Ways to Stay Safe While in the Greatest City in the World...
Welcome to New York! Did you know that New York City is one of the safest big cities in the world? Visitors are constantly under the protection of the city's friendly and vigilant police force. Having said this, tourists in this city, like any other, need to be cautious and follow their street smarts to stay safe.
1. People in New York are surprisingly friendly - ask someone if you're lost. They'll be happy to help you out!
2. Be mindful of your surroundings. If you're staring into your phone, you don't know what is going on around you. This rule of thumb applies to all areas, anytime. But especially in Times Square, Hell's Kitchen, the Lower East Side, and Harlem. It's always smart to travel in groups.
3. Do not give money to panhandlers. There are plenty of city services and programs for them. Panhandling on the subway is actually illegal.
4. Know where you're going, before you head out - and try not to look too much like a tourist. It helps to blend in.
5. Never go into Central Park after dark - you'll make the morning papers!
6. Do not ride the subway by yourself late at night. Again, go with the crowd or ride in the conductor's car. (the middle car) Halfway down every subway platform is a “zebra board,” a black and white-striped panel that’s meant to line up perfectly with the conductor’s window. That's the car you want to be in. If you are riding the subway and you notice something out of the ordinary or you sense trouble near you, move to another car. Masks are required when riding the subway.
7. If you are using hook-up Apps like Grindr, be careful. The Hell's Kitchen neighborhood is very gay. But along with that comes drugs and high-risk behavior. When seeking sex, we urge you to be careful if you decide to travel or host. The last thing you want from a sober vacation is to re-enact scenes from The Hangover.
If you are having a guest to your room, you'll need to go down to the street level to escort the person up to your room.
8. Do not count your cash where other's can see. And don't carry a lot of cash. It's just more money to lose in case something bad happens. Split it up. Use the safe at the hotel room. And don't show off your new flashy iPhone - that will make you a target.
9. Watch out when getting money out at ATMs - check who's behind you, as these are good places to get robbed. Use the ATM at the host hotel.
10. Do not get into unmarked cars. Only use Uber, Lyft, Qaar, BlackLane or a Yellow Taxi. Remember, only 4 passengers to a taxi or most Ubers. We also advise not using Pedicabs or Rickshaws. They aren't safe and are known to surprise tourists at the end of a trip with expensive fees. Masks may be required when in the car.
11. Don't leave valuables unattended - they will literally disappear.
12. Keep belongings secure - dangling bags, shoulder straps, all that stuff - make sure it's ON you. Not hanging OFF you.
13. Don't eat that hot dog - We strongly advise you to not consume street food from carts or trucks.
At the end of the day, New York is an amazing city. It's not an episode of Law & Order, SVU or a war-zone. There ARE things to look out for, but most of the things that you may fall for or be a victim of are easily avoidable and violent crime is not something that often involves tourists. Just make sure you travel smart and keep an eye on your belongings - and who's around you. Use your noggin and have a blast!
**Please be advised. A risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place or accommodation. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can cause severe illness and death. As an informed participant, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19. For information on Gay & Sober's Health and Safety protocols, please CLICK HERE.