According to acronymmonster.com, New York City, “The City That Never Sleeps”, is the largest city in the United States. Thanks to its leading and influential role in trade, finance, media, public relations, art, fashion and education, it is one of the most important cities in the world. About 10 million people live in New York and about 22 million people in the metropolitan area. New York City consists of five boroughs, of which Manhattan is one of the best known. The others are Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx.
New York History
In 1624, a group of Protestant Walloon families founded their first settlement on Manhattan and named it “Neuf-Avesnes” (New Avenne). Neighbors and families of German, Dutch and British descent followed. The area was called New Netherland, in Latin at that time: Nova Belgica or Novum Belgium. In May 1626, Peter Minuit was appointed as the colony’s first governor. The settlement was later renamed New Amsterdam. In 1626 Minuit bought Manhattan from the Indians for trinkets worth 60 guilders, now about 700 euros or a thousand dollars. In the run-up to the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1664, New Amsterdam was conquered by the English, who named the settlement New York after the Duke of York.
In 1673, the Netherlands regained possession of it for a while. After the name changed to “New Orange”, it finally became British at the Peace of Westminster in 1674. In exchange, the British definitively renounced Suriname by this treaty. Under the British administration, the importance of the trading post grew. Columbia University was founded in 1754 under the direction of George II of Great Britain. Five years after the end of the War of Independence, in 1788, New York became the capital of the United States.
14 New York City landmarks
New York has many attractions. From rich history to beautiful monuments and special places. The city has so much to offer that you should definitely take a few days to see everything. You can discover the city in different ways. For example, take a city trip to New York or explore the entire state with the New York tour .
1. Ellis Island
Ellis Island is an island in New York Harbor and New Jersey that was used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a frontier post for newly arriving immigrants seeking to settle in the United States. Many immigrants came to fulfill their dreams. They were looking for ‘The American Dream’.
2. Statue of Liberty
Arguably New York City’s most famous tourist attraction: the Statue of Liberty. You can’t have been to New York City and not seen the Statue of Liberty! This statue, given to the United States by the French, symbolizes democracy and freedom in the city. Because of its location at the beginning of the New York harbour, it acts as a ‘welcome’ for all visitors around the world. There are several ways to view the Statue of Liberty. You can buy tickets for the ferry to Ellis Island (this boat only sails to Ellis Island and past the Statue of Liberty) or you can book tickets for a visit to Liberty Island, the island where the Statue of Liberty stands. You can then visit the associated museum. See the Statue of Liberty for free? That is also possible!
3. Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge was built in 1883 and is a suspension bridge with elements of a cable-stayed bridge. The bridge hangs over the East River and connects Brooklyn to lower Manhattan, just like the Manhattan Bridge. The architects were John Roebling and his son Washington Roebling. The bridge has a length of 1825 meters and is 84 meters high.
4. Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 381-meter tall skyscraper. In 2016, this skyscraper was the third tallest building in the city and fifth on the list of tallest buildings in the world. The Empire State Building is located in Manhattan’s Garment District, at the intersection of 34th Street and Fifth Avenue.
Broadway is one of the major streets in Manhattan. The street runs south to north the entire length from Manhattan to Tarrytown, north of New York. Broadway crosses the main streets of the island and many points of interest can be found along this street. At the intersection with 42nd street you can find Times Square. The Times Square section of the street is home to many theaters that play all of the world’s major musicals.
6. Central Park
Not to be missed when you are in New York City: Central Park. You undoubtedly know it from one of the many Hollywood films that were partly shot in Central Park. Because the park is very large (larger than the dwarf state of Monaco), it is impossible to see everything in one day. You can visit Belvedere Castle, in the middle of the park, near Turtle Pond; or go to Strawberry Fields, the memorial to the shot dead John Lennon, on the West Side. Are you in Central Park in the fall? Then take a look at one of the skating rinks in the park. You can rent a bicycle to get around the park faster, but you can also explore it on foot.
7. Times Square
Time Square is both a neighborhood and a square in Manhattan. It is located at 42nd and Broadway. The name is derived from the former headquarters of The New York Times newspaper. Before that, the square was called Longacre Square. Time Square is one of the busiest places in New York City and is where most selfies are taken. On the square you can see the dozens of bright LED screens with advertising from well-known brands. In New York, the square is also known as Crossroads of the World.
8. National September 11 Memorial & Museum
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is a memorial and museum to the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Designed by Michael Arad, it was built on the site of the former Twin Towers. The memorial and museum was built next to the One World Trade Center skyscraper (formerly known as Freedom Tower), which opened in November 2013.
9. High Line
The High Line or High Line Park is an elongated, elevated urban park in Manhattan. The park was built on the route of the West Side Line, an unused freight train of the New York Central Railroad. The park is located in the Chelsea neighborhood, north of Manhattan’s Lower West Side. The High Line begins at the corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets in the south and runs north and northeast for 1.45 miles (2.33 km) to W 34th Street.
10. Bronx Zoo
Looking for a fun outing suitable for the whole family? Kids will absolutely love The Bronx Zoo. Located in the borough of The Bronx, The Bronx Zoo is the oldest city zoo in the world. It opened its doors in 1899: ‘only’ 800 animals lived there then. There are now more than 4,000; you will find more than 650 different animal species here. Children’s Zoo is especially popular with children: in this petting zoo annex zoo, children learn how the animals live, while they can pet (farm) animals. In bad weather, the 4D cinema or JungleWorld, an indoor tropical zoo, is a good idea. Because The Bronx Zoo closes at 4.30 pm, it is wise to think about what you want to see in advance. The site is no less than 265 hectares in size!
11. American Museum of Natural History
However the movie Night at the Museum may have led you to believe, the objects in the American Museum of Natural History unfortunately do not come to life! That does not make a visit to this world-famous museum any less worthwhile. After all, the museum has 45 exhibition halls and more than 33 million (!) items. The museum is best known for its dioramas and huge fossils of dinosaurs and mammoths. So make sure you see this at least! Furthermore, it is best to find out in advance what exactly you want to see in the museum. With an area of more than 190,000 square meters, it is impossible to see everything in one day.
12. Top of the Rock
An absolute must-visit in New York City: Top of the Rock. From this observation deck you have a beautiful 360° view of the city. Top of the Rock occupies the top floors of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which has a whopping 76 floors. Before heading upstairs, learn about the history of the building through a photo collection. An elevator with a transparent roof takes you up at an enormous speed. On the observation deck, which is more than 250 meters high, you can see Central Park on the north side. If you cross to the other side of the platform you will see the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty in the distance on the south side. On clear days you can also see New Jersey in the distance. Be sure to walk all the way up: on the third observation platform, your view is unobstructed by glass. So you can take the best photos here!
13. Boat ride
A fun way to see New York City from a completely different perspective is from the water. New York City is now surrounded by water. So a boat trip! An ideal way to relax and at the same time see a lot of the city. There are many different types of boat trips. So you can best think of what you would prefer. During the day or at night? For example, you could combine a boat trip in the evening with a dinner cruise. And how much time do you want to allocate for it? Most boat trips take about an hour to two and a half hours. Also think about which parts of the city you want to see. Almost all boat trips pass at least the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge, so that’s good.
14. Roosevelt Tram
No fear of heights? Then take the Roosevelt Tram. The word “tram” might make you think of a wagon, but the Roosevelt Tram is more like a ski gondola. On a cable car, the tram takes you to Roosevelt Island, an island in the East River. From the gondola you have a beautiful view of Manhattan and the East River. A nice extra: if you have an Unlimited Metrocard, this crossing is almost free. Just make sure you have your camera to hand, as the crossing only takes four minutes. But if you’re not done looking yet, just take the Tram back. You can also choose to return to Manhattan by ferry or subway.
Frequently Asked Questions about New York City
What can you do in New York?
Take a good look in advance at what interests you and make a plan in advance. Do you want to see all the highlights or are you looking for less discovered places? Whether you’re into history, culture, sports or politics, there’s something for everyone to see in this amazing city!
How many days do you need in New York?
You could spend more than three weeks in New York City and still not see it all, there is so much to see and do. Because your New York City vacation will probably be very interactive (you will walk a lot), you are often very tired after one to a week and a half from all the walking and all the impressions.
What are the top rated hotels in New York?
We can book almost any hotel in New York City. To make it easy, we have already made a choice for you. Is your favorite hotel not listed? Let us know.