Discover New York | Practical
Questions and answers

After a first post about your trip to New York preparation (here) and a second one about finding your way in it (there), I am back with a list of questions (and answers) people have been asking me the most. Of course, this list is not exhaustive, so feel free to add yours in the comments. And if you’re planning a trip to New York, stay tuned, because others posts are coming. (In fact, stay tuned anyway! :))

Ready? Follow me,c’est par ici:
hors des sentiers battus off road addresses adresses activities manhattan

Do I risk anything in The City? Not more than anywhere else. Of course, don’t go to West Harlem or Jamaica alone in the middle of the night, and a little bit of good sense never killed anybody (avoid the dark little streets, at night, while walking alone and leave the 12 carats necklace in the hotel safe) but New York is a safe city. A few pickpockets in the extra touristy zones (Times Square, Midtown) so don’t take all your money with you. You can use your credit card 95% of the time and there are ATM everywhere. You can also leave your passport in the safe and only bring a photo ID (obligatory to enter bars and nightclubs.)

Have you ever had any problems? Not even one, in more than one year in New York. Of course, I avoid tempting fate but the risks are very low. I even dare going to Duane Reade around the corner, alone in my pajamas at 2 am. (#audacious)

It’s 3 am, I am completely jetlagged and I’m starving. What do I do? First of all, close that minibar, you crazy! You don’t really want to spend 15% of your budget for a small pack of peanuts – probably expired – and 5 fl. Oz of Dr. Pepper, do you? Take a few bucks, and go to a Deli, a Duane Reade, a CVS or a Walgreens. Usually, it’s open 24/7 and you can find anything you want – and a lot of things you’ve never thought about you wanted! And you can find one of these at every corner in Manhattan.

I want to bring gifts food back home, where should I go? Come back in a few week to read both my “shopping” and “food” posts.

Who must I tip, and how much I give? This is THE tricky question, the one I am still struggling with after a year in New York. But generally:

  • At the restaurant, after checking if the tip was included or not, it’s between 15% and 25%. Often, you’ll find the “recommended gratuity” on the receipt. If not I usually just double the tax.
  • At the bar, 15 to 20% for a group order or $1 per drink.
  • For the cab driver, depending on the ride, between $1 and $3 after rounding up. ($12.75 > $13 > I give $15)
  • In the hotel, $3 for the maid, every day and $1 to $2 per luggage to the guy that helped you and $3 to $10 to the concierge, depending on the complexity of the demand.
  • During a guided tour, $5 per person, more if it’s a private kind of visit. (But double check, sometimes the tip was already added to the bill.)
  • At the nail salon: $10 to 15% of the total and 15 to 20% to the hair stylist.

I don’t understand anything about all these taxes? Don’t worry, me neither (and no one is really capable of explaining it to me!)

Top of the Rock or Empire State? Top of the Rock during the day and for sunset (view on both the Empire State / Manhattan South and Central Park). The Empire State for sunset and during the night.

Knicks or Yankees? First of all, it’s not the same period of the year (around winter for the Knicks, around summer for the Yankees). Personally, I would say Knicks, for the crazy ambiance and good junk food. Yankees are great too, but a little bit on the slow side!

Sneakers or high heels? Sneakers, obviously, since you’re going to walk more than you ever did but keep in mind that you will need a pair of nice shoes to enter bars and nightclubs.

Cookies or cheesecake? Both, of course! And you’re very lucky, because in New York, you can find the best cookies on earth as well as the best cheesecakes in the universe. Nothing less!

Levain Bakery
167 W 74th Street
New York, NY 10023
(et une adresse à Harlem)

Eileens Special Cheesecake
17 Cleveland Place
New York, NY 10012

Yellow cab or Uber? That, my dear, is a tricky question. From my point of view, you can’t visit New York without taking a ride in one of these famous yellow cabs like you were in an episode of Sex and the City. But for a longer ride (more than $35) Uber will be less expensive!

And if I can’t find any yellow cab? It’s because your dress is too long, darling. For real, start by looking the light on the cab. Light off = busy, light on= jump on the road, arms in the air. Also, you need to know that you should never wait for a cab a block above someone that is already waiting for one, and that it’s always easier to find a free taxi on a high frequented street or avenue. And most importantly, get in the car before telling the driver where you want to go! Just sayin’!)

What if I get lost? First rule: step aside from the middle of the sidewalk to open your map. You can also read my article about “finding your way in New York”. Finally, and do not hesitate to ask someone on the street (Usually I ask the people walking dogs. They are most probably living in the neighborhood.)

Where is the closest Shake Shack? Watch out if you ask me that: first of all, I will tell you to read my blog again, and better than that and then I will lecture you about how not to do every little thing you read on the touristy guide! 😉

Wanna go with me to Times Square? Ahahhahahahaha

Your question, here. Comment or send me a private message.

A question? A remark? A suggestion? A missing info? Comment or send me a message with the contact form!

See ya’

8 Responses

  1. Merci de ta visite sur mon blog, je visite le tien et je me rend compte que j’arrive un jour trop tard pour ton concours, tant pis ce sera pour l’année prochaine.
    Je te souhaite un bon dimanche. Bises

  2. Je confirme la complexité des taxes. Pfff, moi j’ai toujours laissé les autres faire. Je savais pas qu’il fallait laisser à la femme de ménage à l’hôtel, dans la mesure où on les voit jamais, même pas j’y pensais.
    Bon sinon en effet gros effet de mode pour le shake shack, mais moi j’aime bien. On avait testé la premiere fois en 2011, il y en avait pas autant, on n’en avait jamais entendu parler, ce sont des amis habitant New York, qui nous y avait emmené et vraiment on adore et on y retourne à chaque fois (moi aussi j’ai fait un article 🙂 hihi) Pour avoir testé five guys et shake shack à Londres le même jour (ben oui faut bien comparer) je préfère toujours le deuxième…..
    Et j’attends tes articles shopping…… 🙂

  3. Je vais aller voir ton article alors 😉 L’article shopping est en préparation (mais c’est pas tellement mon domaine de prédilection donc ça prend du temps 😉 ) A bientôt!

    1. Avec plaisir Mary! Je me délecte de tes articles sur Londres, vivement ceux qui parlent de New York! (Oui, j’y habite, mais j’adore lire les articles de voyages sur New York) (#fillebizarre) 😉

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