Tips for visiting NYC

February 27, 2008

New Yorkers have gotten a bad rap for being rude.  What most people don’t realize is that New Yorkers really aren’t rude, they just have somewhere to be, and many times tourists are simply in their way.  I have now learned this now that I have been there for several months.  For those considering a visit to the Big Apple, here are some tips to help you get around and avoid “rude” New Yorkers.

1) When sight seeing, do not stop in the middle of the sidewalk, point with arms outstretched and talk about whatever it is you like. Step to the side of the sidewalk either street side or next to the building and keep your gestures small.

2) Do not ever stop walking suddenly for any reason on the sidewalk between the hours of 7:30 – 9:30am and 4:30-6:30pm. This is rush hour. How would you like it if someone just randomly stopped on the highway during rush hour while you were trying to get home?

3) When walking on the sidewalk, walk at a good clip. Again, do you enjoy driving behind someone going 30 mph on the interstate?

4) When walking down the sidewalk, do not walk more than 2 people wide. The sidewalks are narrow enough. Leave room for people to pass you.

5) When getting on to a subway car, stand to the side and let people get off the train before you get on. If you stand in their way or try to get on while they are getting off, you will get run over and a possible obscenity  will be yelled at you.  You know you do the same thing when someone cuts you off in traffic or doesn’t wait their turn at a stop sign.

6) When going into the subway station, have your fare card out and ready to swipe as you go through the turnstile.  If you cannot find it in your wallet, purse or pocket, stand to the side, find it, and then fight your way back into the flow of traffic. Do not stop traffic.

7) If you don’t know which fare card to get, either visit www.mta.info before embarking on your trip or ask the person working the booth. However, if you opt for the latter option, do not get frustrated when you cannot understand their agitated response to you.  Or you can consult this post. Do not stand in the turnstile trying to figure it out.  Here are my recommendations:

All fare cards can be bought at automatic machines and are good for both buses and subways, though not for express buses.

– 24 hour card is $7
– If staying more than 3 days, get the week card for $24
– If not using public transit as main mode of transportation get the 12 rides for $10 (buy 5 get one ride free, basically)
– Month card is $76

8)If you accidentally run into someone, do apologize. Many New Yorkers do the same. Those who don’t are usually tourists – honestly. Note: if the person who hits you and doesn’t apologize is wearing an I Love NY shirt, that’s a clue. Please don’t blame New Yorkers for a tourist’s rude behavior.

9) If you are lost, do ask for help. This will boost a New Yorker’s ego to know that they have helped a hapless visitor. However, be sure you don’t stop someone in a business suit walking really quickly during the above mentioned hours. You may get cussed at.

10) If you see a celebrity leave them alone. New Yorkers leave them alone, and they choose to be there in order to be left alone. Please don’t ruin it for all of us.

11) When looking for accommodations, use Craigslist and look under sublets/temporary housing.  You can find apartments, or rooms in someone’s apartment for overnight stays for a fraction of the price of a hotel.  Do not be scared by this prospect, but do trust your gut.  If something seems fishy, it could be, but most of the time, it’s totally legit. I’ve done this several times and it’s great.  New Yorkers tend to be pretty trusting. Heck, if I were paying $4000 a month for a 2 bedroom, I’d rent out the extra room, too.

12) Fly into LaGuardia or JFK. Don’t fly into ISLIP in Long Island or Newark.  Any savings in flight cost is made up by train tickets or cab fares, not to mention the headache of the time it takes.

The best tip is don’t be an annoying tourist.

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