What you need to know about New York city


What you need to know about New York city

What’s New

Stonewall National Monument

In 2016 outgoing President Barack Obama designated 7.7 acres of the West Village as a US National Monument, the first such designation in American history to honor the LGBT civil rights movement.

NYC by Ferry

New York is once again embracing ferries, with routes linking Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. There’s even a new route between Lower Manhattan and Rockaway – a scenic sail to the beach for the same price as a subway ride.

Eating Green

The hunger for vegetarian and vegan dining only continues to grow. You’ll find meat-free restaurants all across the city, including hot spots like the Seasoned Vegan in Harlem and Michelin-starred Nix in Greenwich Village.

New Met Museum

In 2016, the Met Breuer took over the space of the former Whitney Museum on the Upper East Side. Dedicated to works by modern and contemporary artists, it has earned top reviews from critics.

Sounds of Harlem

Harlem has become one of the best places to hear eclectic global sounds thanks to several live music spots that have opened in recent years. The Israeli-African–owned Silvana and Shrine host a stellar lineup of bands and singers every night of the week.


New York now has its own board-game cafe. Down in the West Village, you can stay up late playing board games while sipping craft brews and munching on mozzarepas.

Chefs Club

At this new space in Nolita, celebrated chefs from around the globe take over the kitchen for tenures ranging from a few weeks to several months.

Second Avenue Subway

After 10 years of construction and nearly $4.5 billion in costs, the Second Ave subway line has opened. The new extension of the Q train now has stops at 72nd, 86th and 96th Sts, providing handy access to the Upper East Side.

Food, Glorious Food

The casual dining scene just keeps getting better, with the addition of new food halls around the city. DeKalb Market Hall has dozens of tempting culinary stalls, and rides on the success of legendary establishments like Chelsea Market.

Cultural Upgrade

The MoMA is undergoing a major redesign that will add 50,000 sq ft of new gallery space. The museum will stay open during construction, which is due for completion in 2019.

First Time New York City


AEnsure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date.

ACheck you meet all ESTA visa requirements for travel to the US.

ACheck airline baggage restrictions.

AArrange for appropriate travel insurance.

AInform your credit-/debit-card company of your travels.

ABook popular restaurants, shows and accommodations well in advance.

What to Pack

AGood walking shoes – New York City is best seen on foot, so make sure your shoes are super comfy.

ADress shoes and a stylish outfit for smart restaurants and bars.

AIf traveling with medications, ensure you bring enough for your trip.

AUS electrical adapter.

Top Tips for Your Trip

AMetroCards are valid on subways, buses, ferries and the tramway to Roosevelt Island. If staying a while, buy a 7-Day Unlimited Pass.

ASubway lines run both local and express trains.

AIf the number on a taxi’s top light is lit, it’s available.

AWhen giving an address, always include the nearest cross street/s (eg 700 Sixth Ave at 22nd St).

AThe TKTS Booth in Times Square sells half-price, same-day tickets to selected shows and musicals. The South Street Seaport and Downtown Brooklyn branches also sell next-day matinee tickets.

What to Wear

If visiting during New York’s hot, humid summer, pack light garments. Fashionable shorts, T-shirts, summer dresses and skirts are all acceptable daywear, though higher-end restaurants and bars often call for more stylish attire, so bring at least one evening dress or long-sleeved shirt, pair of pants and dress shoes. Fluctuating temperatures in spring and fall call for layers: long pants, jeans or warmer dresses, mixed with T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, sweaters, a smart blazer for men and a jacket for women. New York winters can be brutally cold, requiring gloves, scarf, hat, insulated, waterproof jacket and waterproof boots. In the evenings, ‘dress to impress’ remains the rule at many restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.

Be Forewarned

New York City is one of the safest cities in the USA – in 2017 homicides fell to a record low of fewer than 300 and overall violent crime statistics declined for the 27th straight year. Still, it’s best to take a common-sense approach to the city.

ADon’t walk around alone at night in sparsely populated areas.

ACarry your daily walking-around money inside your clothing or in a front pocket rather than in a handbag or a back pocket.

ABe aware of pickpockets, particularly in busy areas.

AWhile it’s generally safe to ride the subway after midnight, you may want to take a taxi instead, especially if traveling alone.


ATMs widely available; credit cards accepted at most hotels, stores and restaurants. Farmers markets, food trucks and some restaurants and bars are cash-only.

Taxes & Refunds

Restaurants and retailers never include the sales tax – 8.875% – in their prices, so beware of ordering the $4.99 lunch special when you only have $5 to your name. Several categories of so-called luxury items, including rental cars and dry-cleaning, carry an additional city surcharge of 5%, so you wind up paying an extra 13.875% in total for these services. Clothing and footwear purchases under $110 are tax free. Hotel rooms in New York City are subject to a 14.75% tax, plus a flat $3.50 occupancy tax per night. Since the US has no nationwide value-added tax (VAT), there is no opportunity for foreign visitors to make ‘tax-free’ purchases.


Tipping is not optional; only withhold tips in cases of outrageously bad service.

Restaurant servers 18–20%, unless a gratuity is already charged on the bill.

Bartenders 15–20% per round, per drink $1 for standard drinks, and $2 per specialty cocktail.

Taxi drivers 10–15%, rounded up to the next dollar.

Airport & hotel porters $2 per bag, minimum per cart $5.

Hotel maids $2–4 per night, left in envelope or under the card provided


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