How-To: Tip Like A Sane Human Being in New York

Categories: How-To, Tip Jar

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Flickr user Jeffery Turner

Confession time: We forgot to tip the coat-check guy last night. He was really cute, too, and had this great accent that we couldn't quite identify (Australian, maybe?) and we got flustered and dropped our scarf and then walked away without giving him a single buck. Ugh.

But it got us thinking about tipping etiquette. New York City is fueled by service industries -- stats from 2011 and 2012 say we've got access to 13,270 licensed taxis, 16,251 full-service restaurants, and 2,657 bars. Add that to the countless delivery people, doormen, bathroom attendants, tattoo artists, hair stylists, bellhops, and, of course, coat check guys (sigh), and you've got thousands of workers who you're supposed to tip on a regular basis.

How to keep track? And, more importantly, what's the proper amount to tip for various services?

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Pencil-Sharpening Machine David Rees Talks Malcolm Gladwell, William F. Buckley, Telepathic Pencil-Sharpening, and More

Categories: How-To, Interviews
Pencil-sharpening maven David Rees turned the non-fiction writing series at the Mid-Manhattan Library upside-down Tuesday night with his edgy pencil-sharpening workshop -- based on his instructional book How to Sharpen Pencils.

Rees, a former full-time political cartoonist, is like the Liam-Neeson-in-Taken-2 of pencils. No matter what you throw at him, not even hundreds of dangerous international crime-lords, you can't break him.

I came into the workshop wanting to make fun of it, but as it turns out, Rees, the satirist, already made it funny. Some critics and pencil-purists accuse him of mocking the craft , but as it turns out, he knows a shit-ton about pencils and how to sharpen them.

He actually has a pencil-sharpening business, through which he's cranked out more than 800 pencils to customers world-wide.

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How to Handle Penn Station Without Popping a Xanax

How to Survive Penn Station Without Really Tryng
There's an advertisement on the subways that you might have seen. It describes a project in the works - the largest public works extravaganza in the country - known as East Side Access: a portal from Grand Central Terminal that will outsource time and trains from Penn Station. As the sign says, "Commuting will be 40 minutes shorter. For 80,000 commuters. That's a lot of minutes." 

Unfortunately, that architectural endeavor will not be done for some time and, if the 2nd Avenue Subway is any indication (shout-out to the Sandhogs!), that some time could mean years. So we're stuck with Penn Station for the time being.

Crammed in between Madison Square Garden and an underlining subway hub, the intersection of the LIRR, Path, Amtrak and Acela is a transportation nightmare for anyone trying to get somewhere fast, especially around peak hours, when tolls almost double for whatever the reason. Tourists gawk at the food options; commuters stare faceless at the Big Board; and the stampede that follows a train track appearance is something out of Jumanji.

Ever since I jumped ship from Long Island to Manhattan, I have become a master commuter and Penn Station aficionado. Babylon, Hempstead, Port Washington, parts of Jersey, the 1, 2, 3, A, C and E lines - you name it, I've ridden it out of Penn. Nonetheless, my experiences are still filled with fear, anxiety and a pace that would make Jesse Jackson look like your grandma. We all have that friend in Jersey or Long Island that insists we come visit them. With that being said, that means you have to suck it up and deal with it.

But don't be scared. We here at the Voice have compiled a list of tips to get you in and out of Penn Station safe, sound and emotionally stable.
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Elderly Jewish New Yorkers May Hold Secret to Long Life

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Cornell University researchers are about to begin studying the stem cells of a dozen elderly Jewish New Yorkers to figure out how they manage to live so long. There's evidence of a "longevity gene" which protects against heart disease and cancer; a lot of these seniors are living to 100 despite bad habits like drinking and smoking. Are smoking, drinking, eating fatty foods, and being of Ashkenazi Jewish descent the secrets to long life? (I've got four out of four, what about you?)More »

How to Execute a Successful Halloween Prank

All you need is Saran Wrap.
There are many ways to orchestrate and execute a great Halloween prank. You can go big and obvious, or small and subtle. Sometimes the "trick" (foil to the treat) may lie latent for years, only to be discovered when its recipient least expects it (see: planted vomit). Sometimes the trick is a clear case of revenge (see also: planted vomit). And sometimes it's simple, random creativity (see: creatively planted vomit).

Whether you go with the tried-and-true or the never-before-attempted, here are some tips for orchestrating a successful trick:

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Categories: How-To

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Dear Prospective Village Voice Freelancers,

Each and every day, you send me pitches for stories that you hope I'll bite on. Some are quite good. A few are excellent. Most, however, don't interest me in the least. I try my best to answer as many pitches as I can. If, for whatever reason, I'm not interested, I try to find the time to send a very brief message thanking you for your submission and politely turning you down. I simply don't have time to explain the reasons why I can't take your story. Sometimes, I'm too busy to say anything at all.

If I do turn you down, please don't take it personally. There are many different reasons why I can't take your story, and even some stories with a lot of merit won't get chosen.

But for the sake of your career -- this really is a small town, after all -- it's best not to reply to my rejection with the kind of message I received from a freelancer earlier this week.

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The Top Ten Lines from The NYT Profile of Snooki: A How-To Guide

While we wait for our expert analyst to weight in on today's Jersey Shore-opened New York Stock Exchange (thus presenting us with the riveting conclusion to today's economic mystery: The Guido Effect on The American Economy), it might be worth revisiting some of the most incredible tidbits from this weekend's brilliant, scathing New York Times profile of America's pre-eminent L'enfant (Guido) Terrible Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, by Cathy Horyn, which is essentially a philosophical How-To manual on the entire Jersey Shore phenomenon. But mostly, Snooki.

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