New York Newb

From traveling the East Coast to getting in to see a movie premiere, fighting bed bugs or using government services, our New York pro-tips section is packed with miscellaneous advice for New York that any newb can use.  If you have a suggested addition to our group here, please feel free to contact us.

Guides and Tips

Pro-Tips: East Coast Travel

One uniquely cheap way to visit cities like Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC form New York is to use the Chinatown bus system. It's wildly inexpensive and will get you to your destination. When Amtrak, NJ Transit/SEPTA and airlines continue driving prices higher, the Chinatown Bus remains cheap enough to trump them all. There are a few different lines you can take. Personally, ApexBus seems to be reliable and they even have their own website here. Even Atlanta gets the Chinatown service for only $90... as long as you can suffer the lengthy ride.

Pro-Tips: Movie Premieres

Occasionally in front of movie theaters, you'll see people handing something out. Some of these people are part of a program that selects new moviegoers to get tickets for premieres. Other websites like 1iota have special access tickets to events that aren't publicly available, including shows on MTV.

Pro-Tips: Bed Bugs

It's not something you might think about, but bed bugs are a city-wide epidemic at the moment. If you already have bed bugs, you'll want to notify your building management company immediately. Most buildings have a regular exterminator contracted for such problems. If you've got bed bugs, pick up some mattress covers here (double bag it) with the interceptor traps.  Then you can check out this site (here) for more information.

If you don't have bedbugs but are getting a new mattress, make sure that the moving company has bedbug free vans (one easy way to get bedbugs is from a van that moves mattresses).

To reduce the odds of getting these pests, there isn't much you can do. Keep your apartment clean, don't put your shoes on your bed, don't let your dog jump onto the bed, don't sleep in train stations and hope your neighbors don't get it. Either way, if you believe you've got a problem you should call your building management to take care of the problem.

Pro-Tip: DMV, Voter Registration

Going to the DMV is a relatively pain-free process, if you're in the right neighborhood. If you aren't, this can be an exciting and equally anxiety-filled experience. My first trip to get a state ID in the city included screaming tellers and fake-ID using residents. The best advice you can receive to prepare yourself is to do research beforehand. Make sure you have enough "points" to get your license, and bring some extra for back-up. Nothing is worse than waiting in the never-ending DMV line only to find out that one piece of identification isn't valid.

If you're going for a New York drivers license, you can save yourself some suffering by making sure you have a current license from your home state. Transferring a license to NYC is much easier and hassle-free than taking the driving test. Make sure you have the prerequisite information if you go this route - some state licenses will require a letter from the state of origin verifying that you are a human being, which can be more than difficult to obtain.

Patience is key when you're in any New York government office. For example, I went to get a state ID when I first moved to Manhattan in 1997. Someone in front of me wasn't up for waiting in line and complained to one of the tellers, to which she received the following reply, "Well miss, maybe you shouldn't be here. Maybe you should turn around and walk out of here. Now." I imagine if I were a teller at the downtown DMV I would be equally caustic after dealing day-in and day-out with all types of creatures the city can create. Good luck!!!

Pro-Tip: Questions and Answers -> 311

One of the best resources this city has created lies within 311. If you dial 311 on your phone, you'll be connected with New York City's government services help line. Any question you might have from building regulations on heating in the winter to what you need to get a state ID can be answered with one short call. It is, in essence, your NYC Google resource. If you get an especially resourceful operator on the line, you can resolve most of your questions about the city this way.

Pro-Tip: Pets

New York Newb Cat
Just a couple notes about pets. Firstly, many landlords ask for a pet deposit if you have a pet in the apartment. This deposit can vary from building to building, but is usually only a few hundred dollars. Check your lease or building rules to verify the pet policy beforehand.

Curb your dog when you're outside walking it and it needs to go to the bathroom. Dogs really shouldn't be peeing in the middle of the sidewalk. Curbing your dog while walking is a generally good idea, because not doing so is a great way to cause traffic jams on the sidewalk. Two dogs pass each other, go crazy, and now everyone walking behind you has to stop so you can get things under control -> totally sucks!

Last but not least by any means, you must clean up after your dog goes to the bathroom. This is a fineable offense and even if the police don't strictly enforce it, pedestrians will if they see you sneaking away from a poo. Either way, it's easy to find plastic dog-doodoo gloves at pet stores and grocery stores.


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