Locality is specified in cross street numbers, not building names

Navigating New York is all in the numbers. Sure, there are streets and avenues and squares, but as New York is so tightly packed, using the cross street locations is how New Yorkers do it. Say you’re meeting a friend at Macy’s – Macy’s is huge and the surrounding streets crowded, so you’ll find it hard to spot each other. Instead, tell your friend you’ll meet them at the corner of West 34th and Broadway and they’ll find you.

Easily pinpoint your location if you get lost in Central Park

Central Park is a sprawling expanse of over 840 acres, so naturally it’s easy to lose your sense of direction. If you do get confused, find the nearest streetlight. There’s a four-digit code at the base, with the initial two digits signifying the nearby street and the last two indicating the direction. East is denoted by even numbers, and West by odd numbers.

Avoid the temptation of an empty subway car

When riding the New York subway you will usually be fighting crowds and struggle to find a seat during busy times. However if the train you are waiting on shows up with an empty looking subway car, do not use it. New Yorkers have abandoned the car for a reason. Maybe smells, danger or something worse. Stick with the locals in the packed car.

If you’re visiting the MET gallery, your ticket is good for the next day

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is gargantuan and filled with about 1.5 million individual pieces of art. With the main complex coming in at over 2 million square feet, the MET knows it’s too much to see in one day. That’s why your MET ticket is valid for entry the following day also. Take your time, see the exhibits and plan accordingly knowing you have the luxury of a second visit.

Trains are referred to by numbers

When seeking directions in New York City, locals commonly identify subway lines by numbers rather than colors like Blue, Red, or Green or the A train, B train system used in other major cities. To ensure accuracy, inquire about the specific train number, and you’ll likely receive the correct information.

Use the AirTrain to quickly get to and from JFK

Credit: Ad Meskens via Wikimedia Commons

The AirTrain serves as the most efficient way to get to and from JFK airport. To access it, one can take the E or J line to Sutphin Blvd or the A line to Howard Beach – JFK Subway Station. The AirTrain ride costs $8 and requires a physical MetroCard with sufficient balance, so arrive prepared with enough balance to cover both the AirTrain and subway.

Know the difference between Uptown and Downtown

Having a rough sense of direction is helpful to choose the right side of the platform when riding NYC’s subway system. Uptown indicates the train goes towards Queens or the Bronx, while downtown means you’re heading to Manhattan Downtown and Brooklyn. The subway cars will be labelled as the same.

The Staten Island ferry is free, yet scammers will still try to sell you a ticket

The Staten Island Ferry is primarily a commuter ferry, carrying New Yorkers from the suburbs to Manhattan and back, 24 hours a day. It just so happens to be the best way to see the famous skyline and escape the madness of the city, all for free. Scammers line the streets of New York selling fake tickets to unsuspecting tourists – don’t fall for it.

If hailing an iconic yellow cab, expect to pay more for it

Who hasn’t wanted to stick their arm in the air in the middle of Manhattan, yell ‘taxi’ and watch as an iconic yellow cab pulls right up to the curb in seconds? If you really need to experience this, go ahead and do it, but know that using services like Uber or Lyft can drastically reduce your NYC commuting costs.

Explore more than just Manhattan

Manhattan is the shining beacon of New York city, summoning all to its bright lights and tall skyscrapers. However, don’t overlook the surrounding boroughs on your visit. Walk the beautiful Flushing Meadows in Queens, visit the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, or travel further upstate to Niagara Falls – the possibilities are endless.