When to go:
There is no real good or bad time to go to New York – just a different experience. Of course, some months are more comfortable than other. Winter can be particularly cold and snowy, making visiting rather difficult. The Indian Summer months of September to November can be uneasily warm and humid, but colors around the city are gorgeous with fall colors in Central Park and around. Spring and Summer would be good time to visit, though these would also be the busiest.
MTA Subway is the way to go. With 468 stations and 24 subway lines, you can always find a line close to you. We did not take a taxi once, and never walked more than 15 minutes to find a station. Sticking to the subway allowed us to walk all around Manhattan, head to Brooklyn and even reach Coney Island in a very easy way. Operating 24 hours a day, subway is ideal for late nights, thought check ahead of time as not all station entrances are open at all times. Metrocard is a very convenient way to pay – you can recharge as you go and use it as well for transportation from and to JFK airport.
For such a big city and populated boroughs – Manhattan has after all the third-largest population of New York City with over 1.6 million – walking around at all hours was pretty safe. Talking the subway in late evenings, walking around in early mornings, and we did not feel in any danger once. Of course, we were careful and did not wander in sketchy areas, but nonetheless we did not encounter any scary situations, did not see any scams or robberies, were not accosted by any homeless. We did some poorer areas, less fancy and which could have appreciated some fresh coats of paint, but nothing that impacted a trouble-free city sightseeing.
Food & Water:
Water is same to drink, even if not sometimes not best tasting. Of course, coffee corners and tea shops can be a great alternative option. Food choice in New York is endless, from food trucks, Italian pasta and pizza, Chinese dumplings, Michelin-star rated restaurants. More here on Manhattan for Foodies.
Currency & Methods of Payment:
Good old US Dollars of course! Cash, credit or debit cards accepted everywhere.
New York City Lodging
Hotels in New York City are notoriously expensive and even more in a holiday season like Christmas. It was hard to find a room for less than hundreds of dollars. We made a reservation through Airbnb and landed a room in an small apartment in Lower East Side. The area is very safe and packed with several restaurants and coffee houses. For budget accommodation, check these Best Hostels in NYC.
New York City Travel Tips
- Walk everywhere, explore narrow streets and neighborhood.
- Visit the same places – twice. Once during the day, to get a feel of the city. Then again at night, to enjoy the skyline.
- Touristy attractions are, well, touristy, but for good reasons – unique, grandiose, historic, and as such, must-see.