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AVOID THE TOURIST TRAPS

There are some places, though not many, in NYC that are commonly referred to as tourist traps. There are two types of tourist traps. The first group are unknown shops, and services that purposely seek out an out-of-towner and try to take advantage of you by selling overpriced goods and services. Most of these places are located right by the major airports of NYC(Kennedy and LaGuardia) or major entry points, that is; The Port Authority building located at 40th Street and 8th avenue, Penn Station at 34th street and 6th avenue. Be cautious if someone approaches you at any of these places offering a great bargain, to take you to a great hotel, or offering a taxi at a good price. Try to hail a cab in NYC that is yellow. Avoid private livery services, or cab drivers that walk up to you offering their services. A true NYC yellow cab contains what is called a medallion, a plastic shield that is attached to the hood of that cab, prominently displayed. Once in the cab, read all of your rights as a passenger, they are located on the back of the driver's seat facing the back seat.

The second group of tourists' traps are the so called “hot spots." These are usually well known restaurants or hotels that are not priced for the traveler on a budget. Consider just going to these places to see the sites, rather than actually sitting down for a meal. Most of these places are well known to most people around the world, and they will allow you to just come in and browse. Avoid the world famous hotels, and places that are located in the theater district of NYC. Most hotels located in central Manhattan are priced a bit too high if you are on a tight budget. There are many hotels in NYC that are reasonably priced, but are located just outside Manhattan. All it takes to get to Manhattan is a bus or subway ride. This too should be part of the NYC experience.


TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AS OPPOSED TO TAXIS

NYC contains one of the most extensive public transportation systems in the world, and with this come words like, confusing, intimidating, and too much of a hassle. If you have the money to take cabs everywhere, do it. If not, public transportation can be an exciting cheap way of getting around the city. First thing you should do is pick up a subway map from any subway station or at the Port Authority. Take time to read the map, and try to familiarize yourself with the subway symbols, signs and what they all mean. Once you are confident with the map, buy yourself what is called a MetroCard, and get to your destination. As of May 2000, a subway or bus ride will cost you $1.50, and sometimes there are travelers' discounts offered on MetroCards. It is a fact that one can travel throughout all the 5 boroughs of NYC on a single $1.50 fare. Of course, you can't leave the subway system and go outside. The NYC bus system is just as extensive and accessible to all of NYC as the subway system, with an added advantage, you get to actually see the city while riding the bus. Avoid the big red double decker buses that will charge you to take you on a tour of Manhattan, unless you really want someone else to dictate when and where you can go.

LITERATURE AND PLACES TO GET DISCOUNTS

Once you are in Manhattan, pick up a copy of the Village Voice that's free in the borough of Manhattan. This newspaper offers a wide range of places to visit, phone numbers, and prices. It also has a section devoted to travelers coming in to NYC. TimeOut is a magazine priced at $2.00 that is more of a night life oriented publication, but still has an extensive listing of restaurants along with reviews and prices. If you are planning to see a Broadway show, check out TKTS, located on Broadway between 45 and 46th street in Manhattan. They are open from 11am to 8pm and offer discounted tickets to all Broadway shows. There is one catch though, the tickets are only good for that day's performance, and are sometimes limited to availability. They do offer some tickets that are up to 50% off. There are also some Broadway theaters that offer what is referred to as “The Line." How it works is the Saturday afternoon matinee offers a limited amount of tickets for $20 to anyone who waits in line the morning of the day the matinee is showing, and all of the tickets are for the first two rows, center aisle. Although this is a great deal, waiting on this line can take hours, and it does take away from other things to do. Check the above mentioned publications for theaters that offer this deal.

Generally, NYC can be a very exciting place to visit, but it should not cost you a fortune. So, come on down to our great city, and enjoy yourself.