New York City, arguably the world's most vibrant and sprawling metropolis, occupies five boroughs, each

with its own distinct identity. After all, before the historic 1898 consolidation, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island were each independent municipalities. Manhattan Manhattan, home to the most recognizable sites, dominates popular perception of New York City. Its most famous districts are listed below: Wall Street & the Financial District New York's first district remains its most historic. Wall Street investment banks coexist with landmarks like Trinity Church . Battery Park draws people for its panoramic views. The World Trade Center was also one of the area's most popular destinations, until its tragic destruction on September 11, 2001, which took the lives of many New Yorkers and affected the entire nation. New World Trade Center buildings and a September 11 memorial and museum are under construction. Harlem Long the national epicenter of African-American culture, Harlem was home to the Harlem Renaissance, arguably this country's most influential artistic, literary and cultural movement. Harlem is known for its jazz clubs and Southern restaurants. Greenwich Village At the turn of the 20th Century, Greenwich Village drew free spirits from around the nation, including poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and playwright Eugene O'Neill. As the years went on, rents inevitably rose. Now, its townhouses are some of the most expensive in the city. New York University students gather here in Washington Square Park . A diverse array of shops, bars and music clubs exist along Bleecker Street. East Village Artists, students and young professionals have gone a long way towards gentrifying the long poor and multi-ethnic neighborhood. Even today, the artistic spirit that initially brought about change remains, evident in such vibrant cultural establishments as St. Mark's-in-the-Bowery Church . Urban gardens, like Tompkins Square Park and art exhibits sit beside cafes, craft shops and vegetarian restaurants. Soho & Tribeca Once home to massive factories, artists moved in and transformed the area into a bustling urban mecca. Galleries, designer shops, sophisticated restaurants and trendy bars followed soon after. Among many others in the area, Hundred Acres is a great restaurant, with fresh seasonal cuisine and an upbeat atmosphere. Today, tourists flock to the area and rents have risen sky high. Lower East Side This area once housed some of the city's worst slums, well-chronicled by the Lower East Side Conservancy . Today's higher rents mean that the only people who can afford to live here, and want to, are young professionals. The historic Orchard Street Shopping District is home to several hip bars and nightclubs. Chinatown Asian restaurants, grocery stores and trinket shops line the ever-crowded streets of Chinatown .

Further east. Consequently. import/export companies and fashion houses all do business here. or the area's high-rise modern apartments. such as Cookshop . West Chelsea is home to many art galleries. renters now value the neighborhood's attractive real estate. which serves seasonal American cuisine. bars and restaurants catering to Long . old money and high society have long made their home here. Upper East Side Park. like Gracie Mansion in Schurz Park . Fifth and Madison have always been posh avenues. the apartment buildings and townhouses around Gramercy Park remain coveted residences. Italian restaurants and kitsch draw tourists to the lively neighborhood of Little Italy surrounding Mulberry Street. and today it reflects all of New York's ethnic and cultural diversity. Chelsea still retains some reminders of its more conservative past. bars. Visitors adore everything from souvenir shops to enormous billboards and Broadway musicals. such as the famous Ansonia and the Dakota . Meanwhile. Then. but most agree it stops around Central Park .Dim Sum and other favorites attract diners on practically every corner. A few blocks west lies Hell's Kitchen. Midtown is smack in the middle of everything. Baby Gap coexists with art galleries and antique shops. Nobody is really sure where Midtown begins (most would say somewhere at the 30-block). of course. especially on famous Mott Street . new money has overtaken the old Yorkville slum. the Actors Temple . Ice skaters twirl at Rockefeller Center and the spectacular St. as evident by the General Theological Seminary and the Church of the Guardian Angel . the Upper West Side became home to new money. Trump Tower entices shoppers. However. More than a century after their construction. Gramercy & Flatiron The majestic Flatiron Building lords over this beautiful. as "modernist" Eastsiders tore down their pre-war palaces. and. financial firms. but the neighborhood is fast becoming surrounded by nearby Chinatown. as the World of Disney has replaced age-old bookstores and entertainment venues. Midtown As the name implies. eclectic district marked by loft spaces to the west and pre-war residences to the east. shops to serve them line Madison Avenue . and there are a number of great restaurants. Publishing houses. Patrick's Cathedral offers serenity and spirituality. Chelsea Once a working class community. along with all those glorious stores along Fifth Avenue. The Feast of San Gennaro still welcomes its throngs. such as Five Napkin Burger . Upper West Side When the co-ops of the East Side were freer to restrict residents. As rents in Greenwich Village rose. Little Italy Frank Sinatra. Times Square & Hell's Kitchen Some New Yorkers miss the former seediness of Times Square. Chelsea has also become a posh address. Whether in the gilded manors of yesterday. Others followed. Upper West Side residents kept their old buildings. a community filled with eclectic restaurants. shops. most people begrudgingly admit that it is better this way. the vibrant gay community moved upwards to occupy Chelsea's many brownstones and loft spaces.

. Queens is also home to the Museum of the Moving Image and Flushing Meadows Corona Park . Areas including the South Bronx have benefited from economic booms.Island and New Jersey folk (aka. Brooklyn This massive borough stretches from festive Coney Island to elegant Brooklyn Heights. one of the nation's finest zoos . But wherever Brooklynites hail from. Queens is experiencing a quiet renaissance. They can boast of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden . and a growing restaurant scene. the Brooklyn Museum . Queens From Flushing to Astoria. the gorgeous bridge that bears the borough's name. the “Bridge and Tunnel” crowd) continue to sprout up along Columbus and Amsterdam avenues. The Bronx This borough boasts the Yankees . Inexpensive ethnic restaurants pepper the borough. they remain a largely proud lot. as refugees from Manhattan's high rents continue to discover what this working-class borough offers its residents. and an extraordinary Botanical Garden .