Where to Go: City Guide to Manhattan Toilets
Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Barnes and Noble will be a safe choice. For the non-native New Yorker it may seem an odd topic but at some point the issue will arise, and when it does, you will be happy to have read this.
Some establishments may insist you make a purchase before using their facility, and some may simply refuse. Places that will always accommodate a person in need are the larger chain businesses such as Pret A Manager, The Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and of course, larger department stores: Macy's, Barney's. In emergency situations you can always stop into a McDonalds but be prepared for a less than pleasant restroom experience.
Where To Go – A Guide to Manhattan’s Best Toilets (ISBN: 096 355 86 26), is a small and portable guide to the best places to go when out and about in Manhattan. You may purchase it in Manhattan's Barnes & Noble stores find the store near you.
The everywhere toilets: While we don't include these on our map, keep a look out for them if you really have to go. Au Bon Pan is great in the afternoon while opting for a buttery pastry paired with that pick me up cup of joe.
New York City bike share program, Citibike has arrived. Named after Citibank, the program's main investor. Since it's spring 2013 launch it has been well received, especially amongst the New Yorker traveling short inner city distances; cutting down on waking time while doing errands or simply getting to and from work each day. We suggest indulging in a scenic waterfront ride on the West Side's Hudson River and East River Greenway. While the path continues evolving, it has some interruptions, but overall it's a beautiful ride.
With thousands of bikes at New Yorker's fingertips, and over 300 stations available in lower Manhattan to pick up and dock at , as far as we can tell the bike share program appears to be a success with the exception of poorly marked bike lanes, unsavory motorists, zombie pedestrians and bikers who are just plain bad biking citizens. Safety Tips for riding in the city.
Bikes may be rented with the purchase of a 1-day pass, 3-day pass or a full year membership for unlimited number of uses not exceeding 30 to 45 minute per ride depending upon what agreement you purchase. Read more here or visit Citibike for complete detailed information on New York City's bike share program.
Subway aka the Train
The subway system can be extremely intimidating for new comers to the city. However, it is one the most efficient and expedient mode of transportation available. First thing, pick up a subway map, available at all ticketing booths located in the subway tunnels. If you are having difficulty navigating the subway system, do not hesitate to ask a subway token clerk. In addition, New Yorkers are proud of their knowledge of the city and will generally be happy to show off said know how.
The Manhattan subway system travels uptown (toward Harlem) or downtown (toward the village) or east to west. If you find yourself on a platform heading in the opposite direction that you would like to go, simply look at the other side of platform. Often times, though not always, you can find the train you need by simply turning around.
Some subway trains are newer than others and this fact will be abundantly clear when you are lucky enough to be riding in a newer train. Each new train is equipped with an automated subway map that is illuminated for easy interpretation. Be warned, this luxury is not the norm. Normally, you will have to be alert and look at the stop posted frequently on the platform walls when the train slows for a stop.
MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) http://www.mta.info
The online New York Travel bible. The MTA is the leading authority on New York City transportation. It offers bus schedules, subway line information, maps and planned maintenance as well as subway maps in subway maps in PDF format with the convenience of the zoom in and out feature.
Better yet, download an app! While there are many apps out there, allow us to recommend one for the iPhone and another for android. The iPhone app will cost a few dollars and offers day and night maps. The weekender is available in iphone and android is free and we find it to work perfectly well.
NYC Subway 24 Hour Kick Map - iPhone
MTA Weekender App (iphone + Android}
The Metro Card
In order to utilize New York mass transit you must buy a MTA card. MTA cards are bus passes and subway passes in one handy card. They are available for purchase in any subway terminal, 24 hours a day. The MTA vending machines are clearly labeled and allow you to purchase cards and refill them through the machine itself. Passes are available in 'put an amount on the card', single ride, weekly or monthly format depending on your needs.
Single ride card is good option if you are making one round trip and use the subway infrequently. Manhattan is designed to be explored by foot so if you are here briefly we advise saving yourself the money and staying above ground to get a sense of the city. However, if you plan on doing a lot of zipping around NYC the unlimited weekly (7 day) and monthly (30 Day) Cards may be a better option for you.
When purchasing MTA cards with a straignt amount added, you will receive a purchasing bonus (only when added $10 or more to the card each time). Often times this additional amount will not buy another trip in full but may be used toward another mode of MTA transportation such as the New Jersey Path (commonly used train connecting Manhattan and New Jersey) or the bus.
Tips When purchasing an unlimited metro card, use your credit card and keep the receipt in a safe place. Be advised that if the metro card is lost, it is possible to get a replacement only when purchasing with a credit card with the original receipt, though it cannot immediately be replaced. The MTA charges $1 for each metrocard, so hang on to it for a refill. Metro cards do expire. The expiration date is listed on the back side.
Free Transfers The MTA permits one free transfers to on all cards (does not include New York express buses). Passes are honored between subway and local bus; local bus and subway; bus to bus. So don't throw that Pay-Per-Ride Metro Card away, it too allows the same transfer. When paying your full fare with your Metro Card, all transfers must be completed within two hours of your swipe. If you pay your local bus fare with coins, ask for a free transfer to use on another local bus.
Read the MTA's fares at a glance page.
When traveling during the evening and dressed to impress avoid the train. Instead splurge on a cab, Uber or Via and arrive in style. If you are traveling during off-hours (usually after 11 p.m.) either wait by the token booth before entering the platform or wait in the "Off Hours" area on the platform. This area is visibly marked with a bright yellow line and a large sign above designating as the off hours area where the conductor rides the car.
Avoid standing on the yellow line and beware of platform pushers. Although it is a rarity it does happen. Be aware of your surrounds and the space you occupy at all times. Stand back in the middle of the platform and be conscious of those around you.
Live in Times Square
When visiting Times Square take a minute to call a friend and have them find you in the crowd. Stand in the right place and it will be all possible. It is the next best thing behind your friends being with you in NYC. Watch live from New York City: EarthCam Times Square.
Etiquette Is Attractive
Despite the common misconception regarding the rude New York attitude, New York social etiquette is vital part of the culture. Kindness goes a long may in all interactions. Whether it is a hello on the street, the need for directions or the accidental cut off in a busy pedestrian intersection, common courteously is expected. Yes, as with any place you visit, there will be the exceptions. New York has more inhabitants then most places and as such the number of rude people is increased too. However, the number of warm people increases as well. You can read more about the New York expectation our New York City Etiquette & Tipping.
Looking for Parking
Looking for parking on the streets of Manhattan can be stressful. Finding parking on the streets of Manhattan can be considered a miracle. The business districts are particularly troubling. Be advised there are many parking lots throughout Manhattan. Rates may vary with location, time of the year and time of day. On average 4 hours would cost you about $15.00. On most streets parking is regulated by meters and accepts quarters. This parking option may be convenient for short stops.
Some streets in the East Village and Uptown present an opportunity for free parking. But remember, looking for a vacant spot can be time consuming and stressful. In addition, you may want to consider the safety of your vehicle. If you do chose to utilize street parking beware of the street signs. They can be confusing and believe us, you will get ticketed for not following the vague New York signs. Do not park anywhere near a fire hydrant. The fine is high and it is nearly impossible to know how far away you should be. If you park incorrectly you risk the chance of being ticketed or towed. It is our recommendation to be safe and utilize one of New York's many parking lots.We suggest to you BestParking.Com, where you may conveniently search for lots by neighborhood, compare rates and guarantee your parking spot in advance.
Taxi! Only use yellow cabs in Manhattan. Black cars are private livery cars and are to be avoided unless you called them. It is illegal for a black livery cab to solicit pedestrians or to pick them up hailing at curb side. Livery cars are dispatched through private car companies to callers in need of transportation and are mostly used outside of Manhattan where yellow cabs are scarce. Only yellow cabs marked with the New York City TLC medallion on the hood are legal and safe in all the boroughs. Our new apple green borough cabs are licensed to pick up passengers in upper Manhattan and the outer New York City boroughs.
Do not enter a cab if the driver asks you where you are going before you get in. It is illegal for a cab driver to ask your destination before you are seated. If they do inquire, they may have another agenda and as Manhattan is not lacking in cabs it is best you simply find another taxi.
Always try to give a street location and be as specific as possible. For instance say, "15 West 23rd Street between 6th and 7th Avenue please".
Be warned that most cab drivers in Brooklyn and the Bronx only know how to get to Manhattan. If you are trying to navigate through other Burroughs it is best to MapQuest it before you hail a cab so you can tell the driver where to go.
Be efficient and have your fare ready ahead of time. Cabs will not break bills over $20 and most will be out of change. Bring small bills or use your credit card, and be sure to tip. General tipping guideline:
If transporting luggage or boxes tip $2 per item going in the trunk if the cab driver aids you. If the driver simply opens the trunk from inside of the car and lets you do the work don't tip for luggage at all. Lazy drivers don't get tips.
Tipping beyond luggage can be figured according to the length of the trip. If it is a short trip tip $1 and always round up. For example, if the fair is $4.50, round it to $5 and tip $1 for a total of $6. If your fare is $17, tip $3. Most cabies rent the car, pay high rental fees and high gas prices. They, like all tipped professionals in New York City, depend on your tips to make their living. Be kind and tip fairly. If you are unsure simply tip around 15% to 20% of the fare.
Most taxis now accept all major credit cards. These cards can be swiped from your seat on the high tech screen behind the driver.
Other rules regarding air, car cleanliness, and tolls are listed inside the cab behind the drivers' seat.
Yellow and green cabs are both regulated, safe, monitored and metered by the TLC. It is not possible to anticipate all unexpected issues that may arise from taking any other car.
How Can You Tell if a Cab is Available? The center light on the roof of their cab will be lit. If the light is dark the cab driver either has a current fare or is heading back to his garage. By the way, if heading back to the garage, this would be the only acceptable reason for a cabbie to ask where you are going-- he can't be late returning his car, so if your destination is on his way, he will more than likely be happy to drive you.
Will a cab allow my pet? Many NY cabs will not stop for people with pets that are not in carriers. Canine Car Pet Car Service. They will take you anywhere you want to go whenever you want to go. Read more about them in our pet section or call: 212-353-2271.
Walk This Way
Walking is great if you have the leisure time to do it. New York is an interesting city and one of the best ways to explore it is on foot. Our advice is moderation, walk a little, ride a little and avoid long distances, after all you do not want to be tired out by the time you get to where you are going. Wear comfortable walking shoes and save your cocktail beauties for cocktail hour. Be prepared for the famed long blocks. Some blocks are of normal length but most are not. You may think you will have no issue walking three blocks but three New York blocks can mean 15 blocks anywhere else.
Walking After Dark
When walking in the evening avoid scaffolding. New York construction can hide many questionable characters and obstacles. Choose your blocks wisely. If a block looks dark or does not "feel right", find one that does. Though New York is now considered one of the safest cities in the nation, it is best to be cautious, as with anywhere one might visit.
Not a Cloud in the Sky
Stay dry. It is a good idea to check the weather @ Weather.com before venturing out. Another way of catching up with traffic and New York City's forecast is to take a few minutes and listen to 1010 WINS before venturing out for the day. The last thing you want is to get caught in the rain without an umbrella. New York rain is not like many places. It comes faster and harder and will attack from all angles. Take it from a native to Seattle, New York rain is not messing around. Be prepared. Invest small in a big solution and carry a tiny Totes in your bag. Did you know that Totes wraps a little life-time form in the spokes of every umbrella? That's right your umbrella has a lifetime warranty. Totes will either fix it or replace it for a mailing fee of $2. However, if you find yourself without or if your umbrella gets blown to smithereens, rest easy as umbrella vendors will appear out of no where with the first drop. It is also wise to invest in rain boots and a long jacket if visiting during a rainy stretch.