Note: This information applies to NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai students considering a semester in New York. Students from other colleges and universities who are interested in enrolling as a visiting student at NYU's campus in New York should consider programs hosted by NYU's Office of University Programs.
With a population of approximately 8.5 million people, New York City is the largest city in the United States. Although English is the official language of the U.S., in New York City 49 percent of its residents speak a different language at home making New York one the most linguistically diverse places in the world. This is largely due to the city’s long history of attracting large immigrant populations. In fact, a recent report stated 37 percent of New Yorkers were born in another nation.
As a student at NYU New York, you may be living and learning in buildings spread across several of New York’s neighborhoods. In Manhattan, NYU has a presence in the Greenwich Village, West Village, East Village, TriBeCa, SoHo, and Gramercy neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are sought-after locations among New Yorkers with their beautiful tree-lined streets, access to scores of restaurants and shops, and New York institutions including the Whitney Museum of American, the Highline, and Angelika Film Center.
But other sites are just a train ride away on the New York City subway that operates 24/7, including NYU’s Brooklyn campus. In Brooklyn, NYU is located in downtown Brooklyn near the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood known for its promenade along New York Harbor and spectacular view of the New York City skyline.
New York is a major cultural capital. In the 20th century, the city set the pace for the arts in the United States as the home of numerous well-known authors, artists, architects, designers, dancers, and musicians. The city is also home to countless theaters, museums, dance and opera companies, galleries, and music clubs.
The New York Stock Exchange and Federal Reserve Bank of New York make New York one of the world’s leading financial centers. Its financial district, across which runs the famed Wall Street, is the location of major exchanges, banks, and One World Trade Center.
Come to New York with an open mind. It is a unique city where you can not only experience U.S. culture, but also a wide variety of cultures that have taken root in one of New York’s many ethnic neighborhoods.
Tips for Living in New York
- New York has a reputation for being a fast-paced city. People walk fast and talk fast. This is sometimes perceived as rude or discourteous by visitors from other locales, but it is not intended this way.
- New Yorkers in general are very helpful and happy to give directions or other assistance to visitors. Just remember, the directions will most likely be given very quickly and without much small talk.
- New York is a heavily pedestrian city, and “foot traffic” etiquette is important. If you need to stop to consult a map or make a cell phone call or any other activity that causes you to stop walking, step to the side to let others pass. If walking in a group of three or more, make sure that your group is not blocking the way for others who wish to pass you, this is especially important because many neighborhoods have narrow sidewalks.
- New York is made up of 5 districts called “boroughs” — Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Manhattan is the central borough, the place most people think of when they imagine the skyscrapers and other famous landmarks featured in film and television. While all 5 boroughs are part of the city, the phrase “the city” is often used as a synonym for Manhattan.
- Greenwich Village, where the main NYU campus is located, is one of the oldest parts of the city and the streets generally have names. In other parts of Manhattan, a grid system is used where the streets are numbered. “Avenues” run north and south, while “streets” run east and west. It is important to know if you are looking for an avenue or a street because there is both a 7th Street and a 7th Avenue, for example.
- Streets are designed east or west, for example, West 20th Street and East 20th Street. Addresses on West 20th Street start just west of 5th Avenue and continue through the West Side to the Hudson River; addresses on East 20th Street begin east of 5th Avenue and continue through the East Side to the East River.
- Building numbers are low close to 5th Avenue, and get higher as you go west or east. 10 West 20th Street would be very close to 5th Avenue, 350 West 20th Street would be farther away.