The Rules for Visiting NYC
One of the great parts about living in Ocean County is the fact that we have beaches, forests, and rural getaways all around us. But if you're more of a city person, you can be in New York City in a little over an hour. But there are a few things that every NYC visitor should be aware of.
With a nod to my co-worker Kevin Williams, who presented "Rules of the Beach" a few weeks ago, I give you - The Rules for Visiting NYC:
Don't drive in to New York City. There's no reason. We have one of the best rail systems in the country. If you live south of Toms River, you'll have to drive a little to get to the southern-most NJ Transit station, but you'll be glad you did. Ok, so the train tickets may more expensive than they used to be, but good luck finding parking in Manhattan for less than $30 (and that's not even taking into account gas and tolls).
Get to know the subway system. New York City doesn't have the easiest subway system to decipher in the world, literally. London's famed Underground is super easy to figure out with only about a dozen named and color (or "colour", as they prefer) coded lines. The Washington DC Metro, likewise, is pretty simple to navigate with only half a dozen color coded lines. But the New York subway system is a different story; you have numbers, letters, colors, express trains, local trains, uptown, downtown, and of course the famous "planned service changes" to completely change things up. But seriously, take some time to familiarize yourself with at least the Manhattan system between Battery Park and Central Park. That's a good starting point and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than taking a cab.
Keep moving. New Yorkers are in a rush, always. There are few things worse than someone stopping in the middle of a crowded sidewalk. If you lose your travel companions, step to the side, near a store front, and wait for your group to catch up. And for crying out loud don't stop at the top or bottom of an escalator! Not only is it really inconsiderate, but it can also be dangerous. That actually is exactly what inspired this article.
Don't look like a tourist. This is a big pet peeve of mine. I hate looking like a tourist. Ok, so technically I'm not a New Yorker per se, but just as a Benny will say "I've had a shore house since I was a kid so I'm a local", I've been going to New York since I was a kid, so I'm not a tourist. But there's no better way to stick out than taking leaflets that people are handing out on street corners, staring up at buildings, and generally looking lost. For me, the best way to pick out a tourist - they always wait for the "Walk" signal before crossing the street, even if there's no traffic. I know, I know, I'm not encouraging jaywalking, but a true New Yorker goes when the opportunity presents itself.
There's no reason to run for the train. If you have ever taken NJ Transit to and from the City, you've experienced this at Penn Station...a huge mass of humanity waits, necks craned, in the NJ Transit pavilion for the track number to be posted...a number pops up, and you'd think someone yelled "SHARK!" on the beach - the crowd surges towards the posted track and bottlenecks the doors. First of all, they post the tracks at least 10 minutes early. It will not take you that long to get from the waiting area to your train. Second, there are at least four entrances to each platform, one on each side of the waiting area (why does everyone always crowd the left side doors?) and there are at least another pair of entrances underneath the main waiting hall (where the huge electronic schedule sign is). Learn the secrets of Penn Station and avoid the crush of sweaty tourists.
And finally, enjoy New York City! Like I said at the beginning, we're lucky to live in a nice quiet area of New Jersey, yet be a stone's throw from one of the greatest cities in the world. There's never a lack of culture, dining, entertainment, and fun things to do in New York. Don't be afraid of "The Big City", embrace it!
So give us some of your tips! What are your favorite things do to in NYC? Leave a comment below and let us know!