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New York City Need to Know

Christmas is a spectacular time to hit this vibrant city, when it's decorated to a tee and as aesthetically pleasing as a picture postcard. The streets are bustling, shoppers are making mad last-minute dashes and the weather is cold - as it should be this time of year. Also, many Broadway shows are opening during the months between October and May (although openings now extend well into July).

Best Time to Go to New York City

When is the Best Time to Go to New York City? Ever since New York's big "clean-up", anytime is a good time to visit. During the warmer months, the streets of New York are filled with parades, celebrating everything from Gay Pride to Puerto Rican Day.

Average Weather

The city is pretty chilly during the winter, thanks to winds that whip in off the Hudson. However, it's rare to see snow accumulate in Manhattan. One thing is true: You have to wrap up, from head to toe.

Summer in the city is muggy. Many locals leave Manhattan and head for the coast during this time of year. Summers are so unpleasant because the heat gets trapped in the city, spurring folks to find respite in air-conditioned restaurants, theaters and museums. Keep in mind that subway stations aren't air conditioned and they usually smell bad when it's hot.

The city wakes up in September, when the weather is milder and dry. This is a great time to visit because the natural setting is unreal, especially in the many parks.


New York is best explored on foot. Travelers really don't need a car when visiting New York - even those travelers heading to Long Island or other surrounding neighborhoods. Extensive public transportation makes it convenient to travel between areas of interest. Driving in the city can be hazardous to your health, especially if you're inexperienced at it. There's no such thing as defensive driving here. It's more about survival of the fittest and the fittest are usually cab drivers. Also, there's basically no such thing as free parking. Parking in most garages costs up to $20 (for three hours). It's ridiculous.

The subway system is one of the most comprehensive around. Stretching 714 miles long, it's the fastest way to get anywhere in the city and the outer boroughs (including the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens), and it runs 24 hours a day. Tokens are a mere $1.50, with reduced fares for people with disabilities and for senior citizens. For travelers on an extended trip, MetroCards, purchased for a specific amount, are also available at all subway stations.

Everyone has heard the horror stories about New York taxis. However scary they might be, they are very convenient. You can hail a cab at nearly every corner - even at night. The fare is $2 for the first 1/5-mile, 30¢ for each 1/5-mile thereafter, and 25¢ for each 75 seconds not in motion. A 50¢ surcharge is added to rides begun between 8 pm and 6 am. Bridge and tunnel tolls are extra, and drivers expect a 15% tip.

In-Season Costs

Bottom line: It's expensive. There are some bargains to be had, but you have to search for them.

Day Trips

It's not hard to imagine spending weeks in New York City. Investigating the Big Apple can be overwhelming. However, if you do decide that you want to venture out of Manhattan, or impress your friends by investigating an outer borough by subway, visit the Brooklyn Museum of Art or Prospect Park, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, or the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens - just to name a few options.

Of course, there's always Princeton, New Jersey, a quick 45-minute train ride out of the city. Along the way, you'll pass Rutgers University.

If you have some time, head out to Long Island or the Hamptons. Make sure you have plenty of cash on hand.

There is always Coney Island and its famous roller coaster. If you take the subway, you'll get there in an hour's time. Don't forget to indulge in a Nathan's hotdog while you're there.


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