New York City : Visitors Etiquette

The current Metrocard design

Image via Wikipedia

About three weeks ago we posted an article on one artist’s valiant (and funny) campaign to raise the standards of behavior on New York City’s subways. Since then we’ve had some interesting conversations from infrequent visitors and potential tourists about how to behave in NYC.

As a result, we have compiled a brief list of suggestions (and injunctions) for out-of-towners that may help them to navigate the mysterious ways of the big city. The list includes some suggestions to help you blend-in and appear or sound less like a rube. If you have some suggestions of your own, feel free to chime in.

  • Dont complain about the prices…it’s NYC, everything costs more
  • On escalators: Stand on the Right and Walk on the Left
  • Getting on the bus or subway always have your MetroCard ready
  • If you don’t know what’s on your MetroCard, use a MetroCard Reader (one at every station booth) don’t use the turnstile to check it.
  • Keep moving when you get on a bus or subway train, don’t dawdle
  • Same rule goes for exiting
  • Don’t steal someone else’s cab. If they staked-out a spot first, they get first dibs.
  • Don’t walk more than two people across on the sidewalk
  • Don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk to gawk or consult a map
  • If driving, no right turns on red, you’ll kill somebody 
  • Respect people’s privacy: Don’t stare, don’t make unnecessary eye contact, don’t expect people in coffeeshops, cafes or bars to chat with you. And being on line with someone does not make you best buds.
  • Don’t touch people’s kids or dogs
  • In Manhattan, it’s “Uptown” or “Downtown”, not “North” or “South”
  • When referring to Manhattan locations, always start with the street first then the avenue. If you’re going to 10th Street and 3rd Avenue, say 10th & 3rd, not 3rd & 10th.
  • It’s OK to tell a taxi driver the route that you want to take, especially if you can see that they’re taking you for a “ride”. NYC isn’t London, even frequent visitors sometimes know more about NYC geography than recently arrived cabbies.
  • Do not call it “the Big Apple
  • Do not wear “I heart NY” t-shirts
  • Do not talk about 9/11 or ask people where they were or if they lost anyone
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