New York City, NY

New York City — A Tale of Five Boroughs

James Garside
New York CityWikimedia Commons

New York is split into five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.

New York is often referred to as "The Five Boroughs" to avoid focusing exclusively on Manhattan.

New York City has hundreds of distinct neighborhoods across the five boroughs, each with its own unique history and character.

You can end up wandering into a different neighborhood within a few blocks, if you don't know where you're going, so stay awake.

It sometimes helps visitors to think of the boroughs as five separate cities in their own right.

Here is a quick and dirty guide to New York's five boroughs.
ManhattanWikimedia Commons


Known locally as The City. Manhattan is emblematic of New York.

Manhattan is literally what most people think of when they think of New York City.

Most of Manhattan is on Manhattan Island, which lies at the mouth of the Hudson River.

Manhattan Island is roughly divided into three parts: Lower, Midtown, and Uptown.

Central Park divides the Upper East Side and Upper West Side in Uptown Manhattan, and above that is Harlem.

Manhattan is the American capital of culture, finance, modern media, and entertainment.

Many multinational corporations have their headquarters here, as well as the United Nations and Wall Street.

Most of the city's skyscrapers and prominent landmarks are located in this area, including Times Square and Central Park.

Manhattan is also the smallest and most densely populated borough.

New York's five boroughs are centered on Manhattan.

Manhattan is the metropolis that lies at the heart of New York City.

The other boroughs are known as the outer boroughs.
BrooklynWikimedia Commons


Brooklyn is located at the western tip of Long Island and connected to Manhattan via Brooklyn Bridge.

It has a higher population than any of the other boroughs.

Downtown Brooklyn is the largest central neighborhood in the outer boroughs.

Brooklyn is commonly considered an affluent area full of hipsters who would be out of place in Manhattan.

Brooklyn offers plenty of culture and parks, as well as great restaurants and drinking establishments.

Coney Island, one of the country's earliest amusement parks, occupies Brooklyn's long waterfront shoreline.

A thriving arts scene, distinct neighborhoods, and a rich architectural heritage set Brooklyn apart from the other boroughs.

Brooklyn is basically as culturally influential as Manhattan but more relaxed and laid back.

In recent years, it has excelled as an innovation and entrepreneurial hub and a center of postmodern art and design.
Queens, Long IslandWikimedia Commons


Queens was once a collection of small Dutch settlements. Today, it is geographically the largest of the five boroughs.

It also has the second largest population of the five boroughs.

The borough is located on Long Island in the most eastern part of New York City.

Queens has the most ethnically diverse population in the US. It is also the most ethnically diverse metropolitan area in the world.

It has gained a reputation as a residential and commercial center.

Queens has maintained a relaxed suburban vibe.

Its neighborhoods are low-key but still close to the bright lights, big city.
The BronxWikimedia Commons

The Bronx

Hip hop was born in the Bronx — at least if you believe the tour guides.

Once associated with gangs and poverty, the Bronx has become one of the trendiest areas in New York.

The Bronx lies north of Manhattan across the Harlem River.

It is New York City's northernmost borough and the only district located on the mainland.

Attractions include Pelham Bay Park, Bronx Zoo, Yankee Stadium, and New York Botanical Gardens.

The Bronx became an urban community in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Many immigrants and migrants settled in the Bronx, first from several European countries and then from the Caribbean region, as well as from the southern United States.

Latin music, hip hop, and rap have flourished in the Bronx because of this mix of cultures.
Staten IslandWikimedia Commons

Staten Island

The southernmost borough of New York is Staten Island. It is also the most suburban.

Those who live on Staten Island enjoy a suburban and family-oriented lifestyle.

Once home to Lenape natives; Staten Island was settled by Dutch colonists in the 17th century.

It is known by locals as 'the forgotten borough' perhaps with good reason.

It is the third-largest of the five boroughs but has the fewest inhabitants.

Locals often complain that they are neglected or ignored by the City's central government.

Located at the heart of Staten Island is the Staten Island Greenbelt.

The Greenbelt is made of seven city parks and was established in 1984 to protect the island's natural lands.

It has many hiking trails and is one of the City's last remaining undisturbed forests.

Brooklyn and Manhattan are connected by the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and the Staten Island Ferry runs between the two for free.

The commuter ferry provides unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan, making it a popular tourist attraction.

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NCTJ-qualified British independent journalist, author, and travel writer.


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