Visit New York
About New York
You’ve seen the city that never sleeps featured in a thousand movies. It’s big, brash, bold and busy, just like its people.
New York is a fascinating place and so diverse that every visitor will find something to thrill and enchant them. The skyline is a highlight in itself, and you have an almost endless choice of places to dine, catch a show or view world-class art and exhibitions. There are a handful of parks too, of which the famous Central Park is surprisingly only the 5th largest in the city. Even just strolling around the streets can be a huge source of entertainment in this pulsating city, so take good walking shoes! New York sprawls across five boroughs: Manhattan and Staten Islands, Brooklyn and Queens on Long Island, and the Bronx on the mainland. Bridges, tunnels and ferries link everything. The transport system is excellent, so you’ll have no problem getting around.
For pretty much all the info you’ll ever need, try the New York tourism site www.nycgo.com. It has travel info, details of endless attractions, suggested itineraries and useful tips on getting around. If you have only a short time here, concentrate on Manhattan.
Tipping is almost obligatory to everyone all the time. A less expected, but more annoying cost is sales tax. The price tag will say one thing, but New York City sales tax will see the cashier add on almost 9% extra – except for food bought at grocery stores, prescription drugs and clothing costing under $110.
New York is on Eastern Standard Time, or GMT-5. Daylight Saving Time puts the clocks forward an hour from March until early November.
The US dollar is the currency, and you can change money in banks, hotels and forex bureaux. Credit and debit cards are just as common as actual cash. Tipping is considered normal, not optional.
The weather can vary from day to day, but generally the spring in April and May brings light winds, rain and days that are cool to warm. Summer is hot and sunny and temperatures in July and August can reach 31oC. The autumn, or fall, is cool and crisp. Winter can be wicked with snowfalls and temperatures dropping to freezing point.
Electrical sockets in the US are type-A, with two flat rectangular pins. The standard voltage is 120V.
Hotspots are readily available in coffee shops, parks and libraries. Hotels usually have Wifi, and many have computers and printers available for guests.
Public transport networks run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) are vast and run around the clock, just like the city itself. Buy a MetroCard and load it with money from a subway station kiosk or a manned ticket booth. You can buy a pay-as-you go card and swipe it for each trip on a train or bus, or a card giving you unlimited trips for a week or a month. While the underground trains are faster, the buses are obviously more scenic. Info boards at the bus stops show when a bus should arrive and where it will go. For taxis, you can hail the famous yellow cabs in the street.
Airport to City Center
John F Kennedy airport is in the Queens District, and a 30-60 minute ride to town, depending on traffic. The NYC Airporter Bus leaves every 30 minutes for Grand Central Station and Penn Station. The Express Shuttle USA runs to Manhattan and has a transportation desk in the terminal. There’s a subway station too, and car hire companies have offices at the airport.
For South African Airways flight offers, visit our flights to New York page.