New York is large but if you break it down into neighborhoods and arm yourself with a map and subway map, you can enjoy seeing the various sections, which can be totally different.  Know that 5th Ave. divides the city in terms of addresses so that 1 E. 10 St. (or any Street) is immediately east of Fifth Ave. while 1 W. any street takes you west - and numbers get higher as you move farther from Fifth Ave.  Avenues, too, will be numbered by uptown/downtown - and you can figure out where you want to be.  Don’t be frightened.  It’s easy enough to figure out subways and buses. 

Depending how much time you have, decide which areas are your priority and visit them.  You can combine downtown sites, such as Chinatown, Soho and the East Village - or perhaps Tribeca, the 9/11 memorial, the West Village and Chelsea (which will also include the Meat Packing District). 

Visitors seem to be asking where to eat in the theater district but it’s easy (and quick) to get pretty much anywhere, which means you don’t have to limit yourself unless you’re catching a play and don’t have time to go elsewhere.

Hell's Kitchen (a neighborhood very near the Theater District) has become a thriving restaurant destination, and choices include a number of lower cost options and a great range of cuisines. NYC forum regular Ziggy has assembled a guide to the area's restaurants:  The Hell's Kitchen Survival Guide

MenuPages is a good resource for finding restaurants to suit your mood and location.  As the name implies, you can read menus, see ratings, and sort by price estimate. 

If you’re trying to keep costs down, think Ethnic!  There are Indian restaurants in the East 20’s, Chinatown, and other places scattered about that don’t have to cost a fortune.  

Don’t be intimidated.  Ask what you need to know.  Have a great time here.  Cover some territory.  If you have time, you may want to see the Russian community in Brighton Beach or some of the ethnic neighborhoods in Queens, Italian places in the Bronx, go for it.

Walk a lot!  The best way to experience New York city is by walking through different neighborhoods. By walking from Wall Street to 86th Street on the East side a few times, you will be able to tell everyone about the best Turkish restaurant, the best Falafel place, the best Dim Sum.   If you get tired of walking, take the subway.   Carry the subway map around at all times.  The trains are marked very clearly and have meaning behind the numbers/alphabets behind them.   

To experience more of New York, try staying in a hotel or apartment in a neighbourhood (such as the Upper West Side). With transport links being good, it takes just a few minutes to get on the subway and be back in the hustle and bustle that is Midtown. You’ll find lots of neighbourhood bars and cafes and if you’re travelling with children, it’s easier to get around these areas as well.

To get an even better feel of the neighborhoods of NYC leave Manhattan and head over to Brooklyn - check out Prospect Park in Brooklyn for some fabulous architecture, Brighton Beach (aka "little Odessa by the sea"), or Williamsburg.