Finally, after many years of wanting to go, I have been to New York – and it didn’t disapoint.
What an amazing city!
Here are a few things I didn’t know or expect, which I learned along the way. Hopefully they help someone visiting NYC in the future!
Unexpected hotel Resort fees / Facilities fees
Be prepared for hidden fees when booking hotels in New York.
We stayed at the Park Central Hotel on 7th Avenue, and paid for the room in full upfront before arriving. We were aware of the NYC city tax, which we’d paid upfront also.
On top of the room rate and city tax however, the hotel charge a ‘facilities fee’ of $42 per room per night. This wasn’t advertised clearly at the time of booking, and only became apparent at check-in.
Be aware that this is common practice in the USA – extortionate resort fees / facilities fees are often applied to hotel room bookings with little warning, a practice that would be illegal here in the UK.
Do your research before booking – we got stung because we didn’t know this!
There’s a lot of walking involved – but that’s a good thing!
Ok so this one seems obvious.. However it’s worth putting out there that we did so much more walking than we intended to do!
In fact, I’d say I enjoyed walking from place to place far more than taking the subway – you get to see so much that you’d otherwise miss!
Walking long distances is inevitable in New York, no matter how much planning you do, so bring your comfiest shoes!
It really is the city that never sleeps
I knew New York was a noisy place, but wow the volume really is constantly up to 11!
During the night the streets outside our hotel were alive with activity, including a nightclub, lorries unloading, 3am street races down 7th Avenue, and constant sirens.
All very much expected, and I’m not mad about it, but next time I visit I’ll remember to bring some earplugs! (and ask for an internal room!)
The subway is actually really good
We found it really easy to get around in New York.
The subway is easy to use, and we always felt safe using it.
It’s also cheap, at $2.75 a trip no matter the destination we didn’t think that was too bad. It’s also possible to pay using contactless at each gate rather than buying a ticket which made it easier still.
Times Square isn’t so good
All the guides I’ve read, the videos I’ve watched, and advice I’ve heard had forewarned me that Times Square isn’t great…. But I wasn’t quite prepared for just how bad it actually is.
Granted – at night, it is a spectacle and is a must-see during a visit, but even then a 5 minute ‘look’ is more than enough.
Times Square isn’t really a square, it’s more of an intersection surrounded by adverts and packed to the brim with seedy people trying to rip you off – including numerous (badly done) fake Mickey Mouses (or is it Mickey Mice?), Emlos, Avengers and Power Rangers, endless people trying to trick you in to buying their CDs or bracelets, and several opportunities to buy cannabis and all the paraphernalia that comes with it.
It’s all the ‘bad bits’ and ‘tourist traps’ of NYC concentrated in to a small area… Next time we will avoid Times Square all together I think – it’s a one and done!
New York City smells like weed
I didn’t realise that cannabis was legal in the state of New York, and subsequently the air is thick with the pungent smell of weed, with vans selling it on every other street corner – something I didn’t expect!
Bring more money than you think you’ll need – You’ll want to spend it!
If you think you’ve saved enough money for your trip to New York, maybe bring a little more to be safe.
NYC is extremely expensive, so bring plenty of spending money.
Besides, with all the variety on offer you won’t want to miss out on anything!
Thanks for reading!
Do you have any advice or things you wish you’d known before visiting New York?
Please share in the comments below!