New York City also coined The Big Apple in the 1920’s, can seem like a pulsating metropolis only moments away from eating you up. But if you break it down into sections it is a manageable cluster of neighborhoods.
When planning your itinerary one must start with a decision, am I going to visit the touristy areas? I certainly reccommend you do on your first trip, i.e.; Freedom Tower, Times Square, Radio City Music Hall et al, or am I ready to explore the intersections of streets and avenues which define its’ people?
Just a brief history lesson and then onto some suggestions for an intinerary.
The island of Manhattan was purchased from local Indians in 1626 by Peter Minuit the first director general of the New Netherland province. The English took possession in 1664, the island having already been incorporated as the city of New Amsterdam in 1653. It was renamed New York City when transferred to the British.
The area downtown is the oldest and is a sometimes confusing mish mash of little streets and lanes. The shortest street is only 63 feet, Edgar Street in the Financial District. Downtown your directional compass can evade you. You swear you are headed north east but you make a few wrong turns and you are now headed west. I get so confused, still. The streets and avenues above 14th St are on the grid. Just a quick note; Streets run east-west and Avenues run north-south. Street names comes first ex. 33rd and 3rd.
On my first evening I happened to see The Algonquin Hotel 59 W. 44th $$. I remembered The Algonquin Round Table was a group of New York City writers, critics, actors, and wits. Gathering initially as part of a practical joke, members of "The Vicious Circle", as they dubbed themselves, met for lunch each day at the Algonquin Hotel from 1919 until roughly 1929.
It beckoned me to come in and have a drink. Their Blue Bar has a sensual atmosphere with blue lights emanating from the bar and they made me an Old Fashioned just the way it was intended with the orange rind and black cherries. I am not sure why you have to ask for the black cherries in most places? I learned they have a resident cat named Hamlet and I tried to visit him, but he was napping. Typical cat!