NYC: Basic Tips and Etiquette

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What does it mean to be a “real” New Yorker?

After spending several days in the big city, I’ve realized that being a New Yorker isn’t about knowing the metro lines like the back of your hand (even locals need to refer to maps!) or picking up a classic bagel before heading off to your 9 to 5 on Wall Street (although they are delicious!). Being a real New Yorker means knowing how to navigate the city. Thanks to this handy book, “NYC: Basic Tips and Etiquette” by Nathan W. Pyle, Ohio native, and from my own experiences (because we all know I only learn the hard way), I picked up some useful tips for those exploring NYC.

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this post, it’s that everything in New York City revolves around the idea of efficiency. People have places to go, people to see. Locals are hailing a cab, picking up street meat, and talking on the phone on their way to back-to-back-to-back meetings. Try not to get in the way. Here’s how you can do that:

  • When placing your order at a coffee shop or restaurant, only say what you’d like, leave out the rest. You aren’t the only one in line!

Example: Hi there! How are you? It’s a beautiful day out, isn’t it? I’d love to start my day with a grande chai latte. Oh cool! Are those new donut flavours? Are they any good? I need to watch what I eat, but … Whatever, life is short. I’ll take a Boston creme donut, too. 

  • Be succinct when asking for directions (similar to the example above). Despite many negative stereotypes, New Yorkers are actually very helpful people when they know you’re lost, mainly because they’ve been in your place one too many times.
  • Walk left, stand right! This rule applies to escalators and metro stairways.
  • Be prepared to swipe your metro card if you’re taking the metro. Someone behind you may miss their ride simply because you were digging around in your purse for your card.
  • New York is home to a lot of people and there are limited seats on the metro. Does your book bag really need a seat?
  • Large group + narrow sidewalk = single file

Have you ever been to New York City? What are your best tips on becoming a real New Yorker?

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