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Gotham. The Big Apple. The Five Boroughs. The City That Never Sleeps. However you reference New York, New York, you most certainly have a perception of it. When they say there’s nowhere else like New York City in the world, they’re not kidding. Whether this is your first trip into The City or your 100th there are always things that it helps to know from the inside. Here are some travel tips for beginners and experts when you’re visiting New York City.

Blending in with the locals

Most New Yorkers warmly embrace most tourists. But for some there are things that really set some locals off.

  • Heaped bags on the seats of a crowded subway
  • Rude queries for assistance
  • Not saying things like “excuse me” when you bump into someone or “thank you” when the door is held for you
  • Stopping to take pictures in a way that blocks the flow of movement (it's a busy place and everyone is going somewhere, stopping 50 people so that you can take a selfie may get you more than a few frowns).

These are all common sense things and for most people are not a problem. If you carry yourself confidently, speak politely, and behave humbly you will be viewed better than those tourists who don’t.

Some of the must see places in New York

There are some places that everyone who visits New York City should definitely see.

Grand Central Terminal

This metro station is an amazing piece of architecture in the middle of Manhattan and it’s open for people to come and see near every hour of the day. Grand Central’s open from early in the morning until early in the morning and only closes down for a couple of hours in the wink of twilight. Contrary to popular wisdom, this is one of those places that you should go see during rush hour in the morning or evening.

Times Square

This place is an always-changing mixture of shopping, dining, performance art, and people trying to shuck and jive you. Don’t be too bewildered by this places energy; just come out and see what you can see! Times Square is an “area” of town but they have closed off vehicular traffic to where 7th Avenue & Broadway cross over making this area an even cooler place to come hang out.

Empire State Building

If you can come to this landmark building at the very beginning or very end of the day you will get one of the most spectacular views you’ll ever see. You shoot up the elevator and are able to wander around this epic building and see the city from such great heights.

Central Park

Another place that you can totally get lost in and visit most every hour of the day is Central Park. This place is amazing; it runs from 5th Avenue to Central Park West and stretches vertically up from 59th Street to 110th Street. A little more than 3.4 square kilometers, this landmark has a zoo, a theater, a castle, and so much more to discover. Take your time and make your way over this whole space when you have the means; it’s definitely worth your time.

World Trade Centre

Another more harrowing place that has become popular is the former World Trade Center site. It’s now a beautiful pool, public park, and fountain where the names of all the victims have been inscribed inside.

The absolutely best places to eat in New York

One more point is about dining. Where are you going to eat? There’s Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s all over the place, is that where you go? Not quite. Here are some of the more hidden gem spots that you should check in on.

Francesco’s Pizza

Located at 186 Columbus Avenue in the West 60’s this tiny hole in the wall might not seem like much. But the pizza you have here is truly legendary. Come for their amazing New York Style cheese pizza or try something exotic like their Hawaiian pizza, Lasagna pizza, or just something simple like pepperoni. The secret with this place is their amazing sauce; see what you think!

Sammy’s Noodle Shop

453 6th Avenue may seem like a pretty busy area, but this West Village gem is all about amazing food. If you’ve never been before try their amazing lo mien, General Tao’s Chicken or any of their other Chinese food staples. You really can’t go wrong here!

Cafeteria

If you’ve been out late and you find yourself in the Chelsea neighborhood and you want to experience some fast cocktails and amazing food, check in on Cafeteria. This place is open 24 hours a day and serves up pretty impressive meatloaf. If you don’t have the constitution for that try their macaroni and cheese or just get a Cosmopolitan and keep the party going on into the night!

Walker’s

For an authentic taste of Old New York in Tribeca head over to 16 North Moore Street and enjoy some of the fine food and spirits from Walker’s. This place is your go-to for brunch on the weekends; the staff is amazing, their drinks are generous and the Latin flair with things like Huevos Rancheros and their Breakfast Burrito truly can’t be matched in the area.

Some other great tips

Don’t stand on the taxi line at the airport if you don’t have to. This thing moves glacially and you can pretty well sneak out of the line to get one approaching the line if you’re savvy. You can also take the metro if you have the time. It’s important not to be too loud but you also can’t be too demure either. If you don’t speak up at a crowded bar, you’re not going to get service; if you don’t move with the crowds when getting onto a train, you’ll get left behind.

Another point is about carrying cash. It’s smart to have some paper money on hand but not in your wallet. If you’ve got a space in a bag, inside your phone case or even just in the other pocket, you’ll always have it in the event of an instance. You also should always know where you are! Don’t pull out wads of money late at night outside bars spilling into the streets. Don’t leave your phone, bag, wallet and keys to save a table at Starbucks and then get on line! New York City is far safer than it was in the 70’s and 80’s, but there are still people who capitalize on opportunities to take your things when they have the chance.

New York City is an amazing place to visit and an incredible place to live. You may visit and fall in love with the urban drudgery as millions and millions of others have done in the past.  But it’s also important to know where you are and be cognizant of your surroundings. You don't want your very first trip to be your last. If you remember these tips and remember your safety you’ll be primed to have an amazing time in the city that just keeps on keeping on.

 

Written by Luke Duggan — February 17, 2015

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