroughs -- Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island. Each borough has its own special features, but obviously Manhattan, which occupies most of Manhattan Island, is the most famous, and, despite being the smallest, contains most of the well-known attractions. It's divided into Lower, Midtown and Upper Manhattan, and Fifth Avenue runs from North to South between West Side and East Side.
The compactness of the city means it's much easier to get around than you would think at first sight. Don't even think of hiring a car; there's a very efficient subway system and the bus service is easy to get the hang of, as it works on a grid system -- you can get a MetroCard that works for all forms of transport. But now New York is increasingly easy to see on a bicycle, thanks to the Citi Bike terminals installed around the city -- and of course there are plenty of places you can just walk to.
In fact, seeing the city on foot has become a whole lot easier since the installation of the celebrated High Line, an elevated trail built on a disused industrial railway line, and offering sweeping views of the cityscape and the Hudson River. As you wander you can enjoy murals, and regularly changing public art installations, in peace away from the city traffic. The lavish horticultural displays change with the seasons, and are inspired by the wild plants that originally grew along the tracks.
On the Water
As well as the excellent land transport, New York, being built on three islands, also makes much use of water transport. As well as the ferries across the various rivers, for which the MetroCard can be used, there is the fast, frequent Staten Island Ferry, which is completely free. You can book cruises round the harbour, and boat trips to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, but the free Staten Island Ferry provides majestic close-up views of the Statue of Liberty, the harbour and the Manhattan skyline, and you can go back and forth as often as you like.
If you have glimpsed the view as your plane descends to the airport, you'll know that the most dramatic views of New York are from the air -- and there are a few places you can get thrilling aerial views without taking a helicopter ride. The best known of course is the Empire State Building, which, while no longer the world's tallest building, still offers magnificent vistas from its 86th floor. Apart from the view, it's a spectacular piece of Art Deco design, with its resplendent lobby, and its unique dynamic lighting system with more than 16 million colours, and limitless combinations and effects.
However, the Empire State Building is no longer the city's highest lookout -- this distinction belongs to the One World Trade Center, built to replace the Twin Towers, with its observatory spanning floors 100-102, reached in 60 seconds by a SkyPod elevator and offering 360-degree panoramic views far beyond the city limits. Not quite as high, but at least as dramatic, the Top of the Rock Observation Center at the Rockefeller Plaza has three floors of indoor and outdoor decks offering stunning views, as well as the breathtaking Swarovski Radiance Wall on the 67th floor, composed of glass panels, crystal clusters and fibre-optic lighting. And of course, to reach it, you pass through the Rockefeller Center, with its beautiful sculptures and fantastic shops and restaurants, as well as the renowned skating rink.
Spoilt for Choice
If you have only a few days for your New York holidays, it can be hard to choose what to see, out of the richness that is all around you. Among the iconic sights that really should be part of a quick tour, are the sublime suspension masterpiece of the Brooklyn Bridge, spanned by its superb Gothic arches; the magnificent Grand Central Terminal, with its ornate neo-classical architecture outside, and inside the sky-themed ceiling, the dazzling marble floors, and the gold chandeliers; and in the evening the fantastic neon lights and electronic billboards of Times Square. If you have a bit more time, New York has some of the world's greatest museums, including the celebrated Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Guggenheim with its extraordinary architecture.
New York holidays probably won't allow much time for snoozing in the sun, but when you need to relax, there's the Broadway Theatre district, and an amazing array of some of the world's greatest and most innovative restaurants -- New Yorkers take their food very seriously. Apart from these pauses for breath, you'll want to pack as much as possible into your time, because however much you see, there's always something more. And New York is a city in constant flux, so as soon as your visit is over, you'll need to book another one, because new attractions pop up all the time.