New York


Airport ✈️

New York City has three major airports. JFK and Newark are the International airports, with JFK being the largest and most popular airport to fly into, all three are used regularly by tourists coming into the city. There is another small airport, called MacArthur (ISP) located 60 miles from Manhattan on Long Island. MacArthur handles a lot of domestic Southwest Airlines flights and other regional flights.

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) - As one of the busiest airports in the world, JFK handles some 60 million passengers per year, and is a full-service airport, complete with shops, restaurants and all manner of airport services.

  • To reach Manhattan, look for a famous yellow taxis πŸš• outside your arrival terminal. Yellow cabs charge a flat fare from JFK to Manhattan, $52 + any tolls and tax of $.50.
  • AirTrain NYC πŸš† is a fast and convenient way for air travellers to get into the city. Servicing each of the eight terminals in JFK, tickets are just $5 and can be purchased at vending machines right at the airport. It is the cheapest way to get to and from JFK and runs every few minutes.
  • There are a number of shuttle buses 🚌 run by various companies to take you into the city, likely the best option for larger parties of more than four people.

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) - The second largest NYC airport is actually located outside of New York in Newark, New Jersey, just across the river from Manhattan. It is the international hub of Continental Airlines, and is a full-service airport. Newark airport has three terminals (A, B and C) and all offer convenient and fairly inexpensive shuttle buses called Air Train to get into the city.

  • For just over $10 one way you take the Airtrain 🚝 from the airport to the Airtrain Station, and from there catch a New Jersey Transit train πŸš† to New York's Penn Station.
  • A taxi πŸš• into the city will cost you $50 - $70, tolls not included. Other more expensive transportation, such as limos, are also available.

LaGuardia Airport (LGA) - Located in Queens, it is the smallest of the major airports, and handles mainly domestic flights. As a hub for US Airways and Delta Airlines, it is the closest airport to Manhattan. There are many helpful facilities for travellers, but it should be noted that there is no baggage storage or lockers in the airport due to security reasons.

  • A taxi πŸš• is the easiest most popular transfer option for the journey to Manhattan. Taxis are metered so expect to pay $25 - $40 depending on your destination and traffic conditions. Tolls and tips will be extra.
  • The least expensive way is to buy a MetroCard, then catch the Q70 Limited bus 🚌 and ride it to the Jackson-Heights-Roosevelt station, then hop on the subway into town.

Getting around πŸš•

New York City is a very walkable city, especially Manhattan. There is certainly no need for a car while in the city.

Subway - The MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) runs the famous NYC subway system and bus lines. Buy a MetroCard at any station using their automated machines (using cash or card, or from booth attendants (cash only). The MTA is inexpensive and the best way to see the sights within the five boroughs, operating 24/7. It is also very accessible for those with visual, hearing or mobility disabilities. A single subway or bus ride costs $2.75. An unlimited MetroCard allows you to ride as often as you like within a fixed period of time (7 days or 30 days) at a discounted price, with further discounts for seniors and those with disabilities. Children below certain heights can ride for free and always with a fare-paying adult.
New York City Subway Map

Taxi - The famous yellow taxi cabs are another option, but obviously more expensive. They are available all over and sometimes seem more plentiful than regular cars on the streets. There are also green Boro taxis. Both are equally good, and they are licensed and run by state commission. Taxis are always good in a pinch when you need to get somewhere quickly or have heavy bags weighing you down. Don't forget to keep some cash in reserve to tip your driver.

Weather ⛅️

Spring - Springtime is when the city thaws out from the frigid winter making it a great time to visit. Central Park is especially nice, as trees and flowers start to bloom. Temperatures are cool and mild, with light wind and occasional rain. April temperatures average between 6Β°C (43Β°F) - 16Β°C (61Β°F).

Summer - A popular time of year to visit, with the hottest temperatures occurring July through September. Prepare yourself to endure stifling heat and humidity as you battle the mass of tourists during this popular season. July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 30Β°C (86Β°F). There's little relief by night as temperatures settle in the 20's (70s Fahrenheit).

Autumn - Fall is another great time to visit NYC weather-wise, as the climate is generally mild. Temperatures can reach 21Β°C (70Β°F) by day, and the city experiences less rainy days than Spring or Summer. Autumn is also a chance to witness the golden colors of the Central Park foliage.

Winter - The weather starts to really change October through December, with snowfall being an occasional occurrence, and there is chance of heavy snowstorms November through February. Temperatures in Winter can certainly get below freezing. January is the coldest month with highs of just 6Β°C (43Β°F) and a low of -3Β°C (27Β°F).

View current weather forecast

Power πŸ”Œ

The standard voltage in New York is 110-120V/60Hz. A two-pronged, polarized plug is standard, and sometimes outlets will have a third, rounded prong for grounding. If your appliance takes a higher voltage (eg 220V), you will need a step-down convertor.

Currency πŸ’΅

The official currency is the US Dollar (USD). New York City is the financial capital of the world, so you will have no problem finding places where you can exchange your currency for USD. However, it is good to know which will give you the best rates. Generally, exchanging money at the airport or your hotel will not give you the best rate.

Credit card usage in New York, as in much of the US is very common, perhaps more-so than cash. Visa, Mastercard and American Express are the most widely accepted credit cards in the city. Carrying some cash with you will be useful not only for tipping (which is absolutely commonplace in the U.S) but also at some of the cheaper New York restaurants that mostly cater to locals, some of these are cash only establishments. Note that withdrawing cash from an ATM can incur a charge of $1 to $3 per transaction. At the ATM, when you are prompted to decide being charged in your home currency or US Dollars, always choose US Dollars as this will save you money. Finally, US dollar banknotes are the same physical size and look very similar to one another which often confuses visitors.

  • Coins are available in 1c (penny), 5c (nickel), 10c (dime) and 25c (quarter) denominations.
  • Banknotes are available in $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations.

View current exchange rate

Average costs πŸ”

  • 3 hotel room* 🏨 = $225 - $300
  • Slice of pizza πŸ• = $3 - $6
  • Full meal at a family-style restaurant 🍝 = $10 - $25
  • Bottled Water πŸ’§ = $3 - $4
  • Coffee β˜•οΈ = $3 - $6
  • Beer 🍺 = $7 - $9
  • Cocktail 🍸 = $8 - $16

Tipping πŸ€‘

This is America which means tipping is not only accepted, it is expected. The city lives and breathes by its service industry as this is a tourist town, and those whose livelihood largely depends on tips rely on tourists for their bread and butter.

  • In a restaurant, tipping 15-20% of the bill is standard. However, for large groups, a gratuity will automatically be added, so be sure to check with the restaurant to find out their policy on groups.
  • For drinks at a bar, tip your bartender at least $1 per drink. If you are in a coffee shop or other similar type of establishment, often you will see tip jars at the cash register. This is solely a β€˜tip-if-you-want’ jar, and throwing in a bill or some change is always appreciated by staff.
  • Valets are usually tipped $2 - $5.
  • Hotel baggage storage/bell hop, $1 per bag.
  • When leaving your hotel for the day, it is customary to leave $2 - $5 per night in the room for the cleaning staff.
  • Taxi drivers are usually tipped 10-20% of the total fare.
  • Tour guides always appreciate $5 - $10 after the tour.

Language & phrases πŸ—£

The most commonly spoken language by New Yorkers is English so if you can read this sentence you'll be just fine. Of course given its diversity, don't be surprised to hear numerous world languages. New Yorkers do have their quirks and have developed certain phrases that are helpful to be familiar with when you are in their town.

  • Bodega = An east coast term for a convenience store or mini mart. 'Bodegas' can be found on almost every corner, serving you snacks, drinks and other convenient items.
  • Hero = What other cities call subs or hoagies, a hero is a long, thick roll typically filled with meat and a variety of cheeses and vegetables.
  • The City = You might expect when somebody refers to "The City" they are talking about New York City as a whole. However it more often refers to Manhattan, one of the five boroughs that makes up New York.

Famous for πŸ™

New York City is famous for so many things, there are too many to list here. Here are some highlights not to be missed for any trip to the Big Apple.

The Statue of Liberty - Taking the ferry to see this world-famous landmark up close and personal is one of the great joys of visiting the city. If you are able, go to their website well before your trip and try to get a reservation to go up inside Lady Liberty for a tour.

Broadway - Catching a Broadway play is one of the quintessential New York experiences. There are discounts to be had once you’re in town for those last-minute theater goers. Or book a ticket to your favorite show online before your trip.

Central Park - America’s most beloved urban park is huge and cannot be tackled in just one day. Visit it in small snippets and you will get more out of the experience.

Times Square - The 'center of the universe' has become so much more pedestrian-friendlier and a whole lot safer than even 20 years ago. It is especially great to walk around at night, as the light show will surely dazzle you and it is always buzzing with people.

Empire State Building - There is a lot of history to be learned in this iconic landmark. Take a tour and go up to the 102nd floor observatory for incredible 360-degree views of the city. If you would prefer the Empire State Building in your photos, then pay a visit to the observation deck of the Rockefeller Center to get the best view of the Empire State and Downtown.

One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) - This newly-built landmark will take you on an emotional journey, as it is the replacement of the Twin Towers that were destroyed on September 11, 2001. Also called the One WTC, it is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

Local tips πŸ’‘

  • Take public transportation (bus or subway). Multi-day passes are economical.
  • Many people identify New York City with Manhattan, however, there is much more to this city. The other four boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island) have much to offer and should not be ignored.
  • When exploring the city on foot, take your time but don’t block the sidewalks. New Yorkers are busy people and generally don’t stop moving!
  • Have a quintessential New York eating experience and dine on bagels and lox, or pastrami piled high on two pieces of pumpernickel bread, both fresh from a corner deli.

Useful links πŸ”—

Bon voyage πŸ‘‹

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