11 Tricks That Make Living in NYC Way Easier

Never get lost again (but if you do, here's how to find a bathroom)

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You already know when to show up at brunch to skip the line, where to stand precisely on the subway platform to make your transfer seamless and how to get to and from Ikea without having a nervous breakdown. You’re a New Yorker through and through. 

But here are 11 secrets that will make your life in NYC so much better.

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Need To Pee? Use The Free Bathroom Database

Just type in an address and will show you every free place you can make a pit stop. You’re welcome.

Never Get Lost In Central Park Again

Enchant all those around you by navigating the park without looking at your iPhone. Here’s the trick: Spot the nearest lamppost and look for a four-digit code. The first two digits are the block you’re on--so when you see “6126,” you’re standing between 61st and 62nd Street. Bam.

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See Oscar Winners On Stage For Free

Why shell out 200 bucks to see a Broadway show when you can see celebs perform live for zero dollars? Just wake up early and stand in line for tickets for the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park. The series runs all summer long. (And for people with day jobs, there’s also a virtual ticket lottery.)

Sneak Through Times Square Using Secret Passages

No more getting trapped between the Naked Cowboy and camera-happy tourists. Avoid the crowd with this handy shortcut map brought to you by The Wall Street Journal. Just follow the red lines to cut through alleys and hotel lobbies (grab some mints on the way). Cheers to no more eye contact with fake Elmo.

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Remember: August Is "snl" Month

Mark your calendar now. If you’re ever going to cross “see SNL” off your bucket list, you need to enter NBC’s ticket drawing during the month of August.

Follow The Arrows On Google Maps

Be honest: When you’re not sure which direction you’re walking, you open Google Maps and wander around until you can figure out which way the little blue dot is moving. Save time and check out the gray arrows instead. They show the flow of traffic, so cars will be moving in the direction of the arrows.

Check The Rat Database Before Signing A Lease

Yep, there’s actually a searchable online directory to show you if rats have been spotted in your building, on your block or in your grocery store. (Side note: Don’t type in your current apartment. Just don’t.)

Pay Your Cab Fare Ahead Of Time

What are you, a curb idler? Just press the “fare” button on the bottom left side of the screen at any point during your ride, swipe your credit card and then you can jump out as soon as the cab pulls up to your location.

Visit The Moma For Free On Fridays

Every Friday between 4 and 8 p.m., the Museum of Modern Art is free, so you can feel fancy and cultured and still have cash to go out to dinner.

Buy Day-of Broadway Tickets On Rainy Days

If you’re not going the Shakespeare in the Park route (see above), wait until a rainy (or snowy) day to nab day-of rush seats or tickets from the TKTS booth. Your chances of scoring a great, cheap seat are much higher.

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Charge Your Phone At An Electronics Store

OK, don’t piss off anyone wearing an Apple shirt, but if you’re in a jam and need to charge your phone, unhook one of the displays and juice it up. You can speed up the process if you put it in airplane mode first.

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Freelance Editor

From 2015-2020 Lindsay Champion held the role of Food and Wellness Director. She continues to write for PureWow as a Freelance Editor.