Welcome to the Big Apple . . . wait a minute. So why is New York City called "the Big Apple"? Some say it's a horse racing reference: The prize for the winning horse was an apple, and in the 1920s, with so many racetracks in New York, it was referred to as "the Big Apple" - the city that jockeys and trainers aspired to conquer. It was also Gotham, the Empire City, the City that Never Sleeps, the Melting Pot, the Capital of the World, a city "so nice, they named it twice." After all, when a place is world class in finance, culture, and media, it's difficult to sum up your grandeur in one moniker.

How do eight million people function, live, work, and even thrive on top of each other? It's mind boggling. For those of us who do live here, it's best not to ponder the enormity of it all. We're in too much of a hurry.

But forget the monuments, the glass towers, the arenas, and theaters; it is the people who made the city - for better, for worse! It's the place to prove yourself; to "make a brand new start of it"; and where "if [you] can make it there, [you can] make it anywhere." And it's the people, and their unique contributions who keep the city thriving. Whether they are from Ireland, Italy, West Africa, France, Israel, Pakistan, Mexico, Haiti, or Manhattan (Kansas), it's that mix of people and cultures that has always been the city's most solid foundation and source of energy. The variety and diversity seem to form a collective unifying and feisty spirit that is essential to the city's character.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.