While it's possible to get into trouble anywhere at any time, generally speaking, Manhattan is a safe place to visit. Having said that, some areas may be a little less safe than others, especially after dark. The main things I've been warned to avoid are Central Park and Alphabet City after dark. Supposedly Avenues C and D can get pretty bad, although they're very quiet and peaceful during the day. I guess the East Village can be a little edgy after dark, too. Harlem has a bad reputation, but my personal experience is that it's very safe, at least during the daytime on 125th St. I've walked all over Harlem during the day and found it to be just like the rest of Manhattan - people ignore you. While the subway is generally pretty safe at any time of day, you may want to take care in certain areas after midnight.
Parts of Brooklyn are nice, but other parts can be VERY edgy. I had a very harrowing experience there last year in the middle of the afternoon getting on the subway near the Fulton Mall.
When you are in the subway. Do not stand close to the rail. There are people who push you in to the rail. The rail is electrified. You do not want to die. Keep your distance, until the Train has arrived.
Howdy do....okay, so NYC is considered the safest large city in the United States. But, if you are riding the subway alone, at night, I recommend you ride the front or first car.
With the conductor running the train, you are in a safer position. There are often conductors in the middle car, but I've never been able to make heads or tails of this, so just be safe and ride in the first!
I've found NYC to be safe every time I've been there. I've even ridden the subway at 4 in the morning with no problems. But, like all other big cities, there are places you shouldn't go after dark. Travel in groups and well lit areas if you can.
Even though you must always keep in mind that you're in a huge city and subject to the risks that exist in every similar city around the world, I must say NYC seems to be a safer place than it was a few years ago. Even though I'm used to being very careful because I myself live in one of those big dangerous cities, and despite everyone telling you that you will be going to a VERY dangerous place and must be excessively cautious, I didn't feel in danger at any time and never had an incident or concern on this issue.
Something that surprised me quite nicely was to realize that the subway has become safer in the last years, too. During my first trip, 5 years ago, I wouldn't have dared use the metro after 9-10 PM, let alone being all by myself.... but this time I rode it after 2 AM (hopped up at Times Square) all by myself; there were several people around and I didn't feel insecure at all, even though it can always be dangerous -- even at daytime -- and you must be careful anyway. Same thing applied while strolling the streets at that time of the night, both around Times Square and my hotel area. Looks like Giuliani did achieve some improvements in the safety of the city, after all!
I have lived in New York City my entire life. I have created a list of things that tourists coming to NYC should not do, here they are:
1. if you are White stay in downtown or Midtown Manhattan.
2. Do not go to Brooklyn or the Bronx or Harlem whatever you do. They are EXTREMELY dangerous for White people especially at night.
3.Look like you know where you are going at all times even if you dont.
4.Don't travel the subways at night.
5.Do not flash cash!!
6.LOOSE the stupid maps already!!
7.Stop looking up at the skyscrapers.
8.Don't walk aroung the streets of NYC wearing goofy looking clothes or funny shoes.
9.If you don't want to stand out then do not cross at the light, since everyone in NYC jaywalks.
10.Don't drive here!!!
11.Don't talk to people in the street you don't know or make eye contact with anyone on the subway.
12. Don't give money to panhandlers.
13. Do not walk slow!!!
14. Watch your wallet at all times!!!
If you follow these simple rules you will not have any problems in NYC.
If you're late and taking the subway, make sure you choose the middle carriage where there are more people. Don't let urself be in the situation showed in this photo... see i took the risk to take the photo ;P
New York is really not dangerous. Maybe it WAS dangerous, but at this time, compared to the other cities I've lived in, it's pretty damn safe. As with all cities you should have some comman sense. Women, as always, have a much higher risk than men. If you know a neighborhood is ghetto, don't go there at 3am. I mean this sort of stuff is just obvious.
but really I'm a teenage girl and I've been to the most ghetto of ghettos and taken the subway at 3am and i'm still here to tell you about it.
There are not any really carachteristically New York dangers I can think of. You can drink the water, you can catch the subway, you can catch taxis and I would say, during the day at least, you won't have any problems in any of the five boroughs.
'Home Alone 2' is full of poo poo.
By popular demand my series continues on : How not to look like a tourist in New York City baby. Take my advice, and you'll blend in. Here we go:
The DONT's in NYC:
1. Do not I repeat, (are you lisening???) backpack through NYC. I see so many times people with packpacks. What are you thinking you crazy bastards??? This is not europe!!! You will stick out like a sore thumb.
2. Do not bring your "Idiots Guide to New York" in the streets. Can you be more obvious???( I see so many people wondering the streets like lost sheep with their "idiot" guides. Don't be an IDIOT!
3. Don't be lost on a subway, and do what New Yorker's do. Act like you know whre the heck you're going. (see my tips how to travel like a New Yorker!)
4. Do not walk in Central Park or any park at night. This is not Paris, so don't look for some midnight romance! You will get mugged.
5. Do not be a stupid tourist and buy cheap crap from off the streets (ex: cd's fake designer bags).
6. Do not be intimidated by pushy, agressive people. NYC is like a jungle, you have to fight for your rights, to survive.
7. Do not pay attention that start talking to you on the streets (crazy religious preacher kind, the ones that shove pamphlets). Ignore them!
8. Do not go into the bad ghetto areas outside NYC. Just imagine you a vulnerable lost tourist in a bad neighborhood (not a nice combination!). This is not a place to explore.
The subway is generally safe most hours, however it can become unsafe in the late hours of the night or wee hours of the morning when usage drops off.
Still riding the subway alone at 3:00 am without being harmed is possible, i've done it.
Make sure you know your route exactly, (careful sometimes the train schedules), and try to stay at the front of the train where the conductor is.
Manhattan has really cleaned up and I was impressed by the presence of police officers and security guards in stores and most corners of major streets all over the city.
I took the subway during the day and it was very clean. Each stop is announced.
Try to have exact change when you purchase your metro card. Do not flash your cash.
Always be aware of your surroundings.
Walk and look like you know where you are going.
During the day, walking at a leisurely pace definitely sreams 'tourist'...everyone walks fast!
Stay on the major streets.
Catch a cab during the evenings. It is really cheap, especially if there are 2 or more friends with you. Cabfare was very inexpensive to get from Midtown Manhattan to the Lower East side during the evening and even less than that if you stay out until 4am.
Know what the address is of where you are going, cabs know the shortcuts and avoid traffic.
When you see a cab, make eye contact with him and make sure his light is turned 'on'.
As soon as people get out of the cab, get in quickly before someone else takes your cab!
Consult a subway map and try to study it before going. Not all New Yorkers know what bus/subway takes you to a certain destination.
Wear comfortable shoes!
It´s kind of confusing sometimes and you will find yourself in Harlem maybe, as it happened to me.
Don´t trust anybody on the streets who tells you any stories of lost purses as it happened to a friend of mine!