Posts filed under “Travel”
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.
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.
Barnes & Noble/Borders Bookstores
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.
- 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.”)
Also worth knowing about:
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!
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!
Is there any other industry — other than funeral homes — that makes it so difficult to use its product? Air travel has become a self-service endeavor. Most of us plan trips ourselves and fend for ourselves; from the beginning, we’re on our own. To help travelers improve their journeys and restore some of the…Read More
It is 8:30am, and I am sitting in the Business Class section of a 7:30 am American Airlines flight to Miami. I was delighted to learn there is onboard wifi/internet. It will a race to see if this iBook G4 battery dies before the “all electronic device must be stowed” announcement is made. A few…Read More
Watch the white box in the middle left portion of the screen. (Starting at 2:00 minute mark) US Airways flight 1549 crashes in Hudson Bay NY. The flight plan was from LaGuardia to Charlotte. All passengers survived. The plane was a Airbus A320. Both engines were reportively sucked multiple birds possibly geese and both engines…Read More
General Motors veep Larry Burns previews cool next-gen car design: sleek, customizable (and computer-enhanced) vehicles that run clean on hydrogen — and pump energy back into the electrical grid when they’re idle.
Larry Burns is the vice president of R&D for GM. His job? Find a new way to power cars. Full bio and more links
> Normally, I am on the earliest flight out of NY to get to Chicago on Thanksgiving Day. This morning, travelling with my 83 year old M-i-l, we took a later (9:15am) flight. I braced myself for the crush at security and — nothing. We walked up, were the 3rd people online, and breezed through….Read More