Let’s face it: it’s not always fun to tack a few extra bucks of your hard-earned money onto a bill. But since New Yorkers in the service industries (hotels, restaurants and transportation) usually have gratuity factored into their wages, tips are expected and greatly appreciated. You don’t have to go overboard, but be sure to show the love for great New York City service. Note that there are an increasing number of restaurants these days implementing a no-tipping policy—they either add on a service or administrative charge or they have hiked their prices, and use the money to better pay their workers (the policy will typically be indicated on the menu or bill). In lieu of that, here’s how much you should tip:
Hotel doorman: $1 for hailing a cab.
Porters and bellhops: $1–$2 per bag.
Housekeeping: $1–$2 per day of your visit, or as much as $5 per day.
Waitstaff and bartenders: 15–20 percent of total bill.
Taxi drivers: 15–20 percent of total fare.
Hairdressers: 15–20 percent of total service cost.
Tips for other service personnel, such as theater ushers, tour guides and coat-check staff, are always appreciated.
One more thing: if you’re having drinks at a bar, bartenders typically expect at least a $1 tip for every beverage they serve you. Later on, when the bar gets crowded, you’ll be glad that the mixologist remembers you!
Buyer beware: while the price tag may say one thing, prices marked typically don’t include tax. New York City sales tax on most goods and services is 8.875 percent. But there are a few exceptions:
No sales tax on many food items purchased at grocery stores (heated or otherwise prepared foods are an exception), or on prescription drugs.
No sales tax on clothing or footwear under $110.
For more information, visit the NYC Department of Finance website.