Why a “NonGuidebook Version” of What to Do (and Not Do) in NYC ?

Since so many of you have asked:  This started with friends from California who were coming to visit NYC for the very first time. They are intrepid Asian and Australian travelers, and wanted what they described as the “nonGuidebook version” of what to do in NYC.

So what began first as an email exchange turned into a longer list. They gave it some friends of theirs who emailed thanking me for the advice, and after a while, other people started emailing in around.

Thinking other out-of-towner might appreciate this — it is definitely NOT Fodors material –  I polished it up, and posted it. It was so well received last year, that I decided to turn it into an annual posting

Hence, 21 Ways to Make Your Stay in NYC More Enjoyable.

~~~

Its that time of year: New York City is flooded with tourists. With the American Peso still relatively weak, the place is just thick with ‘em.

There are lots of standard guides you might find helpful to use (i.e., NYC Guide for Tourists), but they are primarily designed for that gullible visitor, the double-decker riding, Hawaiian shirt wearing, one born every minute visitor — the Rube.

That’s not you. You are much hipper than that. You want to be in the know, plugged in, well connected. Well, kid, ya came to the right place. I’m going to give you the straight dope, the inside info that the guidebooks don’t tell you about. This is real insider trading, “Blue Horse Shoe Loves Anacot Steel” type stuff that people go to jail for. Not you or me, but people. Some people. Mostly tourists.

Anyway, instead of relying on a Fodors or Let’s Go NYC, consider these suggestions from a born and bred Nu Yawkah (Eyes gaht deh aksent dat gos wit da place). A Brooklyn born guy who works in finance, and has worked in NYC most of his Adult life, this guy knows a thing or two about Gotham.

These suggestions will help make your stay in the city enjoyable and safe. It well help you get the most out of your visit here. As an added bonus, I get to keep all of you birkenstocked, rucksack wearing, slow walking, camera snapping touristas out from underfoot of us locals.

Enjoy.

~~~

A New Yorker’s Guide for Tourists: 20 Ways to Make Your Stay in New York City More Enjoyable

>

1. For God’s sake, DO NOT ALL DRESS ALIKE. This is especially true if  you are part of a big group. (Note: This does not refer to school trips of 50 fourth graders)

This is not just for your safety, it is for the benefit of the typical New Yorker’s highly refined aesthetic sense. At all costs, avoid wearing identical matching outfits. Worse than looking like buncha hicks from the sticks, you look like a group of out-of-towners begging to be mugged.

I don’t mean literally mugged by a criminal element, though that is certainly possible in these uncertain economic times. Rather, you are telegraphing your lack of savvy, thus leaving you financially vulnerable to unscrupulous taxi cab drivers and retail merchants alike. They will spot you as the rube you are, and be all too happy to roll you — i.e.,  considerably lighten your wallet.

You might as well carry a sign that says “Rob Me!” — and they will.

1.B  Enough with the NY themed garb! The corollary to this is to avoid festooning every item of clothing you have on with “New York, NYC, or Yankees” logos — No one is THAT big of a fan — for the same reasons as above.

~~~

2.  BATHROOMS:  Here’s the thing: There just aren’t many public bathrooms in NYC.

Why? Its a long story, which I don’t have time to go into, but there just aren’t that many. Make plans accordingly.

Where_to_go_2Your best bets are as follows:

Department stores
Starbucks
Barnes & Noble/Borders Bookstores
Restaurants
Hotels

The nicest public toilet in the city is Bryant Park at 42nd Street between 5/6th avenues. Sometimes there is a wait.

For those of you who have serious, um, reallygottagonow issues, its best that you plan ahead. Get a copy of Where to Go: A Guide to Manhattan’s Toilets. Thats right, the NYC toilet situation is so absurd that someone wrote a book about it.

On the plus side, the Rainbow Room and the Grand Havana Club have some of the nicest bathrooms I’ve ever been in — floor to ceiling windows, right next to the urinals! Pee while delighting to the splendor of the skyline, only in NY!

~~~

3. iPod walking guides

There are lots of really cool guides to various Manhattan neighborhoods. I haven’t done all of these, but I’ve done a few — most of these come highly recommended.

-Soundwalk – www.soundwalk.com – lets listeners walk in the shoes of locals for an uninterrupted hour. They have a 15-tour library includes many New York neighborhoods (Manhattan Chinatown, Little Italy, Lower East Side, Meatpacking District, Times Square, Wall Street, Williamsburg, Bronx hiphop/graffiti, Yankees, Brooklyn Dumbo) $12 to $25.

- Essex House the Central Park Walking Tours

- Soundwalk.com/Manhattan

- Soundsforsights

- Big Onion Walking Tours

- Google Mashup Walking Tour

- Turn Your iPod into a Travel Guide

- Art Mobs – mod.blogs.com/art_mobs – compiles the work of Marymount Manhattan College students as they look at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in
critical, cynical, and comical lights. Free (go to “browse audio guides.”)

- National Geographic Society Traveler Index

- Must See NY Guided Tours

Also worth knowing about:

Book: Manhattan on Film 1: Walking Tours of Hollywood’s Fabled Front Lot

Subway Map for your iPod

Note that Apple’s iTunes Music Store and Audible.com also offer a wide catalog of audio tours for purchase and many are for no charge.

Lastly, wear comfortable walking shoes or sneakers!

Letterman~~~

4. See a LIVE TV Show: This is a must do, lots of fun event. Just like Broadway, only free.

It requires some advanced planning, usually 6 months to a year ahead of time. I suggest Late Show with David Letterman, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and Saturday Night Live (email SNL TIckets). (If you read our advice last year, you would have ordered the tickets a long time ago).

If you did not plan in advance for this year, no worries: Just diary this for next December or January to order tickets for Summer 2010.

Imagine where the US Dollar will be then — we’ll practically be paying you to come here!

~~~

5.  Do a bunch of local New York things:  All the guide books tell you the same thing:  Statue of Liberty (eh) Empire State Building (Cool), Broadway Show.

Try a few funkier things: Hang out in Central Park, Explore Brooklyn, wear black, enjoy the free WiFi in Bryant Park (use the bathroom there — nice). Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Attend a lecture at the 92nd ST Y, go to Chinatown in Flushing Queens (The 7 train takes you there). Take a Circleline Cruise around Manhattan. Roller blade in the Park. Buy junk at a fair, and eat street meat (just don’t ask what creature it once was). Watch some talented street performers in Washington Square Park; Have a cigar at the Grand Havana Room (its members only, you need a referral, but if you call and ask nicely. . .) Catch an author speak at a Barnes & Noble off of Union Square Park (another nice bathroom).

One of my all time favorite NYC activities? NY Philharmonic in Central Park, or any concert for that matter. Pack a picnic dinner, bring a bottle of wine, get their a few hours early, and spread out a blanket. Delightful!

Spend a weekend at Fire Island or the Hamptons (make arrangements first). Go to a designer sample sale. Do the NYT crossword puzzle on mass transit. Jog around the reservoir in Central Park. Go to a Woody Allen retrospective. See the Mets at the new Citi Field.

The ultimate New Yorker activity? As immortalized in a Steeley Dan song (Daddy Don’t Live In That New York City No More), Celebrate Sunday on Saturday Night — get the Sunday NY Times late Saturday night; Skim it, then lounge around early Sunday morning, with the paper — and a pot of strong coffee — in bed Sunday morning. Heavenly!

~~~

6. DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING:  Walk four abreast holding hands; Congregate around busy street corners, hang around stairways or active doorways; Don’t look up staring at the skyscrapers (only tourists in awe of the tall buildings do this); Do not clutter up Grand Central Station during rush-hour (8-9 and 5-6) — its much nicer around 11am; 3 Card Monte is ALWAYS a rip off to prey on tourists;

These are just a start — there are many other DO NOTs I can think of, but rather than list them, let me impress upon you the importance of Situational Awareness. This is a term more commonly used in military and aviation situation, but it also refers to any complex environment where errors in the decision making process has significant repercussions. “Situational awareness has been formally defined as “the perception of elements in the environment within a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status in the near future.”

Hence, be aware of your surroundings; watch the flow of traffic; be perceptive to what the locals are doing; perceive the rhythms, enrgy and vectors of whats around you.

And try to do so standing a little bit off to the side, as opposed to the middle of the pedestrian foot traffic  . . .

~~~

7.  All About Tipping

Continued  –  A New Yorker’s Guide for Tourists: 20 Ways to Make Your Stay in New York City More Enjoyable

>

7. Tipping: The city has a service-based economy, and tipping is encouraged/demanded/insisted upon.

There is an art to knowing when to overtip or stiff, and most be are pretty clueless.

The basic suggestion: 15% of the bill for “Fair” service, 20% for “Good” service. This applies to waiters, waiteresses, bartenders, cab drivers, call girls, etc.  Note that you can easily ballpark 15% by doubling the tax (~8.5% X2 = 16%) in restaurants. Note that for large parties (6 or more) some restaurants automatically add the tip to the bill, so double check that bill (ask, and don’t double tip). Chamber maids should get $5 per day.

Leaving a 5% tip is considered a complaint — but stiffing (leaving nothing) is not perceived as a complaint, but as a sign of cheapness/cluelessness. If you are going to leave a very small tip , don’t be surprised if a waiter or manager asks you how everything was. Be sure to mention why the service was so disappointing. 2 or 3 bullet points should do it.

For extraordinary service — the cab driver that gets you there safely with a lots of info and insight, the waiter who steers you towards the best (not the most expensive) dishes, the call girl who was simply amazing,  a tip of 25-30% is not outrageous. 35% if you plan on being repeat customers.

~~~~

8. Know how to order Coffee:  If you go into any non-Starbucks locale and order a “regular coffee,” your coffee will come with milk and two spoonfuls of sugar. This is what “Regular” means in NYC. If tyou ewant No sugar, ask for “Coffee, milk NO sugar.” Emphasize no sugar.

9. Watch out for DELIVERY and MESSENGER BIKES! Even visitors to the city can easily avoid getting run over by buses, trucks, and cabs — they are large, visible, moving objects, ealiy avoided. And, most of the time, they are traveling the same direction as the street, i.e., going downtown on downtown streets.

None of the above applies to bicyclists. Many are suicidal maniacs seeking to save money on the cost of cyanide. By ignoring all of the standard road rules, they hope to meet their makers that much sooner. You don’t want to join them.

Be aware: They run lights, jump up on sidewalks, go the wrong way down one way streets. Look for them when getting in and out of cabs, or crossing midtown streets, or popping out between parked cars. They can be bone crushers — be careful.

For your safety cross at the crosswalks and stay on the sidewalk.

~~~

10. Taxis:  Two things you should remember about cabs: They work 12 hour shifts that end around 6:00,  so getting a cab between 5 and 6pm is always a challenge. Also, as soon as it starts to rain, the available cabs become invisible. (No one knows why).

On Duty: Look at the light on top of the car — 4 or 5 random letters and numbers, like GR45.  When it’s lit, the cab is available; When its dark, someone is already in the cab.

See the off-duty sign on either side? When they are lit, the cab is unavailable.

Easy!

Zagats

~~~

11. Travel Worldwide via Food:  You can travel around the world’s view the restaurants in Manhattan alone Burmese, Thai, Tibetan, Afghanistan, Turkish, Vietnamese, Brazilian, Peruvian -– and that’s just in my neighborhood.

Excellent steak houses, killer brick oven pizza, great hamburgers — pretty much anything you desire in terms of culinary creativity or excesses can be had in New York.

Decide on your budget, do a little research, and off you go!

~~~

12. Buy the following books:

Zagat 2009 New York City Restaurants (If you travel a lot in the US, consider Zagat.com)

Gerry Frank’s Where to Find it, Buy it, Eat it in New York 2008-2009

Gerry_frankAlso, bookmark the following NY Magazine webpages:

New York Mag’s Best Cheap Eats (2008)

101 Best Cheap Eats (Yelp)

~~~

13. Go on, ask us something, ANYTHING. Surprise! New Yorkers are much nicer people than you have heard. Want a photo taken? Need directions? Anything else you might think of — we love to show off, so feel free to ask.

Despite our gruff reputations, far fewer of us are the assholes you have seen in the movies.

Except that guy Bill — what a jerk. And that guy Larry is no prize, either. But other than those two, we are much nicer than you would think . . .

~~~

14.  Hey Buddy! Get outta the way! Despite the above, let me remind you that this is a working city. Unlike Washington, DC, or Las Vegas — places that are artificially supported by the hard work of fools from other cities.

No, this is an actual working city with real industries:  Wall Street and finance, advertising, publishing, film & broadcast television, fashion, theater, media, real estate, dining, and tourism.
Also on the list: bioscience, web design, software development, game design, sex, food-processing and internet services. Despite 35% of NYC jobs being related to the Finance industry, we actually have quite a diverse economy.

Do us all a favor, and please try not to get underfoot too much.

~~~

15. Go Shopping! OK, the American peso is no longer down 40% like last year, but its still soft. Many things here are tremendous bargains. From the high-end stores found on upper Fifth and Madison Avenues; to the jewelry districts (48th between 5th and 6th Ave), we got lots of stuff for sale on sale.

Or, you can take a bus to Woodberry Commons or Tangers — large designer brand outlet centers located a few hours from Manhattan with even cheaper prices.

~~~

16. Enjoy Live Entertainment: We have Jazz clubs, big bands, Stand up comedy, Classical concerts, Poetry slams, Historical readings, Central Park concerts, authors reading their works, lectures.

See what’s at NYU or Columbia. Ballet, Opera, Modern Dance.

Pick up a Village Voice (free in Manhattan) or check out Flavorpill.com/newyork for all of the recent listings.
~~~

17. Enjoy Art & Sculpture

See some Art galleries — we have 100s. Museums? We have scores of em (see Google Maps for NY Museum). Check out Soho. Walk through the Village.

For a fascinating day trip, take a ride up to Storm King Sculpture Garden, about an hour north of the George Washington Bridge, to see tons (literally) of enormous outdoor artwork in a pastoral, 500 acre park-like  setting .

~~~

18.  Buy an unlocked iPhone or 3 — cheap!  And, the merchants here love to haggle!

Just make sure you understand what you are getting. These are normally locked into a 2 year contract with AT&T. We can’t use the unlocked ones here, but you guys from abroad can back home. Double check with a local geek from your home country.

~~~

19. Lose the Rucksack:  Look, I’ve stayed at hotels all over the country — leaving iPods, laptops, expensive watches lying around the room. Nothing has ever been stolen.

Why do you people feel the need to carry everything you own on your backs? Are you climbing Mount Kilimanjaro? No? Then why pack like that?

No one needs to travel with their entire assets on their back. Leave your ratty t shirts in the hotel room, and step lively!

~~~~

20.  Those Damned Wheely carts: I Hate ‘em; so does everyone else in the city. They trip people, get in the way, and generally are a pain in the arse. Unless you have to schlep it with you, please leave your stuff in the hotel (See above as to why no one wants to steal your stinky clothes).

If it’s that heavy, leave it in your damn hotel room, and stop tripping everybody.

~~~

21. Do a bunch of touristy New York things: Okay, just in case you wanted to know all the usual crap:

Go to Times Square, see the Statue of Liberty, take a Circle Line ride around Manhattan, go to the top of the Empire State Building, take a trip to Ellis Island, spend a few hours in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, visit the best collection of Modern Art in America at MOMA, eat in Chinatown, ride a horse drawn carriage thru Central Park, go to Rockefeller Center, go skating at Wolman rink, see a Broadway play or two, catch a show at Radio City Music Hall, go to Yankees game. Take in a mass at St. Patricks Cathedral. (Skip the WTC, its just a big hole in the ground).

I often recommend to locals that they do this . . .

>

Any other suggestions? Add them in comments!

Category: Humor, Travel

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

30 Responses to “The NonGuidebook Version of What to Do (and Not Do) in NYC 2009”

  1. karen says:

    A very fun read all the way thru! Thanks.

  2. dsdonaghy says:

    I always recommend the Whisper Gallery in Grand Central. Most books seem to miss this, for some reason.

    http://tinyurl.com/p6zqfe

  3. mowenbrown says:

    Only one serious update needs to be made: the statement “let me remind you that this is a working city. Unlike Washington, DC, or Las Vegas — places that are artificially supported by the hard work of fools from other cities” can no longer be followed with “No, this is an actual working city with real industries: Wall Street and finance…”

    Just saying that as a working fool from some other city.

  4. Christopher says:

    Sal’s Pizzeria 101 & Broadway…downtown side…The best.

    116 W. 32 St. ….walk in and take elevator up to 15th floor….take stairs up to roof….be a little stealth natch….killer view/angle on Empire State Bldg. (been couple years since I’ve been up there….so might be secured?? …but I doubt it.

    City Island Sammy’s Fishbox

    Take the A to Inwood-207…Walk west into the park…

    Dominican joint 92 & Bway …downtown side….roto chicken to die for….

    Museum of Natural History…Duh.

    Tortilla Flats in West Village….good margaritas…..and a killer homage to Ernest Borgnine.

    Don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk to take pics/gawk/read a map/cellphone….move to the side….

    Don’t step off the curb w/o looking….if you hear the horn it’s probably too late….

    Don’t buy drugs in Washington Park….half are LEO…the other half are criminals…
    If you have the needforweed take a slow stroll east on 90th amsterdam to the park….dont be a moron.

    Don’t drive. Get a metro pass and a map…its not that hard….
    Subways are bowels of HELL in the summer….dress accordingly…
    Respect the homeless….and they will usually respect you.

    Fuck Starbucks…any bodega has coffee/breakfast that much better/fresher/cheaper….just smile and have cash…try out the old Spanish…even shitty attempts are appreciated.

    Chinatown…for the food…not the knockoff junk.

    Damn….I Miss NYC
    :)

  5. Christopher says:

    Leave the flipflops in the bathroom….good walking shoes are absolute must….dont throw your gum or spit on the sidewalk please.

    If you start to feel like you are being ripped off/setup/targeted….you probably are….dont argue….just walk away.

    McDonalds usually has clean bathrooms….ferfuksakes dont eat there…

    Don’t forget Brooklyn…its a whole nother planet over there….

  6. leftback says:

    The ceiling at Grand Central. Awesome (and free…)

  7. Space_Cowboy_NW says:

    Senor Barry….. A most excellent outline.

    btw Your guide can pretty much be applied to any city (mods as necessary; re
    http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/05/10/travel/10Portland.html?scp=3&sq=frugal%20in%20
    portland&st=cse)

    Note on Chinese food: If your on the Left coast go straight to Vancouver (BC) as it smokes SFO/LA/SEA and PDX.

    ….from the flightdeck, Space_Cowboy_NW

  8. joej says:

    Woodbury Common….though the name might be a nice change.

    Century 21 seems to always be a blast for my friends/family from outside Metro NY, not sure they have many outside of this area.

  9. Mannwich says:

    Wife and I will probably make our annual return visit to NYC sometime this fall. Looking forward to it. I actually have far more fun there now as a tourist than I did in my final 1-2 years living there.

  10. Mannwich says:

    @Christopher: Great summation. Tortilla Flats is a couple of blocks from our old apt in NYC (17th & 8th). Used to go there quite a bit. Our puppy once eviscerated a tin of water that one of the waiters placed outside for her while we ate. She was a bit of a handful bacfk in those days and still is in many ways.

  11. David Yaseen says:

    Subway: Unless you’re in a seat, hang on to something at all times, even if the train isn’t moving. Brace your feet fore and aft. This will keep you from falling on us when the train starts and stops. The “Oops, I’ve never been aboard a moving object before” is a very tired excuse.

  12. jdillonnyc says:

    Rudy’s on 9th ave. for the best juke box and free hotdogs. They used to lock the doors at 4am and let you drink until the cleaning crew come a 7:30am.

  13. I’d add, Stay out of the very vast Majority of Restaurants that are promoting their Zagat’s Rating.
    Zagat’s, most effectively, can be used as an ‘anti-Guide’..

    past that, Christopher, above, gives it straight..

    as a + if you’re “out of the ‘hattie”, see the “China/Asia-town” in Queens–many are better at “keepin’ it Real”

  14. WallStreetNobody says:

    I love your advice about not walking right next to each other if you have more than a couple of people. Nothing is more irritating than a group of slow moving tourists blocking the sidewalk, same goes for when they stop on a street corner or just in the middle of the sidewalk. New Yorkers walk fast, tourists don’t need to do that but need to make sure they’re not in everyone’s way. Public restrooms are easier to find in NYC than probably any other city I can think of, but by public I don’t literally mean “public” but instead bathrooms in places you can generally use as long as you don’t look like a sketchy bum. Starbucks is practically on every corner, a lot of the bigger delis/bodegas have restrooms, same with a lot of pizza places, etc. Most tourist places will have restrooms, also any bar. If you’re in the midtown area you have tons of public places like Grand Central, Port Authority, and Penn Station.

  15. matt says:

    I don’t understand where all of this “begging to be mugged” crap comes from. I’ve been all over London, NYC, and even Manila, Philippines and I have never been mugged (and believe me, the London Underground is about as close to a hand job as you get with your clothes on). I wore whatever the hell I felt like. The key is to keep your money some place where you can feel it (this is a lot easier in the winter).

    I will second the no-flip-flops policy in NYC. The place is filthy. I wore flip flops around NYC one time and my feet were black by the time I came home.

    This is the best time of the year to go to NYC. If you go during the summer, get ready for some 100 degree heat and if you go during the winter, bring water proof shoes.

  16. Mr Beefy says:

    where R the best call girls? :).

  17. jonhendry says:

    One tip: If you need a bathroom and go to a department store, the higher the floor, the cleaner the bathrooms are.

    I learned this in Chicago.

  18. markd says:

    @ Barry
    Re the Grand Havana who do I call & make nice you or them?

  19. Groty says:

    They used to show movies one night a week in Bryant Park. I think it was Thursdays. Good opportunity to relax and people watch.

    Play chess in Washington Square Park.

    Peculiar Pub allegedly has the largest selection of both microbrewery and imported beers in the city. It’s a real dive and if you’re over 35, you probably won’t feel very comfortable there.

    Trinity Church at Broadway and Wall is one of the oldest churches in the city that architectural enthusiasts will probably enjoy. And The Cloisters way up in northern Manhattan. I recall a large concentration of old churches in Brooklyn Heights, too.

    At night, the view of the Manhattan skyline from the River Cafe under the Brooklyn Bridge on the Brooklyn side is spectacular, but expensive.

    I agree the Concerts in the Park series is an ubelieveable experience. I always went the the Central Park performances, but they hold performances in all five burroughs. It’s a good excuse to get out of Manhattan, visit one of the other burroughs, and listen to some of the best musicians in the world…..for free.

  20. Christopher says:

    David Yaseen Says:
    May 18th, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Subway: Unless you’re in a seat, hang on to something at all times, even if the train isn’t moving. Brace your feet fore and aft. This will keep you from falling on us when the train starts and stops. The “Oops, I’ve never been aboard a moving object before” is a very tired excuse.

    LOL

    I lived up in the Bronx for a couple years….196th and GC….B/D line up to Kinsbridge…big apts for cheap…and thats all I’ll say. I used to great much amusement watching the tourist riding the B/D getting themselves in a tizzy about NOT MISSING THE YANKEE STADIUM STOP…Freaking out sometimes with pure fear of South Bronx. Hilarious.

    The trains can get very packed….especially Rush Hours. That’s a bad time to be learning the trains honestly.

    MEH pointed out Queens….I love Queens. KewGardens, Rego Park, Middle Village, Astoria, Jackson Hts.
    Killer variety/diversity…Nice nabes. Do you know any Russian? много красивейших женщин

    Not as walking friendly….but doable if you don’t mind some longer stretches. Driving can suck worse than Manhattan if you don’t know your way. BQE is death. World class cemeteries if you like the Dead.

    Cabs suck. Very expensive.
    Parking is often worse than driving.

  21. east77 says:

    Don’t take a Pedicab! (A kind of bicycle rickshaw). Not only does that mark you out as a tourist, but they also annoy the hell out of NYers for holding up traffic, are driven by hucksters and have absolutely no crash protection for the occupants. It’s only a matter of time before one gets wiped out by a Yellow Cab and they get banned as being unsafe. You don’t want to be that unlucky person. Horse Carriages are OK in the Park, but take them anywhere else at your own peril.

  22. Christopher says:

    The Best Preacher in NYC

    http://www.myspace.com/reverendvinceanderson

    I know this man personally. A kinder more talented soul would be hard to find.

    A regular show in Brooklyn + more.

  23. NormanB says:

    Tipping: Over-over tip. Whomever in NYC that is serving you will know even before you tip that you are going to take care of them. Trying to decide whether someone is serving you well enough to get a 10%, 15%, 20% 25% tip takes away your enjoyment of what you are doing. Its already costing you $500 per day, so what’s another $25? Be generous, you’ll love yourself for it.

    Taxi’s: First, time is money. Take cabs North and South, walk East and West. See tipping instructions, above. Think if you’d like to be driving a taxi all day. Give them a break, let them cheat you, its part of the NYC experience.

    See shows as they are nowhere better in the world, save London. They’ll give you these experiences you’ll remember forever. Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway. The actors, writers, directors, etc are the best and are killing themselves to be as good as they can to keep or make their careers. Don’t be critical. Enjoy, enjoy. Go to two a day, matinee and evening. Check all entertainment lists and try something out of the ordinary which can produce your most memorable experience. Be adventurous. On any given night there are 150 things to see, do in NYC. Get great seats, pay up. $2,500 to see the Yankees up close, $100-$200 to see a great show. First, go to box office of the show you must see and buy the best ticket you can for whatever day its available. Then go on. If that doesn’t work your conceriege will soak you but once you are in your seat it won’t matter. Stand if front of a show to get seats that patrons won’t use. Its dangerous because you might get shut out but always have a back-up like a jazz club. Even getting tickets can be fun.

    Eating: Forgetaboutit!! A waste, just fills you up so you can’t concentrate on the really good stuff. There are probably lots of eateries in your own city that you probably have never visited. Get street food and get on with your day or evening.

  24. Big E says:

    @jdillonnyc – I second Rudy’s.. cheapest beer in Manhattan (at least it used to be). Such an eclectic place.. you’d have a wall street banker in a suit sitting on your left, and a homeless lady in a tattered evening gown sitting on your right, with red Naugahyde booths.. (sigh) I miss NYC sometimes..

    The alphabets are always fun to play in – lots of interesting little places down there (to eat, to drink, etc).

    Best advice: just get in a cab and make up numbers in your head (13 and 4) – tell the cab driver to take you there; get out and start wandering around. Considering there’s about 50 bars/restaurants/whatever in the average 3 block radius, you won’t have to walk far to find something interesting..

  25. Teri says:

    Great advice from everyone here. Thanks for including my site you’ve called “Google Mashup Walking Tour.” The official name is Walking Off the Big Apple, but I’m pleased you’ve recommended it under any name.

    In terms of seeing the working New York, as opposed to conventional travel recommendations, I think visitors should explore the outer avenues – on the east, Second Avenue, and on the west, Eighth Avenue.

  26. jdjd says:

    If you need a cheap place to stay (~ $100 a night), try the Vanderbilt or West Side YMCAs. Great locations and you get to use the athletic facilities free.

    Don’t forget Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Museum has wonderful collections of African and Egyptian art, no one has better period rooms from historic American houses and their design/crafts collection is first rate. Right next door is the Brooklyn Botanic garden a great place at any time of year. Just past the Botanic Garden is the Park Slope neighborhood with the best brownstones in the world.

    Even if you do forget Brooklyn, don’t forget the Brooklyn Bridge. There is a special deck on the bridge just for pedestrians. Take this deck as you walk from Brooklyn into Manhattan and you will have the best view of the New York skyline, the Statue of Liberty and the harbor.

    If you are an art lover it’s easy to take advantage of the great rail network around New York to see some world class art museums that are close by. All of these places can be reached in less than 90 minutes by rail: The Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford, Conn.) has J.P. Morgan’s art collection and an outstanding collection of early American furniture. Newark Museum (Newark, New Jersey) has the best American collection of Tibetan art plus good early American art. Phildelphia has too many museums to mention. New Haven, Connecticut has America’s best museum of British art plus the very good Yale Art Museum.

    Monday thru Thursday the Metropolitan Opera sells 200 main floor tickets for $20 each. Check out the Met’s web site for details.

    New York has the best pizza in the world. Don’t miss it!

  27. Great stuff. I feel like I’ve spent a week there already ;)

  28. BorseDAX says:

    The stock market keeps going higher

    dow 14000 soon according to experts

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ajgUp7xQIn6c&refer=home

  29. d4winds says:

    Get a copy of the Friday Times and of the Sunday Times to find out what’s going on, such as concerts in the park, Broadway plays, etc. Brooklyn Botanical Gardens is a treat but figure on a half day at least. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a minimum half day–half month to do it any real justice. The Frick Museum is much smaller, do-able collection–all Renaissance masters. For Statue of Liberty in summertime, which every tourist knows is a must-do no matter how trite, get to ferry early in morning to avoid long lines.

  30. [...] The NonGuidebook Version of What to Do and Not Do in NYC 2009 Posted by root 7 hours ago (http://www.ritholtz.com) Attend a lecture at the 92nd st y go to chinatown in flushing queens the 7 are you climbing mount kilimanjaro no then why pack like that the ceiling at grand central awesome and free you must be logged in to post a comment the big picture is proudly power Discuss  |  Bury |  News | The NonGuidebook Version of What to Do and Not Do in NYC 2009 [...]