If Only I Had Known...(Hints/Tips & Unique NYC ideas)

Discussion in 'New York Area' started by bk3day, Feb 6, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    Perhaps we can create a consolidated thread of similar info where locals & visitors alike can post their own tips/hints on the typical NYC sites or "unique" places you love?

    Just a thought..so fwiw I'll start & give it it a shot:

    Where to find cheap Tickets/Events?

    TKTS: Times Sq booth for same day shows
    South Street & Brooklyn TKTS locations sell tickets for next day shows
    http://www.tdf.org/TDF_ServicePage.aspx?id=56& do=v

    Other theater discount options included:

    Go to the theater, ask for "rush tickets." Saw Spiderman After Dark in the orchestra for $30.

    Some shows (Wicked, for one) hold a daily lottery, giving some folks the opportunity to purchase same day tickets at very reduced prices.

    Also, TravelZoo.com often has links to discounted Bway shows.

    Student rush tickets to NY Phil performances (can even purchase up to 7 days in advance online).

    For a daily listing of often free, cheap and otherwise offbeat events check out http://www.theskint.com

    Drastically reduced price tickets to a variety of NYC events are posted at http://www.goldstar.com/events/browse/10112

    Museums
    Someone has created a handy interactive map showing NYC museums and other cultural sites, showing where they are and when they have free admission.
    http://iheartnymuseums.com/
    If you're on a budget, just look for the light-blue markers.

    Those on a budget can still enjoy the museums. Many of them are actually suggested admission and not a required amount. Although I'm not saying give a penny or a quarter (seen it done) in many cases you do not actually have to give $20 when you only have an hour or two and are in the neighborhood.

    Free is good and the MOMA is just that on Friday evenings thanks to Target Free Fridays
    http://www.moma.org/visit/plan/offers

    Admission is free for all visitors during Target Free Friday Nights, held every Friday evening from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tickets for Target Free Friday Nights are not available in advance. Your Target Free Friday Night ticket permits you to all other Museum galleries, exhibitions, and films.

    The admission price to the Metropolitan Museum of Art is anything you would like it to be; it does have to be some fixed amount. They post a suggested admission in which the word "suggested" is often in tiny print but since they get an enormous amount of tax dollars, visitors can pay what they wish.


    Where to Get Great Views?

    Statue of Liberty - Advance purchased tickets are a must if you wish to visit the crown. http://tinyurl.com/mcangb

    Hint: If you find yourself down to the Battery & find the ferry line crowded, consider taking a ferry to Liberty State Park in NJ & transiting that way to Liberty Island

    Statue of Liberty and Skyline

    The SI Ferry is a great ways to see Lady Liberty if you don't want to actually go on to the island. Free and it passes darn close.

    If you don't care about getting to Liberty Island and have 2+ hrs to kill, consider taking one of the several sails that go by the Statue of Liberty. I recommend either the Adirondack out of Chelsea Piers or the Pioneer out of the South Street Seaport. Both are an enjoyable escape.

    http://www.sail-nyc.com/html/schooners_adirondack_imagine.html
    http://www.southstreetseaportmuseum.org/index1.aspx?BD=8997\

    The waterfront along the southwest side of the island, between the World Financial Center and Battery Park is a great walk for views/sunset, as is the Brooklyn Promenade.

    The Roosevelt Island tram is an interesting experience, and there are great views of Manhattan from the island itself, which is like another world (though technically part of Manhattan!)

    Roosevelt Island Tram schedule can be found here:
    http://rioc.ny.gov/pdf/TramBusSched.pdf

    The tram accepts the Metrocard.

    Empire State Building: Advance tickets also recommended. http://www.esbnyc.com/observatory_visitors_tips.asp

    My fave aspect of the ESB is the ability to visit in past midnight, when crowds are scarce.

    Top of the Rock: Usually, I prefer TOTR to the Empire State Building as from here you can actually see the ESB. http://www.topoftherocknyc.com/visitor/faq

    Bridges - w/the exception of the Verrazano (only open to NYC Marathon entrants on race day and now those cited below) most bridges can be walked across. After you've done the Brooklyn Bridge, consider walking the GWB for fantastic views down the Hudson.

    Brooklyn - If you only want to walk one way, consider taking a subway to the Brooklyn side and walking across and enjoying the views into Manhattan.

    There are other bridges that cannot be walked such as the Alexander Hamilton (I-95), High Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone and Throgs Neck.
    Transportation Alternatives has a page describing the various NYC bridges, whether or not they can be walked/biked, and maps showing exactly where the pedestrain entrances are located: http://transalt.org/files/resources/bridges/

    The Highline (an elevated park developed from abandoned rail lines along the West Side)

    I'd add the Highline to unique attractions, even though it does not want for visitors. It's free and you get great street views of the West Side without the hassle of traffic. Section 2 is due to open by summer, doubling its length.
    http://www.thehighline.org/

    Getting Around

    For walking or public transit directions use Hopstop or google or even www.mta.info.

    ime, lately I've found the MTA's Trip Planner to be the most accurate transit direction source. http://tripplanner.mta.info/_start.aspx

    Walking - There are approximately 20 streets to a mile. The distance between Avenues get longer the further west you walk) I'll defer to the 4-5 per mile estimates of the other learned contributors.

    The 20 streets to a mile rule only applies to numbered streets in Manhattan.

    Numbered avenues are approximately 5 to a mile (although they're closer together East of Third Avenue). Park Avenue is equivalent to Fourth Avenue, and Madison and Lexington are between numbered avenues so those blocks are shorter.

    Taxis - After the initial flag drop, the meter should click @every 4 blocks (not counting waiting/traffic time)

    When you take a taxi, you have certain rights, usually outlined on a placard on the back of the seat in front of you. This includes things like the ability to pay with a credit card. Try to avoid black cars that honk and try to pick you up, but if you must, be sure to negotiate the fare clearly before you jump in.

    Another right, is that once seated in the cab, the driver can not refuse to take you to your desired destination. Sometimes the argument isn't worth the time & aggravation, but that's your call.

    - You have the right to pay with a credit card. If the driver tells you the machine doesn't work, the cab ride can be free if you don't want to or don't have cash. The cc option is now a requirement.
    - Ask for a receipt if you want one, there are no issues getting one.
    - There is a mute button available for the little television in the back of the cab - use it! The cab driver who has to hear the same thing over and over again will appreciate it and the content is often fluff
    - If staying within the City, the meter should have a rate code of 1 displayed, anything else and you're paying a premium for service you aren't getting.
    - Manhattan To/From JFK is a flat fare - don't forget to tip (something)
    - Taxis that have their number lit only are available - taxis that have the side words lit as well means they are on break/heading home, but they MIGHT be willing to take you if you are heading somewhere where they are going anyway or have a lucrative ride for them
    - Taxis without any of the roof lights lit means they have a ride already, waving your hand at them will accomplish nothing.
    - Taxi drivers are not allowed to be on the phone while driving passengers - period. Feel free to tell them to hang up in a friendly manner, they are well aware of the rules.
    - Catching a taxi at Super Bowl time is harder than getting one in bad weather (I kid you not!)
    - Think purell after you've been in a taxi, a recent study on the handles, screens, etc was a bit stomach turning :eek:

    FYI on taxis. You have the right to put on the air conditioning. They can't hold it back.

    Speaking of Ferries, these are a different way to get around (they even go to Yankee/Mets stadiums) , see sites or just get on the water. Word is new routes are being added soon so here is a nice info portal to check out

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/ferrybus/ferintro.shtml

    Another plus offered by NY Waterway is the city bus service offered in conjunction with their ferry rides.
    http://www.nywaterway.com/BusStopsSchedules.aspx

    Navigating the Subways

    Many tourists are not aware that most station entrances are for subways that only go in one direction (uptown OR downtown, east OR west). The entrances for each direction are across the street from each other.

    Check before you go through the turnstile. Otherwise you'll have to pay again to go across the street or waste time traveling in the opposite direction until go get to a station that allows free transfers, usually stations that have local and express service.

    Along those lines, the bulbs at the top of the subway entrances. When they're lit the entrance is open. Many stations have limited access at off hours.

    Weekend Track Work - (Quite common during the summer)

    On weekends there can be a lot of track work that results in service changes. Some train lines don't run, some skip stations or run on different tracks ("E" train running on "F" track to W4th St.). This can be confusing even to New Yorkers. I often check the MTA website on the weekends, especially when taking the subway to any of the boroughs. There is info on the home page www.mta.info/ or you can click on "Planned Service Changes" http://travel.mtanyct.info/serviceadvisory/.

    Phone Apps - Exit Strategy - Another subway map app, but what makes this unique is station maps along with tips on which car to use so that you are closest to your preferred exit at the destination...

    How to Get a MetroCard for an Even Number of Rides

    Use this calculator to determine howm much money to spend/add onto a MetroCard. http://www.metrocardbonuscalculator.com/

    Sadly, to now buy a card that leaves no balance, it takes $35.75 (combined with a bonus of $2.50) to buy a card worth a total of $38.25 (17 rides)

    Subway system uses disposable metrocards that you slide through upon entering the system. The same card can be used for multiple people if it's a pay as you go card.

    Discount on JFK AirTrain: Discounted 10 ride cards are available at Jamaica/Howard Beach/Penn Station Metrocard vending machines. Cards are $25 for 10 rides (a 50% savings over regular $5/ride fare) and expire 6 mos after 1st use. Up to 4 entries allowed at a time.

    Buses

    Some of us are really cheap. Maybe you should note that buses do not take dollar bills. (Not a problem for those who churn coins, but others might have to carry 16 or so quarters :))

    fwiw, if you have a MetroCard, it's possible to double-dip (aka free transfer) when traveling in 1 direction via subway and the return via bus. The caveat is that the return trip must occur with two hrs of the first swipe.

    FYI, some buses won't even take Metrocards! "Select Bus Service" (distinguished by flashing blue lights) run on a few North/South routes including 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue.

    For these special Select buses, you must first get a receipt by purchasing a separate entry fare at the vending machines at each "Select" bus stop.(using a Metrocard or cash). With that receipt, you can enter the bus using any door.

    FYI, KEEP YOUR RECEIPT! Inspectors occasionally do sweeps and if caught without a valid receipt, hefty fines are levied.

    Thanks for reading & PLEASE add your ideas on content as well as format :)
     
  2. IMGone
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    IMGone Silver Member

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    Not sure it is, but it does seem kind of inappropriate to link to an FT thread from this site.

    Subway system uses disposable metrocards that you slide through upon entering the system. The same card can be used for multiple people if it's a pay as you go card. (There are other types of cards you can buy that might be good for a day of playing tourist with a lot of on/off but I can't talk to those. )
     
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  3. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    I'll gladly delete the "secret things in Paris" as no offense was intended, I just wanted to include a point of reference to illustrate my inspiration.

    about multi day Metrocards, the 7 Day Unlimited is the only remaining option.

    7-Day Unlimited Pass
    Cost: $29, reduced fare $14.50
    Good for unlimited subway and local bus rides until midnight, 7 days from day of first use.


    Sadly, the MTA recently stopped offering the very useful 1 Day Unlimited pass.

    fwiw, if you have a MetroCard, it's possible to double-dip (aka free transfer) when traveling in 1 direction via subway and the return via bus. The caveat is that the return trip must occur with two hrs of the first swipe.
     
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  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Disappointing to see that the SI Ferry was left off the list of great ways to see Lady Liberty if you don't want to actually go on to the island. Free and it passes darn close.

    Walking should be 4-5 crosstown blocks to the mile making them ~4x longer than street blocks.

    The waterfront along the southwest side of the island, between the World Financial Center and Battery Park is a great walk for views/sunset, as is the Brooklyn Promenade.

    If staying in Times Square the best meals you'll find are a $5-7 cab ride away. You'll save more than that in the more reasonable prices of the food and the quality will be significantly better, too.
     
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  5. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    The SI Ferry is just one of a zillion things left out...for the moment

    After all, it was just a start .....

    I can add all tips to the OP if that's what everyone wants.

    Otherwise, everyone please chime in on a format that locals & tourists will find most useful
     
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  6. wanderlust
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    wanderlust Silver Member

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    For cheap eats, try a street cart. "Lamb" or chicken over rice is very "New York," and usually costs no more that $5 for a decent amount of food.

    The Roosevelt Island tram is an interesting experience, and there are great views of Manhattan from the island itself, which is like another world (though technically part of Manhattan!).

    When you take a taxi, you have certain rights, usually outlined on a placard on the back of the seat in front of you. This includes things like the ability to pay with a credit card. Try to avoid black cars that honk and try to pick you up, but if you must, be sure to negotiate the fare clearly before you jump in.
     
  7. IMGone
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    IMGone Silver Member

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    Taxis and your rights ... good one!

    - You have the right to pay with a credit card. If the driver tells you the machine doesn't work, the cab ride can be free if you don't want to or don't have cash. The cc option is now a requirement.
    - Ask for a receipt if you want one, there are no issues getting one.
    - There is a mute button available for the little television in the back of the cab - use it! The cab driver who has to hear the same thing over and over again will appreciate it and the content is often fluff
    - If staying within the City, the meter should have a rate code of 1 displayed, anything else and you're paying a premium for service you aren't getting.
    - Manhattan To/From JFK is a flat fare - don't forget to tip (something)
    - Taxis that have their number lit only are available - taxis that have the side words lit as well means they are on break/heading home, but they MIGHT be willing to take you if you are heading somewhere where they are going anyway or have a lucrative ride for them
    - Taxis without any of the roof lights lit means they have a ride already, waving your hand at them will accomplish nothing.
    - Taxi drivers are not allowed to be on the phone while driving passengers - period. Feel free to tell them to hang up in a friendly manner, they are well aware of the rules.
    - Catching a taxi at Super Bowl time is harder than getting one in bad weather (I kid you not!)
    - Think purell after you've been in a taxi, a recent study on the handles, screens, etc was a bit stomach turning [​IMG]

    Anyone else want to chime in?
     
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  8. monster
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    monster Silver Member

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    There are other bridges that cannot be walked such as the Alexander Hamilton (I-95), High Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone and Throgs Neck. Transportation Alternatives has a page describing the various NYC bridges, whether or not they can be walked/biked, and maps showing exactly where the pedestrain entrances are located: http://transalt.org/files/resources/bridges/

    The 20 streets to a mile rule only applies to numbered streets in Manhattan. Numbered avenues are approximately 5 to a mile (although they're closer together East of Third Avenue). Park Avenue is equivalent to Fourth Avenue, and Madison and Lexington are between numbered avenues so those blocks are shorter.
     
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  9. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    Thanks all for the contributions :cool: and corrections :oops:!

    Since no one has yet to comment on devising a better format, I've just added your tips to the OP.

    btw, I've decided not to add food info to the OP as imo, it's such an important topic that it deserves its own dedicated threads.

    again, please chime in with more info, formatting or any other suggestions
     
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  10. dkelly1110
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    dkelly1110 Silver Member

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    There recently have been some more of the "food trucks" popping up. Everything from authentic Belgain wafels [sic; Belgian spelling] (twitter via @wafeltruck) and the dumpling truck (an offshoot of the Rickshaw dumpling place on 23rd street) (@rickshawtruck).
     
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  11. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    Is there any truth that the little letter at the end of the liscense plates on taxis (a,b,c etc) is the plate issue? I've been told this but never had it confirmed.

    The ferry to Ellis island has great views of the battery.
     
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  12. IMGone
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    IMGone Silver Member

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    I don't know what you mean by plate issue but I saw a news broadcast recently that pointed out the first and last letter as meaning something at least for nassau county car service vehicles

     
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  13. IMGone
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    IMGone Silver Member

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    And staten island ferries view a similar view with less hassle
     
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  14. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    But it doesn't get you to Ellis Island. [​IMG]
     
  15. Robin
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    Robin Silver Member

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    Subways - Weekend Track Work


    On weekends there can be a lot of track work that results in service changes. Some train lines don't run, some skip stations or run on different tracks ("E" train running on "F" track to W4th St.). This can be confusing even to New Yorkers. I often check the MTA website on the weekends, especially when taking the subway to any of the boroughs. There is info on the home page www.mta.info/ or you can click on "Planned Service Changes" http://travel.mtanyct.info/serviceadvisory/.
     
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  16. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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  17. Miles
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    Miles Silver Member

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    Someone has created a handy interactive map showing NYC museums and other cultural sites, showing where they are and when they have free admission.
    http://iheartnymuseums.com/
    If you're on a budget, just look for the light-blue markers.
     
  18. lili
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    lili Gold Member

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    Some of us are really cheap. Maybe you should note that buses do not take dollar bills. (Not a problem for those who churn coins, but others might have to carry 16 or so quarters [​IMG])
     
  19. The info for the Taxis is very helpful. Thanks a lot !!
     
  20. Landing Gear

    Landing Gear Active Member

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    No. Here's the deal. Let's say a plate is 5B2M, that's the same as the taxi medallion, the individual permit from the City's Taxi and Limousine Commission allowing the operation of a taxi which costs a few hundred thousand dollars. Some medallion owners have several cabs in what are colloquilaly called "mini fleets."

    So if you see a plate numbered 5B2MA or 5B2MB those taxis belong to the same fleet medallion owner.
     
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  21. IMGone
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    IMGone Silver Member

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    That's for taxis, for limo/car service plates it is a different story, isn't it?
     
  22. Landing Gear

    Landing Gear Active Member

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    Yes.
     
  23. Flygirl555
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    Flygirl555 Silver Member

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    When you go to the theater, ask for "rush tickets." Saw Spiderman After Dark in the orchestra for $30.
     
  24. IMGone
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    IMGone Silver Member

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    Can you discuss this further, I'm not familiar with the term. I would use TKTS but is this at the box office?
     
  25. aplus808
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    aplus808 Active Member

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    Nothing like taking the R downtown and wondering why it all of a sudden is no longer underground, but has been diverted over the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn.
     
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