Have you lost track of what's what and where's what in New York? Don't know where to go? Downtown, Manhattan, Brooklyn? Can't figure out how the grid works? No stress. We've come to your rescue.
New York City is in the state of New York. And although it is the largest city in the Province of New York (and of all North-America), it is not the capital. That's Albany. For exactly that reason, New York (as in the city) is often referred to as New York City. So we all know that we are talking about the city instead of the state. New York City consists of 5 boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.
For most people Manhattan equals New York City. Just because that's where the most known highlights are and well, because downtown, midtown and uptown Manhattan is a lot to cover during a first visit. The borough Brooklyn has become a favorite spot and place to go check out for many tourists over the past years and Queens certainly is a runner up.
Back to Manhattan with its many neighborhoods, each with a vibe of its own, and unique grid (we explain the grid of Manhattan here):
Downtown refers to the Southern part of Manhattan, all streets South of or below the 14th street.
Midtown refers to the middle of Manhattan, all streets between the 14th and 59th street/Central Park.
Uptown refers to the Northern part of Manhattan, all streets North of 59th Street.
Last but not least, you have to know about East and West. If you look at the map below, everything on the right side (east of) of Central Park is referred to as Upper East Side. Everything on the left side (west of) Central Park is referred to as the Upper West Side. This can be extended to the grid of Manhattan. Fifth Avenue is where East and West are divided. Everything to the right of 5th Avenue is designated East, everything left of 5th Avenue is referred to as West.