Start planning at www.nyc visit.com which has links and details for offbeat tours such as a Melting Pot Food Tour of the Lower East Side ($45, 001 646 209 4724) and a hip-hop walking tour of Harlem ($25, 001 212 209 3370).
If it's your first visit get the highs and lows: see the skyline from the Top of the Rock (www.topofthe rocknyc.com) at Rockefeller Plaza the Empire State Building (www.esbnyc.com) is being refurbished and get toe to toe with the Statue of Liberty on a Circle Line boat tour (www.circleline42.com) around Manhattan Island.
Save money with a New York CityPass (www.citypass.com), which will get you into the half-dozen top attractions, including MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), the Guggenheim and the Met Museum ($65, valid for nine days), or check out what's on Broadway at www.playbill.com.
If you've been before, get out to the boroughs. Subway 7 through Queens is known as the "International Express" every stop will expose you to a different ethnic culture. Hop on and off for a dinner that may have a Vietnamese starter, an Indian main course and a Latin American dessert.
Virgin Atlantic (08705 747747, www.virgin atlantic.com) is offering returns from Heathrow from pound;239 for travel until December 1. American Airlines (020 7365 0777, www.americanairlines.co.uk) flies from Heathrow from pound;223 (if booked online) and is launching a new service from Stansted on October 29. Go for the end of half-term and catch the annual Hallowe'en parade in Greenwich Village on October 31
What to do
The best way to see the NY skyline is to go on a boat trip. Do not take an expensive tour around the harbour from Battery Park though, just make a return journey on the free Staten Island ferry.
Don't go up the Empire State Building unless the visibility is superb, because it is a total waste of money otherwise.
Where to stay
Don't bother forking out for a really expensive hotel as you will hardly spend any time there we certainly didn't. We stayed (a few years ago though) in www.radiocityapts.com, which are extremely cheap and cheerful, not particularly well fitted out but all you need is a bed and a shower.
What to buy
If you are interested in buying a new camera, I would suggest holding off the purchase until you get there and then visiting BH (www.bhphotovideo.com) on Ninth Avenue. It is without doubt the cheapest camera shop in NY.