All Hail the Cabs: NYC Taxis 101

After you get to know the city on your City Sights double decker tour, you might feel comfortable enough to take a good ol’ New York City taxi cab! Here are some tips as you try and hail your taxi:

nyc taxi lights

The taxis aren’t stopping for me and my arm is starting to cramp!

You’re on 6th Avenue and there are tons of taxi cabs driving by but no one is stopping. Well, not every taxi is on duty or may have passengers already. There is an easy way to distinguish when your arm should be up and when it shouldn’t to prevent further cramping. On top of each cab is a mix of numbers and letters, if these numbers are lit up, then throw your hands up like you just don’t care, and if they are not, well put your hands in your pockets and play it cool until the next cab rolls along.

 

nyc taxi map

My taxi driver doesn’t know where 230-41 West 24th Street is!

Know the cross streets you need to be dropped off at because an exact address isn’t always going to do. This will save you cab fare as well as a long tour across 24th street until you get to your destination. Your cab driver will appreciate the 10 second you took to plug the address into your iPhone and give him an address he can more easily maneuver to. To 24th Street and 9th Avenue we go!

 

nyc gridlock taxi

Most offices let our around 5pm during the work week – get off the streets, off the road, just hide.

Most impossible time to get a cab? Around 5:00 pm on a weekday, not only because those big buildings are full of people being let out of work but this is also around the time that cab shifts change. Not only will it take you about 20 minutes to get a cab (if you’re lucky) but be prepared to empty your wallet on cab fare because of gridlock traffic. Leave an hour before or after this time to make sure you can get where you are going. Same goes for when it’s raining, good luck to you and may the force be on your side.

 

gypsy_cab

When a black car pulls next to you and tells you to get in.

This is not a secret spy mission that you have been selected to be a recruit, this is a car-for-hire, also known as “gypsy cabs”. The thing about “gypsy cabs” is half of them are legitimate, the other half aren’t and it’s not always the easiest to tell which it is. There are no credit cards accepted and the fare can basically be whatever they want it to be. It’s easier to just stay away from these but if you do find yourself in a situation where there is no other choice but to risk your life and get into one, make sure you agree on the fare before you get in.

Happy hailing!

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Spa Week 2014

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It all starts with a peaceful mind and a relaxed body, turns out this is just the week to make sure you have both of those checked off your list! Now until April 27th it’s not just Spa Week in New York City, but all over the United States. New York City spas are offering treatments starting at just $50 at some of NYC’s top spas. You can find out all the details here: http://www.spaweek.com

Fun fact: The term “spa” comes from the name of a town! There is a town in Belgium called Spa where Romans revived the ideas of medicinal bathing. Latter that year Dr. Timothy Bright started using the term as a generic reference to the practice and it just stuck!

Blast From the Past: The Bridges of NYC

Long ago, we ran a blog post asking you which was your favorite bridge in NYC. Today we want to open that poll back up. So which is it, the Brooklyn Bridge or Central Park’s Bow Bridge?

Earlier this week, we asked on Facebook what you favorite bridge in New York City is, and offered up 4 choices: The Brooklyn Bridge, The Manhattan Bridge, The George Washington Bridge, or the Williamsburg Bridge.  I cannot say that the results surprised me:

click to enlarge

The Brooklyn Bridge received over 50% of the vote, making it the clear favorite among out Facebook Fans.  In second was the Manhattan Bridge with almost 30%.  Then the George Washington and the Williamsburg brought up the rear with about 10% each.

The Brooklyn Bridge is a staple of New York, and is probably the first bridge I think about when in NYC, but it only had 3 competitors in the poll.  New York City has over 2,000 bridges, some of which are extraordinary.  When we were creating the poll, we only we thinking about connecting bridges in Manhattan, but what about the others?

Could the absolutely beautiful Bow Bridge in Central Park put up a fight with the Brooklyn Bridge?  Sound off in the comments about what bridge is your favorite, big or small, and vote for either the Brooklyn Bridge or Bow Bridge in our latest poll. Don’t forget to visit our new ‘NYC Bridges’ board on Pinterest!

Bow Bridge (via nyc-architecture.com)

Brooklyn Bridge

Lights of the Holiday Tour Returns!

HL_37It’s almost that time of the year folks and CitySights NY brings you our fan favorite Lights of the Holiday Tour. Beginning December 3, CitySights NY will be taking you on a journey through New York City’s holiday sights and whimsical lights of Times Square, the Laser Light show at Grand Central Terminal, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, 5th Avenue, Central Park, Bryant Park, the world famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree, Radio City Music Hall, Time Warner Center, Trump Tower and St Patrick’s Cathedral to name a few.

The Lights of the Holiday Tour is truly a spectacular chance to bathe in the ambiance of the city and see NYC at its finest. Hurry and get your tickets now!

Tonight is 121212: The Concert for Sandy Relief

South Ferry, under water

South Ferry station, under water water after Hurricane Sandy

In Late October, Hurricane Sandy struck New York City with a force unlike any storm we have ever seen.  We prepared for the winds, we prepared for flooding, but we were not ready for 8 feet of water to surge through our streets.  We were not ready for our homes to be washed away.

In the days following the storm, I walked from my Brooklyn apartment to the CitySights NY corporate in Times Square.  Downtown Manhattan was accompanied by the eeriest feeling; one that I will not quickly forget.  The City was closed, and they didn’t even see the worst of it.

New York City has since come together unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  We’ve traveled out to Staten Island and the Rockaways to help those who were hit the hardest.  We’ve raised millions (I repeat, millions) of dollars in an effort to return to normalcy.  Tonight, we take one more step in the right direction when the world’s biggest stars will come together in Madison Square Garden to put on a show.

If you can, find some time tonight, wherever you are, to watch 121212: The Concert for Sandy Relief.  If you are further inclined, pick up the phone and make a donation.  The holiday season is one that most of us take for granted, but this year thousands of people still remain homeless.  They can use our help.

The best part about living, and working, and operating our services in New York City, is knowing that we are always there for each other.  People often think that it’s the tall buildings and bright lights that make New York the greatest city in the world, but it’s not.  It’s the people; the people who have come together and the people who have lost it all.

For more information about the show, or to donate, visit www.121212concert.org

Photo Credit: Flickr / MTAPhotos

Free Shuttle Between NYC and Westfield Garden State Plaza

With the holiday season right around the corner, there’s no better time to take a day trip out of New York City to the Westfield Garden State Plaza.  For the rest of November and December until Christmas Eve, a FREE shuttle will be running three times a day from Times Square to the Westfield Garden State Mall in Paramus, New Jersey.  The shuttle is only 20 minutes long and will take you to and from the mall, which is sure cover all of your holiday shopping needs.

To get a ticket for the free shuttle, just stop by the CitySights NY visitor’s center inside Madame Tussaud’s.  The bus arrives and departs right across the street.  You can also get a free ticket from the Gray Line New York visitor’s center at 777 8th Avenue.

Shuttle Schedule (November 12-December 24)

Departing from Times Square (Monday-Saturday*):

9:30 a.m.
11:00 a.m.
2:30 p.m.
 

Departing from Westfield Garden State Plaza (Monday-Saturday*):

1:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m.
6:00 p.m.
 

*The Westfield Garden State Plaza is not open on Sunday, so there will be no shuttle service.

Sharing this from New York Sightseeing. Fantastic graphic!

New York Sightseeing

Have you ever wanted to take a picture but worried about looking “too much like a tourist?”  One of the most common fears that many tourists have is in regards taking pictures.  Is it appropriate to take that picture?  Will the locals look at me with disgust and judge me?  I don’t want to be a walking cliché, but that I really want to take that picture.  What should I do?

Does this sound like you?  Don’t worry, almost all tourists face photographer’s anxiety in some form.  The following flowchart will serve as a way to check yourself.  When you want to take a picture in New York City, but don’t know if it’s appropriate, go to the chart.  If the chart says that it is ok to take the picture, then take the picture! (Click to enlarge)

Whatever you’re comfortable with, take it!  Don’t let other people’s dirty looks…

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