A city of 8 million people, every year New York welcomes 48.8 million visitors. And the crazy part of it is that most of the time, you can tell who these visitors are. The stereotypical tourists who offer their patronage to the Bubba Gump’s in Times Square stick out like a sore thumb. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want a real New York experience, then you need to change how you look and what you’re . I recently read a blog post on some tips to make New York tourists better blend in, and I thought that I’d share some of them with my out-of-town friends.
Walk with purpose: New Yorkers walk everywhere they go, and when they do, they walk with purpose. Apart from the Financial District, New York’s grid pattern is easy to navigate. A similar tip: since most of New York’s streets are one-way, locals will cross if there aren’t any cars coming. Tourists, on the other hand, wait on the curb for the “walk” sign.
Walk on the right side: The sidewalk is like a second street for New Yorkers. Keep to the right so as to not break the flow. If you need to slow down or stop for whatever reason, step to the side so as not to get in anybody’s way; New Yorkers hate that!
Avoid the “I heart NY” everything: New Yorkers have a strong aversion to anything with “I heart NY” on it. Such a strong aversion that no New Yorker would ever wear it, not even a hipster who was trying to be ironic. It’s fine if you want to, but you’re more or less telling everybody that you’re a tourist.
Be assertive: New Yorkers are confident and assertive about everything they do. They’ve got their metro cards ready to swipe before they get to the turnstile, and know what they want to order before the line gets to them. This all saves time, the one resource no New Yorker ever wants to waste.
Stay out of tourist spots: A lot of people talk about Times Square, but spoiler alert: it’s not that great, and it couldn’t possibly be further away from what New York actually is. Most locals avoid it because they know it’s full of tourists and people trying to take your money.
Don’t look up: When walking, most New Yorkers look either straight ahead or at the ground. Tourists tend to walk slow and look up.
You can ask for directions: Before going out, you should have the directions of where you want to go saved on your phone. This is a lot more easy than pulling out one of those personal NYC maps, which scream “tourist”. If you do need to ask for directions, don’t stop somebody on the street, but rather head to the closest convenience store and ask an employee.
Don’t get star struck: Because New York is so compact, there’s a good chance you might see a celebrity (I’ve been keeping a tally of celebrities I see, and it’s been getting pretty impressive). If you run into one, play it cool and don’t stalk them. Maybe flash them a friendly-yet-brief smile, but don’t ask them for a photo or an autograph.
Don’t stare: Plenty of different fashion trends and beautiful people can be found in New York City, and you can absolutely admire them from a distance, but don’t stare. A true New Yorker has seen it all before, so they’ll know right away that you’re a tourist.
Don’t complain about the price and tip well: New York, because real estate is at such a premium in such a small space, can get expensive. If you want to spend a lot of money in New York, it’s very easy to do so, but don’t complain about the price, and always leave a tip for good service.