Getting To Know Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queen, Staten Island & The Bronx
When New Yorkers talk about the city they call home, they often refer to the five boroughs.
To a visitor, this Big Apple jargon can sound like an abstract concept. It’s fair to say that New York City is unlike any other city on the planet, and often feels like multiple cities rolled into one bustling metropolis. It is this atmosphere, and the governance surrounding it, that led to the five boroughs in the first place and maintains the separation today.
What Are The Five Boroughs Of New York City?
The five boroughs refer to the five different neighborhoods in New York: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. The dividing lines of the boroughs were decided upon in the late 1800s, and with Queens and the Bronx corresponding with their settlement names at the time. Manhattan, Staten Island, and Brooklyn on the other hand, were referred to as New York, Richmond, and Kings, respectively.
Previous to the determination of the five boroughs, the various smaller settlements had individual governance systems, which became a headache for the city as a whole. The consolidation resulted in the appointment of a mayor to oversee everything, as well as five borough presidents responsible for their neighborhood.
The Manhattan borough is what most tourists envision when they think of New York City. Time’s Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park, and scenes from countless movies and television shows are all set in this city center to end all city centers. There are infinite tourist highlights and tours (for example: Statue of Liberty Tours at $29 | Liberty Cruise NYC) that can make it hard to leave to see the other fantastic features of the four remaining boroughs.
Connected to Manhattan by the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, at one time Brooklyn was considered the cheaper alternative to living in Manhattan. Over the past couple of decades it has become just as expensive as living on Manhattan Island, but with a very different atmosphere. Home to inspiring music, restaurants, markets, and parks, Brooklyn has become a famous tourist destination in its own right. This borough is also home to Coney Island, a summertime paradise for solo travelers and families alike.
The Bronx is less frequented by tourists, despite being home to beaches, parks, and the famous Bronx Zoo, which is arguably the best zoo in the entire city. As a result of previous development projects gone awry, the Bronx is not as accessible by public transit as the other boroughs. If you have the time, it’s worth getting out to the Yankee Stadium for a ballgame, or to visit the incredible Woodlawn Cemetery.
Queens is the largest borough in terms of landmass and offers a beautiful melting pot of different cultures. As such, you can experience art, food, and music from all around the world just by touring through a few neighborhoods. Many visitors choose to stay in Queens while visiting New York City, as accommodations tend to be vastly cheaper and Manhattan is a quick subway ride away. Restaurants in Queens seem to have brunch down pat, if that’s up your alley.
If you hop on the ferry from the southern part of Manhattan, you can sail over to Staten Island, a suburban paradise in the heart of New York City. Staten Island is home to big houses, beaches, and a stunning vista of Manhattan. There are museums, parks, restaurants, breweries, and gardens. Essentially, anything you could ask for if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Each borough has a unique selling point, with none being greater than the other. If you head to New York City, be sure to venture beyond Manhattan and see the different facets of this one-of-a-kind urban gem.