Travelers are on the move and on their way to New York City. During an economic climate that has been characterized by an increase in unemployment and home foreclosures, it seems people are still hitting the roads to visit the Big Apple.
In 2007, New York City’s mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration put forth a goal to attract 50 million annual visitors by 2012. In 2010, New York not only drew a record-breaking 48.7 million visitors, but they were also able to add 6,600 hospitality industry jobs during the year. Last year’s 6.8% increase over 2009 keeps the city on pace to meet its aggressive goal of 50 million visitors.
So if you are one of the over 48 million people who will visit New York City this year, what should you do during your visit?
There are the major attractions, Times Square, The Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. But what if you want to try something a little different?
There is always the West Village, which is the western side of Greenwich Village. You may want to get a map before venturing onto the cobblestone streets of the West Village. Its geography varies from the orderly street grid of Manhattan. While there check out the many unique and delicious restaurants that make this a local favorite.
The West Village also hosts the Jefferson Market Courthouse, which is the only High Victorian Gothic building remaining in New York. Made famous by its bell and clock tower, Mae West’s censorship trial and Harry Thaw’s 1906 “trial of the century” for murder is now operating as the Jefferson Market Library serving Greenwich Village.
If you happen to be in Brooklyn, you could check out the Brooklyn Food & Culture Tour (Sundays, Mondays, and Fridays). The four-hour sightseeing tour offers visitors a culinary and cultural tour of ethnic Brooklyn. On this tour, you will visit several areas including Williamsburg, Greenpoint, DUMBO and Sunset Park.
For the theater, enthusiast check out the Inside Broadway Tours. Here you will get a first hand behind the scenes tour. This tour of Broadway is two hours and given by professional Broadway actors and singers. Visitors can learn about the audition process and see how the theaters evolved since the Great Depression.
While visiting New York City if you would like to experience Italian culture, you may want to check out Arthur Avenue Retail Market. Many in the Bronx known this well-kept secret as the “real Little Italy.” The Arthur Avenue Retail Market is a covered bazaar that brings together all the shopping. Ranging from sausage makers to bread bakers, café’s to florists under one roof.
Once you leave Little Italy, you may also want to check out the largest Chinatown in the United States. Located on the lower east side of Manhattan it has a population estimated between 70,000 and 150,000. Chinatown has been made famous for its restaurants, jewelry shops, food markets, temples and especially its crowded streets. A few things to check out in Chinatown include the Museum of Chinese in America, Chatham Square, and the Mahayana Buddhist Temple.
For those who happen to be visiting New York City with your family, New York City offers several kid-friendly attractions to complete your trip. You may want to check out the Coney Island Aquarium or the Bronx Zoo. Brooklyn also hosts the Brooklyn Children’s Museum geared towards children ages 2 through 10 with interactive exhibitions that will engage your children.
And all New Yorkers agree that there is no better way to see the city than the Staten Island Ferry. Run primarily to transport Staten Islanders to and from Manhattan; the 5 miles, 25-minute ride provides a majestic view of the New York Harbor for free.
Planning Your Visit
So if you can make the trip to New York this year make sure you visit a few of these off the beaten path locations to ensure that you get the true New York experience. Let us know what places you like to visit in New York, and if you need a place to stay while you are there, make sure you get a good rate and find a great to rest your head in between the many experiences the city has to offer.