New York is awash with work, but beware: going topless is permitted, but smoking near a public building isn't

Who’s out there

Balfour Beatty, Foster + Partners, Amec, Bovis Lend Lease, WS Atkins, Daniel Libeskind, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Halcrow, Alsop, Mott MacDonald, WSP, Arup, Buro Happold are all active in the US.

Who you need to know

Tesco, Wal-Mart, Ferrovial, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are key clients.

Where the action is

It’s all happening in Lower Manhattan, at the Freedom Tower, on the rebuilding of the World Trade Center and on the World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

What to do

Tip – for many it is their biggest source of income. An appropriate tip is 15-20%. Leaving no tip is a statement that the service was terrible.

What not to do

Never make flippant remarks about bombs or terrorism, especially when passing through US airports. Jay walking is also illegal, so always use proper crossings.

Down time

In New York, options include a night-time tour of the city, musicals on Broadway, a Manhattan sky tour by helicopter, a visit to Sex and the City hotspots, or a ride in a horse-drawn carriage around Central Park.

Fashion dos and don’ts

Do wear anything that featured in an episode of Sex and the City and/or this month’s Vogue. Don’t wear anything that didn’t.

How far will your money go

A pint of beer is $5 (£2.83), Cosmopolitan: $8 (£4.53), and a Hershey’s bar 45 cents (25p).

Free and easy

Women may go topless in public, provided it is not for business purposes.

Going down

You may not smoke within 100 feet of the entrance to a public building.

Useful phrases

“New York minute” refers to doing something super-quickly. “Have a nice day” accompanies every transaction, and rumour has it that if you are not told to “have a nice day” in McDonalds, your meal comes free.


Vaccinations required
Ensure all vaccinations are up to date – hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies and tetanus may be a risk in all or part of the country

Foreign office advice
If you get into any difficulties with US authorities, you should explain to them that you are a British national and ask to speak to a UK consular officer

Emergency phone number
The British Embassy: 1 202 588 6500