New York, New York.
The city so nice
They named it twice.
These words were used to describe New York when it was by far the largest, richest, and most developed city in the United States. New York still remains the largest and most famous city in the U.S. today, but some of its "nice" reputation has fallen over the past thirty years with stories of rampant crime making headlines around the world. How true are these stories? Is New York still a "nice" place to visit? If so, what can a tourist do in New York? Let's take a closer look at America's premier city.
First, as personal and social security are always uppermost in the minds of travelers, just how "dangerous" a city is New York? Despite the glaring headlines, New York, located in the northeastern U.S., is one of the safest cities in the U.S. In fact, New York state (which includes New York city —— thus, "New York, New York, the city so nice they named it twice") ranks below other big-population states like California in both violent crime (of much concern to the tourist) and property crime. Other major cities have higher crime rates, too. Thus, the foreign traveler to New York city can feel more secure here than in most other large metropolitan areas of the U.S.
Besides safety, why do more foreigners visit New York than any other American city? The answer lies in the character of New York itself. No other city in the world is more cosmopolitan. A walk through its hundreds of residential neighborhoods is like walking around the world itself. Place names like Chinatown and Little Italy can be found on any map of New York, but smaller ethnic neighborhoods also abound. Also, all these groups sponsor annual or seasonal festivals, so that nearly every week one or more of these peoples will share their cultural experiences (and food!) with other New Yorkers.
Because of this unsurpassed ethnic diversity, the restaurant goer will feel that he has died and gone to heaven while in New York. There is hardly a cuisine on the planet that is not represented here. Even better, many of these exotic restaurants are reasonably priced. One is never far from a restaurant in New York. There are thousands of Chinese restaurants alone.
Besides the internationally famous sight-seeing attractions —— mostly in the borough (district) of Manhattan —— such as the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Center with its two 110-story towers, Wall Street, the United Nations, and Broadway, many other interesting places await the curious traveler. The Bronx Zoo in the northern borough of the Bronx is one of the world's best. The borough of Queens offers a great variety of ethnic residential neighborhoods. Brooklyn contains the Botanical Gardens, Coney Island (a beach with an amusement park), and J.F.K. International Airport. Finally, Staten Island, the smallest borough, still affords a look at what New York used to be like, including a farm!
For culture lovers, New York has more museums than any other city, but some of these are not internationally known. A visit to any of these historical, technical, ethnic, or academic museums is well worth the time. New York's art, music, dance, and fashion scenes are a mecca for the young and professional alike. The Internet website for specific information on New York city and state tourism is www.iloveny.state.ny.us. A toll-free number for tourists already in the U.S. or Canada is also available at 1-800-CALL-NYS.
No matter what your interest is, if it can be found in an urban environment, it can be found in New York. Its eight million citizens hail from every corner of the globe, but they are united in the love of their challenging but rewarding city. As the locals there say, "Sure, you have to be a little crazy to live in New York, but you'd be nuts to live anywhere else!"