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Welcome to New York

Whatever your taste, you can find it in New York. Long a mecca for travelers from far and wide, the Big Apple offers accommodations, dining pleasures, business opportunities and entertainment for every wallet and schedule.

The lodging scene is no exception to New York City's diversity. It can accommodate those that want to be in the thick of the hustle and bustle as well as those with a taste for the quiet enjoyment of life.

New York City is divided into five boroughs: Brooklyn; Bronx; Manhattan; Queens; and Staten Island. But when most people think of New York City, they're thinking of Manhattan. That's the island where you will find most of the tourist attractions, convention centers and the greatest concentration of eateries and nightlife.

Manhattan is divided, both literally and figuratively, by Fifth Avenue and 14th Street. It also has numerous neighborhoods, each with its own distinct flavor.

Along Fifth Avenue and to its east, the traveler will find the majority of the city's world famous art museums, the United Nations, upscale designer stores and the quieter, more residential of the city's neighborhoods. Neighborhoods of the East Side include Gramercy Park, El Barrio, Flatiron District and Yorkville.

This area also houses many of the grand hotels that are featured in popular entertainment and nearly everyone knows by name, including The Plaza and the I.M. Pei-designed Four Seasons.

For cultural diversity, head to the area around the United Nations. If you're looking to sample international cuisine and mingle with people from all over the world, First Avenue between 42nd and 68th Streets has no match. For the museum-lover, it's a short walk from Rembrandt to Pollack along the fabled Museum Mile of Fifth Avenue.

Only one subway serves this side of the city, but buses and taxicabs are plentiful. To the west of Fifth, the bright lights of Broadway beckon, as does the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Garment District. The Upper West Side features the American Museum of Natural History, and the Hayden Planetarium. Closer to Midtown, you may enjoy Carnegie Hall, the theme restaurants along West 57th Street, and the new, family-friendly Times Square. Neighborhoods of the West Side include Chelsea, Harlem, Inwood, Times Square, the Upper West Side and Washington Heights.

The West Side offers some of the newest hotels in the city as well as some of the most notorious. The Algonquin Hotel, made famous by literary figures of the Prohibition era, and The Chelsea Hotel, made famous by notable former residents such as playwright Arthur Miller, poet Dylan Thomas, and musician John Lennon, both preside over the West Side lodging scene.

At the northern end of the West Side, you can tour the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, known as "St. John the Unfinished" in New York circles. Under construction since 1898, the cathedral is the world's largest. Harlem boasts the Apollo Theater and Cotton Club, where some of the city's best Jazz, Blues and modern R&B music can be heard. And Inwood has The Cloisters Museum, home to medieval art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection.

Below 14th Street, you will find a curious collection of Old World ethnic enclaves, trendy nightclubs, galleries and the boutiques of the hottest designers. Neighborhoods known as Chinatown, Greenwich Village, Little Italy, Soho, Tribeca and Wall Street can be found in the southern part of Manhattan, along with the newest neighborhood, Noho. "Noho" stands for "North Of Houston." The name is modeled after its sister neighborhood, Soho or "South Of Houston." (To sound like a native, forget about Texas and pronounce the name Houston Street like House-ton). The area also offers ferryboats to take sightseers to Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and cruises around Manhattan.

In Lower Manhattan, you will find many smaller hotels housed in turn-of-the-century brownstones, a smattering of bed and breakfasts and some national chain hotels. But big-city skyscrapers are not absent. In the Wall Street area, you will find the city's tallest buildings, the World Trade Center Towers, and a collection of high-rise hotels with views to die for.

New York City has a lot to offer and to make the most of your trip, plan to stay nearest the sights you plan to visit. But don't despair if several different areas of the city call to you, they are just a subway, bus or taxicab ride away.

The Outer Boroughs (as all boroughs other than Manhattan are known), also has a wide range of lodging options that are often less expensive than comparable Manhattan accommodations. However, the cost of getting to the things you want to see in Manhattan will be higher because you will have farther to go.

However, the Outer Boroughs have important travel destinations of their own. The 25-time World Champions, the New York Yankees play in the Bronx, not far from the Bronx Zoo. Queens is home to the New York Mets and the U.S. Open. Brooklyn is home to the beach and amusement park of Coney Island and the Promenade walkway in Brooklyn Heights, known for its spectacular views of the city. And Staten Island holds a collection of beaches and nature parks.

New York City has long been known as "The City that Never Sleeps" and whether you're planning on rest and relaxation or just need a place to change from one Fifth Avenue fashion to another, this lodging guide will suggest a few places New York has to offer based on your needs, your interests and your budget.

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