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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Uptown NYC vs Downtown NYC

It’s the classic tale, which is better: Uptown NYC or Downtown NYC? Both have their bright spots, but how can you really decide? Well, we did and incredibly unscientific poll around the office and came up with the results.

The Arts: Uptown

via flickr / Fatbooo

via flickr / Fatbooo

Uptown NYC wins the arts in a landslide. Sure, there are some wonderful museums in lower Manhattan, but not even close to what you get on the north end of the island. The Met, Guggenheim, Museum of Natural History, and that doesn’t even touch on the performance venues like Lincoln Center and the historic Apollo Theater. This category isn’t even close.

Sports: Draw

via flickr / Charley Lhasa

via flickr / Charley Lhasa

This is definitely the trickiest of the categories. Downtown we have Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena. It’s arguably the best sports venue in NYC (it’s a weak argument, but one can be made) and home to the Knicks and the Rangers. On the other hand, Uptown is literally a stone’s throw from Yankee Stadium. Also, Uptown has Central Park, the best place in Manhattan to actually play sports, and Rucker Park, the world’s most prolific street basketball court. After the votes were tallied, we came to a tie.

Food: Downtown

via flickr / star5112

via flickr / star5112

This one was a CLOSE vote, and I’ll be honest, I don’t know if I completely agree, but downtown got the win. It’s true, Downtown owns the pizza battle, which is NYC’s favorite food, and it also reigns supreme when it comes to brunch, another favorite among locals. Uptown has the soul food and some of the most fantastic restaurants in NYC, but we can’t argue with the votes. Downtown wins.

Skyline: Downtown

via flickr / gabrielkaplan

via flickr / gabrielkaplan

As arts is to Uptown, the Skyline is to Downtown. When people think of the Manhattan skyline, it’s of lower Manhattan. Even without the World Trade Center towers anymore, Downtown still absolutely dominates Uptown in the skyline vote. This was unanimous.

Traffic: Uptown

via flickr / TriggerHappyDave

via flickr / TriggerHappyDave

Downtown Manhattan can be brutal with the traffic from time to time. The tunnel crowd is enough to drive someone mad, and it all leads into lower Manhattan, the financial district. Uptown Manhattan doesn’t see these problems nearly as much as its southern counterpart. Sure, the George Washington Bridge will see some traffic during rush hour (*cough* Chris Christie *cough*), but more times than not traffic is no issue Uptown.

So there we have it. Our unscientific research has led us to a tie. It’s like we’re kissing our sister. Looks like you’re just going to have to take the All Around Town Tour and test both out on your own!