New York is a safe place, but as with any city, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Please keep track of your wallet and valuables. Do not carry your wallet in your back pocket and if you are carrying a pocketbook or backpack, make sure it is zipped.
There are ATMs almost everywhere in New York City - although they are not as frequent in the less traveled parts of the outer boroughs. Be advised that most ATMs charge a fee. In the banks, the fee is usually $3.00 per withdrawal. Independent ATMS usually charge around $2.00. When possible, always use ATM machines at a bank or banking center. The following banks (plus others) have ATMs in New York City. Click on each one to be redirected to the branch/ATM locator.
All major credit cards are readily accepted. If a merchant or restaurant does not display the credit cards it accepts on its front door, you should ask.
Please also note that some merchants have a transaction minimum for payment by debit or credit cards.
You can get around in New York on public transportation (subway and bus), via taxi or on foot.
- Subway & Bus
Buses and subways cost $2.75 per ride. Buses accept MetroCards or $2.75 in coin change (no pennies or paper money). Subways only accept MetroCards. MetroCards are sold at all subway stations and at some stores - look for an "Authorized Sales Agent" sign. The MTA sells two kinds of MetroCards: unlimited ride and pay-per-ride. Seven day unlimited-ride MetroCards ($32)allow bus and subway travel for a week. If you will ride more than 11 times, this is the card to get.
An official New York City cab is a yellow car, SUV or minivan with a medallion number on top. When the numbers on top of the cab are illuminated, the cab is empty. When the numbers on top of the cab are turned off, the cab is occupied. New York has very few taxi stands. The doorman at your hotel can hail a taxi for you, but if you are on your own, stand at the curb and hold your arm straight up and straight out.
The minimum metered fare is $2.50, which increases 50 cents every fifth of a mile or every minute, depending on how fast you're traveling; there is also a New York State tax surcharge of 50 cents per ride.
An additional $1 surcharge is added to the meter Monday-Friday, 4-8pm, and a 50-cent surcharge is added at night, 8pm-6am.
All taxis accept cash and most accept credit cards. Tip 15-20% at the end of a trip; tolls are extra and added to the metered fare.
- Citi Bike
The Citi Bike SM System, operated by NYC Bike Share features thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations around New York. Citi Bikes are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Station locations are based on population and transit needs, and were selected through a participatory public input process. Each station has a touchscreen kiosk, a map of the service area and surrounding neighborhood, and a docking system that releases bikes for rental with a card or key. You must be 16 or older to ride a Citi Bike.
There are one day and three day options for Citi Bike. One important rule is you must return the bike before 30 minutes of use. If you go longer than 30 minutes, fees will be charged. You can return a bike and take another right away, but cannot take any one bike for longer than 30 minutes before returning it. For more information, please visit https://www.citibikenyc.com/how-it-works.
There is a free bus service downtown provided by the Downtown Alliance. It connects South Street Seaport to Battery Park City with 37 destination stops from river to river. Click here for more information.
Beyond Times Square can book a private car and driver for airport transfers and a private car and driver for use while in New York City. Contact us for more details.
If you bring a car with you to the city, please be aware that parking in a garage can range anywhere from $25 to $45 per day. If you decide to park on the street, please read the street signs - carefully. They explain when you can and cannot park your car.
Please be careful crossing the city streets. In many cities in the U.S., cars and bicycles yield to pedestrians. That is not always the case when you cross the streets of New York. Please follow and respect the crosswalks and directional lights. Be sure to look both ways, as rollerbladers and bikers do not always follow the proper street direction. Although you will see New Yorkers crossing in the middle of the street, do not follow their lead - cross at the corners.
You can check your email or surf the Internet at all public libraries, many cafes and public parks, and most hotels. Most subway stations in Manhattan also have WiFi. The organization NYCwireless keeps track of free WiFi hot spots in the New York area.
Photo opportunities await you at every corner in New York City. Batteries and memory cards are available everywhere. We suggest you do not buy either in high traffic tourist areas, as the price will be more expensive. If you need batteries or a memory card, visit a Duane Read or CVS Pharmacy.
New York is world-renowned for shopping, from fine department stores on Fifth Avenue to the upscale shops of Madison Avenue to unique designers of the East Village and Brooklyn. And don't forget street vendors. Just about all establishments accept major credit cards, even some street vendors do. When buying from street vendors, you can bargain. Many stores will ship items for you at an additional cost.
JEWISH NEIGHBORhoods on the sabbath
Beginning on Friday afternoon/evening and all day Saturday, Jewish communities (South Williamsburg and Borough Park) close for the Sabbath. If you are planning to visit these areas and want to get a feel for the neighborhood, we suggest you do not visit on those days. To make sure you get the best possible experience, we will not schedule programs to these areas during the above times.
Water in New York City is safe to drink and among the better tasting waters in the U.S. Bottled water is available at any convenience store, supermarket and most street vendors.
Tipping is included when noted. Below is a list of suggested tipping amounts for you to refer to:
- Airport/Hotel Porter
- Taxi Driver
- Shuttle Bus Driver
- Hotel Housekeeper
- Parking Garage Attendant
$1.00 per bag on arrival and $2.00 on departure
10% - 15% of fare on meter without tolls
15% - 20% of the food bill not including tax
$2.00 per day
$1.00 for getting your care
Laundry is available at most hotels, but there is a fee. Before you leave your clothes to be cleaned, please check the price list. There are also many dry cleaners all over the city.
Smoking is not allowed in restaurants, bars, arenas, public transportation, public parks or any other public places unless otherwise marked. Many hotels are now 100% non-smoking.
Keeping the CIty Clean
Please do not litter. You might see locals doing it, but do not follow their example. There are garbage cans on many corners. Thank you
New York does not have many public restrooms. The following is a list of public restrooms in New York City. Also department stores, hotels, and Barnes and Nobles have restrooms available.
- Bryant Park. Located near the library on 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, when the park is open (usually closes at 8:00p)
- Grand Central. Located off 42nd Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. You can find the public restrooms downstairs near the food court.
- Greeley Square. Located at 33rd Street and 6th Avenue. The charge is 50 cents.
- Penn Station. Located on 31st Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.
- Port Authority. Located on 41st Street and 8th Avenue.
- Police Stations. Any police station will let you use their bathroom.
- Hotel Lobbies
- Department Stores
- Coffee Houses
- Rockefeller Center, Concourse Level
- Staten Island and Liberty/Ellis Island Ferries
- Castle Clinton in Historic Battery Park
- Prospect Park in Brooklyn
- Tomkins Square Park
- Central Park at the following locations:
- Between 73rd Street and 59th Streets: Central Park Zoo, Wollman Memorial Rink, Heckscher Playground, Adjacent to Tavern on the Green
- Between 74th street and 84th Streets: Conservatory Boat House, Delacorte Theater, Ancient Playground
- Between 85th and 97th Streets: Tennis Courts, North Meadow Rec. Center
- Between 97th and 110th Streets: Conservatory Garden, Northside of the Harlem Meer, Robert Bendheim Playground, The Great Hill