There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in New York each year.
The main ones are listed below.
A federal holiday in the United States, celebrating the life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. In recent years, it has increasingly been seen as a day of service, when Americans are encouraged to volunteer to help others less fortunate than themselves. Apart from a huge parade up Fifth Avenue from 61st Street to 86th Street, also honouring African-Americans who have served in the US military, with marchers ranging from school children to policemen, numerous events are held each year, including music and dance performances, walking tours, speeches, exhibitions, film screenings and debates.January/February: Chinese New Year (celebrated nationwide in major cities)
To ring in the Chinese New Year, dazzling dragon troupes wend their way through the streets of Manhattan's Chinatown, accompanied by marching bands, martial artists, magicians, acrobats, processions by local organizations, not to mention elaborate floats. Perfect for families, this event draws nearly half a million spectators every year!July 4: Independence Day (national holiday)
A federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by which the 13 American colonies officially severed their political ties with Great Britain. Celebrated with parades, barbecues and picnics. At nightfall, a magnificent fireworks display lights up the Manhattan skyline.Late July–late August: Harlem Week (local event)
Despite its name, this annual celebration lasts for nearly a month, featuring outdoor events, live performances, vendors and tributes at various venues.Sunday before Labour Day: Brazilian Day (local event)
This celebration of Brazilian culture, originally held at the heart of Little Brazil, on West 46th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, now takes up over 25 city blocks, with a huge stage in the middle of Sixth Avenue. Numerous Brazilian artists perform, revellers fill the streets, and there are stands selling arts and crafts from Brazil and typical foods.First Monday in September: Labour Day (national holiday) Mid-September: Feast of San Gennaro (local event)
New York's best-known and longest-running street festival, the annual Feast of San Gennaro began in 1926 when immigrants from Naples continued the tradition they had followed in Italy, commemorating the day when the their native city's patron saint was martyred for the faith. Since then, the event in Little Italy has expanded and now lasts for nearly two weeks, including a procession carrying the statue of San Gennaro covered in dollar bills, marching bands, musical entertainment, floats, street vendors selling a variety of Italian treats, and other activities, such as a famous cannoli-eating competition. More than a million people attend each year.Second Monday in October: Columbus Day (national holiday)
Commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World (October 12, 1492). Many cultural events are organized to mark this anniversary each year, including performances, exhibitions and a huge parade.October 31: Halloween (celebrated nationwide)
Halloween is celebrated each year by Americans of all ages. In the late afternoon and early evening hours, children don costumes and go door-to-door in their neighbourhoods to ask for treats, typically candy. Adults often attend costume parties in the evening. In New York, one of most popular events takes place at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Harlem: a screening of a classic horror film from the silent era, followed by a thrilling, and mischievous, procession of ghosts and ghouls.Fourth Thursday in November: Thanksgiving (national holiday)
Originally a Christian religious observance, for many years Thanksgiving has been a secular holiday in the United States, celebrated by Americans of all faiths. Families come together to prepare and enjoy a large feast at home. The meal typically includes roast turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce as well as various side dishes and ends with an assortment of pies (pumpkin, pecan, apple).December 25: Christmas (national holiday)
|Month||Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Average Rains (MM)||Best Time to Travel|
|January||-3/27||4/39||93/3.7||Not the best period to go|
|February||-2/28||6/43||78/3.1||Not the best period to go|
|March||2/36||10/50||111/4.4||Not the best period to go|
|April||7/45||17/63||114/4.5||Good period to go|
|May||12/54||22/72||106/4.2||Good period to go|
|June||18/64||27/81||112/4.4||Good period to go|
|July||20/68||29/84||117/4.6||Not the best period to go|
|August||20/68||29/84||113/4.4||Not the best period to go|
|September||16/61||24/75||109/4.4||Good period to go|
|October||10/50||18/64||112/4.4||Not the best period to go|
|November||5/41||13/45||102/4.0||Not the best period to go|
|December||0/32||7/45||102/4.0||Not the best period to go|
Whether on foot, by bus or subway, or by taxi, it is easy to find your way in Manhattan: the avenues run north and south, while streets run east and west. Fifth Avenue separates the East Side from the West Side. During rush hours, it is often faster to walk short distances rather than using public transport.
New York City's subway system is safe and inexpensive. Its network covers the entire metropolitan area. Reaching Manhattan from the other boroughs is very straightforward and there are numerous connections between lines. Subways run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A single ride costs USD 2.75 when you purchase a reloadable MetroCard, the standard way of charging rides on the system, with a USD 1.00 fee for each new MetroCard (an 11 percent bonus is added when you buy or add USD 5.50 or more to your MetroCard). A 7-day unlimited ride MetroCard is also available for USD 31.00.
Like the subways, New York City buses operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with lines running on all north-south avenues and many of the crosstown streets. The fare for a single ride is the same as that for the subways (USD 2.75), with automatic free transfers between buses or between bus and subway.
The famous yellow cabs serve all five boroughs of New York City and a portion of New Jersey. The initial charge is USD 2.50, plus 50 cents per 1/5 mile or 50 cents per 60 seconds in slow traffic or when the vehicle is stopped. Passengers are expected to give the driver a tip amounting to between 10 and 15 percent of the fare.
Trying to visit New York City by car is a very bad idea. It is almost impossible to find parking. Near landmarks and tourist attractions, parking garages are excessively expensive, with attendants often bumping cars together to maximize the number of cars the garage can hold.
The Staten Island Ferry provides free, around-the-clock service between the South Ferry Terminal in Manhattan and St. George Terminal on Staten Island, offering dramatic views of New York Harbor, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan.
Upon your arrival in New York, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.Official NYC Information Centers
These centres offer visitors discounted attraction passes, guides, maps and brochures covering all there is to see and do in the five boroughs as well as assistance and recommendations for accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals and cultural events.
Discover America, a public-private marketing entity, works closely with the travel industry to promote tourism in communities around the country. Its website offers excellent information on all US travel destinations, including New York City.
Excellent medical care is available in New York City, but costs are high. As the United States has not entered into reciprocal health agreements with other countries, you should take out appropriate insurance before you leave home, covering both medical expenses and medical evacuation or repatriation.Vaccinations
There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to the United States.
For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens or nationals of the following countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, whether for tourism or business: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom.
For further information, see the Visitor Visa page on the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visitor.html
And what about tipping?
In New York as in the rest of the United States, a service charge is not included in the bill and tips form a major portion of income for waiting staff. Prices on restaurant menus are indicated before taxes and tips. You are therefore expected to leave a tip (generally between 15 and 20 percent of the bill). Tipping less than 15 percent (or leaving no tip at all) means that you are very dissatisfied with the service.