New York City receives over 60 million foreign and American tourists each year. Major destinations include the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, Broadway theatre productions, Central Park, Times Square, Coney Island, the Financial District, museums, sports stadiums, luxury shopping along Fifth and Madison Avenues, and events such as the Tribeca Film Festival, and free performances in Central Park at Summerstage and Delacorte Theater. Many New York City ethnic enclaves, such as Jackson Heights, Flushing, and Brighton Beach are major shopping destinations for first and second generation Americans up and down the East Coast.
New York City has over 28,000 acres (110 km2) of parkland and 14 linear miles (22 km) of public beaches. Manhattan's Central Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, is the most visited city park in the United States.Prospect Park in Brooklyn, also designed by Olmsted and Vaux, has a 90-acre (36 ha) meadow.Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, the city's third largest, was the setting for the 1939 World's Fair and 1964 World's Fair.
According to NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization for the city, the top producing countries for international visitors to New York City in 2011 were the United Kingdom (1,055,000), Canada (1,033,000), Brazil (718,000), France (662,000), Germany (587,000), Australia (532,000), Italy (495,000), China (427,000), Spain (422,000), Mexico (376,000), and Japan (299,000). With the exception of slight peaks around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, visitor arrival rates are roughly the same year-round. New York has one of the highest hotel-occupancy rates in the country. Arrivals have remained relatively high even since the global economic crisis, due to heavy discounting and value-added pricing. In 2017, there were an estimated 61.8 million visitors, of which 49.2 million were domestic.
Double decker tour buses and boats with tour guides bring sightseers to various parts of Manhattan and other boroughs, while pedicabs and horse cabs serve those with a taste for more personal service. More adventurous tourists rent bicycles at neighborhood shops or along the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway or simply walk, which is often the quickest way to get around in congested, busy commercial districts and a way to appreciate street life.
Many visitors investigate their genealogy at historic immigration sites such as Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Other tourist destinations include the Empire State Building, for 41 years the world's tallest building after its construction in 1931, Radio City Music Hall, home of The Rockettes, a variety of Broadway shows, the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, housed on a World War II aircraft carrier, and city landmarks such as Central Park, one of the finest examples of landscape architecture in the world. New York City has encouraged tourist shopping by eliminating its sales tax on clothing and footwear. In the past, the World Trade Center was an important tourist destination before the September 11 attacks, which devastated the city and its tourist industry. Tourists were scarce for months, and it took two years for the numbers to fully rebound with fewer international, but more domestic visitors, due in part to an emphasis on "patriotic tourism". The World Trade Center site itself became an important place to visit, and visits to the World Trade Center have increased, especially with openings of new buildings on the site in recent years.
Street fairs and street events such as the Labor Day Carnival in Brooklyn, Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village, and New York Marathon also attract tourists.
New York City law requires all guides to be licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs. A professional trade organization of licensed tour guides in the city is GANYC (Guides Association of New York City), which represents just 10.9% of all licensed tour guides in the city.
In 1992, the "Greeter" initiative was founded by Lynn Brooks with the association "Big Apple Greeter" in New York City. The voluntary and personal hosting of tourists should improve the bad image of the megacity. More "Greeter" projects followed in other US-American cities and worldwide. Today, more than 300 volunteers "greet" over 7000 visitors per year in New York City As of 2010[update].
NYC & Company, the city's official convention and visitor bureau, is currently headed by Fred Dixon. It has offices in 14 countries, including Brazil, Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Korea and China. NYC & Company is the official source of tourism statistics for the city. The research department develops and distributes comprehensive information on NYC domestic and international visitor statistics and monitors the travel industry's impact on New York City's economy. The department also produces 14 official New York City tourism marketing publications that feature information on member hotels, museums, attractions, theaters, stores, restaurants, meeting venues, and service providers.
Special interest tours
New York City has a rich musical culture and history. Accordingly, numerous jazz, gospel music, rock and roll, rhythm and blues and hip hop tours are available. Popular locations for music tours include Harlem and the East Village. Walking tours are one of the most popular ways of seeing the city and many private guides supply tours.
Food tours are another option for visitors. New York is one of the top culinary destinations in the world. New York's food culture, influenced by the city's immigrants and large number of dining patrons, is diverse. Jewish and Italian immigrants made the city famous for bagels, cheesecake and New York-style pizza. Some 4,000 mobile food vendors, many of them immigrants, are licensed by the city and have made Middle Eastern foods such as falafel and kebabs standbys of contemporary New York street food. The city is also home to many of the finest haute cuisine restaurants in the United States. Food tours allow visitors to try a wide variety of these foods economically and learn about the city's culture. Tour companies include New York Food Tours, Local Finds Queens Food Tours and Rum and Blackbird Tasting Tours.
Visitors to New York City also partake in sports tourism. Sporting events draw tourists to major venues such as the Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, and Madison Square Garden, and to street events such as the New York City Marathon.
New York City is one of the major film capitals of the world. Through specially arranged tours, tourists can visit the scenes of TV shows and movies such as Seinfeld, Friends, Sex and the City, Saturday Night Live, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Miracle on 34th Street, Godfather, and Taxi Driver.
- ^"Mayor Giuliani Announces Amount of Parkland in New York City has Passed 28000 Acre Mark". New York City Mayor's Office. February 3, 1999. Retrieved 2007-06-06.
- ^"Beaches". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Retrieved 2007-06-06.
- ^"City Park Facts". The Trust for Public Land, Center for City Park Excellence. June 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-19.
- ^"General Information". Prospect Park Alliance. Retrieved 2007-06-06.
- ^NYC & Company. "NYC Statistics". Retrieved 2006-08-03.
- ^McGeehan, Patrick (2017-11-19). "New York City Expects More Tourists, but Fewer International Visitors". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
- ^New York Daily News, Sept 17 2003 Patriotic boost for city tourism
- ^New Yorkers As 'Greeters. In: New York Times, May 31, 1992.
- ^Volunteers give free tours in cities around the world. In:USA Today, August 1, 2010.
- ^NYC & Company. "NYC & Company Offices Worldwide". Retrieved 2007-03-25.
- ^"Places To Visit In New York City". Pinterest Places To Visit In New York City. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
- ^Bleyer, Jennifer (May 14, 2006). "Kebabs on the Night Shift". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-07-19.
- ^Collins, Glenn (November 3, 2005). "Michelin Takes on the City, Giving Some a Bad Taste". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-07-19.
- ^Courtney Hollands, Kara Baskin, and Christie Matheson. "Break Loose". Boston Globe. 28 March 2010. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2010/03/28/break_loose/?page=3
- ^New York Food Tours, http://foodtoursofny.com/index.html; Queens Food Tours, http://queensfoodtours.com, Rum and Blackbird Tasting Tours, http://www.rumandblackbird.com/
Transportation officials are taking measures to alleviate the congestion. To help accommodate foot traffic, they are adding more pedestrian plazas across the city, expanding the presence of a streetscape feature first embraced by the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. One is scheduled to open soon on 33rd Street near Penn Station. There are also plans to widen a half-dozen sidewalks in Flushing, Queens, in the next year (the city’s sidewalks vary in width, but must be at least five feet wide).
While a crowded sidewalk is simply a symptom of a crowded city, it resonates deeply because it affects almost everyone. Unlike overstuffed subways or tourist attractions like, say, Times Square, there is no going around the sidewalks. They are to New York what freeways are to Los Angeles: an essential part of the infrastructure. Sidewalks not only get people from Point A to Point B, but also serve as a shared public space for rich and poor, native and tourist alike.
“Sidewalks are the unifying glue of the city,” said Mitchell L. Moss, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at New York University. “It’s the one part of the city that everyone has to use. You cannot avoid sidewalks.”
Crowded sidewalks are not just a New York problem. They have created bottlenecks and logistical hurdles and have raised safety concerns in cities across the country. Since 2013, public works officials in San Francisco have widened two sidewalks in Fisherman’s Wharf and the Castro, popular tourist areas with a lot of foot traffic. A third sidewalk project is planned for Second Street, one of the main routes to AT&T Park, the baseball stadium where the Giants play.
In Seattle, a busy stretch of East Pike Street in the Capitol Hill neighborhood that is lined with restaurants, bars and clubs was closed to cars on three Saturday nights last summer to make room for pedestrians overflowing from the sidewalks. “It just feels so jammed with humanity it becomes a rough situation,” said Joel Sisolak, sustainability and planning director for Capitol Hill Housing, a community development corporation that has worked with city officials to address the issue of crowded sidewalks.
Space on New York’s sidewalks is at a premium at a time when the city’s population of 8.5 million is higher than ever. Add in the record 59.7 million visitors who are expected to descend on the city this year, up from 48.8 million in 2010, and it is a recipe for thoroughfares packed like sardine cans. Chris Heywood, a spokesman for NYC & Company, which oversees the city’s tourism efforts, said his group was increasingly highlighting attractions outside Manhattan in hopes of dispersing visitors.
Scott Gastel, a spokesman for the city’s Transportation Department, said it had conducted research into pedestrian behavior at crosswalks and had monitored pedestrian volumes at 100 street locations to track long-term trends in neighborhood commercial corridors. Along bustling 34th Street, the city has added about 20,000 square feet of pedestrian space in recent years, including so-called bus bulbs that extend the sidewalk pavement to give bus riders more room to wait.
In Lower Manhattan, overcrowded sidewalks topped the list of residents’ concerns in a survey conducted last year for the local community board. The problem was aggravated in some areas by sidewalk clutter such as construction scaffolding, large garbage bags, vendors and fixtures like lights, signs, newsstands, benches, planters and recycling bins. “You add all that up, and it’s difficult to walk on the narrow sidewalk,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, the community board’s chairwoman, whose term ended on Thursday.
If there is an epicenter of crowded sidewalks in New York, it is near Penn Station, where pedestrians, food carts and newsstands all vie for space. Only London and Tokyo have sidewalks as congested, said Daniel A. Biederman, president of the 34th Street Partnership, which oversees the business district in the area. As many as 14,000 pedestrians an hour walk in front of the Modell’s Sporting Goods store on Seventh Avenue near West 34th Street, according to 2015 data collected by the partnership.
The commuter crowd is also growing. An average of 92,314 riders boarded New Jersey Transit trains at Penn Station each weekday in fiscal year 2015, up from 79,891 riders in fiscal year 2010. In the same period, average weekday boardings on New Jersey Transit buses at the Port Authority terminal also increased, to 78,006 riders from 72,506.
Veteran pedestrians have tried to adapt. They shoulder their way into bike lanes or walk purposefully on the street alongside cars — eyes ahead, earphones in — forming a de facto express lane. They move en masse along Seventh and Eighth Avenues like a storm system on a weather map, heading north in the mornings and south in the evenings.
“You know how the system works,” said Roque Santos, 48, a stagehand who commutes daily from Jersey City. “I cross the street even before the light changes to beat the crowd.”
Peter Raskin, a sports marketing executive, has made walking in the street part of his daily routine. He zipped north on Seventh Avenue the other morning, even when there was room on the sidewalk. “I’m used to it,” he said. “I stay in the street with my head down.”
In 2016, there had been 55 pedestrian fatalities as of Sunday, an improvement from the 79 fatalities for the same period in 2013.
Michael D’Angelo, an accountant who works in Midtown, said that in the past year he had seen a half-dozen pedestrians walking in the street struck by cyclists. Still, Mr. D’Angelo said he often had no choice but to step off the curb because he could not get by all the people along Eighth Avenue. His bus home to Pennsylvania leaves Port Authority at 5:55 p.m., with or without him.
“Everybody is trying to beat everybody,” he said, “because everybody has someplace to go.”
Then there are the inattentive walkers, those who text on their phones or read newspapers while moving, and the meandering tourists who seem oblivious to the ways of the street. They stop midstride, step on someone’s heel or cut off people without warning. The result? Sidewalk rage.
“When you get out-of-towners and New Yorkers, it’s like mixing Clorox with ammonia, it doesn’t work — there’s a chemical reaction,” said Jato Jenkins, a street worker, as he swept a stretch of Seventh Avenue. “The New Yorkers walk their normal route, and the out-of-towners are going the opposite direction, like salmon going upstream.”
Mr. Jenkins said everyone was miserable and on edge, especially in the sweltering summer months, so that even the slightest bump could set off tempers. He said he had seen women cursing at each other and men pushing each other and grabbing each other’s shirts.
Virginia Garcia said she had been on the receiving end of such outbursts. “People are running around like crazy, and they don’t stop,” said Ms. Garcia, who stands at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and West 36th Street with a sign advertising a local pub. “They push you, they hit you and they don’t care.”
David Wentz, a mail carrier who pushes a 50-pound cart around the garment district, said he tried to arrange his day around the busiest times for foot traffic. “It’s chaotic,” he said. “It’s like Disney World down here.”
But for Mr. Moss, of the Rudin Center at N.Y.U., crowded sidewalks show how far the city has come. During the 1970s, he pointed out, people used to avoid the sidewalks in the East Village and other neighborhoods for a different reason: They feared criminals and felt safer walking out in the open, down the middle of a street.
Today, “people want to be in New York,” he said. “A crowded sidewalk is a sign of vitality.”Continue reading the main story