Brooklyn’s sprawling checkerboard of distinct neighborhoods is over three times the size of Manhattan, not to mention more diverse and far-reaching. For skyline views and a pinch of history, try brownstone-studded Brooklyn Heights, or try Williamsburg for vintage wares and late-night bar crawls.
Harlem & Upper Manhattan
Manhattan’s north delivers an intense diversity of environments and culture. Despite ever-expanding gentrification, Harlem and Hamilton Heights remain strong centers of African American life, packed with feverish preachers and choirs, soul-food menus and swinging jazz joints.
SoHo & Chinatown
SoHo (SOuth of HOuston), NoHo (NOrth of HOuston) and Nolita (NOrth of LIttle ITAly) represent three of Manhattan's coolest neighborhoods, known for their painfully hip boutiques, bars and eateries. Meanwhile, to the south, restless Chinatown and ever-shrinking Little Italy lure with idiosyncratic street life.
The Village, Chelsea & Meatpacking District
Quaint, twisting streets and well-preserved townhouses offer endless options for intimate dining and drinking in the West Village. The Meatpacking District next door has trendy nightlife options galore; further up is Chelsea, home to hundreds of art galleries and a vibrant gay scene.
Union Square, Flatiron District & Gramercy
Wedged between the indie cool of the East Village and the corporate canyons of Midtown is this trio of neighborhoods. It’s here that you’ll find the eclectic crowds of Union Square, the triangular Flatiron Building, and the verdant respite of Madison Square Park. It’s also home to Gramercy Park, a romantic private oasis that will have you pining for London (and a trust fund).
Most visitors to Staten Island exit the ferry – which docks in downtown St George, on the island’s northeastern tip – then reboard right away. Indeed, if not for its namesake ferry – or Robert Redford and Jane Fonda’s wild night out with Armenians in Barefoot in the Park – New York’s ‘forgotten borough’ might be a complete unknown.
Home of hip-hop, New York City’s only mainland borough is world famous for its gritty street culture. Yet this 42-sq-mile spread north of Manhattan delivers more than just tough-rapping locals. Its assets include America’s oldest and largest zoo, a star-studded cemetery, the red-sauce charm of Arthur Ave and, of course, Yankee Stadium.