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New York, New York

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The most populous city in the USA, the City of New York is comprised of five boroughs — The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. Over 8 million residents are crammed into its 830 square kilometres, and the metropolitan area is home to 18.8 million. They wouldn't think of living anywhere else.

It is a cultural centre with hundreds of world-class museums, galleries and performance outlets. It is home of the United Nations and a major venue for international diplomacy.

It was the perfect venue for Getaway to host a "live from" program and here are some of the things our crews experienced in the city that never sleeps.

Helicopter flight
The very best way to get the feel of a place — particularly a place as enormous as New York — is from above. It's exciting to walk the canyon-like streets, but that doesn't give a true feeling of its lay-out as much as a three-minute flight does.

Fly past the marvellous Statue of Liberty, Wall Street — the financial capital of the world, Ellis and Governors Islands and the Brooklyn Bridge, and marvel at Manhattan's skyline as you follow the Hudson River. It's great fun to see the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, Trump World Tower and other highly recognisable skyscrapers.

New York vendys
With so much walking to be done, you're bound to get hungry and this is your chance to sample some of the best food around — from the sidewalk vendors. They specialise in vegetarian and vegan dishes, German, Greek, Sri Lankan, Asian, chicken and steak and even the old hot dog — almost anything you can think of. Locals have their favourites and you will get a clue of a vendor's popularity by the length of the queue … even in the coldest weather.

There are almost 10,000 street food vendors in New York and the Urban Justice Center has created The Vendy Awards. In around October each year, the finest street chefs from the five boroughs are brought together to name the year's most outstanding vendor.

New York water taxi
Another terrific way to get around this vast metropolis is by water taxi. They offer a great variety of tours, and one of the best is a Hop On/Hop Off pass. It's easy, economical and you see many of the city's top destinations. A two-day pass gives you 11 stops at the top sightseeing locations. Get on and off as much as you want, and enjoy a truly entertaining commentary by your tour guide.

The nimble vessels go to places other harbour tours cannot reach. Get close to the Statue of Liberty, pass the Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn Bridge and other jewels in the harbour. You will hear about military forts which defended the city in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. There is a Jewish History tour led by internationally recognised architect Oscar Israelowitz. He knows Jewish New York inside out and his commentary is entertaining and informative.

Brooklyn
Named after the Dutch city Breukelen, Brooklyn was an independent city until 1898. It is New York's most populous borough with 2.5 million residents. It has a distinct character of its own, characterised by cultural diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighbourhoods and a unique architectural heritage.

A fantastic way to see out-of-the-way places in New York is with Bike The Big Apple and our crew chose this way to see some of Brooklyn's neighbourhoods. The escorted tours go beyond walking and bus tours and you get the feeling of being part of the neighbourhood you are in.

Contrary to its image, Bike The Big Apple say the car is not the king in New York. Motorists are accustomed to sharing streets with pedestrians, bicyclists, in-line skaters and other vehicles.

They operate every day and if it's not too cold for you, it's not too cold for them!

Jekyll & Hyde restaurant and bar
New York's only haunted restaurant and bar, Jekyll & Hyde, is for eccentric explorers and mad scientists where guests can eat and drink among the unusual and bizarre. There is continuous live entertainment and spooky special effects, including the electric chair!

Professor Shroud, Tobias the Werewolf, and Dreadworthy the Butler mingle with guests while spirits bring to life unusual artefacts … and anything can happen.

Décor is like a set from a horror film and costumed staff do their best to make customers jump when least expected.

Even the food is an adventure. There are around 62 dishes, including create your own monster burgers. The Mummy is a piece of sirloin bandaged in cheese strips!

Beer lovers with have a great time — choose from brews from Australia, Holland, Germany, Canada, The Czech Republic, the UK, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Brazil, the Caribbean and the Far East and America is represented by 52 beers spanning the alphabet from Anchor to Yuengling Porter.

New York sublet
Staying in a private home or apartment, rather than a hotel, in big cities is becoming quite the thing to do.

Sublet.com specialises is matching tenants with properties and can sign you up from one day to one decade! Choose between furnished or unfurnished, share or not, with or without pets and in a location and price range to suit you.

Location

The east coast of the United States.

Cost

New York City Helicopter Tour with Viator leave from Downtown Heliport at Pier 6 & East River and Paulus Hook Pier in Jersey City. You will need plenty of ID as security is of high importance. They offer a great variety of flights starting with Sneak Peak for around $40 for 2.5 minutes. Tickets can be purchased through Viator before you leave Australia.

Water Taxi Hop on Hop Off passes are around $30 for 2 days of unlimited travel.

Bike the Big Apple Brooklyn Tours are around $90 for 7 hours. Bike, a helmet, and a licensed tour guide in front and “sweep” in back (food and drink extra; $10 less with your own bike).

Jekyll and Hyde is open 365 days a year

Sublet.com has apartments across North America as well as internationally.

More information

Viator.com
(They sell Liberty Helicopters products here in Australia)
Website: www.viator.com

Street Vendor Project
123 William Street, 16th Fl
New York, NY 10038
Ph: 0011 1 646 602-5679 or 646 602-5681
Fax: 0011 1 212 533-4035
Website: http://streetvendor.org/public_html/
Email: svp@urbanjustice.org

Thiru "Dosa Man" Kumar
Washington Square and Sullivan Street
New York City

Tony Dragones
62nd Street and Madison Avenue
New York City

New York Water Taxi
Ph: 0011 1 212-742-1969
Website: www.nywatertaxi.com
Email: info@nywatertaxi.com

Bike The Big Apple
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Ph: 0011 1 646 294
Website: bikethebigapple.com/
Email: Explore@BikeTheBigApple.com

Jekyll and Hyde Restaurant and Bar
91 7th Avenue South
New York, NY 10014
Ph: 0011 1 212 989 7701
Website: www.jekyllpub.com/
Email: glennfalcone@msn.com

Sublet.com
Ph: 0011 1 201 845 7300
Website: www.sublet.com/contact.htm

For more information on New York go to www.nycvisit.com

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