Introducing Nyc 6


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Introducing Nyc 6

  1. 1. Pick & Mix: New York City Introducing For everything else… Lonely Planet and World MasterCard combine to create your personal travel toolkit. Enjoy breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime experiences; wake up to postcard views in faraway places; and enjoy worldwide acceptance as your curiosity leads you to new adventures. For a world of possibilities… With the world’s best travel information in your hands, and the flexibility of World MasterCard in your pocket, you are free to experience life’s passions in your own unique way. The best the world has to offer is within easy reach; unforgettable sights and sounds, delicious food and exceptional service. Create your own experience-of-a-lifetime and enjoy complete peace of mind. For no pre-set spending limits… World MasterCard credit cardholders can shop with confidence and no pre-set spending limit; giving you the benefit of additional spending power should you ever need it. Simply pay the amount that exceeds your revolving credit line on your billing statement each month to enjoy flexibility and peace of mind – anywhere in the world. For total confidence… Lonely Planet’s team of experienced travel experts scour the world to find great experiences - wherever they are. Use recommendations from the world’s most trusted source of independent travel information to ensure your travel experiences are unforgettable and truly unique. And whatever happens, your World MasterCard card is there to assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Wherever you are in the world, you’ll never have to worry about a lost or stolen card, getting an emergency replacement card, or even getting a cash advance. Learn more about the unique offers and benefits available to World MasterCard credit cardholders at
  2. 2. © Lonely Planet Publications I NTRO DUCI N G NYC In a New York minute: taxis zoom through bustling Times Square (p132) New York can be anything you want it to be. It’s why countless people have pinned their dreams on the place, thrown caution to the wind and shown up on its doorstep. And it’s why visitors keep streaming in from all corners of the globe, grasping at their silver- screen visions – and finding them – but discovering plenty more on the way. New York is a city that’s surprising yet malleable, incredibly straightforward yet bafflingly complex. It’s got so many sides and so much to offer that it can be intimidating, even to the most urban-minded of visitors. But approach it with a combination of organization and openness, and you’ll be met with some staggering and unexpected rewards. You could decide you’d like your day to be filled with high culture and trendy eating, for example, and – voila! – you’re working your way through the Museum of Modern Art, then watching the New York City Ballet perform at Lincoln Center. Or perhaps you like your city grittier, and spend an afternoon wandering through the twisting streets of Chinatown and in the edgy art galleries of Williamsburg. Just don’t be too shocked if your day of high culture turns edgy when you come across a gorgeous jazz singer on the subway platform – or if your bohemian day gets fancy when a trendy boutique seduces you, and you’re shelling out for perfect shoes before you know it. Whatever. New York is easy that way. 2
  3. 3. CITY LIFE writing, the US seemed Even while, at this certain to be sliding into an economic reces- 'NYC has gone through sion, New York City appeared to be holding its own. That’s because after decades of battling an impressive renaissance demons from crime to a failing infrastruc- ture, followed by the terror and fallout of Sep- to cement itself as an tember 11, NYC went through an impressive unshakable, shining icon' renaissance, managing to cement itself as an unshakable, shining icon. The year 2007 was an economic record setter here, bringing about $25 billion in new construction, a 33% home ownership rate and a whopping 46 million tourists. And the city is setting even higher goals for tourism in the coming years, ramping up its reach by launching campaigns that specifically court folks from Sweden, Russia, China and Brazil – as well as gay and lesbian travelers from across the globe – in an attempt to bring in 50 million annual visitors by 2015. Luckily, visitors are drawn to new attractions, and a spate of them – the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the relocated Museum of Art and Design and the new Museum of Chinese in America among them – are here to help the cause. The low crime rate – which dropped to a 40-year low in 2007 – doesn’t hurt, either. It’s good information for the many out-of-towners who still fear they will visit here and find the New York of the ’70s. Though the city’s major cleanup has been widely flaunted, sometimes you just have to see something to believe it. New York is cleaning up its act in other ways, too. It’s been attempting to improve the state of public health with various programs, fix the school system and turn this city into the lean, ‘green’ machine that it should be, by calling for environmentally sound development and transportation policies. It’s the city of the future. And it’s here right now. The magnificently marbled main hall of Grand Central Terminal (p128) 3
  4. 4. © Lonely Planet Publications G E T TI N G STAR TE D New York will lead, and you must follow. Still, it can’t hurt to be armed with a well-mapped plan, as the head-spinning number of options in this vibrant city will pull you in all directions. It’s a dream destination, after all, and you’ll want to know you experienced as much as possible. So budget your time – knowing that everything will take about twice as much time as you’d figured – and you won’t be sorry. WHEN TO GO New York shines in all seasons. Spring and fall, celebrating Christmas in the tradition of many Latin American and Caribbean coun- tries. Check the website for route details. GETTING STARTED WHEN TO GO with their mild temperatures and disarmingly beautiful blossoms and foliage, are optimal WINTER RESTAURANT WEEK times for strolling, which you’ll do a lot of here. %212-484-1222; Summer brings stifling heat and sizzling pave- One of two official Restaurant Weeks (the ments but other rewards aplenty, from outdoor other is in July), this marks a wonderful concerts and festivals to crowd-free weekends, opportunity to try the expensive, high- reduced hotel rates and perfect opportunities profile restaurant of your dreams – nearly for side trips to the seashore. Finally, while 200 participating eateries offer three-course winter can be chilly, it’s nothing that can’t be lunches for $20 or so and three-course din- cured by lingering in cozy museums and cafés – ners for $30. or by the fact that hotel rates tend to drop after the fun and frenzied holidays, when the crowds thin out. Plus, experiencing a New February York City snowstorm, when noise gets muffled LUNAR (CHINESE) NEW YEAR and jaded cityfolk act like wide-eyed kids, is FESTIVAL quite a heartwarming treat. One of the biggest Chinese New Year FESTIVALS celebrations in the country, this display of fireworks and dancing dragons draws mobs It seems as though there’s always some sort of celebration going on here. National holidays, of thrill-seekers into the streets of China- religious observances and just plain ol’ week- town. The date of Chinese New Year fluctu- ends prompt parades, parties or street fairs, ates from year to year, often falling in late with highlights such as the fireworks on July January but sometimes in early February. Fourth and the street parades for Halloween (October), Thanksgiving (November) and MERCEDES-BENZ FASHION WEEK Gay Pride (June). Federal holidays such as Labor Day, Christ- The infamous Bryant Park fashion shows are mas and Thanksgiving may affect business sadly not open to the public. But whether hours and transit schedules. While they won’t you’re invited or not, being in the city this affect your ability to eat out, explore or be week – when the couture world descends entertained, they could put a crimp in your upon Manhattan to thrill over new looks – plans to visit the post office or bank. Check could provide a vicarious thrill, especially with your hotel concierge (or local host) be- if you can find the after-parties. A second fore setting out. fashion week is held in September. WESTMINSTER KENNEL CLUB DOG January SHOW THREE KINGS PARADE %212-831-7272; Who will be Best in Show? Catch the oft- Every year in the first week of January, the mocked parade of pure breeds at this dead- streets of Spanish Harlem are filled with serious canine showcase, held annually at parading schoolchildren, donkeys and sheep, Madison Square Garden (see p326). 20
  5. 5. March downtown film fest, held in the first week of May. The week of screenings, featur- ST PAT’S FOR ALL PARADE ing world and US premieres, has become %718-721-2780; a prestigious, celeb-studded event, with Held early in the month in Sunnyside, plenty of red-carpet action. Queens, this festive community affair is an inclusive answer to the mainstream St Patrick’s Day Parade, which bans gay CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL groups from marching. %718-623-7200; Known in Japanese as Sakura Matsuri, this annual tradition, held the first weekend in ST PATRICK’S DAY PARADE March 17 May, celebrates the pink, puffy flowering of %718-793-1600 the Kwanzan cherry trees along the Brook- A massive audience, rowdy and wobbly lyn Botanic Garden’s famous esplanade. It’s from cups of green beer, lines Fifth Ave on GETTING STARTED WHEN TO GO complete with entertainment, refreshments March 17 for this popular parade of bag- pipe blowers, sparkly floats and clusters and awe-inspiring beauty. of Irish-lovin’ politicians. The event is pro- tested each year by a small but feisty group BIKE NEW YORK of LGBT folks, who object to the fact that %212-932-2453; march organizers specifically ban any gay May is Bike Month, featuring two-wheelin’ groups from joining in. tours, parties and other events for pedal- pushing New Yorkers. Bike New York, the main event, sees thousands of cyclists hit April the pavement for a 42-mile ride, much EASTER PARADE EASTER BONNET of it on roads closed to traffic or waterfront FESTIVAL paths through each of the city’s five boroughs. This loosely organized tradition brings mobs of well-clad folks to the stretch of Fifth Ave (closed off to traffic for the day) in FLEET WEEK front of St Patrick’s Cathedral, where they %212-245-0072; strut in the sun to show off their elaborate For one week at the end of the month, bonnets, caps and other headgear. Manhattan resembles a 1940s movie set as clusters of fresh-faced, uniformed sailors go ‘on the town’ to look for adventures. HAVANA FILM FESTIVAL The ships they leave behind, docked in the %212-946-1839; Hudson River, invite the curious to hop Fast nearing its 10th year, this beloved film aboard for tours. fest screens shorts, docs and features from Cuba, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America. June PUERTO RICAN DAY PARADE TAX DAY April 15 April 15 is the deadline for Americans to pay The second weekend in June attracts thou- off Uncle Sam. In NYC, it’s just another rea- sands of flag-waving revelers for the annual son to dress up and make some noise. Check Puerto Rican pride parade. Now in its fifth out both the partiers and protestors who decade, it runs up Fifth Ave from 44th to gather on the grand steps of the General 86th Sts. Post Office – kept open round the clock as procrastinators rush to get their postmark – in a quirky, crazy display of free speech. JVC JAZZ FESTIVAL %212-501-1390; More than 40 jazz shows go on in clubs May around the city for this festival held in TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL mid-June, featuring big names such as Etta %212-941-2400; James, Branford Marsalis, Keith Jarrett and Robert De Niro co-organizes this annual Eartha Kitt. 21
  6. 6. (though the accompanying patriotic music ONLY IN NYC is rather on the schmaltzy side). Get an only-in-New York opportunity with the follow- ing events’ unique perspectives: NATHAN’S FAMOUS Open House New York (p24) HOT-DOG-EATING CONTEST July 4 Hot Nude Yoga New Year’s Eve (p24) Howl! Festival (right) This bizarre celebration of gluttony brings Queens Pride March (below) world-champion food inhalers to Coney Mermaid Parade (below) Island each Fourth of July. The 2007 winner, Nathan’s Famous Hot-Dog-Eating Contest (right) Joey Chestnut of California, set a new world record by downing 66 dogs (and buns!) in 12 minutes – despite a jaw injury, no less. LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL TRANSGENDER PRIDE PHILHARMONIC IN THE PARK GETTING STARTED WHEN TO GO %212-807-7433; %212-875-5656; June is Gay Pride Month, and it culminates Free nighttime concerts in the park from in a major march down Fifth Ave on the last the country’s premier orchestra are among Sunday of the month – a five-hour spec- the most wonderful treats of summer in tacle of dancers, drag queens, gay police the city. Grab a blanket, pack a picnic and officers, leathermen, lesbian soccer-moms choose from Central Park, Brooklyn’s Pros- and representatives of just about every pect Park or parks in Queens, the Bronx other queer scene under the rainbow. Vari- or Staten Island; the symphony visits each ous outer-borough Pride events take place borough, beginning in early July, and on other June weekends, with the Queens brings a different music program to each. Pride March ( in Jackson Heights among the most multi-culti. The annual Dyke March (, a August separate and female-only event, heads FRINGE FESTIVAL down Fifth Ave the evening before the big %212-279-4488; march, starting at 42nd St and Sixth Ave. This annual mid-August theater festival presents two weeks of performances from companies all over the world. It’s the best MERMAID PARADE way to catch the edgiest, wackiest and %718-372-5159; most creative up-and-comers around. Celebrating the sand, the sea and the begin- ning of summer is this wonderfully quirky af- ternoon parade, now more than 25 years old. HOWL! FESTIVAL It’s a flash of glitter and glamour, as elabo- %212-673-5433; rately costumed folks display their mermaid This week-long celebration, named for Beat writer Allen Ginsberg’s famous poem, brings finery along the Coney Island boardwalk. visual art, theater, dance, film and literature Held on the last Saturday of the month. to venues around the artsy East Village. July PRIDE IN THE CITY JULY FOURTH FIREWORKS July 4 %718-230-0770; %212-494-4495 This black gay pride festival – meant both for America’s Independence Day is celebrated celebration and education about preventing with fireworks over the East River, starting the spread of HIV – brings five event-packed at 9pm. Good viewing spots include the days to various venues around NYC. One waterfronts of the Lower East Side and highlight is the annual beach-party blowout, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, or any high rooftop featuring live performances, held at Jacob or east-facing Manhattan apartment. Riis Park in the Rockaways (see p205). Roosevelt Island also hosts a fireworks- viewing festival at its Southpoint Park. The US OPEN TENNIS TOURNAMENT pyrotechnic display, hosted by Macy’s and %718-760-6200; courtesy of the renowned Grucci fireworks Tennis fans turn out en masse for this, one company, is an impressive sight to behold of the four Grand Slam tournaments of 22
  7. 7. professional tennis, to see top-ranked men head on over to Eastern Pkwy in Brooklyn and women compete in singles and dou- for the annual Carnival parade – a colorful, bles matches. Held at the USTA Billie Jean day-long march and party featuring over- King National Tennis Center (p328), a sort of the-top costumes, delicious Caribbean eats miniature tennis universe out in Flushing, and nonstop music. Queens. SAN GENNARO FESTIVAL September WEST INDIAN AMERICAN DAY Rowdy, loyal crowds descend on the nar- CARNIVAL PARADE row streets of Little Italy for carnival games, %718-467-1797 sausage-and-pepper sandwiches, deep- To most New Yorkers, Labor Day is a wistful fried Oreos and more Italian treats than day signaling the official end of summer. you can stomach in one evening. For more GETTING STARTED WHEN TO GO But for two million Caribbean Americans than 75 years, it’s remained an old-world and other fun-loving onlookers, it’s time to tradition. HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY The following organizations present frequent events and series, mainly in the summer months. Bryant Park/HBO Summer Film Series Every Monday night from mid-June through August, a mob of New Yorkers bring blankets and picnic dinners to this patch of green in Midtown, trying to catch a good spot for watching the classic films – Casablanca, Annie Hall, Psycho and others – that show on the big outdoor screen. Celebrate Brooklyn From late spring through summer, the Prospect Park band shell in Park Slope, Brooklyn, presents a stellar lineup of concerts, films, spoken-word shows and dance performances. The series, going strong for more than 30 years, hosts shows during the week and on weekends, many of which offer free admission. Central Park SummerStage Throughout the summer, the New York City Parks Foundation hosts an incredible series of outdoor performances at its SummerStage (Map p149) – dance, theater, spoken word and music concerts in all genres – many of which are free. Recent talents have included Amiri Baraka, the Philadelphia Dance Company, Neko Case, Café Tacuba, Bob Weir and Cassandra Wilson. NewFest: The New York LGBT Film Festival In addition to hosting this annual gay film festival in early June, NewFest presents LGBT film programming throughout the year, including NewFest at BAM in Brooklyn, which shows the best of the June fest in one packed weekend, and NewFest at IFC Center, a monthly series in Greenwich Village. River to River Festival Lasting throughout most of summer and offering something to do on almost every night of the week, this is the largest free arts event in NYC, with hundreds of creators and performers bringing theatre, music, dance and film to a slew of downtown parks. 23
  8. 8. DUMBO ART UNDER THE BRIDGE watch it come aglow with energy-efficient FESTIVAL bulbs before it’s taken down and recycled into lumber. It’s a green Christmas! Celebrating and promoting Dumbo’s local artist community – with newfound vigor THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE each year, thanks to the neighborhood’s growing gentrification – this Brooklyn fest This famous cold-weather event, for hardy features open studios and galleries, per- viewers only, parades its famous floats formances and street displays. and balloons (watch your head) along Broadway, from 72nd St to Herald Sq. For October an even better view, join the throngs who BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS gather at the southwest corner of Central Park to watch the balloons being inflated GETTING STARTED COSTS MONEY In honor of the Feast Day of St Francis, the night before. which falls early in the month, pet owners flock to the grand Cathedral of St John the NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDENS Divine with their creatures – poodles, liz- HOLIDAY TRAIN SHOW ards, parrots, donkeys, you name it – to be %718-817-8700; blessed. It’s a wild and wonderful afternoon Opening the day after Thanksgiving and for participants and onlookers alike. lasting through January, this annual spec- tacle recreates New York City landmarks in OPEN HOUSE NEW YORK miniature using natural materials like pine %212-991-6469; cones, cinnamon sticks and poppy pods, The country’s largest architecture and de- with miniature trains wending in and out. sign event, held at the start of the month, Come stroll through the Bronx wonder in features special, architect-led tours, as well the afternoon or – even better – at night, as lectures, design workshops, studio visits when the display is all lit up. and site-specific performances. HALLOWEEN PARADE October 31 December NEW YEAR’S EVE December 31 The nation’s largest public Halloween celebration lures all sorts of freaks and In addition to the world-famous count- geeks into the streets of Greenwich Village down to midnight and dropping of the for a wild night of parading and prancing Waterford Crystal ball held in Times Sq – a about in costume. The outfits range from raucous, freezing, alcohol-fueled spectacle very clever and of-the-moment to over-the- that you’re honestly better off missing – top raunchy, and the spectators lining the the city has plenty of other celebratory streets love one and all. events, namely the Midnight Run in Central Park (%212-860-4455) and midnight fireworks in Central Park, Prospect Park and the South November Street Seaport. An unofficial but thoroughly NEW YORK CITY MARATHON NYC option is the Hot Nude Yoga New Year’s Eve (, a spiritual-meets- Held in the first week of November, this sensual night for men only. annual 26-mile run through the streets of the city’s five boroughs draws thousands of athletes from around the world – and just as many excited viewers, who line the COSTS brought along with it a fi- The year 2008 MONEY streets to cheer folks on. nancially disturbing trend for New Yorkers: droves of ‘weak dollar’ tourists descending ROCKEFELLER CENTER CHRISTMAS upon the city’s most fashionable shops, eater- TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY ies and real-estate offices. They were enjoy- ing the sad state of the US dollar, which had At this traditional mob-scene event, folks dropped 12% against the British pound and flock around the massive spruce tree to 10% against the Euro the year before. 24
  9. 9. And so, for the first time in recent memory, Or you can try to be wholesome by trolling many New York visitors had come to enjoy the city’s vast array of Greenmarket Farmers Mar- bargains, rather than to grin and bear the act kets ( for fresh fruits, breads and of emptying their wallets. Brits and Europeans: cheeses for in-room backpacker picnics. congratulations! Enjoy yourselves. Anyone Eating at restaurants will cost you, but still, else: prepare thyself. A trip to New York could the prices range tremendously. The most never be described as cheap – even now. budget options can get you hearty ethnic That said, there are plenty of ways to enjoy meals for under $10, while midrange restau- the city, with options for just about every rants with table service start at about $10 to budget. Finding deals, whatever the state of $15 per person for dinner, with the numbers the economy, usually just takes a mix of fore- going up from there. Head to a five-star din- thought and creativity. ing establishment, order three courses and Basic costs for a NYC trip start with ac- throw in a bottle of wine, and you could eas- commodations (unless you’ve got a friend or ily drop $200 per person. Families looking to GETTING STARTED COSTS MONEY relative who’s willing to put you up in their save should head to diners and other low-key sure-to-be-cramped apartment). An unavoid- spots with kids menus (see Top Picks, p251), able fact is that the average night in a city hotel which usually offer dishes for less than half of costs $300, with those on the more desirable the normal price. end easily going for upwards of $400. The If you want to shop while you’re here – and best way to find serious bargain rates is by who doesn’t? – then you’ll also find extreme not being picky about your hotel’s location; in price ranges in all categories. For clothing, other words, look for beds in non-trendy parts there are bargain spots aplenty, with stores of Manhattan (like East Midtown) or, bet- like Filene’s Basement (p234), Century 21 (p217), ter yet, in Brooklyn, Queens and even across Loehmann’s (p233) and HM (p237) high on the the Hudson River, in New Jersey. If you’re radar screens of local bargain shoppers look- patient enough to deal with mass transit to ing for knockoffs and discounted labels. You get you into the heart of the city each day, can also try your luck at designers’ sample you’ll wind up saving a pretty penny (though sales (see boxed text, p217). don’t expect your rates to dip too far under Entertainment prices can be sky-high, with $200 a night). prime opera or theater tickets easily costing City BBs also tend to be more affordable; over $100 a piece. But there’s plenty for pau- several in and around the Chelsea area (p354) pers, too. Get your dose of theater for $15 have rooms with shared bathrooms for about a pop at Off-Off-Broadway productions, $150 – just book far in advance, as they tend or through events like the Fringe Festival to fill quickly. Another way to bargain hunt (p22) – or try your patience waiting in line is to book through online resources such as for tickets for Shakespeare in the Park (see,, and – p313), which offers top-notch theater for free. the sheer number of them keeps prices com- Broadway tickets can be bought for half price petitive. Finally, those who can stomach hostel aesthetics are most in luck, as there are several barebones places right in Manhattan, such as those in the Jazz Hostel group (p365), which HOW MUCH? offer dorm beds for as low as $30. Bottle (8oz) of water: $1.50 You’ll also have to pay to eat, of course. Bottle of Brooklyn Lager beer: $2.25 The absolute cheapest way to go is to forgo the foodies’ restaurant-scene paradise and Venti latte from Starbucks: $4.05 stick to making your own meals (if you have Sunday New York Times: $4.50 access to a kitchen) or subsist on packaged Hot dog from street vendor: $1.75 and prepared foods bought at the city’s many markets. Basic non-gourmet delis, found on Slice of pizza: $2.50 practically every corner, make egg-and-cheese IªNY T-shirt: $10 sandwiches for breakfast ($3 on average), and Movie ticket: $12 a range of other basic sandwiches throughout Pair of J Brand jeans: $180 the day, whether it’s egg salad on rye for $6 or roast beef on a roll for $7. Street food, while NYC postcard: 5 for $1 not too healthy, is also way-cheap, with every- Taxi ride from Midtown to the Upper West Side: $13 thing from hot dogs for $2 to gyros for $3. 25
  10. 10. at the two TKTS booths (see the boxed text, The online version of the ultimate gay nightlife p313) in Manhattan. And plenty of venues all guide, complete with bar listings organized by over the city – music, comedy, cabaret, dance neighborhood. and theater – frequently offer cheap ($5 to Indispensable guide to New York restau- $10) and free performances; check local arts rants, organized by cuisine and neighborhood, with actual listings in publications such as Time Out New menus and locals’ opinions. York and the Village Voice for daily free and cheap activities. Also, while museums like the Excellent roundup of NYC travel offers, expensive MoMA (p137) can charge up to $20 events and news items. for entrance, many have ‘pay-what-you-wish’ days or times, plus generous discounts for students and seniors. SUSTAINABLE NEW YORK for travelers who want INTERNET RESOURCES GETTING STARTED INTERNET RESOURCES Here’s some good news A real estate, business and neighborhood- to leave a small carbon footprint in their wake: obsessed site and blog with up-to-the-minute links to New New York City makes it pretty darn easy to York publications. do just that, primarily because of its incredible mass-transit system. Walking should (and can Kevin Walsh’s awesome site about easily) be your number-one choice here, but historic NYC, with not-found-elsewhere tales about every- if you can’t walk, then hop aboard the aging thing from old subway stations to cemeteries. but efficient subway system or one of New Mostly insidery blog for those in the media York’s public buses (the city claims the larg- industry, but its snarky gossip and detailed celebrity sight- est number of hybrid-electric buses in North ings (complete with maps) could appeal to anyone. America, with more than 550 pollution-free Online version of a popular lesbian nightlife vehicles). guide. Even taxis – not as efficient as subways and buses, perhaps, but preferable to individually Top-notch source for city news, owned cars – are going green: more than a politics and heated issues. thousand yellow taxis in New York will be Cool blog site with quirky news and links hybrids by 2009; by 2012, all of them will about everything from local politics to entertainment be, according to the pledge made by Mayor gossip. Bloomberg. Yet another option is to hail a ADVANCE PLANNING Procrastinators can do just fine winging it in New York. But if you have specific, must-do goals in mind, being prepared is essential. It should go without saying that unless you have infinite bucks to spend (or no comfort or cleanliness standards to speak of ), booking a hotel room in advance is a must. The same goes for anything else you might want to be a part of that’s in high demand, whether it’s dinner at a trendy spot or great seats at a popular theater event. For restaurant reservations, use the free, online system; Broadway theater tickets, meanwhile, can be had through, or other sites (p310), while ballet and sporting-event tickets are best scored through the website of the individual venue or sports team. Other outings you might want to plan for include nightclub forays – emailing or calling ahead to have your name placed on the night’s guest list could save you from waiting in line behind the velvet ropes; see individual club websites (p300) for guest-list info. You can also avoid lines at some popular tourist sites by buying and printing out tickets in advance; both the Empire State Building (p129) and Top of the Rock (p133) allow you to do this. A less obvious detail that will benefit from some forethought is that of renting a car for out-of-town side trips – especially on holiday weekends, when it can seem like every rental agency in the city is flat out of automobiles. Just hit the websites in advance to secure your vehicle (see p394). Finally, before you leave you can start getting details about what will be happening in the city during your trip – just sign up for some email lists. One generally useful bulletin comes from Daily Candy (, offering information on nightlife, shopping and dining. For news about sample sales (p217), sign up to receive updates from Top Button ( 26
  11. 11. © Lonely Planet Publications WHEN IN NEW YORK CITY, DO AS NEW YORKERS DO Only hail a taxi if its roof light is on. Look carefully, though: if the middle light is on, the cab is available; if only the lights on the sides are on, the cab’s off-duty; and if no lights are on, there’s already a passenger inside. Trying to hail a taxi that’s engaged or off-duty is probably the number-one tourist blunder. Be aware that most taxis, because of unfathomably ridiculous shift-change hours, are off-duty during rush hour, so avoid needing one between about 4pm and 5pm on weekdays. Don’t stand on corners waiting for the ‘walk’ sign. New Yorkers cross against the light as soon as there’s a big enough lull in traffic. It’s How-sten Street. Not Hew-sten. Got it? Good. Be politely aggressive when boarding a crowded subway. Don’t just stand and wait for your turn to board, or you may miss your chance. While waiting for your subway train to arrive, figure out from which end you’ll need to disembark (eg uptown or GETTING STARTED SUSTAINABLE NEW YORK downtown) and walk towards it, thereby assuring the most efficient use of time. When walking on the sidewalk, think of yourself as a car on the street: don’t stop short, pay attention to the speed limit, and pull off to the side if you need to look at a map or dig through your bag for an umbrella. Don’t walk down the street saying ‘Hello!’ to the people you pass. It’s sad but true – everyone will think you’re crazy. Say ‘thank you’ to the bus driver as you exit a bus from the front door (don’t yell it from the back). It’s one of a few pleasantries that New Yorkers really love to honor. pedicab – these pedaled rickshaws can be Finally, sustain NYC’s local economy by found primarily around midtown, especially throwing the big chains (Starbucks, Barnes when Broadway shows let out, and are great Noble, etc) under the bus in favor of trying out for traveling short distances when you’re too the locally owned indie cafés and shops. Isn’t pooped to perambulate. that what travel’s all about anyway? 27
  12. 12. © Lonely Planet Publications TH E AUTH O R S Ginger Adams Otis Robert Reid Though not a native Raised in Oklahoma, daughter, Ginger is Robert now lives in proud to call New Brooklyn, where he York City home. This writes full-time and country girl from occasionally finds New Hampshire has an excuse to cross finally adapted to life the East River. See in the fast lane and his website at www wouldn’t trade it for the world. When not Robert wrote the writing Lonely Planet Drinking Night- guidebooks, she’s a reporter for a New York life, Sports Activities, Transportation and daily paper. Ginger was the coordinating au- Brooklyn Unbound chapters, and cowrote the thor and wrote the Sleeping and Day Trips Neighborhoods and Eating chapters. Excursions chapters. Regis St Louis Beth Greenfield A Hoosier by birth, Regis grew up in a A New Jersey native, Beth spent her teen- sleepy town where he age years fantasizing dreamed of big-city about someday living intrigue and small, on the other side of expensive apart- the river, in a Tribeca ments. He settled in loft. While she has yet New York, which had to make it into that all that and more, in coveted space, she’s 2001. He currently lived in and writ- lives in Chelsea and ten about the city is a full-time travel writer. Regis wrote the for 16 years and counting. She’s also a staff Shopping and NYC Style chapters. editor at Time Out New York magazine and a regular contributor to the New York Times travel section, with other articles in Esquire, PHOTOGRAPHER the Village Voice, Budget Travel and Out. For Dan Herrick Lonely Planet, Beth contributed to the previ- Dan has lived in NYC for the past seven years ous two editions of New York City as well as after living and studying in Latin America Miami the Keys, Mexico and USA. Beth and Europe. He enjoys documenting the wrote the Introducing NYC, Getting Started, city’s continual change and frenetic way Background, Arts, Gay Lesbian NYC and of life, and pulling himself away to travel Directory chapters, and cowrote the Neigh- abroad or to one of the many different worlds borhoods and Eating chapters. that exist within NYC’s boundaries. LONELY PLANET AUTHORS Why is our travel information the best in the world? It’s simple: our authors are independent, dedicated travelers. They don’t research using just the internet or phone, and they don’t take freebies, so you can rely on their advice being well researched and impartial. They travel widely, to all the popular spots and off the beaten track. They personally visit thousands of hotels, restaurants, cafés, bars, galleries, palaces, museums and more – and they take pride in getting all the details right, and telling it how it is. Think you can do it? Find out how at 19
  13. 13. © Lonely Planet Publications © Lonely Planet Publications. To make it easier for you to use, access to this chapter is not digitally restricted. In return, we think it’s fair to ask you to use it for personal, non-commercial purposes only. In other words, please don’t upload this chapter to a peer-to-peer site, mass email it to everyone you know, or resell it. See the terms and conditions on our site for a longer way of saying the above - ‘Do the right thing with our content.’