Top Travel Guides - 15 Things You Shouldn't Do In New York City
To be honest, anyone can survive NYC if they are careful enough!
The city that never sleeps, the Big Apple, our very own concrete jungle where dreams are made - New York City. People can sometimes get extremely intimidated by how fast the city functions. However, anyone can survive in New York City if they succeed in knowing everything that should be done and should not be! By following a few of these master tips, you can definitely make the most out of your New York City vacation.
Here are 15 top things you should not do in NYC as per top travel guides.
1. Never block the sidewalk. We repeat, NEVER!
It might seem like a pretty simple thing to do, but sometimes people block the sidewalk, which can be highly annoying in NYC. Sidewalks are shared public spaces here, and while people are free to do whatever they want to in the city, blocking sidewalks is like blocking a highway here. As per Leisure’s top travel guides, no savvy New Yorker would go ahead and stop in the middle of a sidewalk.
When you are there, do not stop randomly and start checking your phone, check the map or text, take a picture, or tie your shoes. The golden rule here is to step aside. You should go ahead and stop near the curb or beside a mailbox. Anywhere but the middle of the sidewalk.
And as far as group travelers are concerned, never walk shoulder-to-shoulder or block the entire sidewalk. You could get the worst from people here, a much-dreaded elbow knock, an evil eye, or maybe something even worse!
2. Do not pull over randomly in bike lanes
Just like the sidewalks, the bike lanes in New York are somewhat like highways for the people. This means the drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists should never randomly stop in the middle of the entire lane. Passengers getting off a cab in a bike lane should be aware and not fly the door open randomly. Always look behind first or maybe, just find a clear curb or a safer spot to pull over.
3. Do not block the escalators
Do not disrupt any escalator in NYC. Just like in other cities around the world, escalators here also consist of two implied lanes. The right side is meant to stand, and the left is intended to climb up the steps. Visitors coming to New York for the first time need to follow this unspoken rule here as well, especially in the very few subways that do have an escalator. Step aside for a randomly incoming, predictably hurried commuter to whisk by you. Don’t say our top travel guides did not tell you!
4. Do not be afraid to ask the right way
It is true that New Yorkers can sometimes come across as impatient and brusque, especially when you are not respecting the explicitly implied rules of the city. However, people here are really proud of knowing the way around the mighty concrete jungle. If you are a visitor, do not hesitate to ask for help with the right directions. You can ask anything, from the right way to the right subway suggestions or any other navigational issues. In fact, it is favorable you ask since it means tourists will not stand around blocking the way with a map or a phone in their hands.
5. Do not spend at a national chain
Do not let all the big-box stores and easily locatable fast-food chains distract you in this mighty metropolis. The biggest feature in NYC is the abundance of independent restaurants and stores. Stroll through SoHo, East/West Village, Williamsburg, or any other neighborhood to discover the unique flavors, handmade products, and distinctive experiences found only in this city.
6. Do not rely on credit cards only
No matter how fresh it can feel, New York is still truly old-fashioned when it comes to money. Even today, cash-only restaurants and bars are extremely common here. You will also find a high-fee ATM randomly around the corners of NYC instead of credit card machines at the registers. Our top travel guides suggest keeping extra cash handy. Who knows where you might need it. You will need it not just for going around, but also for taxi tips, buses (for which you will require coins, as long as they are not pennies), and so much more.
7. Do not just visit the big touristy places
On your very first visit to New York City, you might be inclined to visit some of the more touristy places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, and Statue of Liberty to check them off your “must-see” list. However, don’t get your hopes too high. You might not be able to get to all of these places, no matter how long your trip is. In addition to this, there are many other ways to dig deeper into knowing the city. Our top travel guides suggest you start by consulting some local calendars to find happening events near you. You can find some of the fun things happening around the city in New York Magazine, Time Out NY, Village Voice, and others.
You can still have a lot of fun enjoying yourself in less-touristy places. Plan an outing to some of these places/events. It could be anything, Fort Tryon Park, Staten Island Yankees baseball game, Governor’s Island, Bronx’s New York Botanical Garden, Arthur Avenue’s Little Italy, and more such places.
Let your explorer come out of you to explore a dynamically vibrant city like NYC. Do not just visit the big touristy places.
8. Do not say yes to a random airport pickup
You might feel worn out because of your flight at the NYC airport, but no matter how convenient it might sound, if you are offered a random taxi pick up request in the arrivals area, just ignore it. You are better off standing in a line and waiting for the right taxi than risking a weird route and being scammed with inflated rates with a private cab hawking at the baggage claim.
Another option to reach your hotel in NYC would be to rely on a taxi app. You can rely on Lyft, which is extremely popular in the US, or Uber to take you to your destination. You will simply be required to know your terminal and your exact pick-up location. You can also call an NYC car service which will work well for an airport pickup reservation at a flat rate for your hotel.
9. Do not just eat the standard NYC food
No doubt, the city serves great food: bagels, matzo ball soup, hot dogs, pizza, and the famous New York strip steaks. However, our top travel guides suggest that the international cuisines present in the city are pretty authentic as well. You will enjoy pretty much the same flavors as you would in the homeland of these dishes. It is best enjoyed in the neighborhoods that represent these ethnic communities. You will get the best pasta in the city’s very own Little Italy, Greek in Astoria, Chinese in Flushing, Russian in Brighton Beach, and other similar delights across NYC.
10. Do not get scammed
There are many charitable organizations and causes happening in NYC at any given time with legitimate hard-luck stories. However, the city is also buzzing with some extremely amazing performers. So if it seems that something is straight out of a reality show, like a stranger desperately telling you how he lost his wallet or someone trying so hard to get to New Jersey visiting their grandmother in a hospital, they could be just a really talented actor.
Top travel guides suggest you keep your wallet in your pocket safely, especially in your front pocket. Your purse/wallet should be in a secure position. Do not ever leave your wallet unattended openly in a public place.
11. Do not avoid the Subway
The New York City subway system is a wild web that can be confusing and intimidating for some people. It is still, however, the cheapest and fastest way to travel across the town. Embrace this part of your vacation, too, as soon as you can. Invest in that iconic yellow and blue Metro Card, which can be easily availed as a one-day, one-week, or a pass for a month with unlimited rides. You can also get the card recharged based on dollar values, one ride of which will cost you approximately $2. There are multiple map apps available to access the ways around the city with perfect cell service in every single station. You will also find a subway map in every single train car. So, do not avoid the subway. Do not be scared of it.
12. Do not avoid visiting outer boroughs
If it were a small city, neighborhoods within Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Islands, Upper Manhattan, or the Bronx could be the bustling downtown areas on their own. Here, these outer boroughs are just a part of a bigger, more vibrant metropolis.
These are also the places where you can find some of the best museums, sporting events, parks, and other events/attractions. All these regions can also be easily reached by subway, so it will be really cheap to travel around. Top travel guides suggest you must visit these locations, at least a few of them, for an up-close and personal experience of NYC.
13. Don’t just focus on the Broadway shows
Broadway shows are pretty worthwhile when it comes to spending some really good times in the city. Though, we can all agree their price is not as worth it! So, if you prefer keeping your theater-set prices to double digits instead of triple, shift your focus away from typical Broadway shoes.
Top travel guides say that talent in NYC runs pretty deep in the blood of people here, so you could be seeing the future pop star live in action in the middle of a busy subway. The range of live entertainment here really has no bounds here. You can definitely check out the local calendars in various publications mentioned above and witness amazing cabarets, opera, burlesque, drag shows, comedy clubs, dance theater, and other similar performances. Some of these events and festivals will probably only happen in NYC.
14. Don’t take off with someone else’s cab
This is another one of those unspoken rules -- never hail anyone else's cab. Even though there are plenty of taxis to choose from, with the growing selection of taxi apps and everything else, the yellow taxi still reigns in the city. Whenever you need a quick ride, you will find one at any given place. But every New Yorker has had a cab stolen from them when someone dashes a few inches ahead of them and grabs the door handle, and hops in.
Stealing someone’s taxi is like bad karma in this city.
While we are still talking about taxis - no matter how many times you have seen Sarah Jessica Parker shout taxi in SATC, and no matter how many times it has excited you to do the same when you are in NYC; Don’t! Nobody does that here. You can simply wave your arm from a safe distance by the curb, and you will manage to hail a cab unless someone steals it from you! (Which they shouldn’t!)
15. Don’t miss the seasonal fun
No matter what the current season in the city is, there will always be something different happening in accordance with the weather. Our top travel guides suggest you not miss out on the seasonal fun in NYC.
Suppose you are visiting the city during fall/winter. In that case, you will find multiple ways to warm up in the city with the various ice-skating rinks or the holiday markets, marathons, light shows, lunar new year, citywide discount week, and so much more.
While in the spring season, the city comes off as mesmerizingly beautiful with botanical garden shows and other similar colorful events. Soon after, during summer, you will come across outdoor film screenings, concerts, NYC Pride, park picnics, boating, recreational activities, and other sporting activities.
Do not miss out on all this fun at any cost. Indulge in whatever the city has to offer in accordance with the season.
With over 8.6 million New Yorkers, NYC can sound like a pretty intimidating, always in a rush kind of a place. New Yorkers might sound outspoken, proud, and shrewd but surviving in a metropolis that punishes the meekly is a tough task. Not everyone can do it. When you visit the city and live in it for a few days or weeks, you will realize why NYC still is the greatest city to live in the world. Top travel guides state that visitors coming to the city for the first time might make such mistakes, which is why it can be really hard for them to keep up with the idiosyncrasies of the city. Do not make these common mistakes, have a fun time like SJP in New York City.
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