Its always good to be well prepared ~10/27/2010 Georgette Torres

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General Info

Welcome to NYC. Planning a trip to the five boroughs can be part of the fun, but there's also a lot of ground to cover—how to get here, what to expect from the weather, how to hail a taxi and much more. In this section, you'll find essential information to help you make the most of your visit.


New York City is composed of five boroughs. While Manhattan and Staten Island are islands, Brooklyn and Queens are geographically part of Long Island, and the Bronx is attached to the US mainland. The islands are linked by bridges, tunnels and ferries. Check here for helpful NYC maps and guides.

Manhattan is 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles wide at its widest. Except at its northern and southern tips, the borough's avenues run roughly north and south, and streets run east and west. One-way thoroughfares are common, with traffic moving east on even-numbered streets and west on odd-numbered streets. Fifth Avenue divides the island into east and west sides (for example, locations on 57th Street west of Fifth Avenue are designated "W. 57th St.," and east of Fifth Avenue, they're "E. 57th St."). As you move farther east or west from Fifth Avenue, street addresses increase, usually in increments of 100 from one block to the next. For north-south avenues, 20 blocks equals a mile, and the street numbers increase as you go uptown. Blocks can be a useful measure of distance, but keep in mind your direction: walking uptown from 1st Street to 6th Street is about a quarter of a mile, but walking the same number of blocks crosstown, from First Avenue to Sixth Avenue, is approximately a mile.


To see current NYC weather conditions, view the upper right-hand portion of this website. For longer-term climate information, visit our weather page to learn about New York City's temperate climate, which changes with the seasons.

Time Zone

New York City is in the Eastern Standard Time Zone (Greenwich Mean Time minus four hours during daylight saving time, from March through November, and minus five hours the rest of the year). Here is the current date and time in NYC:


Getting to NYC and navigating the five boroughs is a breeze—and it's even easier with these tips about airports, the subway system, taxis, ferries and more. For information about the City's airports, shuttles, train stations and more, visit our Getting Here page. For information about taxicabs, subways, buses and more, visit our Getting Around page.

International Visitors

If you're visiting New York City from outside the United States, you may need a visa to enter the country. For details, visit the US State Department's visa information website.


New York City is accessible to visitors with disabilities. For complete information on accessible train stations, buildings, medical facilities, sports, entertainment and services, visit our accessibility page.

Official NYC Information Centers

Official NYC Information Centers are the places to get NYC facts, figures and tips, along with maps, guides and everything else you'll need during your stay.

Seasonal Events and Attractions

There's guaranteed to be something fun happening during your visit. To see what it is, visit our calendar of events or our annual events listings. Our overview of holidays in the City also provides essential information as well as details about how locals celebrate.

Local Laws

If you're headed out for a night on the town, you should know that the drinking age in NYC—and throughout the United States—is 21, and smoking is banned in public places throughout the City, including bars, restaurants, subways and taxis. Cigar smoking is permitted at cigar bars that register with the City. In NYC, those who are 18 or older can purchase cigarettes and tobacco.

Street Fairs

On any given day in New York City, there's bound to be a street fair, festival or parade going on somewhere in the five boroughs. Read on to find out where, what you can expect and more.

Staying Connected

Here's a guide to WiFi and other Internet connections in NYC. Remember that power sockets in the United States deliver 120 volts at 60 hertz, and you may need a converter to use your apparatus here.

Phone Numbers

Here are some important phone numbers to keep handy during your NYC visit.

  • Emergencies (police, fire or ambulance): 911
  • NYC government agencies and any questions or requests about City services (nonemergency): 311 or 212-NEW-YORK (639-9675)
  • Directory assistance: 411
  • Multilingual visitor information counselors: 212-484-1222
  • Printed NYC literature: 800-NYC-VISIT (692-84748) or 212-397-8222


In New York City and throughout the United States, the dollar is the standard currency. This converter allows you to determine the value of other currencies compared with the dollar.

Below are some of the many places where you can exchange your currency for American dollars.

  • American Express Travel Services:800-297-2977;
  • Macy's Herald Square, Broadway and W. 35th St. entrance, balcony level; 212-695-8075
  • 111 Broadway (at Pine St.); 212-693-1100
  • 822 Lexington Ave. (at E. 63rd St.); 212-758-6510
  • 200 Vesey St., 3 World Financial Center, lobby level; 212-640-5130
  • 374 Park Ave. (at E. 53rd St.); 212-421-8240
  • New York Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway (at W. 46th St.), 8th floor lobby; 212-575-6580
  • The Change Group New York:
  • 234 W. 42nd St. (bet. Seventh and Eighth Aves.), ground floor; 212-391-7258
  • 720 Seventh Ave. (at W. 48th St.); 212-245-7020
  • 1568 Broadway (at W. 47th St.); 212-730-1686

Taxes and Tips

Travelers from out of town may not be familiar with the way taxes and tips affect New York City price tags. Check here for information about taxes and gratuities in New York City.

Public Restrooms

New York City features restroom facilities that you can use while you're out and about sightseeing. See our roundup of public restrooms for some helpful tips.

Additional Resources and Services

Below are links to NYC & Company members whose services can help you make the most of your leisure or business trip to the City.

  • Services for Leisure Travelers
  • Services for Business Travelers

New York State

If you'd like to explore the rest of New York State while you're in the area, visit, the official website for New York State tourism, for information about attractions throughout the state.