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Rockstar has recreated four of the five boroughs in New York City, as well as parts of New Jersey. Broker is the GTA IV equivalent of Brooklyn, Manhattan is now called Algonquin, Queens is now Dukes, the Bronx is Bohan, and New Jersey is Alderney (after the Channel Island of the same name). The map is smaller than Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, but more detailed, and will in fact be larger than any previous individual cities in the GTA series. The developers are still deciding whether bridges will be used to cordon off certain areas, by way of blocking access to cross them.

The GTA IV equivalent of the Statue of Liberty is called the "Statue of Happiness", and DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is known as "BOABO" (Beneath the Offramp of the Algoquin Bridge Overpass).

Another building called "Twitchins", the GTA version of Brooklyn's Domino's Sugar Factory, is in the game.

A Staten Island-esque area will not be featured in the game for the reason that Rockstar believes it would not be fun to play there; Dan Houser also states that that there would not be any "dead spots" or "irrelevant space" within Liberty City.

Pedestrians are much more intelligent, realistic and diverse, using mobile phones, cash machines, eating snacks, reading newspapers and interacting with each other through laughter and threatening remarks. Pedestrians and traffic flow will also be different depending on the time of day.

Dan Houser has also confirmed that an area resembling Central Park will be in the game.

It has been announced that some meetings in the game will take place high in the office buildings of skyscrapers.