Dear Tourists

Dear Tourists, Welcome to New York City!

Before you take your cameras out with the enormous lenses and your oh-so-handy MTA maps, I would like to provide some advice. New York City is not Disneyland. Millions of us live and work here every day. For your enjoyment and my sanity, here are my tips for your very first New York City vacation.

1. If you are unsure about where you are going, do not stop in the middle of the street, because you will certainly be obstructing traffic. Please stand away from the center of the sidewalk if you need to consult a map.
2. The same goes if you are trying to take a picture. I’m sure that the picture you’re planning on taking will be beautiful, but if you’re standing in the middle of the street taking pictures while I’m trying to get back to my desk with only a few precious minutes left before my lunch hour ends, don’t be surprised if you get elbowed, cursed at or jostled by angry and fuming New Yorkers.
3. Save the pictures of the cartoon characters and the superheroes for your next visit to the amusement park. It’s true that life-sized Disney and Marvel characters can be found at Times Square, but do you really want to spend your extra change to pay these costumed human beings to take a photo with you in the most crowded part of the city?
4. If you must take a taxi, take only the yellow or green cabs. Take the independent black town cars only if you have to, because they aren’t heavily regulated. And if you are approached by a pedi cab driver, run, don’t walk to the nearest subway station. Your likely to get to your destination faster and for much less money.

5. If you see a celebrity on the street, you can politely greet them but don’t be a part of the paparazzi. There’s no sign of a tourist more than the sight of a gawking fan with a huge camera.
6. Consider leaving Manhattan during your trip! There is plenty to see and do in the outer boroughs. The views of Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade are beautiful.
7. Eat someplace else besides the chain restaurants. There is nothing wrong with TGI Fridays, Olive Garden, etc., but did you really come all this way just to eat at the same restaurants that you can find at home?
8. Hawkers will hound you to sell various walking or bus tours. It’s better to pick two or three tours beforehand and stick to them.

You’re eventually going to need to take the subway. Taking a taxi throughout the city gets expensive very quickly. You can drive if you want to, but traffic is a nightmare and parking can be overpriced. These are my tips so you can enjoy your first subway ride peacefully.

1. If you don’t want to be spotted as a tourist, download one of the many apps that are available from the iTunes and  Android app stores that will help navigate you throughout New York City.
2. During rush hour, it is advisable that if you are unsure about where you need to go, that you stand far away from the turnstiles and the stairs at the train stations. Rush hour on the subway in New York City is like a stampede scene in the Lion King.


3. You are paying one (1) fare. That means you are paying for one (1) seat. You are not paying for your bags to have their own seat. Just put them on the floor or on your lap.
4. Gentlemen, and not to forget, ladies — close your legs and don’t manspread. Manspreading is at best a pain and at worst a huge headache for passengers around you, especially on a crowded train.
5. There are many places in NYC that are suitable for children to play in, but the subway car is not one of them. Please keep your kids safely nestled on their seats.

And finally:

HAVE FUN! YOU ARE SPENDING YOUR VACATION IN THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD.

Thank you and enjoy your trip.

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