Things to know about New York
Updated: May 11
I had my first trip to New York in January 2020 and there are a few things that I picked up on that I don't think people get told enough about. I was aware of some of them but not all so here are some things that everyone should know before going to New York.
This is a big one as you have to tip everyone that provides a service (unless it was a bad service and then you don't have to but they will want to know why), taxis, food servers, private drivers, the maids, door staff, bell boys, etc. I find it easier tipping in notes so I put $1 notes in a seperate part of my purse when I get them as change so that I know I always have some for tipping.
If you are in a restaurant, tipping is 20% of the bill unless you have had a bad experience and then you can give less. Sometimes the tip is worked out and put on the bill for you so keep an eye out for that so that you don't end up double tipping which is what I nearly did at one point. We paid for the meal on the card but gave the tip in cash but on the receipt I nearly put the tip amount to be taken off my card, so glad I realised before I gave the receipt back or the waiter would have had the best day ever lol.
You are never more than a few feet from a taxi in New York, you know those pictures of dozens of taxis in New York streets?? That's real, if you look around the street in New York, there will be taxis everywhere. When you get in, other than the top attractions, the best thing to do is tell the driver the full address of the place that you want to go to. New York is a very big place so telling the driver the address is sometimes a lot easier for them. The fare meter is usually a screen that you can see from the back seat, some of them split the fare between the basic fee which is $2.50 and the price that goes up as you go along. Don't forget to give them a few dollars tip as well.
Be careful when looking for a taxi as you may get someone offering to call a taxi for you and as you go to get in the taxi, they will ask for money because they helped you.
Crossing The Road
On every crossing you need to wait for the lights to tell you to go but what I didn't realise at first is that when you are told to cross, vehicles that have also been told to go can drive over the crossing as well. The first time this happened, our light went green to walk over the crossing and a car started coming towards us from the right to go into the street. I thought he had gone through a red light until we saw his light was green as well. So keep an eye on cars even if you think you can cross.
I'm pretty sure that everyone that drives in New York loves the sound of their car horn because it is all you ever hear other than in the early hours of the morning haha.
Get An Attraction Pass
I was really surprised at the length of the queues at attractions of people who were just turning up and paying on the day when the queues for people with passes were a lot shorter. You save a lot of money as well by getting an attractions pass as you get a discount. We paid £155 each for our attraction passes and we saved loads of money and time queuing up.
Don't Get Conned
The 2 main cons that you will come across in New York is the Photo and the CD.
The Photo con is where someone who is dressed up as a super hero or Disney character will go up to people who are taking pictures and try to get in the picture with them. Once the picture has been taken, they will insist on being paid for it. I have heard people say that they have still be pressured for money even after they have shown they deleted the picture.
The CD con is where you are handed a CD by a random person, normally in a CD sleve like a cheaply produced single, and as soon as it's in your hand, they will demand payment. If you try to give it back to them, they will refuse to take it back. If you manage to get away before they ask for money, they will follow you saying that they want to sign the CD for you so that you stop walking and that's when they demand payment.
I know this one is a given and I knew it was going to busy when I was there but wow, I have never been so close to so many people in a short space of time.
It's Super Clean
Sounds strange but everywhere I went in New York, it was clean, I hardly ever saw rubbish on the floor. The city have fantastic cleaning staff who are on it 24 hours a day to keep the streets as clean as possible.
Meds Cost A Fortune
Unfortunetly I became extremely sick while on my trip, I got a nasty chest and ear infection which started off as just a bit of a cough and cold, I hadn't taken many ibuprofen tablets with me so I went to the pharmacy to see what I could pick up. In the UK, I can pick up a pack of 24 ibuprofen for 24p, in New York I got 40 for $7.99. So make sure that you take your own pain killers with you just in case you need them.
Subway Is The Fastest Way To Get Around
Now, I love open top buses to see a city but if you want to just get somewhere quickly, get the subway. It's fast and regular so I would highly recommend taking it for quick trips. You can get buses but if there is lots of traffic, they aren't very quick.
What Is Stated On The Menu Is What You Get
I know, another one that sounds obvious but usually on a menu when I have been out to eat, it will say "Comes with salad/chips/jacket potato", so the first time I ordered a burger and all I got was a burger, I was a little confused. So make sure you read the menu to see whats included as you may need to order some sides.
Don't Be Scared To Say No Thanks
You will get a lot of people trying to sell you things as you walk along the streets, open top bus tours, horse and carage rides, souvenirs, tours, food and anything else they can think of so if you won't want it, just say no thanks. If they are selling tickets to something, just say no thanks or that you already have tickets and keep walking, they will soon leave you alone.
So there you go, they are the things that I think everyone should know before going to New York, I hope there are a few things there that you didn't know so that you are now aware of them.
Stay safe xx