New York is well known as the “City of Dreams,” where you can find more dreamers and artists than skyscrapers (and there are a lot of those by the way). The magical city where you can discover so many unexpected things only by looking through the window glass, I must confess that one of my favorite activities it’s to sit outside and look around. There are so many interesting people wearing stunning outfits and also a lot of musicians performing on the sidewalks. In my experience exploring the city has been very easy but these are a few aspects I wish I knew sooner:
– Taking the subway:
To get around New York by train can be way cheaper and way faster than taking a cab, you just gotta make sure that you follow the subway etiquette that basically means not blocking the turnstiles and not dawdling in the entrance to the subway wagons.
Another thing that you should avoid is getting on the empty subway cars while most of the cars are packed, this could mean that this one is unoccupied for a reason, perhaps the ac is broken or it’s dirty and stinks inside of it!
– Celebrity Spotting :
Running into your favorite celebrities is very common in New York, specially if you are around the Times Square area or the Upper East and Upper West side. I’ve got to see many of them (just like Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, Tracy Morgan, Cynthia Nixon, Sabrina Carpenter… And way more); you can see them in their regular routine: taking the subway or eating at a restaurant with their kids… Oh well the New Yorker-y thing to do would be giving them space and pretend that they are not even there!
– Sidewalk rules: keep on walking!
Okay there are not rules that would get you a fine but it’s very important for you to follow them if you don’t want to get run into by an irritated local… It’s not that New Yorkers are exactly rude but they are usually busy and always have to rush to get to a place, most likely work (it’s very common to have more than one job for them since living in the city can be very expensive). So try not to stop in the middle of a crowded sidewalk if you can!
– Know how to tip:
Many of the people that provides you some type of customer service (those like cabbies, restaurants servers, bellhops…) receive a very low hourly rate so they complement their salary with your tips. Because of this the general rule of thumb it’s giving a proper tip. The right amount to tip would be between 15% to 20% of your bill for restaurants and for taxis the system would make it easier for you and would suggest you how much you can tip in the moment that you pay.
– Don’t stay in the iconic places!
You can leave Manhattan ,there are more boroughs and places to explore equally interesting and way less crowded. So don’t be nervous about exploring The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island!
– New York is a very safe city:
Certainly the city can be overwhelming and sometimes stressful for people that are used to quieter places but it’s surprisingly safe despise the bad reputation that it had once.
– What to wear:
Quick note: if you are wearing zip-off hiking pants to a dinner in the East Village, you won’t be treated badly but you will definitely be treated as a tourist.
So you totally want to keep it casual and simple, since it’s really easy to move around New York specially if you have the Maps app on your phone! You won’t need a big paper map or a huge backpack.
– Learn what uptown and downtown means!
This is actually very important and can save you from getting lost specially taking the train… Downtown means “in a southerly direction”, for other side Midtown are called the neighborhoods situated in the middle section of Manhattan, something between 30th street and 59th street.
Uptown generally means anything parallel to, or north of, Central Park. Just keep in mind that all terms are relative.