Hello, world. This is New York City. As everyone knows (or not), a day in NYC is always hectic and busy. People walk fast like their time is running out. Trains are always overcrowded, dirty, and if you’re lucky, stinky. There’s always something going on around this city and for sure you won’t get bored in it. Mixing in the fast-paced life is great, but it’ll be better if you’re prepared with these basic rules to live by when you’re in NYC.
1. Learn to refer subway lines by their numbers and letters.
It is confusing at first (like almost everything in NYC) but knowing this is already helpful when getting around the city.
2. When ordering something at a deli, don’t place all your orders to the person behind the cash register.
If you want a sandwich, ask the person working behind the station. Grab your food and head to the checkout counter to pay.
3. Do not lean on the subway poles.
You see, the train is crowded and people need something to hold on to.
4. A tip for tips
The bill’s 20% is the standard minimum. 15%, is a good way to piss someone off. Don’t tip at fast food places.
5. The food is great here.
There’s always something new to try in town and you can even get authentic ethnic cuisines from all over the world. So, for your sake, forget about your plan going to Olive Garden and Friday’s. Please.
6. Never trust an empty car train.
Thinking of going VIP during rush hour? Sure, if you want to get empty car train perks like vomit, a busted air conditioner, or something worse.
7. Be sure your change or Metrocard is ready before you get to the turnstile.
Avoid finding yourself searching for these things in your purse or wallet once you’ve stepped inside the bus or right before a subway turnstile. This rule also goes when you’re paying at the checkout counter – get your cash and cards out quickly, please.
8. Where do you find New York-style pizza in New York?
Nowhere and everywhere. You’re in New York right?
9. Stealing another’s cab ride isn’t illegal but…
If you want to be the best candidate in everyone’s hate list, going farther from someone trying to get a cab to steal his/her ride should be your favorite daily activity. In other words, don’t.
10. Learn to walk… a lot.
It’s healthy and the best way to get around the city. Don’t complain.
11. Know when you’re getting in someone’s way
Do you know how it feels like when you’re driving on a highway and the car in front of you is moving too slow? Annoying right? That’s how the people walking on sidewalks and subway feel too when you and your friends walk hand in hand around NYC like you’re in an amusement park.
12. Get to the point.
Sure, you can ask for questions, but remember the city isn’t going to stop for an hour for you. Time is running for every people you see on the streets. Moreover, scammers are everywhere in the city so don’t blame the people for being rude when you say, “May I ask you a question?” before asking the real question. So instead of telling a long introduction about yourself, just go straight to the point.
13. A rule to live by in NYC: Stand on the right side.
When stepping on an escalator, stand on the right side – not on the left. The left side is for those who walk up, for those who are in a hurry. Imagine the chaos you’d create when you stand on the wrong side.
14. Wait for the people to get off the train before getting on.
Because how can you get in when the people in front of you are struggling to get out?
15. Don’t stop.
In the middle of the street, on the stairs, or in the subway; don’t stop just to look on your phone or suddenly think about your existence.
16. Close your legs, dude.
When on the train, don’t take up too much sitting space with your legs wide open.
17. Before getting out of the cab, stop and look behind.
Look behind before you open that car door to avoid accidentally hitting passing cyclists.
18. Don’t block the box.
You can see road signs on intersections saying, “Don’t block the box”. Take this rule seriously because if you fail to travel all the way through the direction you’re heading and pedestrians start to block you, you’ll be terrified to find yourself stuck in the middle of the intersection while cars honking and people screaming their hate at you. But in the first place, don’t rent in a car in NYC if you’re a tourist.
19. Respect others’ privacy.
Privacy is precious in this overly-crowded city so think twice if you think about interfering. Don’t stare at anyone you don’t know, have fun eavesdropping, or try to chase a celebrity doing errands. Give them space and mind your own business.
20. Be polite.
New Yorkers aren’t all rude as you’ve imagined it based from the movies you saw, or based on how you felt when you had a taste of this busy city as a first-timer. People, in general, are kind enough so don’t forget to pay back with a nice “Thank you” for those who took time to help you.
21. Houston Street FYI
Houston Street is pronounced, “HOW-ston”, not “HUGH-ston” street.
22. New York City isn’t just Manhattan.
There’s also Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.
When On Earth Magazine is for people who love travel. We provide informative travel guides, tips, ideas and advice regarding places to see, things to do, what to taste, and much more for world travelers seeking their next dream vacation destination.