13. As always when in NY one should buy a Metrocard, which is a little card which keeps subway and other transit fares, like a phone card. You can put any amount of money on the card, but when one buys a certain amount you get a decent discount so you should do that. What the Metrocard does for you is to make any of the mass transit systems in NY easier to use. No fumbling for money, no exact change, no waiting in line for a ticket. You just swipe your card through the turnstile and it lets you through and tells you your balance.
On this trip I was staying in a part of town I rarely spent much time in (Broome street near Christie, near Chinatown) and I did not know how it really fit into the subways. I needed to go to B&H Photo at 34th street and as I was pondering whether I felt like walking 30+ blocks, a 3rd Avenue bus went by. So I took out my Metrocard and I was on the uptown bus, which stops at 34th street. Ok, admittedly, I got a little lucky here. But the idea behind a well-designed and run transit system is that tourists and residents should get lucky now and then.
14. I always have conversations with my cab drivers. I dont know why, maybe it puts me at ease, but they are almost always interesting people to talk to, usually recent immigrants (where recent can be as much as 10 years or so). Usually pretty fluent in English.
15. I found that after a while, I enjoyed staying at Arlene's Home for Wayward Children, where I had a couch and shared the bathroom with six other people. Everyone was well behaved and easy to get along with, even Arlene when you calmed her down. I could live there for a while and be perfectly happy. If only I could afford it. Not a giant fan of that part of town (Broome and Christie) but there are people who swear by it. I am more of an upper west side kind of guy, I suppose.
16. Its nice to see a technology community thriving in NYC. I hope it persists and continues to thrive, it gives me some hope that I would be able to find suitable employment there one day.