We had a worrying incident on the subway coming in from the airport. Our carriage only contained me and my wife and another couple at the far end of the carriage from us. Three young men came along and stopped directly in front of us and started swinging to and fro while holding the grab rails. The midriff of one of the men was swinging only a couple of inches from my face and it was not only very intimidating but also very frightening. I remember thinking I would just hand over my wallet if they asked for it. What I wish I'd done in advance though was to seperate my cash from my credit cards so they wouldn't be able to take everything and that would my advice for this tip - try to secrete your credit cards where they will be fairly safe in this kind of situation. The train was on a Thursday afternoon by the way. We didn't end up being mugged as the men wandered away and talking to a couple of cops later they said they rarely get muggings on the subway in broad daylight and they were probably just wanting to scare people - it worked!!!
Being "city savvy" is still the rule of thumb here. New York City has become one of the SAFEST large cities in the world, but it's still home to 8 million people on a small island (and 8 million others who have easy access to it by bus, train, car and ferry), so basic statistics still say, not everyone you encounter will be your friend.
Some basic tips, especially for the subway:
-If you see an empty subway car, don't get in; if it's empty, there's a good reason it is.
-Flash your Rolex, Movado or Tag Heuer all you want in the restaurant, but turn it around on the subway so the band is on top and the watch face is on the bottom of your wrist.
-NEVER fall for the Metro Card swipe game- if you want a metro card for the subway, buy it in the machines or at the booth.
-And last but not least, make sure you realize that some subway lines run express. Visit www.mta.info for all the scoop on NYC public transportation.
Never stand near the edge of the the subway platform. It has happened several times since I moved here that someone has been pushed in front of an oncoming train.
My sons think I worry too much about this sort of thing, but after you have read about it in the paper a couple of times you realize that not everyone riding the subway is a decent person.
Subway is a great transportation but be smart!! The platforms can be a bit tight, and during rush hour they can be just right down dangerous! I have seen a dead body on the platform about 5 years ago, and since then I refuse to stick my head out to see if the train is coming, if I do, it’s with a huge caution. Be careful of your surroundings, make sure no one is running with a possibility of pushing you in to the tracks –happens, so don’t let it be you.
Sometimes you need to ask for help to use the subway. Though generally New Yorkers are ready to help, be careful who you ask.
At a busy subway station, I drew out my subway map to double check my next destination. A guy came up to me and asked if I was lost. Whilst I was pointing to him where I wanted to go on the map, he started moving closer to my handbag. I quickly shifted the position of my body so that my bag was furthest away from him and quickly thanked him and walked away.
Now, I don't know if he had any ulterior motives but it's better to be careful. From then on, I only pulled out my subway map when I'm on the train with my bag safely tucked in front of me or inside a shop/restaurant. I won't even risk pulling out the map on the streets.
Be especially attentive when the subway is crowded. This is the best time for your pockets to be picked without your even knowing it. In fact you might consider waiting for the next train rather than squeezing in like a sardine.
NEVER, NEVER go after the pickpocket nor even yell at him. This could result in very disastrous consequences.
QWhen your traveling around manhattan & NYC. You must know what way the subway is going.
Subways can either go Uptown, Downdown East or West
So on the 6 line make sure you know what platform the train is going on. If you swipe your token & have to goto the otherside you will have to exit, walk upstairs cross the road, enter the other subway & buy another token
this also goes with travel cards. You can easily waste a trip by swiping the card & going on the wrong platform
Forget what you've seen in movies from the past. Most of NYC, especially Manhattan, is very safe as far as big cities go. They have really gotten rid of the homeless people, and you may not see one in the course of a day (depending on where you go). I have never heard of anyone I know being mugged, and I always feel safe in Manhattan. I have walked around at night and taken the subway, and it was perfectly fine. Harlem, Central Brooklyn, (especially East New York) and the South Bronx are less safe. I don't really have much of a reason for going to these places, so most of my knowledge is of driving thru there though, so form your own opinion.
There is a chance that the subway will break down, or get delayed. This happened to us in going from Manhatten to Brooklyn. Get what? Not one employee told the 200+ passengers what was going on, and a lot of us departed the cars, waiting for an answer. Then, the conductor just left the platform. We waited for 15 minutes to find out who would help us stranded on the platform, but no one showed. We eventually left the platform, bought a bus ticket back to Manhatten at an extra cost.
Never trust a unionized non caring group of employees. They are in it til they get home.
If you have never been to New York before, don't be afraid to go out! Just keep these safety tips in mind and you should be just fine.
-Be aware of who is around you.
-Stay in populated areas.
-How you carry yourself is crucial. Look confident in where you are going, how you walk and what you are doing.
-Clutch your purse/bag securely under your arm.
-If there are two of you, place handbags between you instead of on the outside.
-If someone is harassing you on the street, then go into a populated store or shop or find a police officer.
-Yell "Fire" not "Help". People will come look if they think there's a fire, but "Help" is like crying wolf.
-If you are being mugged then it's better to give the mugger what he/she wants. Your life is worth more than the cash in your pocket!
-Try to walk in the middle of the sidewalk and not next to the buildings or the street. At night, stay close to the street so that you can flag down help if the nearby stores are closed.
-Avoid empty subway cars, ride with many people or in the conductor's car (usually the middle car of the train).
-Telephone information from a payphone is free. Simply dial 555-1212 on any pay phone and ask for the number of the business or person you are looking for. You don't need to put in any change.
We put our money into the machine to buy the ticket. We went for the multi ticket as we knew we'd be using the subway quite a bit over the week. Of course, the machine took the money and gave us no ticket. There is always a person there behind a counter selling tickets so we went over with the receipt that said on it "Failure" to get a refund or a ticket. The lady said no, she gave us a form and told us we had to fill it out and mail it in to get a mailed refund, so we were a bit put off with that. We are from Canada so we have our doubts we'll see the money but you never know, maybe they will be good for it. From then on we bought our tickets from the ticket seller. If you have a bent card or one that is freaking out (won't work all the time etc) they can reprogram a new one for you too.
ps- we were a bit nervous the first time travelling the subway, you know how the nyc subways always gets portrayed, but after doing it a few times, we saw only good normal people doing their thing, no trouble so far and we've been here four days now and travelled a lot of trains all over manhattan/queens etc. If you get on a wrong train, no problem, just get off and get something to get you closer. The subway is very cheap, only a couple bucks to get to your destination..so as long as you don't go through an exit you can keep travelling them one after the other until you get where you need to go. They are very fast and they go all over the place. Overall a good experience so far.
If you should drop something on the tracks while you are waiting for the subway, you are standing too close to the edge. But, for heaven's sake, do not jump down on the tracks and try to retrieve it. More than likely, you will probably not be able to get back up on the platform before the next train arrives. Is it really worth risking your life.
My subway precautions 1,2, & 3 seem obvious, but yet all too often I read in the paper about one of these incidents occuring. It seems that people would have the common sense not to do these things, but I think it has more to do with lack of attentiveness, impulsiveness, and being too trusting than anything else.