Central Park, New York City
A warning, not a 'danger'....
I suspect many, many visitors to NYC want to visit 'Strawberry Fields' in Central Park, and have their photo taken with the 'Imagine' mosaic placed there in remembrance of John Lennon.
I decided to have a look (around 10am on a midweek July morning) and spent an interesting 15 minutes just observing all the fuss and hoo-ha which surrounded the taking of photographs.
It seems you have to stand or squat on the mosaic and/or by the mosaic....by yourself, with your friends, with your whole tour group...and then linger even longer to get that 'perfect' shot...and, in consequence, irritate all the other people who are waiting to take *their* photo. There was even some minor unpleasantness between competing tour guides wanting *their* clients to get *their* photos.
If you want your 'perfect' shot of the mosaic, I suggest you go to Strawberry Fields (nothing exceptional in itself, imo) either early in the morning or in the late afternoon/early evening. By doing so you will, at least, almost certainly avoid the tour groups.
Manhattan is one big city and, like all big cities, has its share of crime. Still, I wandered around by myself for 4 days while my Other Half was in conferences and never felt the least bit threatened. In fact, I don't think I was even approached for a handout - a common occurrence in downtown Minneapolis. According to input from the natives, there are no really "bad" areas in Manhattan - most of the sketchy places are in some of the outer buroughs.
If anything, your biggest danger is probably being pickpocketed or purse-snatched so use common sense, carry only what you need, keep your credit card buried where light fingers can't get to it and leave your bling at home. It's probably a good idea not to roam Central Park after dark, and stay away from smaller subway stations, or any other place, deserted in the wee hours - particularly if inebriated. Just keep you wits about you and your radar on - you'll be fine.
New York has a reputation for being a dodgy place after the sun goes down but I am sure there are hundreds of cities that deserve that status as well. The tourists areas in Manhattan are fine after dark due to the high level of security provided by the NYPD. Central Park should be avoided after hours and be careful around the Port Authority as well as some sketchy people hang around looking to pounce on innocent prey. The only real surprise that I found with regards to danger in Manhattan was some of the areas or neighbourhoods off the tourist block such as some of the areas near W 39th and W37th after hours, I got lost a few times trying to find my hostel and wandering through those areas away from Times Sq etc was not a nice feeling. If you feel comfortable with finding your hotel/hostel after hours I am sure you will be fine but just dont end up lost in a dodgy neighbourhood.
Ignore most of the comments you hear about either of these places. The bronx comments are usually race-related. Sure, there are obviosuly some bad areas in the Bronx, but this borough is about 50 sqare miles, and made up of a lot of diverse communities. The only areas where you will have a problem is deep in the south bronx, not around the zoos, universities, gardens, stadiums etc. If you look at the recent central park crime statistics, it had only one burglery so far this year. So, as you can tell, it is very safe. Enjoy NYC.. it is the safest city in the USA with a population over 1 million!
Central Park is a beautiful place to relax in, but be careful as it can draw criminals due to its secluded areas within its woodland. It's still relatively safe of course, but I wouldn't recommend walking around the park at night!
Be careful when you go to Central Park, stay where there are lots of people, don't go into the woods because you might get hurt or even killed! Lots of sick people walking around Central Park so be careful!
Elsewhere I mentioned those free concerts in Central Park -- If it has been rainy the week before, the artificial turf inside the venue, for spreading out your blankets upon..., can retain some dampness which can travel THROUGH the blanket :-)
Before i went to N.Y. people told me that it was very criminal, so the thirst night we where out we where afraid.....but it is like everywhere else, take normal caution and it is ok. And you dont exactly have to visit Harlem ore Central Park during the dark hours...........
Be careful to not walk on empty streets at night....
Never walk alone in Central Park at night.
I don't have a lot to say here but it might be a good idea to remind you of the usual things you've heard about NYC.
Avoid areas where there are not many people.
Make sure your wallets and bags etc are secure (not hanging out of pockets etc).
It is a good idea to avoid Central Park at night.
From my friend told me, you have to be really careful if you're going to uptown of the park. Otherwise, it will be safe getting around in Central Park... Beautiful out there, people go there for jogging, doggie walking, roller blading, picnicing, or getting sun tan....(Sun tan for me...mm..NO...always rub sun block lotion before I go out..haha...:P)
One golden rule NEVER go through Central Park at night . Go to Central Park with a friend or small group of Friends. Or pretend you are with other tourists. Dont take subway late at night to places like Harlem. Keep an eye on your stuff and don't flash jewellery BUT, I have been twice to NYC , once on my own and have had no problems at all. Use your common sense and you are very unlikely to have problems. The bad reputation is largely undeserved.
I will mention here few key ideas that worth mentioning:
1. Don't try to initiate a conversation with strange people. Even eye contact (and some of those people very attracting the eyes) is not reccomended.
2. Try to avoid using the subway alone at night.
If you must, choose a car (they have windows so you can look in) which have normal-looking people inside.
3. Keep eyes on your pockets / bag when using the subway on the Rush hours.
4. When getting robbed GIVE the money. Even if the person don't own a gun but a knife, GIVE the money.
Some people are very despered, and will kill a person for few $$$. I suggest you to make a fake wallted, with soem old card and such amount of money that a robber will be happy to get, lets say, 40$.
When robbed, give this wallet.
5. Avoid going north to 100th Street on Manhattan.
That is Harlem (see picture). There are special tours there.
6. DONT GET IN TO CENTRAL PARK AT DARK.
7. Few places in Brooklyn are also not recomended.
The one I know is Booshwik. Also the west area in Manhattan whcih is called 'Hell's - Kitcehn' (guess why...)
8. After all those warnings, I must say that NYC is a safe place to tourist who are not looking for troubles. Mayer Rudolf Juliani clean from crime most of the city, by adding lot of policemen/women, so the city is realy safe although its bad reputation about crime.
Its a huge city, and just like any city on earth there are places you shouldn't go alone. But the good news is NY has greatly cleaned up its act, especially around the Times Square area. Just use your head, don't walk down streets that are deserted or dark, don't flaunt money and keep your bags/purses close to you. Some areas that you should be careful in are: the Meatpacking district, Hell's Kitchen, Central Park at *night*, and uptown (on either side) as you start getting above the high 80's or 90's.
Basically don't assume that you're in danger or else you look like youre waiting to be attacked. Be aware and if someone hassles you be firm. You'll do great! But dont go to Central Park at night! If you can avoid it, dont walk around 1-3 avenues at night either.