Iconic, majestic, grand, kitsch, the tops, the bottoms, the kit and the kaboodle, NY is one huge, mercurial melting pot. She’s fashion-forward, status-conscious, food and culture centric, both exasperating and exhilarating, but never out of vogue. Welcome to the fabulous Wintour Wonderland.
There’s The Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens, but New York City for most conjures the vivid skyline of Manhattan, though up n’ comin’ borough BK isn’t far behind. Establishment Upper East Side (UES), lox and bagels Upper West Side (UWS), south of 14th St Manhattan becomes a city of hoods: SoHo, Tribeca, Meatpacking (MePa), East, West and Greenwich Villages, Nolita and the Lower East Side (LES). All have different faces, and named streets.
Autumn and spring are awesome and Christmas-time is magical; winter can be brutal and summer can be sweltering, but there is, in fact, no bad time to visit Above 14th St in Manhattan, it’s an easy breezy grid plan with avenues running north/south (generally one-way alternating direction) and streets east (evens) and west (odds). Fifth Ave divides east/west JFK to downtown: 1 hr / $52.50 (plus tolls & tips) by cab Walk. New York is extremely pedestrian-friendly The 24hr subway is efficient, safe and fast Sales tax is 8.875%, which is waived on clothing and shoes under $110 (what, shoes for less than $110?!) Clued-in locals hit bars, restaurants and clubs on weekdays. Amateurs/the B&T set come out weekends New Yorkers have been known to be friendly. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions or advice Yellow taxis are abundant, but impossible to find weekdays around 8am and 4.30pm, and on rainy days Tipping is a matter of life and death. In restaurants and cafés, adding 15-20% works well, in bars add a dollar per drink. If the service really sucks don’t tip, but be prepared to explain yourself and/or run fast Check that a service charge hasn’t been added before tipping (usually done for group bookings) Take ID everywhere. It will be required at the door of clubs and bars (no, they’re not flattering you) Reservations are essential at most restaurants, but savvy New Yorkers simply dine at the bar. If not, wait in line, or you can try the old $20 bill handshake Smoking is banned virtually everywhere indoors International code for America is +1, local calling codes are 212, 646, 347 and 917, though don’t forget you still need to add 1 before you dial In case you haven’t heard, in emergencies dial 911
Two phrases that you will hear frequently...
Can I help you? : You look too poor to shop here and I have no interest in helping you now, or ever.
Sorry, we’re fully booked : You are unknown to me, you cannot eat here, and I’m not sorry at all. Goodbye.
Alrighty, point, point, point...