Spotlight City: New York City, United States
New York City is most populous and most densely populated city of the United States, with almost nine million inhabitants and close to twenty million in the metropolitan area. The city is famously composed of five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island, each with their unique quirks and lifestyles. New York is one of the world’s most globally influential cities, being a major international hub for finance, diplomacy, fashion, art, research, trade, media, entertainment, food, and culture. It has been described as the cultural, financial and media capital of the world. In general, New York is a very safe city, although petty crime does occur very commonly.
Threats and Risks to Travelers in New York
New York is a very safe city by international standards, owing largely to the massive size of the New York Police Department (the biggest police force in the United States). Violent crime is rare, although petty crime remains an issue. Travelers should exercise a regular degree of caution and take general precautions against petty crime, such as pickpocketing. Be extra careful with your belongings in crowded areas such as popular points of interest and on public transit, as petty crime is most likely to occur in these locations.
New York City has many panhandlers and its fair share of odd characters on the streets and in the subway system. It’s best to politely ignore their chat or requests and continue to walk purposefully.
Assume normal precautions in New York. Keep aware of your surroundings when travelling in crowded areas and be aware of personal space. Keep wallets in your front pocket and purses tucked underneath your arm. Don’t leave your belongings unattended in public. Do not hang your bag on the back of a chair in a restaurant or bar. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, and keep your belongings within sight at all times.
Walk with purpose and confidence in New York, and avoid deserted blocks of unfamiliar areas. Avoid standing on the sidewalk and looking at a map or drawing any attention that may pinpoint you as a tourist. If you need to get your bearings, head into a shop and ask directions or check the map there. Muggings are rare, but they still happen. Never resist, as perpetrators can resort to violence. Certain areas of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, Queens, and Staten Island that are off the beaten path should be avoided at night. Central Park and Riverside Park can be dangerous at night.
If you are travelling alone at night, consider taking a taxi or a bus after 23:00 to avoid long waits on empty subway platforms. While New York’s subway is generally safe, you may want to ride in more crowded train cars whenever possible, or ride in the center car with the conductor.
What to Do in an Emergency
In the event of an emergency, dial 911 to access emergency fire, medical and police services. Contact the embassy of your country in the United States as they may be able to provide further assistance. Most will have representation in New York itself.
New York needs no description – the city has solidly embedded itself in the mind of the world through its representation and appearances in popular culture and history. The city has an overabundance of things to do and places to visit, drawing around sixty million tourists each year. Many of the city’s most famous landmarks have become international icons. New York is at the heart of nearly every walk of life, be it business, culture, or media. Whether it is your first or tenth visit to the Big Apple, you are sure to experience something refreshing and new.