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USATourist News Magazine

August 2006

In this issue:

Welcome to the August issue of the USATourist News Magazine. This month we're exploring the fun and exciting New York City. We also have some great specials for if you are going to be in the New York area.

The Big Apple

New York City has been called the Big Apple for quite some time. There are many theories of the nickname's origin. The most common account dates back to 1921 when New York Morning Telegraph writer John FitzGerald popularized the nickname by using it in his horse racing column. FitzGerald in turn gave credit to African-American stablehands in New Orleans who called the NYC race tracks the "Big Apple" since they held "the big" races with the "big prizes." About a decade later "The Big Apple" became popular among jazz musicians in reference to New York City, the jazz capital of the world. In 1971 New York City used the "Big Apple" as a marketing toll in its campaign to attract and increase tourists.

Despite the many shows that depict New York as a rough, tough city it is actually the safest major city. Here is an interesting article on the topic:

New York City Neighborhoods

New York City is the largest city in the United States with a population that that has grown to well over 8 million. New York City is divided into five boroughs: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.

The city has a very high population of immigrants. Although no particular race dominates the city the Dominican Republic, China, Jamaica, and Russia have the greatest representation. Like San Francisco, there are many ethnic neighborhoods. In Manhattan you will find Chinatown, Harlem, Koreatown, Little Italy, Little Manila, Spanish Harlem and Washington Heights. You may read more on Manhattan neighborhoods here:

I found a Web site, Walking Around, which categorizes the New York City neighborhoods, borough, ethnic group, area with in the neighborhood, and more. I thought this was interesting and thought you might also.

Bridges and Tolls

Some of the most memorable parts about driving in (and out) of New York City are the many bridges. "Many" is actually an understatement. In fact, there are 2,027 bridges in New York City. The Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges are the three suspension bridges in New York. Suspension Bridges are the medium to long span, high level bridges that are supported by massive wire cables that suspend between towers and vertical wire cables. Other bridge types in the area include Girder, Retractile Bridges, Span Bridges, Steel Arch Bridges, Swing Bridges, and Vertical Lift Bridges. The four bridges that see the most weekday traffic are the Queensboro Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge, and the Manhattan Bridge.

Another thing you will find plenty of while visiting New York are toll ways, toll bridges, and toll tunnels. These roads have a fee for use. It's best to ensure you have enough money if you plan on using these roads. The fee may be as little as a couple of quarters or as much ten or fifteen dollars. The New York State Thruway Authority has a wonderful Web site that can help you plan for these toll roads. On the following link you can enter your starting and ending points and it will give you the exact amount of your total tolls.

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building was built during the Depression and has had quite a history since. Construction began on March 17, 1930. The 102 story building's lights were turned on and the building was officially open as of May 1, 1931. For a while it was nicknamed the Empty State Building since many of the offices and floors remained vacant for quite some time. Today, it is on the American Society of Civil Engineers' list of Seven Wonders of the (Modern) World. The September 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers returned the Empire State Building to the ranking of tallest sky scraper in the city.

One foggy Saturday in July 1945 a B-25 Mitchell bomber pilot who was on his way to Newark Airport accidentally found himself among the skyscrapers of New York City. He managed to avoid many of the tall buildings but sadly ended up crashing into the Empire State Building. The crash killed a total of 14 people (11 office workers and 3 crewmen).

The famous building has also been the setting for many movies and TV shows, the most popular being the 1933 film King Kong and the observation deck was the setting in An Affair to Remember and Sleepless In Seattle.

There are a couple of observatories available to visitors. The 86th Floor Observatory is reached by high speed, automatic elevators and has a glass-enclosed area (heated for winter and cooled for the summer) and an outdoor promenade on all four sides of the Building. The 102nd Floor Observatory has an additional cost of $10 on top of the regular admission price and is sold only at the Observatory ticket office, located on the 2nd floor of the building. All visitors are required to pass security screening. Glass and bottles are not allowed on the observatory.

For hours and admission fees, visit

The Statue of Liberty

October 28th of this year will mark the 120th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. The people of France gave the gift of the Statue to the citizens of the United States as a sign of the friendship established during the American Revolution. Visitors may take a guided tour and walk out onto the Statue’s observation deck. The Statue's crown is not accessible and the torch is not open. (It was officially closed in July 1916.)

For hours and fees go to:

I love this: has a live webcam of the Statue of Liberty. Nighttime is my favorite time to view the statue.

Ground Zero

Next month marks the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

The 16-acre plot of land where the World Trade Center buildings once stood in New York City is known as Ground Zero. As the day approaches there will be many memorials and other tributes to the lives lost that day.

Time Magazine has an incredible collection of photos from September 11, 2001 in their photo essay "Digging Out Ground Zero".

In the meantime, development is underway for the Freedom Tower at the World Trade center redevelopment site.

NYC Museums

If you have a desire for the arts or collections of any sort, New York is the place for you. Galleries and museums are plentiful here regardless of your interest. One of the most famous is the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as "The Met." This is one attraction that can easily turn into an all day event. If you visit The Met's Web site, under the "visitor information," you will find a selection of languages in case English is not your native tongue. You will also find information on concerts and lectures, the permanent collections and special exhibits.

New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is a National Historic Landmark. There are 250 acres that include 50 gardens and plant collections and 50-acres of forest that is part of what once covered the entire New York area. There is a Farmers Market open on Wednesdays now through November 1, 2006, open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tulip Tree Allée. You will find fresh produce, baked goods, and other specialty items from merchants all across the state of New York.

I found this great site that lists dozens of museums in New York City. Take a look. You may find a museum that is just might pique your interest.

NYC Airports

The New York City metropolitan area is served by three major airports: Newark-Liberty International (EWR), LaGuardia (LGA), and John F Kennedy International (JFK). We can help you make your reservation:

A great New York site to help you plan your visit is a great web site with detailed information about hotels (sorted by proximity to local landmarks), nightlife, museums, and more. You can check the weather here or you may decide on a city tour such as seeing the Big Apple by helicopter or enjoy a cosmopolitan in one of the bars frequented by Carrie and the girls in the HBO TV series Sex in the City. offers maps and transit information for New York City and surrounding neighborhoods. Before you head to New York be sure to check out this site.

If you visit New York anytime soon, please drop me a note and let me know your favorite sites and attractions were. I love hearing about your travels.

USATourist News Magazine in Japanese!

Starting next month, the News Magazine will again be available in Japanese! If you would like to receive the mailing in Japanese, click on the link to unsubscribe below. Then follow the link to re-subscribe and select Japanese as your language preference!

See you next month.

Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair

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