Instant expert: New York

05 Jul 2016

New York at a Glance

Population: 8.4 million
Official language: English
Currency: US dollar
Flying time from the UK: 7 hours 30 minutes 
Timezone: EST
Visas: Visa Waivers are available for visits under 90 days
Tipping: Expected (approximately 15-20% for waiters and taxi drivers) 

10 Things You Need to Know

1. New York City has 722 miles of Subway track and more than 13,000 iconic yellow taxis.

2. Nobody knows how the term "Big Apple" first came into use. There are various theories, but some claim it was coined by jazz musicians who used the word apple as slang for an engagement.

3. There's a strip of land in Long Island Sound called Hart Island. This spooky, uninhabited place is where the city's unclaimed bodies are buried. Since 1869, it's reckoned that nearly a million people have been laid to rest here. Public access is strictly forbidden.

4. If the borough of Queens were to declare itself an independent city, it would be the fourth largest in the United Sates.


A photo posted by @federica0731 on

5. In 1974, Philippe Petit committed what was deemed the “artistic crime of the century,” by walking the 61 metres between the twin towers of the World Trade Center on a tightrope.

6. New York isn’t known for its wildlife, but turtles, frogs and raccoons have made their home in this diverse metropolis. There are also bright green parakeets that have taken up residence in Brooklyn.

7. Roughly 800 languages are used every day in this city, and over 30% of residents were born outside of the US.

8. You might assume those hot dog stands in Central Park are onto a good thing, but consider this - rent alone costs the vendors up to $290,000 a year.

9. The Bronx Zoo is one of the most acclaimed in the world with roughly 4,000 animals from 650 different species.

10. The first pizzeria in the United States was opened in New York in 1905 - Lombardi's in Manhattan's Nolita neighbourhood is still going strong today.

When to visit New York

It tends to snow in New York City from December to February, and can be bitterly cold, but this is the best time to hire some skates and ice skate in Central Park. If you're visiting in November or December, you may also get to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting. Summer months can be sticky and humid, so many prefer to visit in the spring when the weather is gentler. April is the wettest month and October is the driest, but no matter what time of year you visit, there is plenty to see and do.

New York is Best For…

Shop-til-you-droppers. With Barneys on Madison Avenue, Macy's on West 34th Street and Sak's, Tiffany and Co. and Bergdorf Goodman on 5th Avenue - you will be thoroughly spoiled for places to spend your cash.

Film buffs. The New York landscape has been a backdrop for countless films over the years, but Marilyn Monroe's billowing white dress and Audrey Hepburn’s procrastination at the windows of the Tiffany store are two of the most iconic.

Night owls. With Broadway musicals, swanky cocktail bars in East Village and street-food trucks with pizza slices bigger than your head: sleeping in New York City is optional, and there is always more to experience.

Sports enthusiasts. Baseball is New York’s most popular sport, so why not head down to a Yankees or Mets game? American football teams the Giants and the Jets also call New York their home.

Those with their head in the clouds. Observatories at the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center offer impressive bird's-eye views of the city, and there is a Skyscraper Museum in Lower Manhattan.

Ready to book? Check out Travelzoo’s latest travel deals for New York. Alternatively, see below for a selection of our favourite hotels in the city…

5 Hotels we Love in New York

The Roosevelt Hotel New York
Near Grand Central Terminal; within walking distance of Times Square
Why we love it: It’s worth visiting just to see the ornate jazz-age lobby (as featured in movies such as “Wall Street”). Be sure to check out the rooftop lounge, Mad46, which serves cocktails and small bites under the city lights from May-October.
Click here for rates and availability (inc exclusive extras for Travelzoo members)

Hotel Mela Times Square
In New York's Theater District, near Times Square & Rockefeller Center
Why we love it: This cosy boutique hotel is surrounded by Broadway theatres. The shops on Fifth Avenue are a 5-minute walk away. Bedrooms are small but chic, and there’s a Zagat-recommended French restaurant on site.
Click here for rates and availability (inc exclusive extras for Travelzoo members)

San Carlos Hotel
Where: Quiet stretch of 50th St, Midtown East
Why we love it: Conveniently located a 10-minute walk from the Rockefeller Center, this place has a residential ambiance similar to an NYC apartment building. Rooms are huge by city standards. Continental breakfast and Wi-Fi are always included.
Click here
for rates and availability (inc exclusive extras for Travelzoo members)

Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel
Where: 5-minute walk from Wall Street & South Street Seaport
Why we love it: This chic downtown hotel, slightly outside the traditional tourism centre, can be blissfully quiet at the weekends. Swanky guest rooms have 12-foot ceilings and antique chandeliers. The wine lounge buzzes during its weeknight happy hour, from 4-7pm.
Click here for rates and availability (inc exclusive extras for Travelzoo members)

The Paramount - A Times Square, New York Hotel
One block from Times Square
Why we love it: Once a haunt for artists like Andy Warhol, The Paramount is in the heart of the Theater District. The impressive 2-storey lobby is the eye-catching centrepiece, and there’s also a well-reviewed restaurant, Italian coffee shop and fitness centre on-site.
Click here for rates and availability (inc exclusive extras for Travelzoo members)


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