More Shark Guides
About New York
Owning the reputation as being one of the most populated and international cities in the country, New York City now consists of over 8 million people, each one vastly different and sporting a different aspect of this diverse city. The one thing you can be sure of is that there is never a boring moment on the streets of New York.
History of New York
The soon-to-become city of New York was discovered by Giovanni da Verrazzano, captain of La Dauphine. Although the area was discovered in 1524, it was not colonized until 1609 when Henry Hudson of Europe sailed through looking for a passageway to Asia. Instead of finding the westerly passageway, he found a beaver population. Beaver pelts happened to be in fashion in his homeland of Europe, and it was because of this that word spread and Dutch trading colonies came to life in New York, back then known as New Amsterdam, one colony of many that made up the New World. Because the Beaver was such a huge part of New York life, in modern times it can be seen on the city's official seal.
From there, New York City boomed in business, commerce, and communication, turning into a major hub for those looking for new beginnings and freedom in a New World. The five boroughs were created--Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. With the production of mass transit including subways and trains, New York became a nearly unstoppable city success.
Visiting New York City
The success is still thriving today, as New York city has become home to numerous museums and has turned into the "it" place to be when it comes to dining, where there is nothing that you can't find; art, extremely diverse culture, city tours, watch skaters (or partake if you have the coordination) at Rockefeller Center, stroll down Wall Street if you're a financial buff, take a boat across the Upper Bay and visit the Statue of Liberty and dive even deeper in NYC history, catch a play on Broadway, or shop until you drop at the uncountable stores that line NYC streets. The events in NYC also change according to holiday and season, so keep an eye out for major parades and things going on in Central Park, on Broadway, numerous street fairs in warmer weather, or NYC museums such as the Modern Museum of Art who bring in new exhibits on a rotating basis.
New York City Customs
Before you travel to the Big Apple (which is a term not used by natives), there are a few things travelers should take note of:
NYC is a walking type of city. It's easy to tell the natives from the visitors, because the natives will be the ones walking an extra 5MPH faster than everyone else. Everyone gets lost at one point or another. In the event that this does happen, or you're just unsure of directions, make sure to stand to the side of the sidewalk rather than standing in the middle, preferably the right side. Never be afraid to ask directions, contrary to popular belief, many New Yorkers don't mind helping out to point you in the right direction. And bring good shoes.
Common rule for escalators: Stationary standing, stay right. Walkers/runners, stay left.
New York Subway rules are also important. Metro cards are (literally) the ticket to riding the subways. They come in one of two options--pay per use or unlimited, which can only be swiped every 17 minutes, which limits the card to one-person use. However, they will be valid until the expiration date. They can be bought at Metro machines in most stations in NYC. The subway may not be an option for everyone, but can cut down a lot on walking time and is cheaper than a taxi, and you won't have to tip your driver.
Another very important rule--NYC went smoke-free in 2003, meaning that smoking is not allowed in any restaurant in the city, and smokers have to go outside.
Parking (and driving yourself) in the city can be a nightmare, so the best advice is don't drive and walk whenever you can.