Joe’s Tips for NYC Tourists

by Joe Spake on August 29, 2014

I lived in New York City for a while, so it wasn’t hard for me to get back into the groove of navigating the City.  There’s a lot of energy there; a lot of residents doing their NY things; and a whole lot of tourists that stand out mainly because they disrupt that energy with their navigation stops in the middle of busy sidewalks, their selfie sticks, and their inability to walk any way other than 4 abreast.  I am writing this post with thoughts of how much more New York tourists would get out out of their visit if they just took a little time to prepare.  So here are a few basic tips:

1.  Get some idea of NY etiquette basics

It’s mostly common sense.  This book  will be both helpful and entertaining.

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2.  Do not fear public transit.

P1030794 e1409334289606 225x300 Joes Tips for NYC TouristsPublic transit will take you within an easy walk of just about anywhere you want to go.  And it’s cheap. You can get a 7 day MTA pass that works for buses and trains for $30.  You can pick up subway map and bus map easily, or download some of  the MTA Apps.  Locals and MTA employees are generally pretty helpful if you become disoriented.  Tourists don’t seem to take buses much, but the routes are laid out efficiently with good information at the stops.  They are quicker than walking for short trips, and can be give you a unique taste of the city on longer trips (Hint: Take the M4 bus to the Cloisters).

3.  Check out the New York Pass.

If you are planning to pack in all the tourist attractions you can in the shortest period of time, and a $25 admission for a museum, and a $40 admission for a boat ride, or view from a highrise creates some anxious sticker shock for you, you may want to deal with all of  it in one payment by acquiring the New York Pass.  It could be a real deal if you are doing power-touristing.  Of course if you are power-touristing, you miss a lot of the nuance that makes New York the greatest city on earth.   If you don’t have a lot of time you may want to avoid the bus tours that are hawked so heavily around Times Square.  The tours move very slowly with long stops.   You would do better (and save a lot of money) navigating by foot or city bus to see the sights.  Remember, your MTA pass will give you unlimited rides, so use it in place of the hop-on-hop-off tour buses.

4. Food

When we got back from our recent NYC trip my son said he wanted to concentrate more on food on his next visit.  You will be overwhelmed with Yelp! reviews, but it’s a good place to start.  From fine restaurants, to street food, to ethnic food from places you have never heard of, it’s all there in New York.  Follow my simple rule about eating while traveling:  Go where the locals go.  And don’t depend on the folks at the hotel front desk to know the best places.  [Click to Continue....]

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Looks like Zillow is here to stay

by Joe Spake on August 11, 2014

I have decided to start doing some real estate oriented posts on this blog.  I realize many readers are happy in their homes, but others who know me know that I have been a real estate agent since 1996, and I do try to stay very current with the happenings in the industry.  If you are currently in the real estate market as a buyer or seller, or if you have done any Google real estate searches in the last few years you have probably noticed that the local real estate companies, even the big ones, are not generally at the top of the search results.

zillow download 300x63 Looks like Zillow is here to stayUsually the results take you to the national real estate portals like Zillow and Trulia.  You can get all the info you need about properties that meet your criteria as well as demographic, financing, and valuation information, framed by easy links to contact a real estate agent for assistance.  Zillow has become the go-to site for consumers shopping for real estate.  Consumers can search anonymously, and get a lot of data in one place that might otherwise take a long time to compile, all without the assistance of a local agent.  The real estate community has all sorts of complaints about the big portals: inaccurate data, making agents pay for leads, and de-emphasizing the listing agent’s role in the published listing.  In my opinion the tipping point has been reached as folks go directly to Zillow to start their search rather than doing a Google search for a term like “condos in 38103″. [Click to Continue....]

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Writer’s block and other pressing issues

by Joe Spake on July 22, 2014

It’s hard to believe I haven’t posted here since March 7.  It’s not like I don’t have time to post regularly;  I mean one can’t spend EVERY waking hour binge watching  the must-see TV series, or crafting witty posts and replies on Facebook and Google+. And I have kind of a job I have to deal with to take care of the bills.

Knowing full well that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, here are a few things I intend to write  about :

That “I’m so Memphis…” thing

Open carry

Win-Win negotiations

Food Trucks

Disintermediation

Reviews of restaurants and businesses I like

Beale St. Landing

Portlandia,  Hipsters  and  Artisan anything

Cooking

Well, maybe, when I get around to it.

 

pixel Writers block and other pressing issues

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