New York City

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New York City, also known as The Big Apple, is the biggest city in the United States.


After the meetups, be sure to share your photos on our Flickr group.

New Member Welcome Kit

The US New Member Welcome Kit answers a lot of questions and is a great resource for both new members and seasoned CSers.

Important Numbers & Services

Emergency Services

Dial 911 from any phone to contact emergency services when there is an emergency, lives are in danger, serious injury, serious medical condition, crime in progress, or any other situation needing immediate attention.

NYC Information

Dial 311 from any phone for government and non-emergency information or visit their website.

NYC Subway Information

Dial 511 from any phone for information on the subway and bus system or visit their website.

Government Information

Official NYC website.

Police Stations

If you are really unlucky and manage to land yourself into trouble, here's a list of the local police stations.

Staying Safe

Safety Tips

CS Guidelines

What's acceptable to do on CS? Read our guidelines and terms of use.


Honest, accurate references are incredibly important!

You do not have to couchsurf with someone in order to leave a reference. You are encouraged to write a reference whenever you have learned something about a CouchSurfer that will be informative to the community. The CS guide to references gives you more information about when to write a reference and what information to include.

Please remember that reporting a negative experience is not the end of the world. It is normal that not everybody gets along fine and that you are describing your experience for the benefit of others, not judging a person. Negative references aren't just for safety issues. They're to give you a better idea of who the person is. CS will make every effort to remove any unjustified negative references received in retaliation for having left a negative reference. The Member Disputes FAQ has more information about when CS will remove a reference.

Doing the right thing in reporting a negative experience honestly will not create insurmountable problems, and the clean conscience of not sharing responsibility for seriously bad things happening to other members by far outweighs any inconvenience.

Reporting CSers who behave inappropriately, including but not limited to offensive, violent or sexually inappropriate behavior, who steals from you or engages in any other disturbing conduct, is required by our terms of use. You must immediately report such person to the appropriate authorities and to us by contacting us and choosing "Problem with Another Member.”

Member Disputes & Safety Team

You are required to report dangerous members to the MDST. You can do this by going to contact us and choosing "Problem with Another Member." It is important to do this even if you choose not to leave a negative reference or press charges, so the MDST can look out for recurring problems and take action as necessary. If you require assistance with moderating a dispute or filing a police report, please contact MDST and/or a local ambassador.


You are required to report dangerous members to the MDST. You can do this by going to contact us and choosing "Problem with Another Member." It is important to do this even if you choose not to leave a negative reference or press charges, so that the MDST can look out for recurring problems and take action as necessary. If you require assistance with moderating a dispute or filing a police report, please contact MDST and/or a local ambassador.

It is not advisable to post a public warning about another member. The MDST will take action and warn members under specific circumstances.

CouchSurfing Workshops

Please check the NYCS group and events calendar for our next workshop. Workshops include information on how to set up a profile, what to expect while hosting and surfing, and how to stay safe while CSing.

Self Defense Classes

A number of organizations offer self-defense classes in New York City. Many colleges and non-profit organizations will host free or low-cost classes.

Finding a Couch

Doing a CouchSearch

Finding a couch in NYC can be difficult because hosts receive many requests and most people live in small apartments. Send out requests early and be prepared to move around during your stay.

Doing a couchsearch of New York will only bring up hosts in Manhattan, so be sure to search in all five boros (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island). You can do this by doing a specific search or setting a five mile radius.

Keep in mind that New Jersey is just over the river. Hoboken, Jersey City, Weehawken, Fort Lee, are closer to Manhattan than some parts of Brooklyn & Queens, and provide 24 hour access to the city (check hosts profile to see if they say that they live near a 24 hour bus or the PATH train).

Try doing a CouchSearch for:

  • Queens: Astoria, NY; Elmhurst, NY; Flushing, NY; Jackson Heights, NY; Long Island City, NY; Ridgewood, NY; Sunnyside, NY
  • Bronx, NY
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Staten Island, NY
  • New Jersey: Hoboken, NJ; Jersey City, NJ; Newark, NJ; Weehawken, NJ; White Plains, NJ; Fort Lee, NJ
  • Westchester: Yonkers, NY; Bronxville, NY; White Plains, NY

Public Transportation

The various public transportation systems allow easy, relatively cheap movement around the NYC metro area. Pretty much everything within a 15-20 mile radius allows easy access to Manhattan. You can go as far as 100 miles out but fares and transit time increase. Maps are available online:

Emergency Couch Group

Post your last-minute couchrequests in the Last Minute CouchRequest Group

It is always better to find a host by messaging other members directly. Please only use this group for emergencies and last minute couches. For example, you should not post to this group if you're looking for a couch 2 months from now.

Please take some extra time to read potential hosts' profiles, including sleeping arrangements and references, in order to find a good match. Usually you look through many profiles before finding someone to contact. Make sure to take the same care when people are contacting you and offering a last minute couch. We want you to all have good NYCS experiences.

Other Accommodation

New York hosts are often overwhelmed by requests, so it's not always possible to find a host through CouchSurfing.

Map of hostels & affordable hotels:

Temporary Apartment Listings

  • Craigslist
    NOTE: ALWAYS DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts on craigslist. (from the craigslist website)

Hospitality Sites


Inexpensive Hostels (list from C. R. Page as of February 2011)

  • Royal Park Hotel and Hostel, 258 West 97th Street, New York, USA - Beds from $19.95
  • Lafayette International Hostel, 484 Lafayette Av., Brooklyn, New York, USA - Beds from $20
  • Tone on Lex, 179 East 94th, New York, USA - Beds from $15
  • Williamsburg HostL, 318 Bedford Ave #2, Brooklyn, New York, USA - Beds from $26
  • Columbus Circle Hostel, 120 West 60th Street, New York, USA - Beds from $24
  • New York Hostel 99, 30 East 129th Street, New York, USA - Beds from $20.95
  • AAE New York Hostel, 13909 89th Ave, JFK AIRPORT, New York, USA - Beds from $20.99
  • Chocolat Hostel, 850 West End Avenue, New York, USA - Beds from $18.75
  • The Candy Hostel, 315 W. 94th Street., New York, USA - Beds from $18.75
  • Hostel 104, 2027 1st Avenue, New York, USA - Beds from $21.95
  • New York Empire Hostel, 269 Meserole Street, New York, USA - Beds from $19.99
  • The New York Loft Hostel, 249 Varet St., Brooklyn, New York, USA - Beds from $20
  • AAE Super Eight Hostel New York, 139-01 Jamaica Ave, Jamaica Van Wyck Subway New York, New York, USA - Beds from $20.99
  • The Wanderers Inn West, 257 West 113th Street, New York, USA - Beds from $19.50
  • Jazz on Lenox, 104 West 128 Street, New York, USA - Beds from $17
  • Jazz on Amsterdam Avenue, 201 West 87th Street, New York, USA - Beds from $22
  • Broadway Hotel n Hostel, 230 West 101 Street, New York, USA - Beds from $20


See the New York City Wikivoyage page for detailed advice about transportation and attractions.

By Plane

There are three major Airports in the NYC area. JFK and LaGuardia (LGA) are both located in Queens. Newark is located in New Jersey but provides for easy access to the city.

Off Manhattan's Airport Transportation Guide


The AirTrain costs $5 and runs from JFK and connects to the following subway/train stops • LIRR trains and E/J/Z subways at Jamaica Station • The "A" subway line at Howard Beach Station From these subways and trains most of the 5 boroughs and outlying areas can be reached rather easily.

For trips between (to and from) Manhattan and JFK International Airport, the flat fare is $45.00 plus any tolls using Rate Code 2 on the meter. A NY State Tax Surcharge of $.50 will be added to each trip.

If passengers request multiple stops, the flat rate of $45.00 will be collected at the first stop in either Manhattan or JFK International Airport, and the meter will be activated at Rate Code 1 (standard city rate) for the remainder of the trip. The metered fare should be collected at the last stop, from the last passenger.

Trips between JFK International Airport and New York City destinations other than Manhattan will use that standard metered rate.

If you're looking to cab in don't be afraid to ask people where they're going and see if they're willing to split a cab with you. Various Express buses are also running and range from $15 - $25 for a trip to Manhattan.

Safety notice: Do NOT accept a ride from people inside or near the airport exit offering a taxi service -- those drivers are unlicensed and their cars do not have meters. Best case you will share the ride with strangers while paying the same rates as your own cab. Worst case... well, just don't use an unlicensed taxi service!

LaGuardia (LGA)

Various buses run between LaGuardia and the 5 boroughs. The two most popular buses are the M60 and the Q33. The M60 will take you into Manhattan and travels west along 125th Street, making stops at the 4, 5 and 6 subway lines at Lexington Ave; the MetroNorth station at Park Ave; the 2 and the 3 at Lenox Ave; the A, B, C and D at Saint Nicholas Ave; and the 1 at Broadway. The Q33 drops you off in Jackson Heights near different subway stations depending on where you need to get off. Don't hesitate to ask the bus driver where to get off for your particular subway line if you're unsure.

Cab rides to Manhattan and other areas are metered. During non rush hours the typical cab ride into Manhattan will be at least $30. If you want to take a taxi don't be afraid to ask people where they're going and see if they're willing to share the cost with you.

Safety notice: Do NOT accept a ride from people inside or near the airport exit offering a taxi service -- those drivers are unlicensed and their cars do not have meters. Best case you will share the ride with strangers while paying the same rates as your own cab. Worst case... well, just don't use an unlicensed taxi service!

Newark (EWR)

New Jersey Transit runs their own AirTrain service from Newark to New York Penn Station for around $15. This is usually the fastest method. See for more information. Cab rides to Manhattan and other areas are metered. During non rush hours the typical cab ride into Manhattan will be at least $50. If you're looking to take a taxi don't be afraid to ask people where they're going and see if they're willing to share the cost with you.

The least expensive way is to take the New Jersey Transit #62 bus ($1.50) in front of the terminals to Newark Penn Station (20 minutes), and then the PATH train ($2) to lower Manhattan (25 minutes). They are both very frequent during the day.

Safety notice: Do NOT accept a ride from people inside or near the airport exit offering a taxi service -- those drivers are unlicensed and their cars do not have meters. Best case you will share the ride with strangers while paying the same rates as your own cab. Worst case... well, just don't use an unlicensed taxi service!

By Bus

There are many buses that connect New York with other major cities in the northeast, which are often significantly cheaper and more convenient that Greyhound or even Amtrak. These are the Chinatown buses and will typically run from Chinatown in New York City to the Chinatown area in another city. Often they pick up and drop off passengers on the side of the street, so it is important to know where they are. There are many companies that operate between the major cities, usually running every half hour every day.

The following are a few of the many companies:

New Century Travel
Operates between NYC and Philly ($20 RT), Washington ($35 RT) and Richmond ($60 RT)

Fung Wah Bus
Operates Between NYC and Boston ($30 RT)

Apex Bus
Operates between NYC and Philly ($20 RT), Washington ($35 RT), Richmond ($60 RT), Baltimore ($35 RT), Rockville, MD ($45 RT), Norfolk ($60 RT), Albany ($45 RT), Atlanta ($200 RT), Nashville ($70 RT)

Bolt Bus
Operates between NYC and Boston ($16-20 OW), Philly ($13-$15 OW), Baltimore ($18-$20 OW), Washington ($18-$25 OW). However, if you book far enough in advance you can get a ticket for as little as $1 OW. They also offer wifi on board and power outlets.

The best way to find other companies is to google "Chinatown bus New York City'"

By Car

Goethals Bridge connects New Jersey and Staten Island Holland Tunnel connects New Jersey and Manhattan Lincoln Tunnel connects New Jersey and Manhattan George Washington Bridge connects New Jersey and Manhattan More information can be found at:

By Foot or bicycle

The George Washington Bridge lets you walk or ride a bike across it when coming from the mainland (New Jersey). It offers quite a stunning view of the Hudson river and NYC skyline.

Mass transit once in the city

New York City arguably has the best developed and easiest public transportation system of all major cities in the United States ( It is easily navigable, runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is safe. It is an aged system, though, and some subway stations can smell bad and be unbearably hot in the summer, and there is a lot of rat poison applied on a regular basis. But the subway cars are generally clean, climate-controlled and well-maintained. Also, note that you are also subject to random "bag checks" by the police at all times (but I've only seen a couple of instances of this in the last few years). As a traveler without a car or bicycle you will heavily rely on NYC's public transportation system and you could wind up taking at least half a dozen rides in the subway/bus on any given day. At $2.25 per ride that can become an expensive proposition. Thus, your best bet is to buy an "Unlimited" Metrocard that provides unlimited rides within on the subway and bus system of NYC (all 5 boroughs) for either 7 days ($29) or 30 days ($104). The 1-day and 14-day unlimited cards have been eliminated. In one of the most expensive cities in the world, the Unlimited ride option is one of the most cost-efficient purchases you can make. To determine if the 7-day card is a good value for you, consider this: if you pay for each ride 13 times, you have already spent more than $29. The Metrocards are available at all times from the vending machines in most subway stations. The pay-per-ride Metrocard will give you a 7% bonus for a purchase of $10 or more (e.g., $10 gets you $10.70). When using a Metrocard (but not the white single-fare cards), you may transfer free from local bus-to-subway, subway-to-local bus or local bus-to-local bus within two hours of the time you paid your fare. So, you could take the subway uptown and then hop on a bus back downtown for $2.25 if you get on the bus within 2 hours of entering the subway station. Again, if you're going to spend a lot of time in the city and/or will be making a lot of trips, then you should buy the unlimited ride Metrocard rather than the pay-per-ride Metrocard.

Bicycling within the city

New York City has become more bike friendly over the last couple of years with the establishment of bike lanes on various streets and avenues in the City. If you have a bike, ask your host if there is a safe place to store it.

NYC bike trails

Visiting New York City

New York City isn't just Manhattan. It's worth at least a visit to each of the outer boroughs to provide yourself with a well-rounded experience. New York City is comprised of Manhattan (New York County), The Bronx (Bronx County), Queens (Queens County), Brooklyn (Kings County), and Staten Island (Richmond County). Some highly recommended places outside Manhattan include: Astoria, Queens (take the N or W subway line from Broadway to Ditmars Bvld or the R line to Steinway) located directly across the East river from Manhattan. Astoria has many great ethnic restaurants from Eastern European and Greek to South American and Asian cuisine. The population is very diverse and mostly young. Jackson Heights, Queens (Roosevelt Ave stop on the E,F,R,V or anywhere on the 7 between about 74th Street and 90th Street) is an incredible multicultural neighborhood primarily populated by various Latino groups (bring your Spanish phrasebook!), and don't forget to stop by the Little India. Williamsburg, Brooklyn (L to Bedford Ave.) is an up-and-coming hipster neighborhood filled with many cute shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. Coney Island (D,N,F,Q to the Coney Island station) is not to be missed at just about any time of year if you don't mind the long subway trip. This is such a tiny offering of the hundreds of fascinating and diverse neighborhoods to explore. When in Manhattan, JUST WALK! You can walk for hours and hours, and almost every street is fascinating. See how places change character over a matter of blocks, how different people live next to one another, etc. This is one of the best cities for just getting lost (although that's a bit difficult given the grid).

Museums & Attractions

Being the big city that it is, New York City is home to many of the world's finest art museums featuring many well-known and famous paintings. Naturally (and unfortunately), you will have to pay for admission to these museums. Of course, these admissions benefit the museums and help them preserve their collections, but there is a once-weekly exception to this. On Fridays from 4:00 to 8:00 PM, one can gain free admission into the Museum of Modern Art (also known by its abbreviation, MoMA, and is commonly referred to as that) through their Target Free Friday Nights (which is sponsored by the American department store chain called Target). Outside of the museum before 4:00, a series of dividers are placed to the side of the museum to create a place for people to stand online while they wait to enter for free. Despite the 4 hour time range, one should arrive at least 45 minutes beforehand (3:15) because the line does becomes very long and full of people interested in free tickets. Tickets are given out first-come first-serve, so be sure to arrive early. Yes, the museum will be much more crowded than normally, but this is a great way to see some of the world's finest collections of modern art yet have money for dinner later on that night as well.

There are a number of museums in the city that are free, offer free hours, various discounts or suggested donations.

Many NYC locals have free passes to museums, through membership, school or work. Be sure to ask around!

List of museums with free or discounted hours

A list of all museums in NYC

Mobile/cell phone information

There are two main GSM providers in the US: AT&T and T-Mobile. Verizon and Sprint do not use SIM cards, so you cannot use your GSM phone with those providers. However, there are also MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) that buy AT&T and T-Mobile service wholesale and sell it retail on a prepaid basis.

NOTE: not all GSM phones are compatible with US GSM service providers, but if your phone is "tri-band" or "quad-band", it should be compatible for voice and SMS services. Check with your provider to make sure. Also make sure that your phone is "unlocked" so that it can operate with SIM cards that do not belong to your provider. If your phone is locked to your carrier, it may be possible to have it unlocked for a small fee in the Chinatown area of Manhattan.

If you plan to use data on your smart phone here in the US, 3G data services in the US are often incompatible with phones not made specifically for the US. Your phone must be compatible with both frequencies of a provider to be compatible with 3G data. If it is not, you can still get data service, just at a slower speed (2G, also known as Edge).

  • AT&T uses both the 800 MHz and the 1900 MHz frequency bands for their 3G data network. They use the 700 MHz frequency for their LTE (4G) service.
  • T-Mobile uses both the 1700 MHz and the 2100 MHz frequency bands for their 3G data network, which in some cities is as fast as the 4G networks -- with the right phone.

You can input your phone model in this website to find out its specifications and if it supports the frequencies above, or you can input the IMEI of your phone in this website to find out the model and the frequencies. The IMEI is usually located under the battery of most mobile phones.

Here is a listing of GSM prepaid plans. Note that many of these plans include international minutes and/or SMS text messaging. Also note that in the US, the owner of the mobile phone pays for both incoming and outgoing minutes and SMS/text messages, but people do not pay more to call you on your phone or send you an SMS/text message.

If you walk into a T-Mobile or AT&T store and ask for a prepaid SIM and activate it in the store, they will probably charge you $5 or $6 for the SIM.


  • Red Pocket buys AT&T service wholesale and sells it retail on a prepaid basis. Their plans are here.
  • H2O Wireless also buys AT&T service wholesale and sells it retail on a prepaid basis. Their plans are here.
  • SimpleMobile buys T-Mobile service wholesale and sells it retail on a prepaid basis. Their plans are here.

A Red Pocket or SimpleMobile SIM card at a store in NYC will cost you $20 or more. You can buy an H2O Wireless SIM card at BestBuy for $10.

You can get a SIM card from any of these providers on eBay or at their respective websites for $5 or less, plus shipping (often the seller offers free shipping to addresses in the US, and a small shipping fee outside the US). If you buy the SIM online, you can then have the seller ship it to your host or hostel and then activate it online. It is safe to purchase a SIM card on eBay, but just be careful not to purchase a used SIM (the listings clearly state when the SIM is used), and whether you buy from eBay or directly from the provider's website, purchase far enough in advance so that it is delivered before you arrive.

You can also buy an inexpensive phone once you arrive in the US with credit already on it (for example: GoPhone, Virgin Mobile, and Boost Mobile), and you can add to that credit if you need to. Plans differ by provider, so you have to ask what the plan is before you buy the phone. Stores where you can buy such phones:

  • Duane Reade (drugstore chain)
  • CVS (also a drugstore chain)
  • Rite Aid (yes, another drugstore chain)
  • BestBuy (electronics chain)

Internet Access

The NY Public Library, Times Square Information Center, Times Square Plaza and Apple Stores have computers with free internet access and wifi.

Many of the parks have free wifi, including several downtown, Madison Square Park, Union Square, and Bryant Park, Starbucks and McDonalds.

Luggage Storage

There are no luggage lockers in New York airports or train stations. The lockers below have been posted to the NYC CS group.

Schwartz Travel Services 212-290-2626 355 W 36th St. Between 8th & 9th Ave. 2F NY NY 10018 Open: 8:30am - 8pm & 43 W 46th St. Between 5th & 6th Ave. 6F NY NY 10036. Open: 8am - 11pm Storage Price: approximately $8 to $10 (depending on size). per 24 hours. Monthly Rate: $3 to $5 a day, per luggage, box or locker.

More information can be found here


A Google map made by some CSers in New York - bars, cafes and fun places to go

NYC Insider Guide- Lists fun events in New York.

New York Virtual Tour - Loads of 360 panoramas of New York sights linked to Google maps with local and travel information.

New York Walkabouts A NYC blog that's short on commentary, but big on NYC resources as well as quirky NYC history, and off-the-tourist-track info on what to do, see, eat, hear, and lots of links to helpful NYC sites. If you are interested in a free walking tour with the blog's author (me!) get in touch!

[2] A free guide in which you can add and edit as well. If registered you can create a pdf of the guide via the build a guidebook function.

Local suggestions

Tips from a NYC host

Tourist Destinations

  • Central Park LOVE the free tours (Wed./Sat./Sun.)(
  • Union Square there always seems to be something going on, and if not, you can either shop, or just walk around or people watch.
  • Staten Island Ferry cheap and fun to get out on the water (and see the Statue of Liberty).
  • Broadway Hit up the TKTS booth at 46th between 8th and Broadway for day-of tickets. Line-up usually starts around 12/1 for the 3 pm sales for shows that night. You can also try the rush tickets for Rent, Avenue Q, and Wicked the day of for 25 dollar tickets.
  • St. John the Divine is spectacular, one of the significant architectural spectacles in the city. Check out Sunday Mass. I'm not a believer, but it's pretty.
  • Frick The MOMA and the Met are amazing (but the MOMA is $20 a pop, except Friday nights, for free) but the Frick has a lot going on. The Bellini, St. Francis in the Desert, is one of the greatest paintings you'll ever see. The Whistlers, Turners, Goyas, and all kinds of cool stuff, are just terrific. And it's not as crowded as the other two.
  • Top of the Rock was magical (still amazed at quality of my pics of Empire State Building from there) as was rest of that area like the ice skating at Rockefeller

Best NYC View

  • Take the PATH Train to Hoboken or Jersey City for a great view of the Manhattan skyline while you walk along their waterfront promenade. When you return to the WTC station, you circle through the entire pit and get a good view.
  • Take the PATH out to Hoboken, and take NY Waterways back from Hoboken to Pier 11 - you circle the south end of Manhattan, get a good view of the buildings, Governor's island, and you can see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty (from a distance). $5.50/person.
  • Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge! Perfect views of the city, and awesome pictures. Head over to Grimaldi's for Pizza, or the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, both down by the river (under the bridge). Take the train over to Brooklyn and then walk back towards Manhattan. Much better than the other way around and having to turn around to see the skyline.


  • $5 improv show in the UCB theater (26th and 8th Ave).
  • Indie performance art show at the Kitchen (19th and 10th Ave)
  • Comedy Cellar Pricey but have always had a great time there.
  • movies at Angelika
  • Free David Letterman standby tickets on taping days on West side of Broadway South of Ed Sullivan (heading down into heart of Times Square) Theatre between 12:30 (thereabouts) till about 3pm, people with green clip boards saying "Free David Letterman Tickets!" You have to answer an EASY Question for the ticket... When I went main guest was Alec Baldwin...
  • ABC NO RIO has great punk matinees and art shows. The history of ABC is inspiring. Hopefully they have copies of the zine that tells the history. Maybe Blue Stockings will have it.

Hangouts, Bars & Clubs

  • Fat Cat! Just by Christopher Street station on Christopher Street. Big basement, live jazz 'til the following morning - table football, ping pong, pool, scrabble and chess. Love it.
  • The Revival of course, with its floor of couches and a nice backyard ... And so many memories from thursday nights. 15th street bw Irvin Place & 3rd Ave
  • The Crocodile Lounge, one free full pizza for every drink ! 14th street bw 2nd & 1st Ave
  • Hotel QT, free indoor swimming pool/steambath. 45th street bw Broadway and 6th Ave
  • Lit every tuesday night, the most horrible live music you can hear in town, and free vodka from 11 to midnight. 2nd Ave at 5th street
  • McSoreley's Ale House - 7th st bet 2nd / cooper ave
  • if you like hookah, Cozy's on 1st ave and 1st street is wonderful.
  • Karaoke- there are SO many great karaoke bars in the city. I especially like the karaoke room idea (share a room with friends) Try Sing Sing on the Lower East Side.
  • Xunta (174 1st Ave, cross 11th street), Spanish tapas place with great Flamenco performers on thursdays and saturdays. Their tapas list is just mind blowing (their prices too, alas)
  • Swift (308 Spring street), Irish pub with traditional irish music on tuesdays. Makes me really feel like being in Ireland :)
  • 'Slate - Great for pool, ping pong in a sort of clubby setting.
  • Shade On the corner of W 3rd and Sullivan. Amazing wine bar, great crapes. Very small, trendy, and chill.
  • No Malice Palace. E 3rd Street between Avenues A and B. A bar/lounge with a back patio and a DJ on weekends. Gets really crowded, but is really fun.
  • If you're willing to venture into Queens a bit...the Beer Garden. Take the N, W to Astoria Blvd. Go E on 31st St towards 24th Rd. Turn left. You can't miss it. A great place to hang out when the weather's nice. A very mixed crowd.
  • Best night out- Don't Tell Mama's Piano Bar- 343 West 46th Street. So fun! Slighty pricey drinks but the entertainment is worth it! Get there before 9 for seats for your whole group!
  • South Street Sea Port is another favorite spot in NYC- there's shopping, the Bodies exhibit, you can watch the ships go by, sitting out along the East River. Great at sunset surrounded by the bridges.
  • Kurve - Restaurant/bar/lounge - corner of 5th st and 2nd Ave. Open LATE. Thursday nights are free live jazz. It's a hip, modern looking place, with couches on one side of the bar and tables on the other. The bar is constantly growing, with many interesting mixed drinks. They just got a brand new set of whiskey. The food is a wonderfully unique modern Thai. The owner, Andy, is a great guy. Tell the bartender's that Al sent you.
  • Nu Blu - Live Latin Jazz club - East side of Ave C between 4th St and 5th St. Music every night of the week. Always a cover, from $5 to $10. Gets a little packed on weekends. Hard to find, but always amazing music.
  • Spike Hill - Live Jazz and Irish Bar - Corner of Bedford Ave and N 7th St in Wiiliamsburg - Great selection of whiskey and scotch in the irish half, great jazz in the jazz half.
  • Tea Lounge at 837 Union Street in Park Slope has really good wine, coffe, cakes and other goodies. The live bands are really good (all bands are from brooklyn) and the area you sit in looks really nice. Total eye candy.
  • The Royal at 506 5th Ave in Park Slope: on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each mounth has a really good dance party that is off the hook. Early in the night you have really upbeat dance music, then in the middle of the night you have some hip hop mixed with soul and some latin music. Then at the end of the night you have a live drummer and the DJ spins some really trippy beats.


  • The Strand bookstore 18 miles of new and used books and really cheap! Corner of Broadway and 12th, near Union Square.
  • Midtown Comics 200 W 40th Street (Corner of 7th Avenue)- is a great place to see alternative nyers and load up on comic books...
  • The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company in Brooklyn (372 Fifth Avenye), for when you need to get your hands on a cheap supply of wonderflownium for your freeze ray. They are the exclusive dealers of Aardvark Bros. MFG Co (purveyors of Truth Serum, Invisibility Potions, and other supplies) However, you can only purchase anything as long as you swear that it will only be used for good... (all proceeds go towards 826 NYC)
  • McNally Johnson (formerlly McNally Robinson) bookshop in NoLita on Mulberry and Spring Street. I buy books here all the time, even when I get a pretty decent discount at another place. The cafe is lovely and gets pastries from Bathlazar, the staff is friendly, and there's free wi-fi a with purchase. Plus there are plenty of chairs around for browsing purposes.
  • Blue Stockings Bookstore puts on low cost or free cultural events. It´s locate in the Lower East Side.
  • Brooklyn Based's Guide to Vintage Stores

Free & Cheap Events

Free NYC

The Skint

NYC site of Free Activities

Free Tours By Foot Like tours offered in Europe, this company offers free, tip-based New York sightseeing tours that are informative and not aimed at your typical tourist. Fun!

Summer Events

River to River

Celebrate Brooklyn

NYC Summerstage

Hudson River Park

Lincoln Center

Central Park

Bryant Park


The Skint's Free Eats

New York Magazine's Cheap List

Local suggestions

  • If you like Indian.. check out Panna II 93 1st Ave, (Btwn 5th & 6th St - upstairs on the right). The place is inexpensive, super cramped inside and the decor is not to be missed. It's BYO, they do have soda if you bring liquor and glasses if you bring wine or beer.
  • best buffalo wings in NYC: down the hatch in the west village (5 min. walk from the W4th subway station). good cider beer too.
  • Dokebi Korean BBQ
  • Otafuku try the octopus balls (takoyaki) 9th st bet 3rd/2nd ave
  • Decibel sake bar (basement) - 9th st bet 3rd/2nd ave
  • Congee Village (for congee) on Allen, Cong Ly for Pho on Hester
  • that arepa place on 7th, a mexican diner called Grand Morelos (24 hours!) on Grand & Graham in Brooklyn
  • Reben Luncheonette / Delicious Ice Cold for bacon egg & cheese & morir sonando on haevemeyer in BK
  • Effy's Cafe Upper East Side (91st and 3rd) for Mediterranean/Israeli food
  • Mamoons Awesome shwarmas, lines out the door whenever you go. around Bleeker and McDougal
  • Cafe Dante Awesome Cafe Mocha and delicious tiramisu. Cant vouch for anything else. around Bleeker and McDougal
  • XUNTA Some of the best tapas I've had outside of barcelona. Delis sangria & the live flamenco is a treat. The space is casual - the people who work there are very sweet. And it wont break your bank.
  • S'mac just past the Revival....Only macaroni and cheese, and every possible combination you can imagine...pretty inexpensive too!
  • Criff Dogs on St. Marks between 1st Ave and Ave A, with a huge sausage hanging above the door with the words 'Eat me' 15 different kinds of hot dogs, good price... And a hidden bar inside :)
  • Ali Baba 212 E 34th, btw 3rd and 2nd Ave
  • Turkish Kitchen 386 3rd Ave, corner 28th
  • Sahara 513 2nd Ave, corner 29th
  • Cafe Lalo 201 W 83rd St
  • Little Senegal (Le Petit Sénégal) for various west african dishes and hair braids :) This in Harlem - neighborhood's main streets are the blocks surrounding W. 116th Street between St. Nicholas Avenue on the east and Morningside Park to the west.
  • Ashiya 167 1st Avenue Between 10th and 11th Streets. 30 bucks for all you can eat sushi, which includes special rolls and all you can drink cold/hot saki, wine and beer.
  • Moto just off of the Hewes street stop on the JaMeZ, southside, look for a bicycle, which ought to be famous for its charm, tomato soup and date cake. Often has live music during the evenings.
  • Sea restaurant 114 N 6th St, Brooklyn. It's a Thai food restaurant and they serve the best mojitos I've had in my life!
  • Jackson Diner - Indian Food - excellent food and best Indian deal I know in the city is their weekend all you can eat buffet. It used to be $7, but I think it's up to $10 now. It's out in Jackson Heights, which is a bit out in Queens, but of course you'll be heading out to Shea Stadium, to pay your respects, anyway, right? It's right off the 7 train.
  • Also, right next to Jackson Diner (literally the next restaurant over) is a Southern Indian place, for you veggie eaters out there. It's exceptional. [Note: As for good neighborhoods to go to, Queens is the most diverse county in America and worth significant investigation.]
  • Pong Sri - my favorite Thai in the city, on the same block as the Baxter Nha Trang
  • Joe's Shanghi - Chinese - Chinatown - sadly, the soup dumplings (their specialty) from yesterday were disappointing (first time I'd gone since getting back in the city) and I worry that an era has passed. But typically their soup dumplings are amazing, and I dislike dumplings.
  • La Mela - one of last great places in Little Italy (if not the last) - make sure to include the 5th course (dessert) so you can have their frozen zabaglione
  • Zabar's - right across the street from H&H, so you get your bagels there and then go to Zabar's to get stuff to put on them.
  • Kozar's Bialys - the best Bialys in the city, they sell them to places (Zabar's has them packaged) but if you go down there, they pump em out 24/7 so they always have hot/fresh ones ready to go. Get it from the source.
  • Meskerem - best Ethiopian in the city and one of my favorite restaraunts in the city. I suggest the Meskerem Special or the Veggetarian Special - two locations, 47th between 9th and 10th and two blocks down from Wash Sq Park
  • Jr.'s - excellent Cheesecake, Brooklyn
  • Big Nicks - my favorite diner in the city. Just remember, the place looks...not amazing, but they have a 24 page menue with tiny writing, and there's a lot of terrific stuff. Excellent burgers, and I love the tuna melts myself.
  • Rice every kind of rice dish from many different countries that you could think of. It's dim, creative, and flavorful. Try the coconut curry over black rice with edamame. :) Several locations-my favorite is in Murray Hill.
  • The Barking Dog Luncheonette- also a few locations in New York, but has hearty, big portions of good American food. Burgers, pot roast, pork chops!
  • Liquiteria - Smoothies - Corner of 11th St and 2nd Ave. The healthiest and tastiest smoothies, juices, and elixirs around. Definitely stop here for a pick me up before you get some coffee.
  • Spina - Italian Restaurant - Corner of 11th St and Ave B. They make their pasta noodles in the dining room fresh while you eat. The wine selection is phenomenal and the sommelier is wonderful (he's also the owner). Just ask him for a wine recommendation based on your dinner and tastes. Again, mention to Rob, Salvatore, or Jenny that Al sent you.
  • Fu Sushi - Sushi - Avenue B between 11th st and 12st - Fu is a wonderful place for sushi. The chefs are detail oriented and creative. The fridge is small so they can't keep a lot of fish on the premises, so what they have is always fresh. It's a cut above any of the sushi places in the whole neighborhood.
Cheap Food
  • Korean bbq and soju shots in K-town (32nd and 6th Ave).
  • Bubble tea and hand-pulled noodles in a Chinatown closet sized restaurant
  • Taim Falafel (meaning "tasty" in hebrew), ridiculously yummy. Its in the West Village.
  • Esperanto, for a sunday brunch. Great live bossa nova music while you eat cheap & good food. Ave C at 9th street.
  • Don't forget St. Marks Pl for great japanese food! Kenka or Oh Taisho! yakitori
  • Blockheads- Several locations, but my favorite nights out are at 34th and 2nd Ave. Great burritos and CHEAP margaritas in all different flavors.
  • Cooper 35/Asian Pub- love this place for the cheap mixed drinks, fun, college-y atmosphere, and the outside patio in the warmer weather. Try the Lychetini!
  • Kathi Roll - Indian snacks, especially great after a night on the town and cheap. $4.50 a roll. around Bleeker and McDougal
  • local flavor burritos at 114th and broadway are CHEAP and employ homeless shelter folks (open tues/thrus lunch)
  • Nha Trang - Vietnamese - single best lunch deal in NYC. A bowl of excellent Pho Thai is $4.75. Most of the other stuff is very good too. They have two locations, one on Baxter and one on Centre, same quality. I prefer the Baxter, but the other is just as good.
  • Tasty Dumpling in Chinatown
  • Mamoun's Falafal - just south of Wash. Sq. Park - cheap, delicious, 24 hours
  • Snack Dragon - Taco shack - 3rd St between Avenue A and Avenue B (closer to B) Open LATE. Great tacos. Fish, steak, pork, quinoa. Try the Nacharito / Johnny Boy. It's cheap, it's good, it's drunk food.
Vegetarian & Vegan

Most places in NYC offer vegetarian options, and vegan options are pretty easy to find, too. Here are some of our favorites.

  • vegetarian house of dimsum on pell street
  • stricty roots on 123rd has simple vegan carribian/soul food
  • Kate's Joint - Vegetarian Restaurant/Bar - Corner of 4th and Ave B. Wonderful place to get vegetarian like no other. It's an unabashed reconstruction of meat foods with only vegetarian and vegan ingredients. Shepherd's Pie, buffalo wings, chimichangas, steak, "chicken" francese, not-meat loaf. It sticks to your ribs without sticking to your conscience.
  • cafe viva on 96th has HUGE slices of yummy organic piza
  • Lombardi's pizzeria AND John's Pizza on Bleeker
  • Grimaldi's - Best gourmet pizza in NYC, right by the Brooklyn Bridge, a lovely place for a diner on a warm winter night, so you can walk back over the Brooklyn Bridge afterwards.
  • Sal & Carmine's - 102nd Broadway - Pizza - best traditional greasy NYC slice. Don't get toppings, which ain't all that. Just get a plain slice and a Sacilian slice.
  • Patsy's Pizza- BEST pizza place! There are many locations in New York City, I think the location in East Harlem is the best, but the Union Square location is a close second.
  • Bagle Express 93rd and 2nd Ave. Delicious, delicious, delicious. Love bagles? Love cream cheese? Yummy!!!
  • H&H Bagels of course
  • 2nd Ave Deli
  • Katz's Deli
  • Canrnegie Deli - these delis are listed in order of preference, with the caveat, 2nd Ave closed down for over a year and then re-opened with a new lease in a new location, and some folks say it isn't as good. I probably still prefer the hot pastrami sandwich at Katz's, but otherwise 2nd is superior.
  • Cupcakes! Billy's Bakery on 9th Ave and 21st or Buttercup Bakery
  • the city bakery on 18th & 5th is a great local spot for hot chocolate and cookies
  • Hungarian pastry on 113th and Manhattan Avenue I believe that's really amazing.
  • Cones in The Village for the best ice cream in the city.
  • Beard Papa's for the best cream puff and export the Japanese brought to NYC - 2167 Broadway (believe it's somewhere between 72nd and 83rd)
  • Rice To Riches (rice pudding)
  • best carrot cake in the world is at a little place called LLoyd's. 6087 Broadway, Bronx, NY 10471
  • Viniero's - best Italian pastry shop in the city.
  • Hungarian Pastry Shop - 113th, Columbia neighborhood, nice little place to get work done. They just expanded too, so maybe it won't be so damn crowded. It's a good place to meet up, when it's cold outside, nice and toasty inside.
  • Sicilian pastry shop on 1st Ave @ 11th street called De Robertis Pasticceria. Still family run and much better than Veniero's.
  • Chikalicious- Dessert Bar on the lower east side- so tasty, so tiny, so fun! 203 E 10th St

Dumpster Diving

In Manhattan you can do some great dumpster diving. One spot for that is at the Food Emporium of 83rd Street and 3rd Ave. You might be able to organize a big feast there. But be careful: dumpster diving was criminalized under the so-called quality of life initiatives. Events & Resources

Dumpster Map

Medical Information


Map with a list of all NYC hospitals.

LifeNet Crisis Helpline

  • English: 1-800-LIFENET (1-800-543-3638)
  • Spanish: 1-877-AYUDESE (1-877-298-3373)
  • Mandarin, Cantonese and Korean dialects: 1-877-990-8585
  • All other languages: 1-800-LIFENET (1-800-543-3638)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you.

  • Spanish: 1-888-628-9454
  • For Hearing and Speech Impaired with TTY Equipment: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)

Substance Abuse Hotline

For information on substance abuse treatment, call 1-800-662-HELP.

Poison Hotline

National Poison Hotline 1-800-222-1222

Walk-In Clinics

Couchsurfing Doctors

Are you a doctor and a member of CS who is interested in helping travelers? Add a link to your profile here.

Free Medical Services

NYC Dept of Health

STD testing and emergency contractraception.

Women's Health Free Clinic

STD testing & treatment, emergency contraceptive, gyn exams, pap smears, pregnancy testing, medical abortions. [3]

New York City Free Clinic

primary care, women & men's health, vaccinations, STD testing & treatment, lab work, radiology [4]

NYC Condoms

Available at bars, colleges, restaurants, medical centers, etc.

Sexual Assault

RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline

Anonymous, confidential counseling from trained volunteers. 1-800-656-HOPE

If You Have Been Raped in the Past 96 Hours Emergency Guide

List of hospitals with special training for survivors of sexual assault.

Emergency Contraception for Rape Survivors

Information on where to get emergency contraception in several languages. 1-800-522-5006

NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault

Legal resources, survivor resources, how to press charges, what to do if you do not want to press charges, fact sheets.

RAINN Resources

NYC Crime Victims Board

Assistance and compensation for crime victims. 1-800-247-8035

Legal Resources for Travelers

Visa Information

Consulates in New York City

Travelers Aid

JFK International Airport, Terminal 6, Jamaica, NY 11430 (718) 656-4870

Fraud Prevention

(Guidance note: This may not be available/applicable for all cities/CS localities, but something to consider. It may require further investigation to dig up any information. If you can find any for your area or even a generic national helpline for your country, then this is the place to list it.)

Immigration Advisory Services

CUNY Citizenship Now! provides free, high quality, and confidential citizenship and immigration law services to help individuals and families on their path to U.S. citizenship. For free immigration assistance, see the website at [5] or call their Manhattan office (212) 650-6620.

Legal Advice

Hopefully one should never need it, but there are resources in NYC for free legal consultation, at least at initial stages.

New York City Bar

Law clinic and legal hotline.

List of free legal aid organizations in New York State

CouchSurfing Lawyers

Are you a lawyer and a CSer interested in assisting travelers? Add a link to your profile here.

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US Ambassadors

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