New York City Guide

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Tips & Tricks

Taxi

The famous New York yellow cabs are usually hailed in the street, although there are a few taxi ranks. They are available when the sign on the roof is illuminated. Payment is according to the meter, there is a standing charge and a per mile charge plus surcharges at night. They are legally obliged to take you wherever you wish within the five boroughs. You will be expected to pay any bridge, tunnel, or airport tolls. Expect to tip the driver at least 15 per cent.


Tipping

Just like the cab drivers, barmen, waiters and waitresses will expect at least a 15 per cent tip, as this is a major part of their income. As a general guideline tip a hotel porter $1 per bag and similar to the doorman who hails you a cab.


Driving

Driving in New York is not advised unless it is essential. Parking is a major problem and very expensive. There are many parking restrictions and the penalties are fierce. The privately owned tow-away companies work on a commission basis and so are very efficient. You must not leave your car in a parking space for more than one night. It is illegal to park within 10 feet or 3.3 meters of a fire hydrant. Speed limits are in urban areas 20-25mph depending on the area, for main roads and freeways the limit is 65mph. Seat belts must be used by everyone in the front seats and by children in the back.


Crime

Don't be scared, be smart. Despite its reputation New York is not unlike most other major cities, so it is advisable to act sensibly. It is not advisable to use the subway on your own after midnight. If walking after dark, especially when alone, keep to the busy streets and try to avoid the quieter areas. Only carry what cash you need for that day, and refrain from any obvious display of wealth such as expensive watches or jewellery.  If you are unfortunate enough to become a victim of crime such as a mugging, hail a cab and ask to be taken to the nearest police station. They will probably not be able to help a great deal, but they will supply you with a crime reference number for your insurance company. It is advisable to only visit deprived areas such as Harlem as part of an organized tour.


Electricity

110/120 volts AC (60 cycles). Sockets take two/flat-pin plugs.


Police

In an emergency dial 911 or use one of the clearly marked street phones which have direct lines to the emergency services.