I don't think any of these are that major but here are some helpful little things I use when I've gone to NYC.
Getting from Airport to City -
Hopefully many of you know this but I saw first hand that some people did not... the guys you approach you at baggage claim offering to take you to the city for $50+ are not legal. The transit authority should be removing them but they still get in. You should only go to the taxi stand or the ground transportation counter. They can help you.
If you have plenty of time and don't mind getting a big squished and you want to save some money, have them set you up on the SuperShuttle. It's about $15 a person plus tip but plan on waiting anywhere from 15 - 60 minutes until the next shuttle comes. Also, once you are on the shuttle you will be dropping people off at their destinations and the order is picked by the driver. I've taken the taxi, SuperShuttle and a hired car in. The hired car is the way to go.
That sounds kind of fancy right? Well, it is generally a nice experience but it's not that much more than taking a cab. I've used Dial 7 a few times and think they are good. If you book in advance online you get a discount too. It will be somewhere in the range of $40. I took the SuperShuttle in this last trip and it took over 2 hours from when I landed to get to my hotel. If you have an early flight too and want a reliable pick-up, do the car.
In the City -
But when you are in the city, it is a different matter. I like to walk around and have become much more comfortable with the subway. And having an iPhone makes doing both of these so much easier.
The first think I do is use Google Maps to list all the places I might possibly want to go. This gives me a general idea of where things are located so I can group stuff together. I think put all of these places into my phone contact list. When I'm walking around I can tap the address in the contact info and it will show it on the map as well as show where I am. I can then see where I need to go without carrying around a paper map or guidebook. I could be texting or whatever.
I also love this particular Subway app.
What's great about it is it downloads all the information to your phone so even when you are underground or without a signal you can still see the lines. It shows the lines on the map and all the stops by line. Very handy.
There are more that I may check out, but the above is my favorite so far.
Desparte times call for desparate measures. You'll never know when you made need this...
I also love the Yelp app for checking out places to eat that I pass by when I am walking around. That's how I decided to eat at Q2 Thai on this last tirp. Good reviews and good food.
I wish I had time to do this... I remembered at the last minute that I could have used my Delta points to book my flight. I was worried they wouldn't transfer in time so I didn't but that would have saved me some money. Even if you don't have enough points for a ticket, sometimes it's cheaper to buy the points you need to make up the difference than it is to buy a ticket.
Priceline can be your friend and can be a total pain in the butt. Enough said. I wanted to only pay a certain amout and Priceline wasn't finding it for me. In the end I was looking at packages on Travelocity and then ended up going to the hotels shown in the package website and getting a deal they had going independently. I traded off amenities and location, yeah, but I hit my price in a very busy time in the city, so that was good.
However, I'm pretty sure I like Midtown best.
Just for Fun -
I've also decided that I'm always going to wear something stand-out-ish for the trip. This past trip I wore my Ann D. boots and received a lot of positive responses. People like to connect and this humanizes the process. Travel can be such a pain why not have a little fun if you can.
Have any tips to share?