Where to Go: City Guide to Manhattan Toilets The first words of advice I received regarding my move to Manhattan were, "Starbucks and Barnes and Noble bathrooms". For the non-native New Yorker it may seem an odd topic but 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. Some places that normally accommodate a person in need are Au Bon, The Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and large department stores like Macy's, Barney's, Daffy's and Lohman's. In emergency situations you can stop into a McDonalds but be prepared for a less than pleasant restroom experience.
Toilets ZTrend is not the only people hot on the topic, 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 - We didn't put these on the map but keep a look out for them if you really have to go. Au Bon Pan is great for that ½ off pastry price for that pick me up between 4pm and 6pm weekdays!
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 modes 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 generally, they will 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 you would like to be, simply look at the other side of platform. Often times, though not always, you can find the train you need by simply turning around.
New Trains 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 of the new trains 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 tunnel walls when the train slows.
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 a daily, weekly or monthly format depending on your needs. However, there are various options available to you.
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 NYC travel the 10 & 30 Ride Cards may be a better option for you. When purchasing MTA cards, you will often receive an additional amount as a purchasing bonus. Often times this additional amount will not buy another trip in full but may be used towards other modes of transportation such as the New Jersey Path (commonly used train connecting Manhattan and New Jersey) or the bus. Other options to explore include the Unlimited Metro Card. Unlimited Metro Cards come in a 7, 14 and 30 day option. Once swiped they cannot be used again for 17 minutes. The day Fun Pass which allows for four or more subway rides in a day, has been discontinued.
Tips When purchasing a 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, though it cannot immediately be replaced. Hang on to your Metro card.
Metro cards do expire. The expiration date is listed on the back
Free Transfers permits one free transfers to all, with exception to New York express buses (between subway and local bus, local bus and subway, etc.) 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.
When traveling during the evening and dressed to impress avoid the train. Instead splurge on a cab and arrive in style. If you are traveling during off-hours (usually after 11:00 PM) 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. The conductor rides in this car.
Never stand on the yellow line and beware of platform pushers. Although it is a rarity it has happened before. 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 New York attitude, New York social etiquette is vital part of the culture. Respect and kindness are expected in all interactions. Whether it is a common 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 persons is going to be more. However, the number of respectful people grows 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 rules. Do not park anywhere near a fire hydrant. The fine is $115 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. Yellow cabs are regulated, safe and metered. It is not possible to anticipate all unexpected issues that may arise from taking any other. Simply avoid them.
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 and be sure to tip. General tipping guideline:
If carrying luggage or boxes tip $1 per item going in the trunk and $1 for items going out of 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 $1 for all is fine.
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 totaling $6. If your fare is $17 you should tip $3. Most cab drivers' rent the car and 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.
How Can You Tell if a Cab is Available? There are a series of three lights on the top of the cab. A center light with a number on it and one on the left that says "off" and one on the right side that says "duty".
A cab is off duty if both sidelights are lit
A cab is unavailable if side lights are off.
It is available if only the middle light is lit.
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 life time warrantee. 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.