New York Virgin

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by ruperty, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. ruperty

    ruperty Member

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    I'm going to New York in January for 5 days. I've never been before and was wondering, as their are so many New Yorkers and presumably people who've been there on LPSG, where are the best places to go and what are the best things to do? I've already planned out the basic touristy thing of Rockefeller Ctr, Empire, Statue o Liberty etc etc. There have got to be thousands of hidden gems in that city and would appreciate any tips.

    Speaking of tips, is it true that you gotta tip 15-20% at meals and cab rides cos that makes things a lot more expensive. Do people not get paid???
     
  2. Nekoman

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    The best way to see NYC is just to walk around all the neighborhoods and take in the city street life. East Village, West Village, Fifth Ave Uptown, Central Park (a must) Upper West Side, Times Square, Chelsea, Soho, Tribeca. It depends on what you like to do - shop for clothes, browse art galleries, museums, nice restaurants, see shows?

    Yes, you do need to tip meals and cabs. 15% is ok. People like waiters get paid, but a small percentage is from salary - the larger part is from tips. Ya gotta do it. NY is not cheap anyway you see it, but you can save alot by cooking and eating meals at home if you have a kitchen at your disposal. Also save money by taking subways instead of cabs.
     
  3. ruperty

    ruperty Member

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    Thanks. I want to do a bit of everything really - shopping, sight seeing, museums etc. Vague question, but how much are taxis and subways? someone told me the subways were not nice when they went (a couple of years ago i think) - is that still the case?
     
  4. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    The subways aren't as clean as London but they're by far the best way to get around. Taxis are expensive:

    Metered Rate of Fare
    • $2.50 upon entry
    • $0.40 for each additional unit The unit fare is:
    • one-fifth of a mile, when the taxicab is traveling at 6 miles an hour or more; or
    • 60 seconds when not in motion or traveling at less than 12 miles per hour.
    • The taximeter shall combine fractional measures of distance and time in accruing a unit of fare. Any combination of distance or time shall be computed by the taximeter in accordance with the National Bureau of Standards.
    • The fare shall include pre-assessment of the unit currently being accrued; the amount due may therefore include a full unit charge for a final, fractional unit.
    • Night surcharge of $.50 after 8:00 PM & before 6:00 AM
    • Peak hour Weekday Surcharge of $1.00 Monday - Friday after 4:00 PM & before 8:00 PM
    The subway is $2 each ride though you can transfer trains for free if you stay within the station. Be aware that various numbered and lettered trains run on the same track and they go different places! Make sure you get on the right train. The subway is quite safe though after 10pm or so I'd take taxis.

    Besides the subway, most people walk. Bring and wear the most comfortable sneakers (trainers?) you have but also be prepared for snow and slush in early January. The Atlantic wind channeled down the concrete canyons can be unbelievably bitter. Bring or buy scarves and a long coat. Good, warm, leather gloves which allow some finger dexterity are essential and so is a warm hat that covers the ears. Walking is a big deal in New York. Be prepared to do a lot of it!

    Yes! Do tip! New Yorkers are generally generous tippers, averaging 20&#37;. Here in the US waitstaff are paid less than minimum wage and legally so because it's assumed the majority of their wages will be in tips. Tip your bellboy $2-3 per service, same amount for the doorman if he hails you a cab, tip the cabbie 15-20%, and waitstaff should see 20% of pretax total. If the hotel maid has been really great, I give her $20-30 for a few days' stay.

    Psst--- don't fall for 3 card monte and the Rolexes are fakes. Do eat the chestnuts, do eat the pretzels, do stop for pizza, bagels, and gyros. Some of New York's best food is off the street. New Yorkers are generally friendly people but do avoid eye contact on the subway or with any panhandlers. If you've been to Paris then expect New Yorkers to focus on going about their business however you'll generally find people you run into are very friendly. New Yorkers love Brits. The city is loaded with them.

    And for the dear love of life remind yourself to always LOOK LEFT!!
     
  5. ruperty

    ruperty Member

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    thanks for that jason, helps a lot. I don't mind the walking; i'm used to it.

    i'll use the subway then whenever possible considering it's only $2 - that's great. i suppose i've got to expect it to be expensive considering it's one of the biggest cities in the world.

    my friend went last december and said it gets colder than england (which really worries me!), so i'm going to be wearing layers (coats, jumpers, hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, boots, you name it) on the plane to keep luggage light!

    thanks for the heads-up on looking left too ;)
     
  6. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Oh!

    Here's a map of the subway system. Print the PDF version and take it with you. There are little ones on cards you can find in newsstands but a nice big one is worth it.

    Glad to be of help! What a lot of people do, since the dollar is in the toilet, is to pack light and then buy clothes while in New York. You can ship back anything fairly bulky for not a lot of money plus it'll save you the hassle of declaring later.
     
  7. ruperty

    ruperty Member

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    great help again thanks. i'll keep that to hand. do you know how declaring works? i've never had to do it before. do customs search randomly or anything?
     
  8. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    It's a bit weird. If you declare nothing then they may think you're lying and will search you for anything that looks like it was purchased recently in the US. This is why it helps to look like a penniless hostel student-type if you can get away with it. Declare too much and they'll search you anyway. My friend who now lives in Ireland just ships everything back to Ireland. He keeps the receipts in case customs asks when he comes home but so far they never have. It's just a world easier to take an hour on the day before you go home to pack-up your purchases and just send them back. It'll help you out of the airport much faster. I think the UK allows you to come home with &#65505;145 worth of miscellaneous goods. You purchase more than that then you have to pay duty on the excess. It's easy to spend that shopping in New York, particularly if you're looking for good clothes. They will also look for anything that might have been purchased in the US like electronics. If they decide you didn't bring your iPod with you to the US then you may have to pay duty on it unless you can produce a receipt to show it was purchased in the EU and who travels with receipts??

    With the way flying between here and there is now, I'd pack a carry-on bag with basic necessities, wear your layers, and then go shopping the day you arrive. The biggest tourist attraction in the United States, Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, is quite near me and there are buses that take people up from New York for a day or half a day of shopping. Believe it or not the Japanese fly here to New York, go to Woodbury Common, get back on the plane and never see anything else. The prices are amazing. The trick is to pack it all up before you leave and send it home to yourself. Worry about the duty taxes after you get home. This way you travel light and easy, don't have to worry about excess or lost luggage, and going through customs takes a much shorter amount of time.
     
  9. AlteredEgo

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    The subway is 100 years old. It smells bad, and most downtown stations are clean, but others are quite dirty. Still, if you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to go out. That' s the attitiude of New Yorkers. So, if money is a concern, let me assure you you need to ride the subway. Cabs are very costly. A cab from Times Square to Chinatown will be $12-16 plus 10&#37; or $1 tip. A subway ride? $2. The subway is safe, well lit, and full of people 24/7. Who is you cab driver? Do you know him? Well you're alone with him. I'm just sayin'.

    Tip bartenders $1/drink in bars and clubs. Tip barbers, massage therapists, and waitstaff 15-20%. Of course, if you receive poor service, do not tip (or reduce your tip). Also, check your bill to be sure a gratuity has not already been included.

    While you're here, besure to eat Pizza. The best Pizza is in BROOKLYN. But, if you're afraid to go to the outer borroughs, There is truly excellent Pizza in the East Village by St. Mark's Place. While you're down by St. Mark's, be sure to spin the Cube. You'll see it. Accross the street from Cooper Union and the 6 train (Astor Place Station). Beware, you can be ticketed for misdemeanor mayhem ( I shit you not.). It's not likely, but technically, it can happen. Also, it's rude to spin the cube if someone is sleeping under it.

    I usually tell people to visit one of our awesome zoos, but that's not much fun in January. Instead, go to the Aquarium. It's on Coney Island. Be back on the train before dark. The last time I was down there, the neighborhood around the Aquarium wasn't great, and tourists clearly stand out as tourists here. Do a web search to find out what time they feed the sharks. I think it's 3PM.

    Eat dessert at Serendipity. It's expensive, but something to do once before you die. Do NOT go on the weekend. In fact, if they take reservations, make one. They are famous for Frozen Hot Chocolate. If you buy one, you'll know why. Prepare for a long wait and sticker shock.

    Do a historical tour of Harlem.

    Are you religious? Whatever your faith, you can find a worship center with historical roots somewhere in the city. New York is a very old city. It was once the nation's capital. I'm sure you can find a church, temple or mosque ten days older than dirt to suit your needs.

    When you respond to this thread, please include the dates you plan to travel. It's much easier to guide you with that information. The city always has something free happening.

    I also suggest you buy a copy of Time Out NY the week before your visit, as well as the week of your visit.

    Want to see a Broadway show, but can't spend much money? There's a play called Perfect Crime that is just off-broadway. If you go to the TKTS kiosk in Times Square the ticket is only $25, and because ity isn't a musical, you won't have to wait on the long lines at the kiosk. Just go straight to the front, and look for the line for the non-musical plays. There won't be more than 10 people on it.

    The best karaoke is in Gay bars. It's usually free. In Japanese restaurants and bars, it can be $1-2/song.

    Have a nice visit.
     
  10. Principessa

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    In Europe the tip is added into the bill automatically. In the USA it is left up to the customer to tip appropriately. A minimum of 15% is expected in restaurants with wait staff. Waiters in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania only earn $2.25 an hour they live on the tips.

    Buy this book before you go, or soon after you land in the Big Apple! Where to Find It, Buy It, Eat It in New York It lists almost all the restaurants, trattorias, etc. Plus gives great tips on where to buy specific items from sweaters, to leather boots and shoes in odd/large/small sizes. A must stop is Century 21 for discount designer clothes.

    They are usually kinda sooty dirty and smelly, but it's not like you can't sit down. The interior of the trains are clean but not sterile. It's the stations which often appear grimey.


     
  11. ruperty

    ruperty Member

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    thanks for the input guys. looks like all i'm going to be doing is eating though! that's not a good thing considering it's just after christmas!
     
  12. brklyn8

    brklyn8 New Member

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    Hello

    I'm 6'1 / 165 / shaggy blonde / blue / white / 30 / 8x5.5 uncut / D&D free / non-smoker / Top
     
  13. IntoxicatingToxin

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    Hahaha. Someone wants to get laid. :rolleyes:

    I was about to leave some really obnoxious post about you being a bad tipper, then realized you aren't from the US. :biggrin: Yes, tipping is customary, as others have said here. That DOES tend to make it more expensive, but as njqt466 said, waiters and waitresses don't get paid jack crap. Here in KC, they make $2.16/hour, all of which goes to taxes. My brother is a waiter, and he is issued a paycheck every two weeks, but it always amounts to zero dollars and zero cents. I assume cabbies are somewhat the same, considering they have to pay for gas, etc, for their cab. I'm sure what they take home out of a paycheck is nothing compare to what they make in tips.
     
  14. Big en

    Big en New Member

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    Ruperty the subway is much better than the Tube...it is not how it looks on TV. Not only that you do not have the zone bullshit so your 2.50 is from one end to the other. Also trains 24/7. Plus since the dollar is so bad you will get at least $2 to the pound!!!!

    Do tip when you eat out I have been in so many embarrasing situations when I lived in NYC and my UK friends came to visit as the waiters will actually say 'was the service not up to your expectations?' Cringable.

    Last but not least 5 jan you will have major sales on anything!!!!
     
  15. headbang8

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    Ruperty,

    I assume you're travelling on a budget. But are you up for a splurge one evening? It will only be a modest splurge...

    HB8
     
  16. Northland

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    So many questions! New York City is both a wonderful place and a frightening place. When we first arrived, it terrified me almost as much as it riveted me (later I would find myself being riveted in an altogether different way:smile:- another big plus of New York:smile:). Throughout New York City you will find hidden treasures, the best way to avoid the schlocky things is by being a nomad and a gambler! Head out on your own and look around. Go from place to place and try it all, go to the places which you have been told are filled with danger- this is nonsense, danger exists only if you believe it to be so. And do not look like a tourist! However, as additional guide let me offer among other things this website which has many locations listed Forgotten NY it breaks down to many neighborhoods and shows where some of the treasures can be found.

    With cab drivers and the tips- many are working for owners and receive a basic salary. These men and women rely on tips for survival. Then there is the cost of a taxi cab medallion (this means it is licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission-TLC). Over one hundred thousand dollars! Many cab drivers are from other countries and struggling to learn the ways of America and sad for you, also the streets of New York. Make sure you always have an idea how to get where you are going. For example if you step in a cab at Central Park and 70th Street, and wish to go to the west Village (also known as the Real Greenwich Village) at perhpas Hudson Street to see the garden of St.Luke's Church, do not allow them to carry you down Broadway as that would take you East. Some cab drivers are talkers, others are not- you do not have to be conversive if it offends you or if you are just tired from your travels. Tip them well and they mostly will show great thanks. I try to take the 20% and then round up to the next dollar and add at least one dollar more.

    Tips for many others in the service industry are also good. Many waiters, waitresses, bellhops, and such are given small pay. It is assumed that tips will make up the difference (assumed by the employer). Realize the person serving your food has bills to pay and maybe a family to feed as well. Here, as with cab drivers, I round upwards after 20% and then add a dollar. I am not by any means wealthy; but, these people are helping me and deserve this recognition. Additionally, many persons are very cheap and give 10% or less- think of this when you see sadness in the eyes of the service person.

    Avoid upscale restaurants. If there is a line extending 15 to 20 feet or more outside, it is most likely a trendy place. Trendy in most cases means EXPENSIVE! Acquire nourishment at low cost eateries- they are everywhere and the food is good and servings usually larger than in those high cost places. More food for less money- you cannot go wrong.


    Take a joyful ride on the Hell's Island Ferry (Also known as Staten Island Ferry) and wander the streets of Staten Island. The area as you first set foot on the island is filled with many older buildings and houses and is very rich in history. Also many hills! Or just get on the train (the SIRT) and ride to the end of the line in Tottenville. Although it has changed greatly, it still is a very nice place and even though it is part of New York City (as are all 5 boroughs) it is so far removed, you will soon forget that you are in such a big city.
     
  17. Mem

    Mem
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    Yes please tip. If not eat at fast food places or pizza shops without waiter service.

    Yes it gets very cold in January. Expect delays leaving where you are coming and leaving due to the weather. I don't know if you use Fahrenheit, but 32 degrees is the freezing point of water. It can get to 10 degrees or less and the wind chill will lower how the temperature feels by another 10 degrees. The weather can fluctuate. I am 15 miles from Manhattan so we have the same weather system. On Thanksgiving it was 60 degrees and 2 days later it was around 30 degrees. You might even run into a snow storm or blizzard.

    A really cool place to go is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You can see multi-million dollar works by the masters and there are many different areas of the museum.

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: metmuseum.org
     
  18. AlteredEgo

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    I don't know. Some of us told you about things other than food. It might help if you give us the dates of your trip (which I already asked you for) and maybe a clue about who you are and what kinds of things interest you. This is a city where you could send a dozen people and they'd have a dozen different vaccations. If you want help choosing your adventure, you have to help us help you.
     
  19. ruperty

    ruperty Member

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    phew, ok. i'm going between Sat 12th and Thursday 17th Jan. I'm not particularly on a budget but, being English, am naturally stingy with cash.

    I have no problem with tipping - it just seems that the customer pays for everything when the employer should be really. However, different cultures and i respect that.

    I want to amazing architecture, visit a museum about usa history, shop, a lot, for modern styles at cheaper prices like H&M (strong &#163; helps out there), i want to see live bands (indie, jazz, rock i don't mind), i want to be blown away with fantastic views of the city (the best view i currently have is of the m6 motorway...), central park is a defo - a few hours wandering would be nice, i'd like to see famous filming locations i.e dakota building, i want to eat the finest new york or american food whether it's lobster or a hotdog! I WANT I WANT I WANT!

    i've got 4 full days and i'm staying on east 48th st. i love my food so good food and service is a must - i will tip well for service!

    i would've loved to see a baseball or american football game, but believe it's out of season. i wouldn't mind a basketball game if you can recommend it.

    would like to experience old new york - places from 20's to 50's, whether it's old style bars, cafes, museums, librarys.

    oh, what's the best way to get from jfk to east 49th st???

    thanks again everyone, i'm getting a spreasheet of info built up with all this stuff you're showing me! it's a major help. hope this is enough info alteredego. :)
     
  20. ruperty

    ruperty Member

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    does anyone know a good steakhouse?
     
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