There are a million guides for tourists visiting New York and most of them give advice on what people should experience during a vacation, but they often leave out the advice on what you shouldn’t do.
Statue of Liberty
Almost everyone visiting New York for the first time will use a couple of hours to go and see the Statue of Liberty, but look out for people selling tickets out in the streets. They might look like licensed people who are allowed to sell tickets, but most of the are not. They will give you a ticket and lead you towards a bus, but it is all a scam.
Even native New Yorkers, like the actor Alec Baldwin, get fooled by these street sellers. Don’t get scammed into buying a fake ticket and just get them from the official place near the ferry that takes you to the Statue of Liberty. Another way is getting the ticket online, but make sure to use official NYC tourist websites.
If you want to save some money and still get a great view of the statue of Liberty, there are free ferries you can jump on and get all the great pictures for your scrapbook or instagram feed.
New York is huge and almost everybody uses the subway system, but there are a few things you shouldn’t do while exploring your way through the city. Here’s 5 quick tips.
1) Move into the car rather than standing at the edges blocking the door. You will be able to get off later, don’t worry.
2) If you’re stuck at the edges of the door on a crowded train, get off to let people get off the train more easily and get back on.
3) Never, ever get on the train before you’ve let everyone who’s exiting the train off first.
4) Take off your backpack and wear it in front while you’re on a crowded train
5) If possible, avoid taking the subway during the morning and evening rush hours. This is for your own sanity.
When you are exiting/entering the subway, do not stand on the left side of the escalator. Commuters walk up the left side, and stand on the right side. This is especially important to keep in mind during the morning rush (7–9am) and the evening rush (5–7pm).
DON’T GIVE “PERFORMERS” MONEY. It’s quite alright and encouraged to give donations to musicians and other performers at the subway stations, parks or in the streets, but not in the subway cars/trains. Pandering, begging or busking as it is called, is not allowed in the subway trains either. Busking is when a danceshow, gymnastics or a music performance etc. is performed illegally in the subway cars.
Another thing to look out for is the friendly guy helping people when the ticket machines aren’t working. Most of the time, these seemingly friendly people are the ones that actually have stopped the ticket machine from working, by jamming used metro cards into the slots, where you would normally get a new one. They then in turn let people through the emergency door and pressure tourists to pay them for it. Don’t fall for this scam and certainly never give them any money.
Here, take this…
You are under no obligation to take anything from people you run into, and you’re under no obligation to pay them for anything. Let me explain…
While out enjoying New York you might experience some people trying to hand you things like a CD. They will pressure tourists to pay for the items. A street artist might have been drawing you without you knowing it and then walk up to you trying to hand you the picture. If somebody tries to put something in your hands, don’t accept it; if someone sets something in front of you on the table, give it back – if they refuse to take it, drop it at their feet. And if they demand payment – don’t pay.
Don’t accept golden plastic Buddhas from smiling men in Central Park, dressed as Buddhist monks. They’re not.
And you’re under no obligation to listen to someone’s hard-luck story and give them money. Some of these people, to be fair, are genuinely down on their luck – but many are not.
If your child wants to have a photo taken with Minnie Mouse in Times Square, Minnie Mouse will expect a tip of around $5. Don’t let Iron Man, Spider-Man, Batman, and several others crowd in for a group shot, because they will all expect the same amount.
Getting a bite to eat
There a million places to eat in New York, but if you aren’t careful, you can end up paying much more than you intended. Many of the big name places should be avoided at all cost. Mostly because there are so many other great places to eat in New York, but also because they cater to tourists and have very high prices.
If you are eating at a place with someone serving you, it is expected that you leave a tip of at least 15%, but preferbly 20%. The waiters make close to nothing per hour and the tips are their wages.
Don’t go dunkin’… Everybody has heard of Dunkin Donuts, but don’t go there for coffee. You can get much better and cheaper coffee everywhere in the city. Their donuts are nice, but if you are looking for a quick treat in the morning, it’s a much better choice to visit one of the many breakfast carts around town.
Never consume alcohol in public. It’s prohibited.
Lastly, don’t buy souvenirs around Times Square. They are super expensive there compared to other places, like Chinatown.