American English is spoken all over New York although the city’s diverse ethnic communities usually speak native tongues too.


The US dollar is the legal currency here, with other currencies unacceptable. Banks, hotels and currency exchange booths are plentiful, and all major credit and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere except at street food stalls.


New York lies in the Eastern Time Zone, five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.


New York uses electricity at 110-120V/60H and round two pin plugs. Unless your appliances are dual-voltage, a downward converter must be used. These are not easily found here so it's better to bring one from your home country.


The dialing code for America is +1, with New York area codes being 212, 646, 718 or 347. Cell phones use 917, and the full seven digit number must be dialed every time you make a call. New York has a number of mobile networks including T-Mobile and coverage is excellent with the exception of AT&T. Visitors can buy a pre-paid phone or it’s possible to get most foreign tri-or quad-band cells unlocked, but a throwaway is often cheaper than a SIM card.


Duty-free cosmetics and perfume, alcohol, and fashions are available to international travelers at New York’s three airports, but customs allowances depend on your home country. Passengers arriving in New York are allowed 1 liter of alcohol, 200 cigarettes and up to $400 worth of gifts.

Tourist Office

New York Visitor Information Center: +1-212-484-1222 or

Embassies in New York

Australian Embassy: +1-212-351-6500
Canadian Embassy: +1-212-596-1628
UK Embassy: +1-212-745-0200


Emergency services: 911