City Life: Be a part of it
The archetypal modern city, New York is still as big, bold and beautiful as ever.
For many of us, the path between Heathrow and JFK is so familiar that it seems less a pond to cross than a puddle to hop. And who could blame us for flocking to this wonderful city? With its fantastic bars and restaurants, irresistible shopping and gorgeous boutique hotels, New York is ever-evolving, ever with something new to show off. Browse the boutiques of NoLiTa, get your limited-edition trainers and vinyl in the East Village, take in art and culture in SoHo, see a show on Broadway and have a cocktail back in your boudoir. And that's just before dinner. This is truly the city that never sleeps. And nor should you.
A cab from JFK will charge a flat rate of $45 plus tolls. This is not the place to be renting a car: parking is a headache, while the subway and cabs are cheap and easy.
There are three major airports: JFK, La Guardia and Newark. Buses run between Manhattan and JFK and La Guardia; see www.nyairportservice.com.
Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) provides all long-distance services from Penn Station.
US country code: +1.
The Andy Warhol Diaries; Lonesome Traveler by Jack Kerouac; How to Lose Friends and Alienate People by Toby Young; The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud. New York in Store by Valérie Weill and Philippe Chancel.
Do go / Don't Go
Winter can be bitterly cold. While Christmastime is wonderfully awash with Santas and fairy lights, you may want to skip the snow in January and February. August is hot, hot, hot (which is why many locals flee to the Hamptons on summer weekends).
A classic pastrami on rye from Katz's on East Houston Street, or share a pie in John's Pizzeria on Bleecker Street.
Yellow cabs are abundant except during rush hour and when it's raining, but be warned: it helps if you know exactly where you're going, as drivers aren't always as knowledgeable as you might hope.
New Yorkers pay up to 20 per cent for good service - a short cut when calculating the amount in Manhattan is to double the tax on your bill.
US dollar ($).
Comfortable walking shoes - there's no better way to see the city than pounding the pavements.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has reopened in a breathtaking six-storey building. For your $20 you'll see paintings, photographs, sculptures and installations from every acclaimed artist imaginable. You could check out what's on at the Guggenheim, although you may want to go there just to see Frank Lloyd Wright's wonderful swirling architecture. The Frick Collection is a small museum worth seeking out for its heritage as much as its contents. To get you thinking on your feet, Big Onion organizes thematic walking tours that tell you the history of this cosmopolitan city (www.bigonion.com).
For a shoe shine, go to Dino's at 1806 Broadway, on the corner of Central Park, or for a gentleman's wet shave, try the Art of Shaving at 373 Madison Avenue (+1 212 986 2905).
Barneys on Madison Avenue at 61st is a one-stop shop for fashionistas, and the jeans bar at its Co-op section is a must-visit. There's also one down in the Meatpacking District, not far from Jeffrey's on West 14th Street, which is full of designer labels such as Stella McCartney. Head to Fifth Avenue for all your flagship hankerings, such as Sak's Fifth Avenue at 49th and 50th; Bergdorf Goodman at 57th, and Lord & Taylor at 38th and 39th. Also worth a visit is the bijou Japanese department store Takashimaya, between 54th and 55th.
It's not just the exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum that are worth a look, but also the view over Central Park from the roof terrace. You can also head to York Street subway and find the Empire/Fulton ferry state park on the waterfront, below where the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges merge. Of course, the Empire State Building offers the classic views over Manhattan (and is especially magical at sunset).
Take the subway to Dumbo or Williamsburg in Brooklyn, to taste New York life outside of Manhattan, and walk back over the glorious Brooklyn Bridge.
17 March St Patrick's Day Parade, when thousands flock for the big Irish celebration. April If you're bonkers for OTT bonnets, get involved in the Easter Parade on Easter Sunday. April-May The Tribeca Film Festival, co-founded by Robert de Niro, takes place in lower Manhattan. June-August Free alfresco screenings at Bryant Park Summer Film Festival. October Costumes and music bring the streets alive for the Columbus Day Parade, which celebrates the time Chris first stumbled across this land. November The Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place on the fourth Thursday. 30 November Rockefeller Center Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.