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Tips & Curiosities for your first time in NYC

5th Avenue and Empire State Building in NYC

NYC is a unique place in the world, and it has its own rules. After living in the city for a couple of years, I understood how it works, and it didn’t happen overnight. Some aspects of the city may bother you at first, but most of them will win your heart, and make you want to come back as soon as you have an opportunity. I listed below some tips and curiosities about this place that I had the pleasure of calling home.


Here are some tips and curiosities for your first time in NYC


Free water at restaurants

Every place you go they will serve you free tap water (from cheap to more expensive venues), you can drink without worries. It’s a good way to save some dollars. I developed the habit of drinking water during my meals when I was living in the Big Apple.


Here’s your bill!

Sometimes even before you finish your meal, the bill comes to your table. You may feel pressured to eat fast, pay and leave. But don’t you worry, it’s a normal thing that happens in some places in NYC. If you want to order something else, go ahead, they will give you another bill later. I thought it was rude at first, but then I got used to it.

A deli to call it yours

Delis or delicatessens are a such New York thing, and every New Yorker has one to call it yours (usually the closest one from where they live). Deli is a precious place where you can find anything you need at any time of the day and night (some of them are open 24h). You can buy breakfast or lunch, buy that item that you forgot to get at the supermarket or even grab a sandwich after a night of partying. It’s the place to go when everything else is closed, or you are too lazy to walk much. My deli burger after a party night was sacred!

Delicatessen and yellow cab in NYC

My deli in NYC. I could see it from my window!

Where’s my tip?

Tips in NYC are normally not calculated in the bill of the restaurants; you have to add. The usual is to pay from 16% to 20%, but you can leave more than that if you want I (in case the service was really good). In bars, it’s common to give at least an extra dollar every time you pay for a beer/drink at the balcony. If the bill comes to the table then it’s the same thing that happens in restaurants, you add the percentage (16% to 20% or more). You might see ugly faces when you don’t pay the tip, or pay just a little. Some waiters might even ask you if the service was bad.

Be aware that when you pay with a card, you’ll have to write the amount of the tip in the receipt, after you made the payment. You’ll see there’s a line to put the value in there. The tip will be discounted later from your card.

About taxis, if you’re paying with cash and the amount is not much (less than $10) you can give the drive an extra dollar. If the amount is more than that (or if you’re paying with a card) the “percentage rules” apply.


No need to be rude!

I missed the count of how many times someone was a little rude to me in NYC. I have some stories that would make you laugh or cry (wanna hear?). Of course, we can never generalize, there are kind and rude people everywhere no matter the city. Just don’t let their grumpy attitude affect you or your happy day – It’s easier said than done, I know, I know.


Yellow cab in a street in NYC


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