10 New York Hacks to Make Your Life Easier
Since moving to New York City, there were a few tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way to make my life easier in the Big Apple. Whether you’re a first-timer here in the city or if you’re an expat living abroad, you’d appreciate these hacks as it will make your life a whole lot easier.
#1: Wear walking shoes
As much as you’d like to be like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, heels are a no-no if you’d like to get from Point A to B in New York City. They’re great if you’re being chauffeured around by Mr.Big but if you’re out exploring the city for half a day let alone an entire day, it’s best that you wear comfortable walking shoes. Believe me, your feet will be thanking you by the end of the day!
#2: Purchase a Metrocard before entering the subway
OK this is for everyone out there! You need to have a Metrocard or a single ride pass to ride any of the subway lines. Be prepared to look for a Metrocard machine and have cash handy as the credit card function requires a zip code. If you’re trying to figure out the machine between 8 to 10am between Monday to Friday, you will have angry New Yorkers breathing down your neck and it ain’t a pretty sight (trust me!). It will be a whole lot easier to have $3 handy and purchase a single ride ticket and keep things moving or go when it’s a little less busy when people aren’t rushing to go to work.
#3: Shake Shack is a MUST-TRY
I’m sure most of you know or heard about In ‘n’ Out burgers? Well Shake Shack is similar but on a whole ‘nother level! Make sure you try a Shake Shack while in New York! Depending on which Shake Shack you go to and what time, there may be a long line before your order is taken (but it’s SO worth the wait!).
#4: Seamless is your best friend on a stormy/ lazy day
I can’t count the number of times I’ve relied on Seamless for food when it’s cold, raining or snowing outside (Bless the food delivery men of New York City!). If you’re having a lazy day and refuse to get out of your sweats, Seamless it baby! The best part is, you don’t even have to tip them in-person, you can tip directly through the app and the funds will be sent directly to the delivery man. Anyone else loves technology?
#5: Find FREE working spaces
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, student, or blogger, there are plenty of coffee shops around New York City that offer free Wi-Fi as long as you purchase a beverage or a snack. The best part is, there’s usually no time limit on your Wi-Fi so you can stay for as long as you want. However, if a coffee shop isn’t really your scene, there are free working spaces throughout the city. The Ace Hotel comes to mind however, there are plenty of affordable co-working spaces such as WeWork that has plenty of office buildings in New York.
#6: Always carry cash on you
This was something that I personally struggled with as I never carried cash with me when I was living in Australia but with such a high tipping culture and some smaller hole-in-walls that don’t accept cards, cash is a serious necessity here in New York. Though most places now accept tipping with a card, it’s best to not rely on that functionality too much as you’d hate to get stuck and walk away not tipping.
#7: There’s a food court underneath The Plaza
I was fortunate enough that my husband has been to New York a few times before my first trip to the city. He knew how much I loved The Plaza (thank you Home Alone!) so when he took me there, I immediately thought that we’d be doing a High Tea at one of their fancy restaurants (and anyone who knows me knows that I don’t enjoy dining at fancy restaurants – I’m more of a casual dining, eat at food stalls kinda gal!) so when he told me that we were going to the actual ‘The Plaza food court’, I was beyond excited and nearly cried – I was in ‘Plaza’ heaven! They had sushi, chocolatiers, tacos, noodles, pizzas, florists, the list goes on! It’s definitely worth a visit when you’re in New York!
#8: Walk on the right
There’s nothing more frustrating to New Yorkers than slow walkers. If you’d like to walk slow, browse the pretty lights and take your time, stick to the right-hand side of the sidewalk. If you’re taking up the whole sidewalk with your entire family (and walking slow while you’re at it), don’t be surprised if people barge their way through and break up your little stroll. Safe bet is to split up in two’s and stick to the right – New Yorkers will walk past you on the left.
#9: Don’t forget to tip
When I moved here, I knew that I had to tip for food and drinks but what I didn’t realise is that you’re expected to tip for ALL services! This includes getting your hair done, nails did, eyelash extensions, massages! You name it, you tip! That’s America for you! So you would be paying your normal $150 to get your hair done and add a customary 20% tip on top of that, that would make your total $180! Employees really do rely on tips here so make sure you tip if you’re getting anything done.
#10: Get it ‘to-go’ where and when you can
For those Aussies who really can’t stand tipping, it’s best to not eat-out. Just get it ‘to-go’ instead. So if you and partner want to have a pizza for dinner, just call up and order a pick-up. That way, you’re not inclined to tip.
Hopefully these tips are helpful for your visit or move to New York. It really is a beautiful city when you get to enjoy it so put these tips into practice (believe me, New Yorkers will appreciate it!).