Urban tales have it that the Big Apple is the sweetest and the most electrifyingly fascinating city on earth. It is safe to safe that most travelers dream of visiting, if not immigrating to, New York. And why not? It is arguably the best city in the world in terms of almost everything: lifestyle, fashion, food, attractions, arts, popular culture, and high culture, and more.
Setting of countless films and TV shows and novels, subject of numerous documentaries, and celebrated in various songs, the Big Apple has always inspired splendid dreams in throngs of settlers and visitors alike.
Since its beginning, the city has been a doorway to the United States. From the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, the iconic Statue of Liberty standing proudly over the harbor was the first New Yorker to welcome shiploads of hopefuls from different parts of the world, with a torch held up high as a sign of enlightenment.
New York is home to around 22 million people, making it America’s most populous city. It is a true melting pot where almost 170 languages are spoken. About 40% of its residents are born outside the city. New York has five Burroughs: the trendy Manhattan, culturally diverse Queens, distinctive Brooklyn, stately Staten Island, and the revitalized Bronx.
The mass of humanity in the city practically lives on top of each another, particularly in the lofty Manhattan. Its skyline is dominated by competing skyscrapers (some of the tallest buildings in the world) like the Empire State Building. Tragically, the Twin Tower collapsed following terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. New York also has a very high concentration of tall residential buildings.
New York is largely powered by the frenzied dealings at Wall Street, calling the shots in much of the trade and commerce in the world. In addition, this megacity also plays a major role in international relations since it houses the United Nations Building.
The Big Apple is one huge arts and culture hub. The amazing array of differences has impregnated the environment with many significant American cultural movements. For one, New York is well-known for giving birth to the Harlem Renaissance in visual art and literature, jazz and hip-hop, Tin pan Alley Music, and the New York School of abstract expressionism.
The city is also associated with the best in performing arts as Broadway continues to tickle the interest of packs of theater buffs. The arts and culture, unmatched entertainment, mad dealings, busy business scene, and highlife or otherwise in New York’s other landmarks—Museum of Modern Art, New York Stock Exchange, Times Square, Central Park, and Madison Square Garden—has earned it the moniker “The City that Never Sleeps.”
Explore New York
Being one of the U.S.’ and the world’s most important cities, exploring New York would give anybody an unforgettable experience. But like any travels, visiting New York requires a lot of planning and preparation.
Your accommodation in the city, for instance, should be one of your primary concerns. Where will you stay in New York? Do you have enough cash to experience the city’s best luxurious hotels? Will you settle for average accommodation in the Big Apple’s mid-range hotels? Or would you stick on a budget and go for cheap alternatives? These are some questions you need to answer even before you book that flight heading to the city.
Another thing to consider before you explore New York would be your visa – do you need to bring it with you or not? What are the requirements for you to enter the city? Answers to these questions are important especially for those who are traveling from outside the country.
It will also be good to learn about the various means to get in and around the city. This way, you will do away with the trouble of asking around what transportation to take to bring you to your destination.
For many tourists, it is also wise to find out if driving a car in the city is recommended. Although car rental in New York is plenty, tourists would have to also take note of if this will really bring convenience to them while in the city.
There are a number of tourists too who would want a more organized visit to the Big Apple. Thus, learning about New York tours will help them get better options on how to explore the city.
Finally, because this is New York, non-English speaking people may need details on learning English in the city.
These are only a few of the things to consider when visiting New York. But having these things considered will already give a significant contribution to your convenience and enjoyment in the city.
While getting yourself an itinerary will help you plan your activities in New York, signing on for New York Tours is found by many to be more efficient. New York tours are preferred by most tourists in the Big Apple mainly because this allows you for a worry-free visit. You don’t have to stress yourself listing the places you want to see in the city and thinking about what transportation to take to get into your destination.
Free New York Tours
There are a lot of companies in New York that offer tour services with different packages and itineraries to suit your wants. However, the cost for New York tours is often expensive that tourists on a budget may just opt to tour the city on their own.
Fortunately, the city has free tours around a specific neighborhood. With an expert guide, tourists looking for free tours will have a learning-filled experience in the Big Apple. To get yourself on the free tour, it is required to make reservations at least a month before your arrival to the city. With thousands of tourists coming in New York every month looking for some free services, getting a reservation ahead of time will help assure your slot on the tour.
These free New York City tours are being run by a nonprofit organization with volunteers specially trained to give tourists a great experience in the city. Most free tours take around 2-4 hours exploring a particular neighborhood.
Visa has always been a requirement for those who are entering the U.S. However, the country’s State Department has the Visa Waiver Program or the VWP which allows citizens coming from 27 countries to enter sans visas up to 90 days. These countries include Australia, Austria, Luxembourg, Monaco, Denmark, Brunei, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Slovenia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. Several countries are also waiting to be on the list of this program.
Tourists coming from these countries, although not asked a visa for a certain period of time, are required to bring a machine-readable passport or MRP; it must have a bar code on its photo page. It is also a must for all passports to have a digital photo image for a visa-free trip.
Under the Visa Waiver Program, visitors are also asked to register online before their travel (at least three days prior to travel schedule). This period will allow the government of the country to screen all their visitors prior to their arrival to the country.
Entry requirements, particularly for countries not listed in the VWP, are quite strict. For South Africans for instance, a passport that is valid at the date of entry is required along with the visa. Visitors from this country must also present roundtrip tickets (to and from the U.S.) along with necessary papers and documents. In some cases, visitors may also be asked to present financial proof that shows the tourist’s capability to finance his/her stay in the city.
Entering New York is easy for some, hard for others. But at the end of the day, coming to the city really needs further planning and preparation.