Welcome to a city of contrasts, where the 24-hour hustle and bustle balances the oases of Central Park and the quietly elegant Hudson River. The epicenter of New York is Manhattan, surrounded by the boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
Short for "South of Houston," SoHo is New York's artistic sanctuary and a fantastic area to shop, eat or just hang out. Located in lower Manhattan, SoHo is an eclectic assortment of lofts, combining residential, commercial and gallery space. In the 1960s, artists started inhabiting lofts in the area, which were actually vacated sweatshops. Today, these live-work units sell for millions of dollars.
Close to Ground Zero, former site of the World Trade Center, and bordered by SoHo and Lower Manhattan, Tribeca is known for big lofts, quiet streets and lots of New York charm. Hit hard by the events of September 11, Tribeca's resilience through the disaster has become a rallying symbol for all of New York. Many of Tribeca's unique stores and galleries are housed in old manufacturing buildings.
People are drawn to Greenwich Village by the local diversity, funky shopping, top-notch restaurants and fascinating Old New York architecture. Washington Square is one of the most romantic neighborhoods in the city. Tree-lined streets, pretty brick houses, jazz clubs, coffeehouses and sidewalk cafes — you'll find them all in the Village.
You can most easily snag theater tickets during January and February, but finding a good table at a restaurant can be easier in July and August, when New Yorkers tend to escape the city. Bargain hunters should plan a visit between the first of the year and early April. Spring, fall and holidays are traditionally pricey, but Thanksgiving offers great opportunities for hotel bargains.