New York City - the Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps, the Capital of the World. No matter where you've lived or traveled, there's simply nowhere else like it.
The City can though be an intimidating place. Everything moves fast, even table service. Taxi drivers ask you which way you want to go. You're very likely to get lost below 14th Street. An important presentation or meeting? Prepare to stress.
After almost a decade of doing business in Manhattan, I've uncovered a few truths: I will always be late to a meeting if I take a car, meal time is good work time and everyone is double booked.
First trip or otherwise, a little pre-work can dramatically improve the sanity and success of your visit.
Take the Subway
New York is not a place where you can beat traffic, not even in the middle of the night, because there's probably construction on your route. You will get stuck, just accept it, and embrace the incredible efficiency of our massive subway and rail system. You can get anywhere except Staten Island, and within Manhattan probably in less than 30 minutes. No need to cluster your meetings; with enough time between, you can go from JFK Airport to uptown, downtown, Brooklyn and Connecticut all in one day.
Download CityMapper, and learn the express vs. local lines. (For the truly Type A, you can even figure out which car to board to disembark in front of an exit.) If you're feeling adventurous, check out my friend Anthony Denaro's impressive transit map that incorporates bus lines. Arrive sweaty and on time, and remember you probably won't have cell service underground.
Eat Breakfast, Skip Dinner
New Yorkers seem to come in two types - those who wake early to work, and those who wake early to work out. If you're trying to schedule with someone particularly busy, consider offering up early morning; grab coffee and a bagel near their office, or even take a jog along the river. You're more likely to snag time as the only person asking for 8am, versus the four vying for 10am.
Similarly, dinners can be a big commitment; they usually eat up an entire evening and can get expensive (because yes, pretty much everything here is expensive.) Instead, offer up early drinks at a convenient location (near work, their home or the train station if they commute) and plan on an hour. Save the dinner slot to catch up with a friend. If you need some ideas, check out The Infatuation (in which I'm an investor) for guides to every neighborhood and need.
I have three email addresses, and end up scheduling work commitments using all of them. More than once, someone has shown up to my office surprising me but clearly on their calendar, or I've gotten off the subway only to receive a text asking to reschedule. It will happen to you. Confirming a day ahead or morning of is always a good idea, regardless of what city you're in, but it's crucial here. New Yorkers tend to move at a different (faster) pace than most everywhere else, which means they especially appreciate the thoughtful gesture to sync plans, even it means needing to reschedule.