New York Safety, security and travel

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Things To Do in New York
  3. Safety and Travelling in New York
  4. Weather in New York

Safety and Security

A melting pot of culture and a vibrant metropolis, New York City is constantly on the list of the top ten most visited cities in the world, and for a good reason too; it has a vibe all its own. Travelling to the Big Apple is on everyone’s bucket list but going to a city as busy as New York with children in tow, although a lot of fun, can be an ideal condition for many safety concerns.

You can put your worries to bed as New York is one of the safest cities in the world, constantly under the watchful eyes of the vigilant but friendly police force. Aside from being prepared and pragmatic, follow these simple tips for peace of mind.

Always be aware of your surroundings

You have to be conscious of your environment, regardless of wherever you are. Parents who are distracted by their children make easy targets for thieves. They don’t attack right away. They watch you across the street to find out where you keep your money. Make your cards and funds inaccessible so you don’t end up becoming a victim.

Consider taking a purse that can be worn across the body and keep things out of your back pockets. Remember that street performances often attract pickpockets, so pay attention to the people around you.

Make good use of the buddy system

The buddy system works well when travelling to unfamiliar places, especially massive cities. Ensure someone is in charge of specific people, especially when walking around the city. Siblings can buddy up with each other, but parents should keep their eyes open for children who wander off or get distracted easily.

Plan your route before heading out

New York is great for walking. However, it is also one of the busiest, so the streets are often packed. The kids can easily get lost in a sea of people so take a few wise precautions. Only walk on main pathways and streets and always look for the intersection when crossing. Pay attention to signals, be on the lookout for oncoming traffic and be doubly careful when going out at night.

Plan your route before heading out and refrain from making last-minute changes. Be conscious of landmarks and cross streets that will help you get back to your accommodations easily. When lost, seek out a police officer or ask shopkeepers to help you find your way.

Book accommodations ahead of time

Not booking accommodations ahead of time can result in scrambling to find a roof over your head. When vacationing in New York with the family, your priority is to find a safe place to call your temporary home. Read reviews and research the neighbourhood where your hotel is before making reservations because some areas are not as secure as others, but more on that later.

Picking a hotel over alternative options, especially for a family, is much safer considering hotels have 24-hour security, a secured Internet connection, and rooms with a safe. Go straight to your hotel after you land and never open your door without knowing who is on the other side.

Be careful when taking the subway

Taking the subway is an excellent option for families who want to explore the city because it is efficient and affordable. However, you should only purchase MetroCards from approved vendors in the station, and when waiting for your ride, always stand behind the yellow line and mind the platform gap.

The train takes you anywhere in the Big Apple but be careful when figuring out where you should stop. Nearly every train car has maps you can consult if unsure, but we recommend carrying your subway map and checking it ahead of time. Should you find yourself at the wrong stop, you can wait for the next train and get back on.

Avoid certain areas in the city

As mentioned earlier, there are specific neighbourhoods in New York City that are best to avoid. Explore the Lower East Side and Alphabet City with caution. Other areas that still struggle with high crime rates and are notorious for mugging are Hells’ Kitchen, Brownsville, and Hunts Point.

The good thing is that these places aren’t tourist hotspots but if you venture into any of them, be sure to do so during the daytime and know precisely where you are heading.

Be careful when taking taxis

Whatever you do, never get into an unmarked taxi. New York City taxis are easily identifiable; they have the ubiquitous yellow colour with a light on the roof that displays the driver’s medallion number. The hood of the taxi should also have the ID number. If you can’t see any of these things, move on and wait for another cab. Uber and Lyft are also available, but are not regulated, so it’s best to use them with caution. Remember that it is customary to tip drivers, and refusing to do so might lead to an altercation.

Lastly, don’t let the small things stress you out

New York is a thrilling city to visit, and the last thing you want is to worry about every little thing that can go wrong. There’s no fun in that so, learn to relax! The Big Apple is a friendly city full of beautiful people who are more than happy to help tourists. Thanks to technology, it’s now easier to plan your vacation and find your way through the use of interactive maps. With common sense and these safety tips, you’ll enjoy New York.

However, should you find yourself the victim of a crime, don’t hesitate to report it to the New York City Police Department by calling them at 311. You can also call 911 for emergencies.

Health and Medical, Emergencies, Insurance

Nobody expects to get injured or sick while on vacation. Unfortunately, it happens more frequently than people think, especially where children are involved. A medical emergency is an unexpected or sudden illness or injury that can cause serious harm if left untreated. Some of the most common medical emergencies while travelling are:

  • Trauma
  • Fractures from falls
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Pulmonary/Respiratory problems

When you have a medical emergency while in New York, the first thing you should do is call local emergency services, for New York that number is 911.

Hospitals in New York

For non-emergency medical situations where you need to see a doctor, you can go to any hospital or clinic in New York. You can find a list of hospitals here. The state has a total of 277 hospitals, of which 64 are government and 4 are private hospitals. 77 of these hospitals have helipad facilities. The biggest hospital in New York is Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City with a capacity of 1144 beds.

New York is the most densely populated city in the US, so it’s no wonder that the Big Apple has the most number of hospitals within its city limits. New York City has 11 public hospitals and 11 acute care hospitals.

Getting travel insurance

Exciting, isn’t it, getting ready for your big trip to New York with the family? It is easy to get lost amid preparations that you forget important things, such as taking out travel insurance. Medical emergencies overseas can be extremely costly. 

With travel insurance that includes emergency medical benefits, you will have peace of mind. Paying for losses will no longer be an issue because your medical and dental emergencies are covered. Emergency medical transportation benefits will take care of transportation to the nearest hospital. Furthermore, it can cover the cost of getting you home too.

Emergencies

Call 911 if you have a life-threatening condition or have a serious injury. You can also call the same number when you find yourself in immediate danger or are a witness to a crime in progress.

Getting around the city

Various transportation options are available in New York City but the easiest ways of getting around are walking, taking advantage of the public transport system, or taking taxis when the need arises.

Subway

The subway is an affordable way of getting around the city and when you have a baby carrier, going on the subway is as easy as going without a baby. However, you should avoid rush hour as it can be a challenge to get crammed in with crowds with a baby or kids in tow.

Prams are helpful too, however, take note that not all stations have lifts. Most of them have stairs and that can make manoeuvring a pram complicated. You might end up having to carry the pram up and down plenty of stairs and that’s not a good start to your New York sightseeing plans.

If you have the strength and the patience to carry a pram up and down the stairs, plan your route and check the list of accessible subway stations. Remember that handholding and vigilant supervision are a must to prevent little ones from wandering away and getting lost. Pay attention to your stop to prevent zooming past your intended station.

Your first step in using the subway as well as the buses of the city is to get yourself a MetroCard and put in a minimum value of $5.50. Automated machines in subway stations allow you to top up your MetroCard. Use your bank card, credit card, or cash, and Bob’s your uncle, you have just topped up your MetroCard. Another option is the unlimited MetroCard which allows users to ride as often as they want within a specific period.

Transfer for free from subway to bus or vice versa within two hours of using your MetroCard. However, this no longer applies if you leave the subway station through the turnstile and get on a different subway line.

Taxi

One of the most convenient ways of getting around the city is by taking a taxi. The city’s fleet of yellow taxis is available 24 hours a day and hotel doormen can hail a cab for you but remember that it is customary to tip at least a dollar for his service. All taxis accept cash, prepaid, debit, and credit cards. Remember to board and exit the taxi curbside.

It’s legal to travel in a taxi throughout the city without car seats, so if you prefer to use one, you can either bring your own car seat or hire a taxi that already has one. In addition to taxis, other popular app-based options are also available, such as Lyft and Uber.

They come with car seats but they are the forward-facing variety that’s suitable for children aged 12 months and over. Companies such as Kidmoto and Black Lane have taxis with car seats but they are more expensive. Kidcar is an airport transport service that guarantees car seats for kids.

Buses

Buses are not the best modes of transportation if you have babies because they don’t allow open prams. However, there may be times when you have no other choice but to take the bus. Just remember the rules and take a baby carrier instead.

Easy, accessible, and inexpensive, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, also known as the MTA New York Transit, has a fleet of almost six thousand buses. A great way to see the five boroughs, buses operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can make navigating the system more straightforward by downloading the MTA’s official app MYmta and having it ready before you arrive in the city.

Hundreds of tourist bus companies operate in the city and they are an excellent way to see the city with children. Some of them offer an unlimited daily pass which allows passengers to hop on and hop off throughout the day at their leisure. There’s no pre-arranged itinerary so you can go as you please. Lastly, children love double-decker buses, so it’s a win-win.

Ferry

New York is a waterfront city and is home to an extensive ferry system. You can safely get downtown, and uptown by ferry. Furthermore, you can get to Brooklyn, Staten Island, New Jersey, Queens, and the Bronx by ferry.

The family will have an enjoyable and relaxing journey that also offers breathtaking views as a bonus. Being on a ferry also allows everyone to see the city from a different perspective. The Staten Island Ferry is a staple of many sightseers with a route that’s been used since 1905. The NYC Ferry is a city-wide network with multiple stops. It cost the same as a subway ride and children below 44” don’t have to pay.

Lastly, NY Waterway operates commuter ferries between various points in New Jersey and Manhattan. They have sightseeing cruises too.

Car

Renting a car is the least preferred mode of seeing the city because not only is it expensive, traffic can be slow too. If you’re planning to drive around New York, use Google Maps to help you navigate the roads and make sure you know where to park. A website you can use to compare parking locations and rates is bestparking.com. In addition, some apps that allow booking a parking spot in advance such as SpotHero.

Tram

The Roosevelt Island Tram operates like buses and subways but it travels in cable 250 feet above the East River and it goes only to Roosevelt Island from Manhattan and back. The little ones might recognize it from that unforgettable scene in the 2002 movie Spider-Man. You can use your MetroCard to enjoy this scenic trip.

Bike

Biking is a healthy and environmentally-friendly way to get around the city. However, it is not recommended for families with small children. It is much more appropriate for families with teenagers. You can hit the city on two wheels on cycling hotspots such as Prospect, Riverside, and Central Parks. Check routes using Ride the City and have a look at Transportation Alternatives for resources on biking. Furthermore, the NYC Department of Transportation has a downloadable bike map, as well as a biking guide.

On foot

Of course, one of the best and most popular ways of getting around the city is walking. Again, just like biking, this may not be feasible for families with little kids, especially those not used to walking long distances. However, the city is fairly flat, which makes exploring it on foot a possibility.

Be aware that locals will be walking around the city too and New Yorkers move quickly. They tend to get irritated by tourists who move slowly, especially those who don’t have situational awareness. Be mindful of your surroundings and don’t stop in the middle of busy sidewalks to take pictures.

Hold the hands of little ones when walking the streets and look both ways when crossing as traffic may come from the right or left on a one-way street. Do not assume that cars will stop for you even if there is a Walk signal and lastly, have a plan in case you become separated and discuss it with the family.

Go To
  1. Introduction
  2. Things To Do in New York
  3. Safety and Travelling in New York
  4. Weather in New York

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