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New York - Big Apple and Beyond

“New York - to that tall skyline I come” New York City has been the inspiration for countless American and international artists, one of the most famous tunes about the city is of course Frank Sinatra's timeless hymn. But despite the bustling streets and the magnificent skyline of Manhattan, the soothing green of Central Park, and the typical old apartment blocks of Brooklyn, New York has a lot more to offer. Outside of the ¨Big Apple¨, the beauty of New York State is awaiting you. It is very much worth exploring!

Consisting of 62 counties, New York State, the home of almost 20 million people, is the third most populous US state. It extends from the Atlantic Coast until the Canadian border in the North, borders with Pennsylvania in the South, and reaches out to the Great Lakes Ontario and Erie in the West. In the Eastern part of the state, the Appalachian mountains and the Great Appalachian Valley dominate the geography - traditionally regarded as one of the poorest regions in the US, the Appalachians become more and more popular for their stunning natural beauty and picturesque panoramas. The Adirondack mountains are one of the major mountain areas in the state of New York (see below). New York was one of the 13 original states comprising the United States of America; it was however only the 11th state to ratify the 1788 US Constitution. In the War of Independence (Revolutionary War), New York was host to many of the major battles between Americans and British. Originally, the colony was administered and owned by the Dutch; the colony was called New Netherland and New York City was originally called New Amsterdam. Few remember.


The climate of New York State is generally dependent on two major streams of air, one coming from the Canadian North, the other one from the American South. Depending on which of the two is prevailing, the weather can get unusually cold and dry or warm and humid. The Adirondack region, home to the beautiful and huge almost uncivilized and natural region of the Adirondack National Park, gets around 40 winter days when the day temperatures do not rise above freezing level (32 degrees Fahrenheit). In contrast, New York City summers are hot. In July and August, the monthly normal high in the “Big Apple” is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

New York City

Of course, every description of the places to visit in the State of New York has to start with its largest city. Over 8 million people cramp into an area of some 300 square miles. The urban region is home to an incredible 22 million people, which makes “NYC” one of the most important urban areas in the world. In Manhattan alone, once purchased for a mere 60 guilders, one can spend a week or two without ever having the feeling that one has even scratched the surface of what there actually is to see and do. Some of the must-have-beens include:

  • A lunch break and a walk in Central Park: No other major city on this planet allows their businessmen and women and central district residents so much green as the City of New York. 843 acres in the heart of Manhattan are dedicated just to relaxation, running, strolling, pausing from the fast pace of the surrounding offices and shops. On a lucky day, one can witness a free performance of one of the many saxophone players who give park visitors a sample of the magnificent jazz one can hear in the countless music bars like the most famous “Blue Note Jazz Club”, where stars are made.
  • A visit to one of the museums. Whether it is the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Metropolitan (short: “The Met”), or one of the “smaller” but often equally interesting museums like the “New York City Museum” on 5th Avenue: A “museum day” has to be part of every NYC schedule.
  • A (small) variety of other things to do include a shopping stroll on famous 5th Avenue, a visit to the grass-overgrown roller coasters on Coney Island, a boat trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, where all immigrants had to register before entering the United States, and much more! Needless to say that New York City has every imaginable accommodation to offer for vacation or apartments or condos for sale if you plan to stay longer: For the short-term visitor there are luxurious hotels, vacation condos, budget pensions, and all other forms of vacation lodging one could think of.

Adirondack National Park

The contrast to the noisy, busy, loud and polluted streets of Manhattan could not be greater. The Adirondacks offer the exact opposite: Birds' songs instead of car roars, natural paths instead of concrete pavements, huge old trees instead if skyscrapers, deep-blue ponds instead of and an occasional log-cabin-style lodging instead of air-conditioned hotels in which people spend their vacation in the city. The park was created in 1892 and is bigger than the Yellowstone, Everglades or Grand Canyon National Parks. Whether you prefer hiking, fishing, or just taking relaxing walks through nature, the Adirondacks are the place to visit! Despite the often intentionally “rough charm” of many resting places, many offer “city” comforts from the inside and could be mistaken for an hotel, or another “civilized” vacation home.

Niagara Falls

Few people know it, the most popular waterfalls in North America are also (partly) located in the State of New York. In fact, they constitute the border between the US and Canada. The falls are only a short ride from Buffalo (another place to visit!) The up to 170 feet high falls transport about 202,000 cubic feet of water per second (!) in peak times. Plus: they are a great site! For the bravest of the brave, “Hurricane Deck”, a visitor's platform almost right underneath the falling water, is a great way of proving their courage.

New York: The “Big Apple” and beyond are certainly worth a profound exploration...

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