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Night and day, New York feels like the centre of the world. The world’s greatest city has been imagined and re-imagined by millions of people, as Metropolis or Gotham, the Big Apple, the Empire City and the City That Never Sleeps. You’ll find the epicentre of culture in the museums, theatres, orchestra halls and galleries, the headquarters of capitalism at Wall Street and Fifth Avenue and the cradle of counter-culture in all the cracks between them. You can find the best restaurants in the world, the most lavish shops, the freshest ideas and the liveliest nights.
Downtown Manhattan — The southern end of Manhattan mixes the financial district with alternative residential areas like Greenwich Village, TriBeCa, Chinatown, Little Italy, NoHo and SoHo where you’ll find some of the best nightlife. This is where the skyline starts and where the World Trade Centre stood. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s here.
Midtown — Times Square, Union Square and Madison Square Garden are all Midtown. You’ll find Broadway and the Theatre District and several iconic buildings including the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station and the United Nations. The kooky-looking Flatiron district and buzzing Chelsea district are here too.
Uptown — Central Park runs in a strip up the centre of uptown Manhattan, flanked by the Upper East Side where the wealthiest New Yorkers live, cheek by jowl with some of the best museums in the world, and the Upper West Side where the city’s highbrow performing arts can be found.
Brooklyn and the Bronx — The two neighbouring districts of Manhattan island have unique characters all of their own. The Bronx is where you’ll find the New York Botanical Garden and the Yankee Stadium, while Brooklyn lies across the water from downtown Manhattan and has the best views of the skyline and the Statue of Liberty.
In addition to the sheer craziness that is found on every street corner, there are several major landmarks that everyone who has ever watched a Hollywood movie will recognise. The Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge are fantastic harbour features, while the Empire State building has stood proud for decades and is a must-see for anyone who has read James and the Giant Peach. The World Trade Centre memorial is a moving tribute to those who died on September 11, 2001. Times Square is where the world seems to congregate and there’s little better than sitting in a café or a bar for a moment’s escape from the Big Apple hustle.
In a word: everything. But let’s narrow it down – see some of two million works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the best collection of modernism at the Museum of Modern Art. Take in a Broadway show, or an off-Broadway show – there are more than 40 to choose from. Don’t forget the Guggenheim Museum, the American Museum of Natural History and Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthplace. Skate, cycle, jog or stroll around Central Park then maybe do a spot of sunbathing, find a chess game or do some ice-skating. But don’t forget to leave some time for shopping, whether in the high ends shops of Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue or bargain hunting in Canal Street and Mott Street. You can eat anywhere, anytime, any cuisine, and did we mention the bars? Slip into a slinky jazz club and order, what else, a Manhattan.