Even though the modern city was founded just 4 centuries ago by European Immigrants, New York now has a population of about 8.5 million people and is the biggest city in the USA. It has the various nicknames of the "global city," "the world's cultural capital," "the city that never sleeps," "the world's financial, commercial and diplomatic capital," The Big Apple," and "Gotham City.
John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) is considered to be in the city, though it's 30km outside of Manhattan, where there's the most hotels. To get to the city you can take a taxi for $60-65, or airport buses like the Airporter Bus, Super Shuttle, or Go Airlink Shuttle ($16-25). The cheapest option is definitely public transportation. You can get to the subway fairly easily by either taking the JFK AirTrain or the MTA Bus that leaves from Terminal 5 (don't forget to buy a MetroCard from the terminal!). To get to the city center the metro runs 24/7, and it's easy to figure out other things like buses, trains and ferries. You can download the MTA subway map online. Metrocards can be purchased as a Single Ride MetroCard ($2.75), a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard (every $5 gives you a 5% bonus), and Unlimited Ride weekly/monthly passes are available ($30 per week). The MetroCard is also valid for buses. Hop on-hop off buses, sightseeing cruises, water taxis, bike taxis called pedicabs, Central Park carriages, or even helicopters are all viable options for tourists who want to see the city in different ways.
There is no shortage of hotels in New York City who have received "a certificate of excellence", with each hotel more luxurious than the next. Some of the best hotels in the city include: The Peninsula, Trump International, Four Seasons, Trump SoHo, The Carlyle (Rosewood), The St. Regis, The Plaza, Ritz-Carlton-Central Park, Crosby Street Hotel, Casablanca Hotel-Times Square and The Sherry Netherland- The French Quarters. For those who are looking for mid-level hotels: Refinery Hotel, Chelsea Pines Inn or District Hotel are all great options. For those on a shoestring budget, try Michelle B&B, La Maison d'Art or Urban Oasis Hostel & Guest House. The farther away from the city center you get, the more affordable the options become.
In Manhattan, the heart of New York City, you should make sure to catch: The Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park, Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock observation deck, Brooklyn Bridge, 5th Avenue, Broadway, Grand Central Terminal, Chrysler Building, Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange Building, the September 11th Memorial, Madison Square, Bryant Park, the museums of the city, of which the Metropolitan Museum of Art is first (Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, American Museum of Natural History, Frick Collection, Ground Zero Museum Workshop, Tenement Museum, the Cloisters, etc.), St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. Paul's Chapel and the New York Public Library. Greenwich Village, SoHo, NoHo, East Village, Chinatown, Little Italy and Harlem are all lovely neighborhoods to wander around in. Also you can get on the Staten Island ferry to visit the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan Islands (Ellis, Liberty and Governors), or go see Yankees Stadium in the Bronx along with the Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn's Prospect Park and Coney Island, or Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.
New York City is a city that could be visited exclusively for the purposes of extensive shopping. The city is a shopping paradise for shopaholics of any budget. There are stores of interest in just about every corner of the city. One of the more famous shopping streets in the world is New York City's 5th Avenue, and here each shop is more luxurious than the next. In SoHo you'll find quite a few vintage boutiques as well as luxury shops. Another place for vintage shopping is Greenwich Village. Or check out Bloomingdale's with its many famous brands, high prices and wide variety. Or Macy's Herald Square or one of the more famous shopping chains Saks Fifth Avenue. Woodbury is on the opposite banks of the Hudson River and is an hour away by bus, but you should make sure not to miss this outlet. Century 21 in Lower Manhattan is one of the cheaper shops you'll find. If you're looking for well-known American chain stores, then Marshalls, Ross and TJ Maxx are for you.
To get a full panoramic view of the New York skyline, you can go up to the top of the Empire State building or Top of the Rock, or take a helicopter or boat tour. If you're looking for a grand day out, take a carriage through Central Park or fall into conversation with some of the colorful residents of the city. You can walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, or hang out in a SoHo cafe, or there are tours that take you through the places where your favorite American movies and tv shows were shot or be part of the audience of a current tv program. If you're interested in sports, you can go to any of New York's famous teams like the Yankees and Mets (baseball), the Knicks and Nets (basketball), The Rangers or Islanders (hockey), or the Giants and Jets (American football). The US Open and New York marathon also attract visitors from all over the world. As New York is known as "the city that never sleeps," it's impossible to visit the city without heading out in the evenings. Every tourist should try to take in some of the shows on offer, whether it's a Broadway musical (Jersey Boys, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, etc.), Off-Broadway or Off-Off Broadway, The Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center, or the Apollo Theater, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, the Highline Ballroom, and Irving Plaza.