Savvy Tips for surviving New York!

New York is an exciting, amazing city – but it can be overwhelming to the first time visitor. We’ve heard of people staying in their hotels because one bad experience on their fist day has made them decide that NYC is not for them. We don’t want that to ever happen to anyone, so we’ve put together a few savvy tips on some different aspects of coping with this busiest of cities. We hope they help!

 Savvy Tips for New York

The Underground Sytem (MTA).

  1. On the subway it is really hot on the platforms and at the stations but it is air conditioned in the trains.
  2. The maps are really confusing. Take care on the upper west side in particular.
  3. It is worth buying a metro pass but it can be temperamental. If you put it in the machine and you don’t get through in time it will take 18 minutes for it to reset. If you can find an attendant, they will let you through, but there is not often an attendant there.
  4. Watch out for the difference between express trains and local trains. Express trains don’t stop for a very long time.
  5. Take notice of whether it’s an uptown or a downtown train.

New Yorkers.

  1. Don’t expect eye contact – they’re busy living their lives – just like you on your way to work every day!
  2. Don’t expect great customer service but do expect the hard sell. It is okay to say no; it’s all part of the game.
  3. They move fast.
  4. They will be quick to help if you need help.
  5. No one cuts you any slack for not knowing the system.

 Broadway shows & comedy clubs 

  1. The main shows are available for half price at the booth in Times Square. They can only be bought on the day with cash.
  2. Expect a 45 minute queue and then a massive scram.
  3. Comedy shows are fantastic but it’s double the ticket price because of the $20.00 minimum drinks bill per person. However, it is still a brilliant value.
  4. Comedy clubs; the best acts are on the weekends.
  5. Use cash in the comedy club and take photo I.D. if you look under 21.

 The Shops.

  1. Remember to always add the sales tax to the price. It is always added on at the till, not before.
  2. Some stores have special offers for visitors. For instance, get 11% off in Bloomingdale’s. Ask first before you buy.
  3. Cosmetics; when they offer to do your face they do the whole lot. Expect a 25 minute mini facial and makeup; it’s fantastic.
  4. Huge variety of top designer outlets.
  5. Remember, American cuts and sizing are different to U.K. and European. Women’s sizes, their sizes are at least one size bigger than ours, so their 14 would be our 12. And with men’s the cut is very different. Try everything on.


  1. It is very fast in restaurants.
  2. Tipping is expected. They take your card, they process, they bring the receipt back for you to add the tip on. 15 to 20% is expected.
  3. Breakfast. Delis are at least half the price of hotels. Look for a busy one; you can sit as long as you like as long as you can find a seat. It is all very fresh and very hot.
  4. Market Garden delis are great for lunch. You select your food from the different counters, pay, and then either take it out or eat it there.
  5. Portions are larger than in the U.K. Look at what everybody else has got. .

 Getting Around.

  1. Walk. It is very easy to navigate. Just get a map from the hotel and some good shoes.
  2. Use the subway; see Savvy Guide.
  3. Crossing Roads. You mustn’t jay walk. Look for the red hand which means ‘don’t walk’ and the white man who means ‘go’. Traffic can turn right on red if it’s pedestrian free. This means they will, so keep moving.
  4. Airport transfers are often very time consuming. If you opt for shared bus they will insist on filling it, which is uncomfortable and lots of hanging around.
  5. Yellow taxis have a fixed fare from the airport to the city. It is well worth it.