How can I impress a New Yorker

11 things to know before traveling to New York for the first time

From TRAVELBOOK | March 8, 2017, 4:46 p.m.

Anyone who has chosen a metropolis as their travel destination that they have never been to before runs the risk of being overwhelmed on site. And that doesn't just mean the innumerable attractions, but also everyday customs, the amount of tips, technical standards, local prices, etc. TRAVELBOOK reveals useful knowledge for New York beginners.

1. Go through the traffic light when it is red!

For pedestrians in New York only this rule applies when crossing the streets: If there is no car, then walk over quickly. Whether the traffic light is red or green is of secondary importance. Don't be impressed if there are police officers around, they don't care if someone crosses the street when it is red. Especially since practically every New Yorker does it. Chances are you'll see an NYPD officer ignore the red light yourself. Nevertheless, caution is advised, not only on the somewhat narrower side streets, but especially on the wide avenues. There is usually so much traffic there anyway that you prefer to wait for the green at the traffic lights.

2. Don't sneak or stand in the way!

New Yorkers don't want to lose any time, which is evident not only from the fact that they ignore red lights, but also from their brisk pace. Even in leisure mode, a walking pace is displayed that would pass as a sprint in Berlin. New Yorkers are correspondingly impatient when someone at supermarket checkouts, subway ticket machines or when ordering a sandwich does not come into the pots. The same applies to tourists: Make sure that you don't hold up New Yorkers - and have your ticket ready when you head towards the turnstile, for example on the subway.

3. Almost nothing works before 10 am

Actually, one would assume, a city like New York doesn't sleep, so it should start correspondingly early everywhere. But most shops - and many offices too - don't start the day until 10 a.m. One of the reasons for this is that it is often very long in the evening, and working days until 9 p.m. or longer are not unusual. If you want to discover the Big Apple in a relatively non-hectic way, use the time between 7 and 9 for a walk, for example on the High Line, a former elevated railway line that has been converted into a park.

4. New York is a bicycle city

Anyone who has never been to New York probably does not suspect that the metropolis is a great way to explore the city by bike. Hundreds of kilometers of bike paths have been created in the city in recent years, and in 2013 a bike rental system was launched with Citi Bike, the counterpart to Call a Bike in Germany. In Manhattan, the heart of New York, the bicycle is a good, inexpensive and sometimes faster alternative to the subway, car or taxi. Advantage, especially for vacationers: You can see a lot more of the city. A day pass for Citi Bike is $ 9.95 and the week pass is $ 25. Around 400 stations are spread across the city. Here is an overview of where you can rent and return bicycles.

5. Here you pay (almost) everything with a credit card

A $ 3 espresso? A bottle of water for $ 1.49? A beer in the pub for $ 7? In New York - as in other US metropolises - there is almost nothing that cannot be paid for with a credit card. What is almost the exception in supermarkets in Germany is the rule in the Big Apple. Depending on the type of purchase and in the case of low sums, the credit card is often only swiped, and there is no need to enter a PIN or signature. Of course, as a holidaymaker, you lose track of things so quickly. But sometimes it comes in handy when you just pull out the card and don't have to count the change. Tips are also paid in this way: Simply fill in the "Tip" field with the appropriate amount.

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6. Healthy food is (very) expensive!

Certainly one or the other may now object that healthy food is expensive in this country too. That's true! But in New York - not the cheap city anyway - this is particularly true, especially since unhealthy food is not exactly cheap. A fresh juice can cost $ 10 and more. Normal supermarkets are sometimes - apart from mini markets - in vain, but the probability of finding a health food shop or restaurant is quite high.

Also interesting: The 6 best tips for New York's hip Brooklyn district

If you like it less healthy, you will also enjoy a slice of pizza - there are cheap and delicious ones everywhere Slices to buy - or enjoy an ordinary bagel with cream cheese, for example here: Bagels on the Square, 7 Carmine St, West Village. Try the other bagel variations there too!

7. Private apartment or room instead of a hotel

What applies to food also applies to accommodation. Even a mediocre hotel can put too much strain on the travel budget, so: Book a holiday apartment on the relevant websites. This not only has the advantage that it is usually much cheaper to get away, but the landlord also gives you a lot of good tips for the area when you hand over the keys - in a huge city like New York this is definitely worth its weight in gold.

Also interesting: the best tips for New York in winter

8. The nicest neighborhoods in Manhattan

Even if Brooklyn sounds appealing to many - which of course it is - one should limit oneself to Manhattan when choosing the district when visiting New York for the first time. From here you can get to the famous sights much faster during the day, sometimes on foot. Recommended neighborhoods include the Lower East Side, East or West Village, Greenwich Village, Chelsea or SoHo. Tapas bars like Vandal can be found in the Lower East Side:

9. In New York there's free WiFi on every corner

Save any data roaming fees. What is unfortunately still a rarity in Germany or sometimes very cumbersome, is the rule in the USA: spontaneously and relatively easily log into a WLAN somewhere for free. In New York this is literally possible on every corner. Sometimes these are already public WiFi networks or those offered by cafes such as Starbucks, restaurants, shops or the like. In the simplest case, connecting usually only requires accepting the terms of use or sometimes entering an email address. The best thing to do is to set up your own email account before the trip. This prevents the main address from being used for advertising purposes.

Also interesting: the best savings tips for New York

10. Think carefully about whether and how you use the subway

If you want to get to your destination by subway, you should plan carefully whether or how often you have to change. If you are traveling with a single ticket ($ 2.75), you can quickly pay for another one. Especially if you accidentally got on an express train and the subway doesn't stop at the actual station you wanted to get out of.

Also Interesting: 13 Facts You Didn't Know About The Statue of Liberty

11. Allow enough time for the return journey to the airport

This is recommended for every traveler, but in New York you should really heed this advice, especially if you are flying back from JFK Airport and are traveling by rental car or taxi. Depending on the traffic situation, the journey can take up to 2 hours. The times given by Google Maps, Apple Maps and other services can often not be relied on, as accidents can suddenly hinder the already slow-moving traffic. In addition, the route from Manhattan to JFK is also the route to get to Long Island, which causes even more traffic jams on some days. Therefore: If you want to be on the safe side, take the subway and train. At best, you should be at the airport two hours in advance, as the security check is very precise and can sometimes take a little longer than you are used to in this country.

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