Skip to main content
My City_My Life

The lowdown on the Big Apple

  • Story Highlights
  • Snap Manhattan's skyline from the Rockefeller Center or the Brooklyn Bridge
  • The legendary Katz's Deli delivers the authentic New York deli experience
  • A ride on the Staten Island ferry provides great views of the Statue of Liberty
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

They say that if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, so here are some tips to help you make the most of New York.

Try Katz's, for the classic New York-deli experience.

Try Katz's, for the classic New York-deli experience.

Photo opportunities
For an unparalleled view over New York, make like King Kong and climb to the top of the Empire State Building -- or rather, take the elevator to the 86th-floor or 102nd-floor observing platforms.

At sunset you'll see the building's gargantuan shadow reaching out towards Queens, and at night you'll see the city lit up like a scene from Blade Runner. You can cut down queuing time by buying your ticket online and taking a printed copy with you.

Of course, one thing you can't see from the Empire State Building is the Empire State Building. To see the art deco wonder in all its majesty, head to the "Top of the Rock" viewing deck at the Rockefeller Center. Glass balustrades give an unobstructed panorama of midtown.

For an iconic view of the downtown skyline, walk a little way across the Brooklyn Bridge and look back in wonder at the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan. Once you've taken a few snaps you should take the opportunity to keep going and explore the delights of Brooklyn.

Photo See photos of Candace Bushnell's New York »

Katz's Deli (205 E Houston Street)
Even if you've only seen New York on American cop shows, you'll already know what real New Yorkers eat -- pastrami on rye, with pickles, extra mustard, hold the mayo -- right?

If you want to sample the authentic New York deli experience, Katz's is the place to do it. Join the queue, pick up a ticket and head for the counter, trying to decide which particular variety of over-sized sandwich will be your pleasure. Pastrami, brisket and roast beef are all highly recommended, as are the homemade all-beef hotdogs.

What are your New York tips? Sound Off below.

Grand Central Terminal -- free Wednesday lunchtime tour (42nd Street and Park Avenue)
Yes, Grand Central is a train station, but it's also a Beaux Arts masterpiece. Built in 1913 the stately terminal is all majestic arches and marble floors. The domed ceiling, now spotless after its 1996 clean up, is decorated with a "God's-eye view" of the night sky.

To learn about its history, visit on any Wednesday at 12.30 p.m. for an informative free tour. You can leave a donation if you wish.

Staten Island Ferry
One of the great things about the ferry linking Manhattan with Staten Island is that it's completely free. Another is the fantastic views it offers its passengers.

Ferries leave Manhattan's Battery Park every half hour on weekdays and a 25-minute journey takes you across the Hudson River close to Ellis Island. Standing out on the blustery deck you'll have a fine view of the Statue of Liberty. You'll also get a splendid view of Manhattan as you travel away from the island, with downtown fanning out before your disbelieving eyes and wide-angle lens.

Broadway bargains
For many visitors catching a Broadway show is an essential part of the New York experience, but tickets don't come cheap.


You can save money at TKTS Discount Booths, which offer discounts of up to 50% on same-day tickets. The catch? They may not have tickets for the most popular shows and you could be queuing for a long time.

There are TKTS Discount Booths in Times Square, downtown Brooklyn and at the South Street Seaport. As you might expect, the queues are longest in Times Square. The South Street Seaport and downtown Brooklyn booths also sell tickets for the next day's matinees.

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print