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NYC Need to Know Basics


New York City is an exciting and unique city and has a lot to offer, but can be confusing for the first-time visitor.  We have pulled together some NYC need to know basics in order to make your stay in Manhattan as stress-free as possible.


  • Navigating: Streets run east to west and are relatively short. Avenues run north to south and are much longer.

  • Trains:  There are several different train lines, some are letters and some are numbers and each has a designated color.  Trains generally run Uptown or Downtown.  Check signs before entering the station as not all platforms have Downtown and Uptown access.  Each train has two lines, a local and an express.  When in doubt, take the local line as this will make all stops, but the express will skip stations.  Our hostel is conveniently next to three major subway lines: the 1,2,3 (red line), the A,C,E (blue line), and the F train (orange line).

  • Taxis: Taxis are available if they have their middle light on.  To hail a cab, simply stick your arm out (like the movies).  Once you are in a taxi, they must take you where you want to go and they must use a meter unless it is a stated flat fare (such as to the airport).  When using a taxi state the closest cross streets of your destination as they will not know building numbers.  For example, to get to Chelsea International Hostel, ask to go to West 20th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue.

  • Tipping and Taxes:  Tipping is part of the American culture.  Most service employees do not make an hourly wage and are fully dependent on tips.  The standard tipping amount is 15-20% of the bill (before taxes).  Taxes are not included in prices and will be added to the final bill. Sales tax in NYC is 8.875% and will be added on to all purchases. NYC waives the state tax (4%) on all clothing and footwear purchases under $110.


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