Do NYC as the Locals Do

When vacationing, it’s often hard to get a sincere experience of the culture. In NYC, this is especially true. Times Square is lined with chain restaurants, tourists and overpriced hotels. If that’s what your dream NYC experience is, then by all means, partake in those staples of American life.

For travelers interested in pretending to be New Yorkers for a few days, I have compiled a list of tips:

  • If you want to see the Statue of Liberty, take the Staten Island Ferry.
    • The ferry gives you great views of the Statue of Liberty and the city. It’s also free, if you take the metro to the ferry.
    • Also, while you are waiting for the ferry, you have the option to purchase beer and drink it on the ride! How fun is that?
  • Buy a week/month long metro pass.
    • Sure it is more expensive upfront, but you will quickly learn that constantly refilling your metro card is both timely and costly.
  • Always carry cash.
    • You would think that in a modern city like NYC, credit cards would be king. Not exactly. Many restaurants have credit card minimums or simply only take cash. For instance, if you want to go to Tom’s Restaurant, the Seinfeld hotspot, you better bring cash or “no soup for you.”
  • Avoid Times Square.
    • This is unless, of course, you’re in the market for some overpriced “I heart NYC” boxers.
    • For a more relaxing time, try the Highline and the nearby Chelsea Market.
  • Walk quickly.
    • Keep up or risk getting run over. Walk the same block a few times if you want to marvel at its beauty. After all, you’re on vacation; you have time.

Staying Warm in New York

As a lifelong New Yorker, I can confirm the Big Apple is a wonderful place to visit any time of year. But staying warm in these winter months can be difficult. Luckily, for tourists who have been in town in recent weeks, the city has been unseasonably temperate. (We set an all-time record by hitting 68 degrees last weekend! In the middle of December!)

When the weather outside is a little more frightful, however, some people find their time in NYC a little less pleasant. With some preparation, however, conquering the elements is entirely possible. The blog New York Stay has provided “Top Ten Tips for Surviving the Big Freeze” in New York City, and the points cover some absolutely essential points, such as:

  1. Decent shoes or boots that will remain watertight. I must admit, I’ve had a chuckle or two at the expense of out-of-towners who thought they would explore the city in high heels or some other unwise shoe decision. You don’t want to be stuck in that situation.
  2. Thick socks. With all the walking that doing NYC right requires, I typically tell friends to bring thick socks anyway. But in the winter, these will be your best friend.
  3. Gloves. I recommend “tech touch” gloves, with forefingers and thumbs that will allow you to access to crucially important Google Maps on the go.
  4. A nice, soft scarf. New York is the scarf capital of the world. In addition to keeping you warm, this item will also help you blend in.
  5. Long johns or thermal underwear. Nothing can salvage your body temp like a good set of long johns. The best part – nobody can tell you’re wearing them!

If you should arrive in New York and realize you forgot to pack any of the above, I have no doubt the stores on 5th Avenue (which are so beautiful at Christmastime) will be happy to supply you with whatever you need!