- Of all of New York’s five boroughs, Manhattan is undoubtedly New York’s best known, and also its most visited. But anybody who knows New York knows you need to visit a selection of different neighbourhoods to get the most out of your trip. Hostelworld.com’s Colm Hanratty looks at some of the neighbourhoods to watch out for in the Big Apple.
There is no other part of Manhattan that feels like a movie set than Midtown Manhattan. From the moment you step onto the electric circus that is Times Square, the heart of Midtown Manhattan, it will feel like you’re on the silver screen. Other parts of Midtown Manhattan that are synonymous with the city of New York are the Rockefeller Centre, Grand Central Terminal and Fifth Avenue. Walking around this part of town is slightly surreal for the very first time.
Nearest Subways: Times Square, Rockefeller Center, 42nd St Bryant Park
Home to millionaire stockbrokers, hotshot lawyers and thousands of other ‘suits’, Lower Manhattan is New York’s financial district. Financial landmarks such as the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street and the Federal Reserve Bank line its streets that pave the way for thousands on their way to work every day. Sadly, its most visited attraction is ‘Ground Zero’, the site where the twin towers of the World Trade Center stood until September 11, 2001. Lower Manhattan is also where you can get the ferries to Staten Island, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
Nearest Subways: Brooklyn Bridge, Wall St, Fulton St
Undoubtedly the most bohemian and coolest part of Manhattan, Greenwich Village is found south of 14th St and West of 4th Ave. The heart and soul of ‘the Village’ is Washington Square Park, where street performers, buskers, homeless people and students converge in happiness on a daily basis. Its best known street is Bleecker St, lined with quaint cafés, happening bars and the coolest restaurants. As it is where you will locate New York University, it is one of the most vibrant areas of New York.
Nearest Subway: Christopher St
Harlem is the epicentre of African-American culture in New York and has been for decades and from the 1920s on it became the United States’ best-known African-American neighbourhood. This neighbourhood in north Manhattan started out as a Dutch farming settlement and was originally called Nieuw Harlem. The district’s main thoroughfare is 125th St which is where you will find Harlem’s most famous landmark, the Apollo Theatre. In more recent years it has attracted attention as ex-US president Bill Clinton has his post-presidential office there.
Nearest Subway: 125th St
Upper East Side
While it may not seem like it on initial inspection, Manhattan’s affluent Upper East Side isn’t just one of New York’s wealthiest neighbourhoods, but also America’s. Stroll around its tree-lined blocks and you’ll soon see signs which are evidence of this – upmarket restaurants, flash cars and people walking Chihuahuas. On a more cultural note, it is also where you will encounter ‘Museum Mile’, home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, the Jewish Museum and more.
Nearest Subway: 86 St, 68 St.
If you are travelling to NYC in the hope of spotting a star or two while you’re there, the Meatpacking District is where you are most likely to spot them. The neighbourhood’s main thoroughfares are 9th Ave and also 14th St, and it is around this are that you will discover the chicest bars (like the 'Buddha Bar', pictured right), the most beautiful people, the most contemporary galleries and the coolest restaurants. This has been Manhattan's most fashionable district in recent years and, with the likes of Stella McCarthy and Alexander McQueen opening stores there, looks like it will stay like that for a long time.
(Image courtesy of www.meat-packingdistrict.com)
Nearest Subway: 14 St