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New York NY

New York, NY

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With roughly 8 million people and an estimated 170 foreign languages spoken, the most populous, diverse city in the U.S. is also the most expansive in terms of the sheer number of things to do, see and experience. New York's five boroughs (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island) add texture and appeal to a city that is unlike any other on Earth.

New York City’s strategic location on a large East Coast harbor that feeds into the Atlantic Ocean contributed to its whirlwind growth. The 17th-century Dutch trading settlement evolved steadily into a global capital whose influence extends to almost every facet of modern culture and commerce. From food and fashion to finance and architecture, New York’s impact remains as strong in this century as it was in the first four.

Perhaps New York’s most enduring characteristic is its perpetual state of change. The city’s development, its trends and neighborhoods ever shift, highlighting those features that do endure. Mainstays include the Statue of Liberty, an icon of freedom and democracy. And at the world’s most-frequented tourist spot, Times Square, the faces and advertisements might change, but the bustle of people, shopping and entertainment remains the same. Myriad attractions, from the famous to the little-known, provide visitors with an endless list of things to do in New York. Not to miss are the perpetually bright lights of Broadway's Theatre District, the treasures of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the natural beauty of 843-acre Central Park in the middle of Manhattan.

Pepper a tour of New York attractions by sampling cuisine from some of the more than 20,000 restaurants in the city. Visit enclaves like Chinatown or Brighton Beach to find authentic ethnic food. Stumble across a gem among a more diverse mingle of establishments. On any given city block, you might find gourmet Peruvian kitchens next to pizza joints, celebrity hotspots and gritty all-night delis.

New York's fashion status is reflected in the bi-annual Fashion Week runway events and chic shopping that rivals designer offerings in Paris, Tokyo, London and Milan. International flagships and department stores are found in Midtown Manhattan, while Madison and Fifth Avenues are headquarters for couture and custom goods. Purists are drawn to the designer showrooms and fabric suppliers in the Garment District. The East Village and Lower East Side remain hubs of independent boutique shopping.

New York, in its scale and possibilities, can overwhelm visitors. For many, the solution is to strategize beforehand. Map out a list of things to do in New York. Consider your interests, from the arts and architecture to parks, fashion or sports. Go beyond the top attractions of New York and research things to do in different boroughs, to get a true sense of this diverse metropolis.

If all else fails, visit the Empire State Building Observatory and let the views of New York, from 1,050 feet above the city, inspire your next destination.

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