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Welcome to the Big Apple! Why is New York City Called the Big Apple?   .
In the 1920s, a sportswriter for the Morning Telegraph named John Fitzgerald overheard stablehands in New Orleans refer to New York City's racetracks as "the Big Apple." He named his column "Around the Big Apple." A decade later, jazz musicians adopted the term to refer to New York City, and especially Harlem, as the jazz capital of the world. There are many apples on the trees of success, they were saying, but when you pick New York City, you pick the big apple.

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Courtesy of TravelNow

New York City comprises the central island of Manhattan along with four outer boroughs - Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx , and Staten Island . Manhattan, to many, is New York - whatever your interests, it's here that you'll spend the most time and are likely to stay. New York is very much a city of neighborhoods and is best explored on foot.

Offshore, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island comprise the first section of New York (and America) that most nineteenth-century immigrants would have seen. The Financial District takes in the skyscrapers and historic buildings of Manhattan's southern reaches and was hardest hit by the destruction of perhaps its most famous landmarks, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Just northeast is the area around City Hall , New York's well-appointed municipal center, which adjoins TriBeCa , known for its swanky restaurants, galleries, and nightlife. Moving east, Chinatown is Manhattan's most populous ethnic neighborhood, a vibrant locale that's great for food and shopping. Nearby, Little Italy bears few traces of the once-strong immigrant presence, while the Lower East Side , the city's traditional gateway neighborhood for new immigrants, is nowadays scattered with trendy bars and clubs. To the west, SoHo is one of the premier districts for galleries and the commercial art scene, not to mention designer shopping. Continuing north, the West and East Villages form a focus of bars, restaurants, and shops catering to students and would-be bohemians - and of course tourists. Chelsea is a largely residential neighborhood that is now mostly known for its gay scene and art galleries that borders on Manhattan's old Garment District . Murray Hill contains the city's largest skyscraper and most enduring symbol, the Empire State Building.

Beyond 42nd Street , the main east-west artery of midtown, the character of the city changes quite radically, and the skyline becomes more high-rise and home to some of New York's most awe-inspiring, neck-cricking architecture. There are also some superb museums and the city's best shopping as you work your way north up Fifth Avenue as far as 59th Street. Here, the classic Manhattan vistas are broken by the broad expanse of Central Park , a supreme piece of nineteenth-century landscaping, without which life in Manhattan would be unthinkable. Flanking the park, the mostly residential and fairly affluent Upper West Side boasts Lincoln Center, Manhattan's temple to the performing arts, the American Museum of Natural History, and Riverside Park along the Hudson River. On the other side of the park, the Upper East Side is wealthier and more grandiose, with its nineteenth-century millionaires' mansions now transformed into a string of magnificent museums known as the "Museum Mile," the most prominent being the vast Metropolitan Museum of Art . Alongside is a patrician residential neighborhood that boasts some of the swankiest addresses in Manhattan, and a nest of designer shopping along Madison Avenue in the seventies. Immediately above Central Park, Harlem , the historic black city-within-a-city, has a healthy sense of an improving go-ahead community; a jaunt further north is most likely required only to see the unusual Cloisters, a nineteenth-century mock-up of a medieval monastery, packed with great European Romanesque and Gothic art and (transplanted) architecture.


Some of the immigrants who passed through Ellis Island and went on to illustrious careers are: Irving Berlin, musician, arrived in 1893 from Russia; Marcus Garvey, politician, arrived 1916 from Jamaica; Bob Hope, comedian, arrived in 1908 from England; Knute Rockne, football coach, arrived in 1893 from Norway; and the von Trapp family of "Sound of Music" fame, arrived in 1938 from Austria. New York City - the capital of the world! Downtown Manhattan is rich with NYC landmarks such as Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, City Hall, New York Stock Exchange, Ground Zero, 911, the Financial District.

NYC Dining at a Glance.....
Courtesy of; TravelNow

New York is a rich port city that can get the best foodstuffs from anywhere in the world, and, as a major immigration gateway, it attracts chefs who know how to cook the world's cuisines properly, even exceptionally. As you stroll through the streets of New York, heavenly odors seem to emanate from every corner; it's not hard to work up an appetite.

Outside of American and continental cuisines (more or less including New American, which can either dazzle with its inventive fusions or fail miserably and pretentiously), be prepared to confront a startling variety of ethnic food . In New York, none has had so dominant an effect as Jewish food , to the extent that many Jewish specialties - bagels, pastrami, lox and cream cheese - are now considered archetypal New York. Others retain more specific identities. Chinese food includes the familiar Cantonese, as well as spicier Szechuan and Hunan dishes - most restaurants specialize in one or the other. Japanese food is widely available and very good; other Asian cuisines include Indian and a broad sprinkling of Thai, Korean, Vietnamese and Indonesian restaurants.

Italian cooking is widespread and not terribly expensive, and typically a fairly safe bet. French restaurants tend to be pricier, although there are an increasing number of bistros and brasseries turning out authentic and reliable French nosh for attractive prices. Somewhat similar in spirit are Belgian brasseries and steak frites joints, a surprising number of which opened in the last half-decade (and many of which subsequently closed).

There is also a whole range of Eastern European restaurants - Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and Hungarian - that serve well-priced, filling fare. Caribbean, Central and South American restaurants are on the rise in New York, and often offer a good deal and a large, satisfying and often spicy meal. Other places include weird hybrids like Chinese-Peruvian, Japanese-Brazilian, and any number of vegetarian and wholefood eateries to cater to any taste or fad.

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