Ask almost anyone you know and most will tell you how much they love New York City. And why not? New York definitely has something for every kind of tourist who ever flies into JFK airport or crosses the Brooklyn Bridge onto Manhattan Island. In fact, more than 47 million people visit the city every year. In 2010, it is estimated that tourists spent approximately 31 billion dollars in New York City.
There is certainly no shortage of wonderful things to do while there. From visiting the Empire State Building where you can climb the 1,860 steps to the observation deck located on the 102nd floor to heading off the beaten path and paying a visit to Merchant's House Museum, a 19th century townhouse once occupied by the Treadwell family which is reputed to be haunted.
But if you really want to enjoy your visit to the Big Apple completely, there are a few things you should keep in mind when you go.
· The culture in New York City is very different from just about anywhere else. People who live and work there are very different from other people in the United States. They relate differently to the world. They live and think much faster and will expect you to keep up with them. New York City is unique in the United States and has a unique culture because of that.
· Be willing to try some food that's different from what you normally eat. If you come to New York and just eat the same old things that you normally eat at home, you're kind of missing the point. Part of what makes New York so wonderfully delicious to visit is its diversity and that extends to its food culture. According to the Food Lovers Guide to New York City, the cuisine of more than 193 different countries can be found there. So, be prepared to indulge and take some culinary risks. Take some time to eat your way across Manhattan. Don't just walk into the closest Red Lobster you find because it's safe and you know the menu.
· New York City is a very expensive place to visit. There are no two ways about, New York City is ranked as the 14th most expensive place to visit, just behind London, England. Lonely Planet says that the average hotel room in New York City will run about $250.00 per night. And that doesn't include valet parking. If you're willing to forgo a lot of frills when you travel, you can definitely find some cheaper accommodation but it will require a fair bit of work on your part.
· Walking is the best mode of transportation. The average city dweller in New York does not own a car. Most people use the massive public transit system or walk to the majority of their destinations. If you are used to riding in a car everywhere you go, be prepared to shell out some serious cash. Even though taxi cabs are highly regulated in New York, they are still very expensive. Spend some time doing a walking tour. But make sure you pack your most comfortable walking shoes!
The natives of New York are, overall, very friendly and extremely willing to help when a tourist is in need of direction. Just don't forget your manners when you ask for help. Many native New Yorkers will readily offer assistance to someone who is obviously roaming around in the dark. So, speak up and ask away.