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5 Travel Tips for New York City
Culture. People. Food. Power. Art. The city that never sleeps has it all, but like every city, there are still some precautions you should always take to ensure that you have a fun, safe trip to New York City! Here are five tips we’ve put together to help you have a great time when you visit the Big Apple!
1. Following the Crowd
There is safety in numbers and one of the most beautiful things about NYC is that there is certainly no lack of people. New York is a big "See something, say something" city with people who look out for each other, so try to reap the benefit of the crowds whenever possible and avoid wondering around areas alone.
That being said, you should always be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables tucked away to avoid any pickpockets in crowded streets.
2. Getting Around and Transportation
New York is probably one of the best pedestrian cities out there with 24 hour public transportation, wide sidewalks and thousands of cabs constantly running. Here are some tips for getting around:
Getting to the City
There are a variety of ways to get to and out of New York City, including busses (Port Authority, Penn Station), Airplanes (JFK, LaGuardia) and trains (Grand Central Station, Penn Station). You should always be cautious in these hubs as they're often very busy. Being aware of yourself, your belowings and your surroundings should be enough to keep you safe.
When getting from the airport to the city, be sure to avoid any of the "gypsy cabs" that may try to solicit you in the baggage claim area or along the exits of the airport. Instead, use any of the various transportation options offered by the city (bus, train or yellow cab) or arrange for a pick up with one of the many shuttle services that are available. Both LaGuardia and JFK have information desks in the baggage claim areas that can help you find the right option for you - don't be shy to ask!
New York is a great pedestrian city, but you should always exercise caution by avoiding secluded places and by being aware of yourself, your belongings and your surroundings at all times.
Public Transportation (Rocks!)
Busses / Subways - Both busses and subways run 24 hours a day, but are less frequent at night. Before you start exploring, be sure to check ahead of time on your mobile device or computer (www.mta.info) to see what time the routes you will be taking shift frequency so that you can better plan your trip home. You should always exercise caution in stations as there is not always an attendant present and you may be waiting a while for the next train if it is late in the evening. You should also ALWAYS stand back from the tracks to avoid falling on to them.
Taxi Cabs - Cabs are widely available throughout New York and its boroughs, but are especially common in Manhattan. When hailing a cab in Manhattan, be sure to avoid the many "gypsy cabs" and only accept rides from the distinctively yellow city cabs. When you get in the cab, describe your destination by cross streets. For payment, all cabs accept credit cards. It's also customary to give your driver a 10-20% gratuity.
3. Exploring Green Spaces in NYC
There are many green spaces in New York, including Central Park and the Chelsea Highline in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and more are being added to the city every year. These areas are best explored during the day and avoided at night!
4. Knowing the Neighborhoods
The best way to learn about neighborhoods to visit or avoid is to chat with a local Tripper or your host. Neighborhoods are constantly changing in New York and talking to a local can help you avoid dangerous areas and better navigate the neighborhood where you are staying. New Yorkers also almost always use cross streets instead of exact addresses. You'll have a better time getting around and meeting with people if you get in the habit of noting cross streets when looking up or getting directions and using them when directing cabs or coordinating with friends.
5. Partying in New York
Going out in the city that never sleeps can be a great time especially if enjoyed safely. Whether it’s clubbing, dive bars, live music or karaoke, you’ll be able to find your scene in a neighborhood in New York. Here are some things to keep in mind while partying in NYC:
- The more, the merrier - and the safer! Don’t go it alone. It’s more fun and much safer to be with others when you go out at night.
- Drinking age: 21, no exception.
- Last call: 4:00am every night of the week.
- Getting home: public transportation runs 24 hours, though tends to be a little slower and less frequent at night. Cabs are also widely available.