Nuts-and-bolts information to plan your trip, plus a checklist of essentials to include when you pack and a list of links to local media

Planning

Entry Requirements: International travelers from 27 countries may enter the U.S. without a visa through the Visa Waiver Program; however, you must have a machine-readable passport. Visitors from other countries must obtain a visa from an American embassy or consulate abroad. For more information, visit www.travel.state.gov/.

Time: New York follows U.S. eastern standard time.

Money: The currency of New York is the U.S. dollar. For current conversion rates go to OANDA Currency Converter: www.oanda.com/convert/classic.

Phone Calls: The main area code for Manhattan is 212; a second code, 646, was added in 1999. Area codes for the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island are 718 and 347. The standard cellular/page/voicemail phone area code for all city boroughs is 917. For phone calls to New York from within the U.S., dial 1 the local area code seven-digit phone number. For phone calls to New York from outside the U.S., dial the international access code of the country from which you are calling, then 1 the local area code seven-digit phone number.

When to Go: New York's a true four-season town. Summer can be hazy, hot—into the 90s°F (32-37°C)—and humid; fall sees a welcome cool-down, with average temperatures in the 50s and 60s°F (in the teens °C). Winter winds can make an average 35-41°F (1.6-5°C) day seem much colder; spring is a time of happy rebirth, with temperatures edging up into the 50s and 60s°F (10-20°C).

Getting There: Three major airports service New York City: JFK International Airport (about 15 miles [24 kilometers] from Midtown), LaGuardia Airport (about 9 miles [14 kilometers]), and Newark Liberty International Airport (about 16 miles [26 kilometers]). Cab fare from airport to city runs about $20-45 plus tolls and tip. Other options, depending on the airport, include bus, shuttle, and subway (see TripMarks).

Getting Around: Having a car in the city makes no sense. Garages and parking lots are expensive, street parking is infuriatingly limited, and police are quick to ticket. Walking is the best option, followed by subway, then bus and cab.

Checklist

Clothes With Deep Pockets: The best way to enjoy the city is unencumbered. Stash money, credit cards, and whatever else you absolutely need on your person. Purses, packs, and the like not only slow you down and run the risk of being left behind, they invite crime.

Really Really Comfortable Shoes: It's not hard to clock five, six, or more miles in a day's exploring. Walking is where it is at. From historic buildings to shop windows dressed in the latest styles, there are visual enticements just about every step of the way.

Foil-Wrapped Towelettes: Grime happens in New York. Have some "instant clean" refreshment in your pocket.

Sunscreen: Concrete, much like sand beaches, is highly reflective—year-round.

Web Links

New York City Airport Guide
How to get from the airport to the city and back. www.ny.com/transportation/airports

New York City Transportation
Detailed information on the city's subways and buses. www.mta.info/index.html

Museum Guide
Hours, fees, addresses, and more for over 80 New York City museums. www.ny.com/museums/all.museums.html

The Great Outdoors Official New York City Parks
Department site, with info on programs, attractions, and an excellent FAQs section. Bicyclists will find all they need to know about pedaling the city. www.nycgovparks.org

Welcome to Midtown
The Times Square Cam captures the people, the traffic, the weather. www.earthcam.com/usa/newyork/timessquare

Virtual Central Park
Maps, tours, photo galleries, and more from the Central Park Conservancy. www.centralparknyc.org

Library Holdings
Gone are the days when New York artists and designers headed to the 42nd Street library to check out images; the stuff is online now—hundreds of thousands of prints, vintage posters, maps, photographs, and more. digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/index.cfm

Curtain Up!
What's playing on and off Broadway, plus latest theater news and entertainment feature stories. www.playbill.com

Subway Sounds
Songs and underground-performance talk from one of the many skilled subway musicians who play for commuters. www.theoeastwind.com

New York Past
City history vividly communicated in lectures, discussions, and exhibitions at the Gotham Center for New York City History (part of the City University of New York's Graduate Center). www.gothamcenter.org

Local Media

New York Times
Still the city's most highly regarded news source. Published daily, with a Sunday edition rich in entertainment and events. www.nytimes.com

New York Daily News
A tabloid read for its gossip, sports, entertainment, and wham-bang headlines. www.nydailynews.com

New York Post
Another tabloid, more politically conservative than the Times and News. Its Page Six is a must-read gossip roundup. www.nypost.com

New York
Weekly magazine mainstay of the city, with strong feature stories, restaurant reviews, voluminous cultural listings, and a killer crossword puzzle. www.nymag.com

Vulture
New York Magazine's edgy, up-to-the-minute culture and entertainment blog. www.nymag.com/daily/entertainment

New York Observer
A witty, irreverent weekly newspaper in business since 1987. Candace Bushnell (Sex and the City) is among the name writers. www.observer.com

Time Out New York
This events, entertainment, and dining guide leaves virtually no performance/fab restaurant stone unturned. www.timeout.com/newyork

WNYC
The most listened-to public radio station in the United States, a trove of news and culture programming. Entertaining coverage of local news and events. www.wnyc.org

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