Yes, most areas, even Times Square (which has been thoroughly Disney-
fied) are safe enough, but I was mugged five years ago in Brooklyn at
5 p.m. on New Years Eve. I was in a strange neighborhood, to me, and
looking around like I didn't know where I was going. 6 guys grabbed
me, threw me down, took my new backpack with EVERYTHING in it. Where
were my NYC street smarts? Even after years, you can make a mistake,
get too confident, think it won't happen to you.
Don't carry large amounts of cash. Get a travel "safe" money belt.
Don't carry anything in a backpack or dangle a purse or backpack on
the back of your chair in a restaurant. Keep belonging close and
safe. On your lap while eating.
A British young nephew of a friend arrived to stay at L'hotel Jane
last night carrying a brand new Hasselblad camera EEEEEEEK. I told
him to go out today and get some throwaway cameras. I suggest the
same to you. They work fine. If you must carry your good camera,
stick to one lens (a short telphoto or 35mm fixed) and don't carry it
in a camera case. Better yet, invest in a nice little point and shoot
and keep it in a front shirt pocket or a buttoned up pocket.
This is not to frighten you, but most people get into trouble in NYC
by being careless for just a second. The professionals look for that
dazed and confused stare. Travel in twos or in packs. That keeps them
at bay. If you want to explore alone, do it before dark. I travel a
lot and in many countries. My best travel safety net is my extremely
light, all weather black Italian raincoat with two large inside
pockets. I button it over my small purse and I carry my camera in an
awful looking ratty "hobo" style bag that has been repaired many
Black. Wear nothing but black. It keeps your wardrobe simple and you
will fit in. New Yorkers eschew color. Gray was the "new" black last
year, but this year we are back to wearing black. Maybe because of
the Nasdaq tanking last April???
You should learn the Subway. Again, travel in twos-threes. It isn't
too hard to figure out, and you can actually walk faster than a bus
or a taxi in midtown! Also, taxi drivers look at out of towners and
ask them, "Which way to you want to go?" even from the airport (Do
you want to take the Belt Parkway or the BQE? As if you should
decide. They are trying to scope out if you are from NYC. One time a
driver, thinking I was from out of town, asked me how I wanted to go
to the Empire State Building! Unless you have specific directions,
and know exactly where you want to go, don't get in a taxi.
Practice: "I want to go to 68th and Madison and drop me on the North-
East Corner near the Whitney Museum." The more specific, the better.
Take the shuttle (big old airport bus) from the airport.
Worst airport story. My upstairs neighbor's sister came to visit from
Arizona. Told the driver to take her to Seventh Avenue and Tenth
Street. And he did just that, in Manhattan where there is the same
address, after she had specified that address in BROOKLYN. When she
quibbled about the $60 fare once she was at the right place (her
sister's) he said something to the effect that "I know where you
live." She paid up.
Don't forget, I have offered hospitality once we are all there and
know schedules etc. It would be great to have you come on over to
Brooklyn. We could even walk the Bridge! Cheers. Jane In Brooklyn