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Sophie Auster tells New York's secrets

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    New York City: The city that never sleeps

    The world’s most talked about city, New York is a place it’s impossible not to love. Its cultural currency comes from its huge diversity, with over 200 languages spoken and millions from across the globe flocking to see its sensational sights. Manhattan teems day and night, its museums chock full of the finest art and design the world has to offer.

    Brooklyn’s burgeoning reputation as the planet’s cultural capital makes it an essential stop-off for music lovers, beer drinkers and food fanatics. Throw in endless cityscapes and beautiful squares and parks for escaping the bustle, and you have the quintessential modern-day metropolis.


    Top 10 sights in New York City

    New York City, Travelguide, Lufthansa, Travel Guide

    Empire State Building

    350 5th Avenue
    NY 10118 New York
    Tel: 212 736 3100
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0800-0200

    The city’s second tallest building (now that the new World Trade Center is complete) offers huge views of the Five Boroughs and beyond. Be sure to book tickets online first.

    Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

    Liberty Island
    NY 10004 New York
    Tel: 212 363 3200
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0900-1530 (Statue of Liberty)
    0900-1600 (Ellis Island)

    Take both of these classic sights in on one single boat trip. Ellis Island is steeped in history, the place where America’s immigrants arrived until 1954, while the Statue of Liberty is a must-see for NYC first-timers.

    Rockefeller Center

    45 Rockefeller Plaza
    NY 10111 New York
    Tel: 877 692 7625
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0800-0000

    Head to the Top of the Rock for views over Central Park and a chance to take skyline snaps with the Empire State Building as the star.

    Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

    11 W 53rd Street
    NY 10119 New York
    Tel: 212 708 9400
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon-Thurs and Sat-Sun 1030-1730
    Fri 1030-2000

    Arguably the greatest modern art gallery in the world, MOMA is home to works by Matisse, Van Gogh and Munch among countless others. Rolling exhibitions never disappoint.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art

    1000 5th Avenue
    NY 10128 New York
    Tel. 212-535-7710
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon-Thurs and Sun 1000-1730
    Fri-Sat 1030-2100

    This vast Central Park institution is so big you’ll struggle to see it all in one day. Ancient artefacts rub shoulders with Old Masters and superb modern-day photography.

    Central Park

    Central Park
    New York
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0600-0100

    The park is New York’s green lung, a landscaped oasis offering respite from busy streets. Spend a day exploring the lakes and ponds and the John Lennon memorial in ‘Strawberry Fields’.

    Brooklyn Museum

    200 Eastern Parkway
    NY 11238 New York
    Tel: 718 638 5000
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Wed and Fri-Sun 1100-1800
    Thurs 1100-2200

    This vast place is a great alternative to the Met. Check out classic American artworks and collections from ancient civilisations.

    Guggenheim Museum

    1071 5th Avenue
    NY 10128 New York
    Tel: 212 423 3500
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Sun-Wed and Fri 1000-1745
    Sat 1000-1945

    Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterful Guggenheim is a piece of art in its own right. Marvel at the spiral design and drink in the peerless collection of paintings and sculpture.

    The High Line

    Starts at Gansevoort Street
    NY 10011 New York
    Tel: 212 500 6035
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0700–1900 (december to march)
    Daily 0700–2200 (april and mai; october and november)
    Daily 0700–2300 (june to september)

    New York’s newest park is also its coolest. A reclaimed raised subway line, it cuts through the Meatpacking District and is unlike any other green space in the city.

    9/11 Memorial Museum

    Liberty Street (Entry Greenwich Street)
    NY 10006 New York
    Tel: 212 312 8800
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0900-2000

    Located on the site of the Twin Towers, this powerful memorial reflects on the devastating events of 9/11 and how the city has recovered in the years since.

    Good to know

    Country Information

    Country overview

    From its vast plains, snow-covered mountains, deep forests and strange rock formations, to soaring skyscrapers and a thunderous cultural scene, the USA is a collage of extremes. Nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of Manhattan’s unforgettable skyline, your first ride in a yellow cab, the ubiquitous hamburger joints, yawning expanses of prairie, the sweet strains of New Orleans jazz, or the neon-lit excesses of Las Vegas.

    Marvel at the thunderous spectacle of Niagara Falls in northern New York, or seek an antidote to urban chaos amidst the flat farmland of the Midwest. Then there are the black hills of South Dakota, the dramatic mountain and ocean landscape of California’s Pacific Coast Highway and the world-famous Grand Canyon.


    Covering a large part of the North American continent, the USA shares borders with Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The country has coasts on the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The State of Alaska, in the northwest corner of the US, is not part of the continental US; it is separated from the rest of the USA by Canada. Similarly, Hawaii is not part of the “lower 48” states; it lies in the central Pacific Ocean.

    The country’s dependent territories are offshore and have distinct geographies of their own; the majority are islands.

    The third-largest country in the world (after the Russian Federation and Canada), the USA has an enormous diversity of geographical features, including mountains, plains, and coastal zones. Though there are many cities that are densely populated with more manmade features than natural ones, there are also vast rural areas that are far more sparsely populated. The climate ranges from subtropical to arctic, with a corresponding breadth of flora and fauna.

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 321,2 millions

    Capital: Washington, DC.


    English, with significant Spanish-speaking minorties.


    US Dollar (USD; symbol $) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of $100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1, though the $2 bill is rare and is not in high circulation. Coins are in denominations of $1, and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents.


    120 volts AC, 60Hz. Plugs have two flat pins with or without a third round grounding pin.

    Public holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2018 – December 2019 period.

    Note: States can recognize other days as state holidays that are not federal holidays.


    New Year’s Day: 1 January 2018
    Martin Luther King Day: 15 January 2018
    President’s Day: 19 February 2018
    Memorial Day: 28 March 2018
    Independence Day: 4 July 2018
    Labor Day: 3 September 2018
    Columbus Day: 8 October 2018
    Veterans Day: 12 November 2018
    Thanksgiving Day: 22 November 2018
    Christmas: 25 December 2018


    New Year’s Day: 1 January 2019
    Martin Luther King Day: 21 January 2019
    President’s Day: 18 February 2019
    Memorial Day: 27 March 2019
    Independence Day: 4 July 2019
    Labor Day: 2 September 2019
    Columbus Day: 14 October 2019
    Veterans Day: 11 November 2019
    Thanksgiving Day: 28 November 2019
    Christmas: 25 December 2019

    All information subject to change.

    Good to know

    Getting around

    Public Transport

    New York’s extensive subway system is the largest in the world and is run by the city under the auspices of the MTA (www.mta.info), which also takes care of the excellent bus system. Tickets can be purchased from stations and news agents, with rechargeable Metrocards the best bet for getting around. The subway runs 24 hours a day, although services become sparse in the small hours.


    New York’s famous yellow cabs are always available on Manhattan’s main streets. Don’t be timid and stay on the sidewalk when hailing one. Chances are a bold local will be in the road taking your ride. Tipping is essential.


    Time to get away!

    Raus aus New York: IntroRaus aus New York: Dia BeaconRaus aus New York: Prospect ParkRaus aus New York: MontaukRaus aus New York: Woodbury OutletRaus aus New York: Coney IslandRaus aus New York: Hudson
    Excursions around New York

    New York is the most fantastic city in the world, as we all know! But sometimes you have to get out of the city, so why not try these six out-of-town destinations native New Yorkers head for when they want to turn their back on Manhattan.

    Lufthansa tip

    Lufthansa flies several times daily from Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich to New York lufthansa.com. Use the mileage calculator in the Miles & More app now and find out how many award and status miles have been credited to you for your flight. Download now on miles-and-more.com/app.

    Dia:Beacon – for art lovers

    The 80-minute trip out here is an adventure in itself, with the train following the banks of the Hudson River all the way to the sleepy town of Beacon. Visitors can take in one of the largest exhibitions of contemporary sculptures on the U.S. east coast here; it is housed on some 30,000 square meters of space in an old factory building. If you don’t relish waiting in line outside the MoMa, the Dia:Beacon museum could be a relaxing alternative for you.

    Tip: Take a seat on the left (direction of travel) on the train, so you don’t have to constantly crane your neck for a view the scenery.

    How to get there

    3 Beekman St, Beacon
    Direct connection from Grand Central Station on the Metro-North.
    Travel time: roughly 80 minutes.



    Prospect Park, Brooklyn – for fresh-air fanatics

    A good way to escape Manhattan’s busy streets for a while, is to go and lie down on the grass in Central Park. But if you are already in the mood for a day trip, you might travel a little further, namely as far as Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Like its somewhat bigger brother, it was created by a landscape architect. With its lake, old-fashioned carousel, a wood, an oriental former teahouse and a concert stage, it is one of New York’s favorite getaways.

    How to get there

    Can be reached by train on one of the lines Q, S or B – as far as Prospect Park Station, or by taking line 2 or 3 as far as Station Grand Army Plaza.
    Travel time from Midtown Manhattan: roughly 40 minutes.


    Montauk, Long Island – for sun worshippers

    Also known as “The End,” Montauk is the most easterly point on Long Island. That’s why what it has to offer is something almost unheard of in New York: real peace! The likes of Andy Warhol and Julian Schnabel also came in search of tranquility to this town of 4000 souls, which stands out more for its natural attributes than its magnificent villas. Pristine beaches, a number of parks with extensive trails and also the oldest lighthouse in the state await visitors in Montauk.

    How to get there

    From Penn Station, take the Long Island Rail Road.
    Travel time: around three hours, 15 minutes.


    Woodbury Common – for shopaholics

    Anyone shop in New York will stowing their new treasures in the case they came with difficult. So if you do make the trip to Woodbury Common, definitely consider purchasing another piece of luggage. This outlet mall is located some 60 miles outside New York and was built in the style of a small village. Its stores sell 220 different brands, from Chloé und Dior to Jimmy Choo, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tod’s – and at bargain prices of up to 65 percent below the usual retail price.

    How to get there

    498 Red Apple Court, Central Valley, NY 10917.
    From the Port Authority Bus Terminal,  take a Gray Line bus to the outlet center.
    Travel time: roughly 50 minutes.


    Coney Island – for pleasure seekers

    The southernmost tip of Brooklyn is where you will find Coney Island– the peninsula with the famous amusement park. After suffering a lengthy period of decline, the park was extensively modernized in 2010. Now the Scream Zone with The Tickler and other such thrilling roller coasters is one of the most nerve-racking attractions. If a trip down memory lane sounds more your style, then the Cyclone is probably more your thing; it’s a wooden roller coaster dating from 1927, in  which you hurtle toward the ground at a rather more leisurely pace.

    How to get there

    1000 Surf Ave, NY 11224
    Take the subway, line Q or F, to West 8th Street Station, or line D, F, N or Q to Stillwell Avenue Station on Coney Island.
    Travel time from Midtown Manhattan: roughly 45 minutes.


    Hudson – for browsers

    Whaling was once the livelihood of the small town of Hudson, Today, the old district is the center of the antiques trade, which occupies most of the more than 50 stores on Warren Street. At the Hudson Supermarket, you can browse for lamps and furniture, and rummage through mountains of books and then enjoy a refreshing, locally brewed craft beer at Spotty Dogs Books & Ale – or simply enjoy roaming the streets of this charming place.

    How to get there

    Warren St, Hudson, NY 12534
    Amtrak runs a train service from Penn Station in New York to Hudson.
    Travel time: two hours.


    Nightlife in New York City


    The city that never sleeps has got it all for the night owl. Cool cocktail joints, dive bars and super clubs are

    everywhere, just waiting to be explored. However you like to party, you can do it in NYC.

    Union Pool

    484 Union Avenue, Brooklyn
    NY 11211 New York
    Show on map

    If it’s a super hip night out you’re after, look no further. Nestled under the BQE, this is a hipster paradise.

    Bowery Ballroom

    6 Delancey Street
    NY 10002 New York
    Show on map

    This lush little venue is the finest place in NYC to catch live music. Gigs start late, so try the cool downstairs bar first.


    289 10th Ave
    NY 10001 New York
    Show on map

    This Chelsea institution is renowned for its great hip hop nights.

    Santo’s Party House

    96 Lafayette Street
    NY 10013 New York
    Show on map

    This multi-level spot in the Lower East Side hosts concerts, club nights and has an excellent bar to boot.


    Restaurants in New York City


    No one should come to New York and eat badly. The city’s diversity means every kind of cuisine is catered for.

    No matter what neighbourhood you find yourself in, there’s always a decent joint where you can chow down.

    Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

    200 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn
    NY 11201 New York
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Brooklyn’s only three-Michelin-star joint. Feast on the 20-course tasting menu while watching the chefs at work.

    St Anselm

    355 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn
    NY 11211 New York
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    You’ll need to queue, but the succulent steak will definitely be worth the wait.

    Locanda Verde

    377 Greenwich Street
    NY 10013 New York
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    This hot Tribeca spot serves some of the best Italian food in the city. Reservations are a must.


    159 Lexington Avenue
    NY 10016 New York
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    A Midtown brunch classic, this place fills up fast. The pancakes are fluffy and delicious.

    Fanelli Café

    94 Prince Street
    NY 10012 New York
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    A renowned corner joint in SoHo serving great salads and sandwiches.


    Calendar of events

    Chinese New Year

    16 February 2018

    Venue: Chinatown

    This is one of the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations in the country, and always draws big crowds. There are several celebrations in New York, with firecrackers, parades and dragon-clad dance troupes. This always falls in either January or February, though the date changes every year.

    The Armory Show

    8 – 11 March 2018

    Venue: Piers 92 & 94

    New York has no shortage of art fairs, but the annual Armory Show is considered by dealers and collectors alike to be one of the most important fairs of international modern and contemporary work.

    Tribeca Film Festival

    18 – 29 April 2018

    Venue: Throughout the city

    This film festival was founded by actor-director Robert De Niro in 2003 as part of a post-9/11 effort to attract visitors to return to lower Manhattan. In less than a decade, it has become New York’s premiere film festival. In addition to film screenings, there are talks, panels and a street fair.


    May – October 2018

    Venue: Central Park

    A fantastic free performing arts festival that takes place in Central Park each year. It was founded in 1986 and features a wide range of top-name performers across genres – including music, dance, theatre and spoken word. Many events are free. Other NYC parks also host similar events throughout the summer.

    Bryant Park Summer Film Festival

    Juni – August 2018

    Venue: Bryant Park, 42nd Street

    From June to August, this grassy Midtown park screens outdoor films on Monday nights. Picnics abound, and the film choices are usually well-known classics rather than new releases. Films start around sunset, and the lawn opens at 5pm; go early to get a spot.

    Mermaid Parade

    16 June 2018

    Venue: 1208 Surf Avenue, Coney Island

    The city’s most informal and most lively parade has a nautical theme, and features women and men alike dressed in glittering and riotous costumes and covered in ample body paint. The city’s classic theme parks provide the perfect backdrop to this celebration of the weird and wonderful.


    15 – 24 June 2018

    Venue: Upper Fifth Avenue to the Village

    The annual lesbian and gay pride march, which travels southwards down Fifth Avenue and ends in Greenwich Village, with a street festival and dance party. Expect outlandish costumes and behaviour, but high spirits and inclusive attitudes.

    Independence Day

    4 July 2018

    Venue: West side, Manhattan

    Most towns and cities host their own Fourth of July celebrations, but certainly the best known of these is in New York City and is hosted by Macy’s. Get a spot early in the day as west side Manhattan streets fill up with spectators eager to see the impressive fireworks show over the Hudson River.

    Greenwich Village Halloween Parade

    31 October 2018

    Venue: Along sixth Avenue

    Puppeteers, bands, performers and freaks of all persuasions come out to join the exuberant costume parade. Anyone in costume can join in and it’s always one of the city’s most jubilant celebrations. The parade starts on the edge of Soho and goes up through Greenwich Village.

    New York City Marathon

    4 November 2018

    Venue: Throughout the city

    One of the world’s most popular marathons, the New York City Marathon has been held since 1970 and attracts 50,000 runners every year. The race route runs through all five of New York City’s boroughs.

    Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

    22 November 2018

    Venue: 72nd Street to 34th Street

    This is something of a New York institution, featuring huge hot-air balloons in the shape of cartoon characters, such as Snoopy, the Pink Panther and Mickey Mouse. Arrive early and dress warmly, as it’s often a cold day.

    New Year's Eve

    31 December 2018

    Venue: Times Square

    A million people come to New York each year with the express purpose of ringing in the new year by watching the ball drop in Times Square. If you dare to brave the cold and the crowds, you can celebrate the more than century-old tradition, too.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.


    Hotels in New York City


    Finding a cheap hotel room in New York is tougher than winning the lottery.

    The city has plenty of superb top-end options though, with a growing number of decent, cheaper alternatives.

    St. Regis New York

    Two East 55th Street, at Fifth Avenue
    NY 10022 New York
    Tel.: +1 (212) 753-4500
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    The St. Regis New York is indisputably one of the most exclusive hotels in the world. From the marble floor in the lobby, to silk-wallpapered rooms and glittering crystal chandeliers, luxury is writ large at the St. Regis. In line with the hotel’s motto, which was also that of its founder, John Jacob Astor IV, guests should feel they have been personally invited into the Astors’ home. The building dates from 1904 but has recently been fully refurbished. Its central location on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street in Manhattan also makes the hotel an excellent choice for visitors wishing to explore the city’s many attractions.

    The Standard High Line

    848 Washington Street
    NY 10014 New York
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    The New York outpost of LA’s Standard hotel is an opulent palace, with huge views across the Hudson River and Downtown.

    W New York – Times Square

    1567 Broadway
    NY 10036 New York
    Tel.: +1 (212) 930-7400
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    This outpost of the Starwood chain is situated right at the heart of the city. Not only does the lobby on the seventh floor boast a hip, ultramodern feel, but the rest of the hotel maintains the same level of style and chic. And thanks to sound-excluding double glazing, guests can enjoy the view over Times Square in peace.

    Union Hotel Brooklyn

    611 Degraw Street
    NY 11217 New York
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Based in southern Brooklyn, this sharp hotel has excellent subway access for Manhattan sightseeing.

    Econo Lodge

    302 West 47th Street
    NY 10036 New York
    Tel.: +1 (212) 246-1991
    Show on map

    Category: Cheap

    Traveling on a shoestring but still wishing to spend the night in New York City? Then this could be the hotel for you. The rooms are on the small side, but fit for purpose and satisfactory. The Lodge’s outstanding attraction is its central location.

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Friday, 20.07.2018 16:00 UTC




    wind speed

    0.625 mph



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    Climate and best time to visit New York City

    NYC is never quiet, tourists flocking to its wide avenues all year long. But the best times to see the city at its finest are in spring and autumn. From April to June, New York shakes off the annual big freeze and blooms, the sun bringing all life out onto its busy streets. In autumn, Central Park is awash with colour and the cool temperatures make rushing around Gotham more bearable. Summers can be excruciatingly hot, soaring temperatures combining with city concrete to make it feel like a true urban jungle. And if you don’t like it cold, it’s best to avoid town in January and February too.

    Climate & best time to visit the United States of America

    The United States has varied weather conditions, and the best time to visit depends both upon the location and the season. Spring (March, April, May) and autumn (September and October) are generally cooler, more comfortable times to visit. Summer months – June, July, and August – are generally hot regardless of the region, but winter temperatures (November-February) can vary substantially depending upon the part of the US you are visiting. The southern part of the country tends to be warmer in the winter than the north. The general climate of the continental US is temperate, but keep in mind that Hawaii is tropical and Alaska is arctic. Many of the country’s dependent territories, such as Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, are also tropical.

    Summer is considered the peak tourist season throughout the country; other popular travel times are major American holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as Easter Week and the school holiday known as Spring Break. Certain destinations, such as New York, are perennial favourites and are busy year-round; even when the weather may not be pleasant, these destinations have particular attractions or experiences that always draw travellers. In some parts of the country, travel services may be limited during the low or off-season, largely due to weather conditions.


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    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute minØ absolute minrelative humidityØ precipitationdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
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    year41 °C-26 °C16 °C8 °C63 %1201 mm946.9 h

    Typical for New York are the differences, that’s all

    New York City, Travelguide, Travel Guide, Reiseführer, Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Sophie AusterNew York City, Travelguide, Travel Guide, Reiseführer, Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Sophie AusterNew York City, Travelguide, Travel Guide, Reiseführer, Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Sophie AusterNew York City, Travelguide, Travel Guide, Reiseführer, Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Sophie AusterNew York City, Travelguide, Travel Guide, Reiseführer, Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Sophie Auster
    Anything is possible in this city

    Practically anything is possible in this city – any day, any time. Sophie Auster, musician and daughter of the famous authors Auster and Hustvedt, lets us in on the secrets of her hometown.

    It’s a sunny morning on West Broadway. Sophie Auster sits on a bench, a latte to go in her hand, her dark eyes hidden behind sunglasses. That way, you don’t see the dark rings under her eyes that she may well have inherited from her father, the author Paul Auster. But maybe they are just a souvenir from her last short trip to Madrid just a couple of days ago. Jet lag? Sophie shakes her head: “There was no time for that. I gave a private concert, went to a party, and before I knew it I was back on the plane and heading for home.”

    Home, that’s an apartment in TriBeCa, the eternally cool Triangle Below Canal Street. Sophie lives in a modern building of glass and steel, a neat seven stories high, between scruffy auto repair shops and cool eateries, like the Dylan Prime and the Smith & Mills. Robert de Niro’s luxury hotel, The Greenwich, is just a couple of blocks away, its gym is very popular with New York’s upper class. There are glasses standing around in Sophie’s kitchen, discarded socks on the floor in her bedroom, and next to the sofa, four guitars stand propped against the wall. The Gretsch 1967 is her absolute favorite.

    Musical adaptations of poems

    Sophie Auster, 28, is a musician. She has just completed her third album, Dogs and Men. Like most young artistes, she grabs every opportunity to promote her career. She loves being up on a stage and regularly performs at New York clubs. Somehow, though, her clear, powerful tones and haunting music seem out of place with her girlish looks.

    Is it true you’ve had that voice since you were a teenager?
    “I’ve been taking singing lessons since I was eight years old. I was 16 when the New York duo One Ring Zero asked my father for some lyrics, and the two of them were constantly hanging around our place. One day I said: ‘You know what? I sing!’ Then I actually got to sing a song on their next album. That sparked the idea for me to make another recording with musical adaptations of poems. We found a tiny sound studio in Brooklyn, and worked there really intensively during my school vacations and on weekends. That’s how my first album came about.”

    And that got you hooked on recording?
    “No, that came later. Having an album of my own was fantastic, but I regarded it more as a nice gift for my grandmother. Then a friend from France came to visit. She liked my voice and arranged another recording for me, so when I was still in my first year at college, I already had an album produced in Europe. This attracted the attention of the press, and I started to receive invitations to sing at festivals and began touring in a small way. Gradually I began to realize that this could be my path in life.”

    What kind of music do you make today?
    “I’d say it was pop in the broadest sense. I’m a singer-songwriter; I compose my own music and write all the lyrics myself. When I was a teenager, I listened to a lot of jazz and Gerschwin. Maybe I just came into the world too late because my songs are much more on the 1970s/’80s wavelength. The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed – they are all musicians I feel an affinity with.”

    Too good for second hand and too new for vintage

    Sophie’s flirtation with the past is not just a musical one. Her favorite dress is a ten-year-old, floor-length Oscar de la Renta creation in delicate shades of coral and pistachio. She picked it up at Ina in SoHo, a commission store, where models, fashion editors and wealthy New Yorkers pass on their barely worn designer clothes. The boutique’s founder, Ina Bernstein, was one of the first to realize that there was a market for such garments – clothes that were too good for second hand and too new for vintage. That was 20 years ago and today there are six Ina stores in downtown Manhattan, where Sophie likes to look for flowing dresses and unusual accessories. But today, she decides 550 dollars for a funnel-shaped cap made of real leopard skin is still just a little bit too much for her.

    She’s in luck at Other Music, though, where she buys a few vinyls. She’s a familiar face here although (or precisely because) her two albums are long out of stock. Sophie Auster is a loyal customer; she likes this unspectacular shop in NoHo, which has always done its bit for the New York music scene. Unlike the better known Tower Records and the Virgin Megastore near Union Square, Other Music has survived the hard times of the music industry, thanks in part to the carefully compiled selection of alternative and underground indie music. Sophie’s search for a Kate Bush recording is unsuccessful, but she comes across a couple of Scott Walker and Tom Waits vinyls to take to the checkout, where she chats briefly before she heading out to a lunch date – with her mother, the author Siri Hustvedt.

    Swimming against the tide

    What’s it like being the daughter of famous parents? Has your name opened doors for you?
    “To be honest, I find that question irritating. I have a very close relationship with my parents; they are my best friends. But it bothers me when people constantly ask me about them. The music business is tough and sometimes I have no idea how to get ahead. But how could they open doors for me? My parents write books! If I wanted to publish a novel, they could probably give me a few tips. But I have no plans in that direction.”

    So you wouldn’t say you got your creative talent from your parents?
    “We are a creative family, for sure. Nevertheless, each of us does our own thing. I have to say that it was a big help, though, having parents who understood about creativity, and that helped me to develop mine. There was no one there telling me to train for a proper job. I was allowed to find out what I enjoyed doing and encouraged to follow that route.”

    Your parents live in Brooklyn. Why did you move to Manhattan?
    “I know everyone else does it the other way around, but I just happen to like swimming against the tide. Also, I wanted to try out something new. I didn’t know what living in the city was like. That was six years ago and now I would like to go back to Brooklyn. My friends are there, my recording studio – and my favorite bars.”

    The typical New Yorker doesn’t exist

    The Smile is a small restaurant with a worn wooden floor, brick walls and a dark wooden ceiling. Every table is taken; it’s loud and very cozy. Sophie orders lemonade with basil and a salad with avocado and chicken breast – lots of organic or otherwise healthy ingredients. Her mother immediately orders the same: “If Sophie likes it, I will, too.” Siri Hustvedt is approaching 60, very tall, fine-boned and very blond. Her family is from Norway, but she was raised in Minnesota and came to New York 36 years ago. “It’s really easy to become a New Yorker because outsiders feel right at home here in next to no time,” she says, adding that “Forty percent of all New Yorkers were born somewhere else, anyway. Isn’t that a nice statistic?” So you could even love the city because everyone here has an accent.

    What appeals to Sophie particularly is the great diversity of people and lifestyles. The typical New Yorker, she says, just doesn’t exist. Typical for New York are the differences, that’s all. Everyone can live the way he or she likes – and anything is possible any time.

    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile Telephone

    Dialing Code: +1


    Public telephones have become a rarity, but can still be found here and there. They take coins, telephone cards and credit cards. If you care planning to make regular use of public phones, it’s best to purchase a prepaid calling card from one of the many U.S. providers.

    Mobile Telephone

    Not all European cell phones work on the American network, since it requires a tri-band or quad-band device. Full network coverage is not always assured outside densely population areas. Roaming charges are high here, so it is often cheaper to buy a SIM card from a U.S. provider. Low-cost prepaid SIM cards for making calls inside the country can be ordered online before you travel.


    Free Internet access via Wi-Fi is possible in many busy tourist spots. When using unencrypted public Wi-Fi networks, it is not advisable to enter passwords, credit card details or banking credentials. We recommend using VPN app or security software to check Wi-Fi hotspots.


    Shopping in New York City

    Key Areas

    New York has got shopping covered from every angle. Fifth Avenue’s broad sweep is home to global brands and luxury goods, while further downtown Broadway is awash with major high-street names. SoHo is full of fancy boutiques, while across the East River, Williamsburg and Greenpoint are great for music, books and vintage clothing.


    Foodies should check out Union Square’s Greenmarket (closed Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) as well as the excellent Chelsea Market. Perfect for delicious on-the-go nibbles. Great for unique tees, alternative antiques and hipster spotting, the Brooklyn Flea is held in three locations across the borough; Fort Greene on Saturdays, on the waterfront in Williamsburg on Sundays and Park Slope all weekend.

    Shopping Centres

    Manhattan Mall, The Shops at Columbus Circle and Limelight Shops offer good ‘under one roof’ options for shopaholics. However, NYC is more about classic department stores than modern-day malls. Barney’s, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s all deliver.


    My New York

    Whenever I’m in New York City, I head for the Magnolia Bakery. One of the city’s four branches is located on Bleeker Street. It’s so unremarkable you would likely pass it by if it weren’t for the long line of people outside the shop that lets you know this is where they sell the most scrumptious cupcakes in the world. I have them wrap me some and then make my way to Times Square, where I buy a coffee at one of the many coffee shops and then sit down on the red steps to admire the gigantic advertising and musical billboards.

    Jacqueline Geisler, Crewtipp, New York City, Lufthansa, Travel Guide, Travelguide

    Jacqueline Geisler, flight attendant

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social Conventions

    Americans are renowned for their openness and friendliness to visitors. The wide variety of national origins and the USA’s relatively short history has resulted in numerous cultural and traditional customs living alongside each other. In large cities, people of the same ethnic background often live within defined communities.

    Shaking hands is the usual form of greeting in formal situations and in business meetings. A relaxed and informal atmosphere is usually the norm. As long as the fundamental rules of courtesy are observed, there need be no fear of offending anyone of any background.

    Gifts are appreciated if one is invited to a private home.

    As a rule, dress is casual. High-end restaurants, hotels and clubs may require more formal attire.

    Smoking is increasingly unpopular in the US; it is essential to ask permission before lighting up. Smoking is not allowed on city transport and restricted or forbidden in public buildings in most states. There will be a posted notice where no smoking is requested. An increasing number of states (including California and New York) have banned smoking altogether in bars, restaurants and many public places.

    Good to know


    Main emergency number: 911

    Food & Drink

    Food in the US is safe to eat, and the conditions under which food is prepared and served are regulated by city, state, and federal health and hygiene agencies. In many jurisdictions, it is mandatory for restaurants to have a certificate of health or hygiene, as well as the current grade they have been assigned, posted visibly.

    Although America is famous for its fast food and obesity rates, the local and fresh food movement is very popular in many areas, especially cities, making it easy to eat healthy. A variety of options also makes it easy for people with special dietary needs to find food that suits them, whether their needs are due to health reasons or to religious requirements.

    Tap water is considered safe to drink in the US and is often offered in restaurants before bottled water. Bottled water is available throughout the country, however, both in restaurants and shops, for those who prefer not to drink tap water.

    Other Risks

    The US is generally considered a safe destination for world visitors. Occasional outbreaks of disease, such as West Nile Virus (a mosquito-borne illness) and H1N1 have occurred in recent years, however. Frequent hand-washing and general practices of good hygiene are encouraged to protect oneself against all types of illness.

    Another concern with regard to safety is the possibility of terrorist attacks such as the one that occurred on September 11, 2001. City, state, and federal agencies have stringent anti-terrorism practices in place, however, and direct threats are infrequent.

    Contractual physician of Lufthansa

    Dr. Goldstein, Glenn A.
    115 East 57th Street – 11 Floor
    Suite 1117
    (between Park Avenue and Lexington Av.)
    New York NY 10022
    Tel. +1-212-371-0500

    Please note that Lufthansa accepts no responsibility for the treatment nor will it bear the cost of any treatment.
    Good to know

    Visa & Immigration

    IATA Travel Centre

    The IATA Travel Centre delivers accurate passport, visa and health requirement information at a glance. It is a trusted, centralized source for the latest international travel requirements. The IATA Travel Centre is the most accurate source available because it is based on a comprehensive database used by virtually every airline, and information is gathered from official sources worldwide, such as immigration and police authorities.

    IATA Travel CentreIATA Travel Centre