Le 10 cose da sapere prima di partire per New York

New York, New York… La destinazione più ambita, sognata, visitata. Ma a quanti di noi è capitato di venire a conoscenza di alcune cose soltanto una volta arrivati? (O, peggio ancora, di non venirne mai a conoscenza?) Ecco perciò una lista di consigli utili, le cose che non vi dice mai nessuno, per non trovarvi impreparati e ottimizzare al massimo il vostro tempo di permanenza nella Grande Mela.

1. Prima di atterrare le hostess vi daranno un modulo – U.S. Custom Declaration Form – da compilare e presentare alla dogana. Tra le varie voci (nome, cognome, nazionalità, numero volo, ecc.) vi verrà chiesto il valore dei beni da voi importati negli States, come ad esempio regali e souvenir per i vostri amici americani. Prima di farvi prendere dal panico e desiderare la distruzione immediata del vostro bagagli sappiate che per gli importi inferiori a 100$ sarete esenti da tasse d’importazione.

2. Non tutti sanno che i prezzi d’ingresso per il Metropolitan Museum sono prezzi consigliati. Il tabellone delle tariffe infatti è abbastanza enigmatico a riguardo – sarà un caso? – riportando un timido “recommended” sotto la voce ADMISSIONS. Ma cosa significa prezzo consigliato? Posso veramente pagare qualsiasi cifra? Quant’è la tariffa minima? Mi guarderanno male se pago solo 1 dollaro? – Bando agli scrupoli, procedete baldanzosi! (e dispiacetevi un po’ per i turisti ignari e i loro 25$) Per una cifra irrisoria – praticamente simbolica – avrete la possibilità di visitare uno dei più grandi musei del mondo, ammirarlo in lungo e in largo, ritornarci a più riprese e trascorrerci giornate intere. L’arte accessibile a tutte le tasche ci piace.

3. Una cosa che non ti aspetteresti mai da una città moderna e all’avanguardia come New York è la timbratura vecchio stile dei biglietti del treno. (e per treno intendo treno, non la metro) E’ inutile girare per la stazione in cerca della macchinetta obliteratrice… Non c’è. Una volta saliti in carrozza arriverà il controllore che, con la sua pinza retrò, forerà il vostro biglietto e lo infilerà nel taschino del sedile davanti a voi. Questa cosa l’avevo vista solo nei film in bianco e nero.

4. A New York d’estate si boccheggia dal caldo, soprattutto nei tunnel della metro. Ciononostante portatevi sempre dietro una giacchetta o un cardigan. Sembrerà un consiglio bizzarro ma il fatto è che gli Americani amano l’aria condizionata a manetta, sempre e ovunque, alla faccia degli sbalzi termici. I vagoni della metro sono i peggiori, vere e proprie celle frigorifere in movimento. Loro, non si sa bene come, non si ammalano mai. Ma noi sì. Perciò – a meno che non vogliate passare la vacanza in balìa di febbre e raffreddore – la giacchetta è un must.

5. Una dritta per gli amanti dello shopping: Macy’s, la più grande catena di department store americana, offre uno sconto del 10% su una vasta gamma di articoli per i visitatori non-americani. Per usufruire di questa offerta presentatevi al banco informazioni con un documento di riconoscimento e vi verrà rilasciata la Macy’s International Visitor Savings Card valida per ben 30 giorni. (clicca qui per maggiori info)

6. In America la carta di credito è il metodo di pagamento più diffuso, anche per acquisti di pochi dollari. In alcuni casi è addirittura l’unica forma di pagamento accettata, perciò vi consiglio di richiederla in banca uno o due mesi prima della partenza. Non solo, alcuni esercizi commerciali potrebbero non accettare banconote da 100$ in quanto, essendo le più diffuse al di fuori dagli Stati Uniti, sono soggette a numerose contraffazioni. Per questa ragione, dall’ottobre 2013, la Banca Centrale Americana ha introdotto una nuova banconota da 100$ con una serie di caratteristiche hi-tech per contrastarne la falsificazione. Ci auguriamo che questo ne migliori la circolazione, ma per stare tranquilli meglio premunirsi di pezzi da 20$ o 50$.

7. Non si può visitare New York senza vedere almeno uno show a Broadway. I biglietti possono essere costosi ma ci sono vari modi per accaparrarsi posti a prezzi scontati. Se siete disposti ad alzarvi presto e fare la coda al box-office molti spettacoli offrono rush tickets, posti in piedi, sconto studenti e lotterie. (le policy di ogni singolo show sono consultabili su playbill.com) Inutile dire che più famoso è lo show più lunga sarà la fila, con possibilità di sold-out. Un’alternativa è presentarsi al box office a poche ore dallo spettacolo e chiedere se sono rimasti biglietti; potreste trovare posto soltanto nelle ultime file ma a prezzi stracciati. Ultima soluzione il botteghino TKTS di Times Square. I biglietti saranno più cari rispetto al box-office ma la posizione ottima. In certe occasioni potreste trovare sconti fino al 50%.

8. Ve lo ricordate il film in cui Meg Ryan deve assolutamente raggiungere Tom Hanks in cima all’Empire State Building? Lei la fila non la fa, anzi, la security chiude un occhio e la fa salire oltre l’orario di chiusura. Ma voi non siete Meg Ryan perciò la fila la farete, e sarà interminabile. Una per i biglietti, un’altra per la security e un’altra ancora per gli ascensori. Con un biglietto normale potreste trascorrere minimo 3 ore in coda. Il primo consiglio quindi è quello di non comprare il biglietto in loco ma di procurarvelo prima, meglio ancora se EXPRESS in quanto vi darà la possibilità di saltare parecchie code e sbrigarvela nel minor tempo possibile. E’ acquistabile online e, sebbene non sia esattamente economico (50$ contro i 29$ del biglietto normale), è l’unico modo per non sprecare un’intera giornata in coda. Un modo per risparmiare sui priority tickets è quello di acquistarli per strada da uno dei tanti agenti di tour & sightseeing.
Le famose pellicole in cui è apparso (King Kong, An Affair to Remember, Sleepless in Seattle…) contribuiscono al fascino dell’Empire State Building attraendo ogni giorno orde di turisti. Se l’aspetto cinematografico non v’interessa il Top of the Rock è una valida alternativa, un altro gioiello architettonico con vista mozzafiato, con tempi di attesa e prezzi d’ingresso più ragionevoli. Godrete di un’ottima vista su Central Park e potrete inoltre fotografare l’Empire State Building in tutto il suo splendore.

9. Per una perfetta visuale su Times Square il balcone al secondo piano di Aéropostale è l’ideale. Sarete i padroni della piazza, potrete scattare la perfetta foto ricordo senza l’intrusione dei soliti estranei nell’inquadratura.

10. Il primo impatto con Times Square è forte. Sarete circondati da luci, schermi giganti, insegne, pubblicità… Per non parlare della folla umana ad ogni ora del giorno e della notte. Ma nonostante l’aspetto commerciale e consumistico che ha preso piede a partire dal boom economico degli anni ’80, l’occhio immune al bombardamento visivo noterà che il vero cuore di Times Square, Broadway e i suoi teatri, è sempre lì. E fra tutto questo rumore l’orologio in cima al vecchio edificio della Paramount che, alle 19:45 in punto, sulle note della famosa canzone di George M. Cohan, Give My Regards to Broadway, rintocca per ricordare al pubblico che è ora di prendere posto, lo show sta per cominciare.

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