Without a doubt, New York City is one of the most unique places in the world. Every year, thousands of dreamers, entrepreneurs, and artists flock to this “City of Dreams” to get a new lease on life.
When you set foot into the city, you will experience a sensory overload of glitzy signs, eclectic people, and a chaotic symphony of sounds. It is overwhelming in the best way possible.
And while there is plenty of advice out there on what to see and do in NYC to make it a great trip, few talk about the practicalities of the city. Knowing some basic things about NYC beforehand will help make your trip all the better.
Read on to learn the top 5 things to know before traveling to NYC.
1. Allow Yourself Extra Time to Get Around
If you ask a New Yorker how long it takes to get from one spot to the next, they are almost always going to say about 20 minutes.
But remember, you’re not a New Yorker, so you should always give yourself some extra time to get to each destination. Plus, subway delays, traffic, and other mishaps can always slow things down as well.
If you’re worried about not having enough time to see everything, NYC sightseeing packages can get you to all the spots you need to go without the hassle of public transportation.
2. Avoid the Lone Empty Subway Car
Your train arrives and people start packing into the cars like sardines. However, you notice there is one mysterious, empty car.
Many tourists make the mistake of thinking they hit the jackpot and are outsmarting New Yorkers by flocking to this empty car. Don’t be the person to make this rookie mistake. That car is empty for a reason.
It could be that the air conditioning in it is broken, there’s a funky smell going on, or there’s some other mishap with it. Whatever it is, do yourself a favor and don’t try to find out. Stay in the populated cars instead!
3. Walk With a Purpose
Street etiquette is different in every culture. In New York, you’ll catch onto the street etiquette pretty quickly.
The sidewalks may appear chaotic to the untrained eye, but to New Yorkers, there’s unwritten rules on the sidewalks that help keep things running like a well-oiled machine.
Two things to keep in mind:
New Yorkers walk FAST. Even if they don’t need to be somewhere in particular, they still always walk like they’re in a rush. If you like to diddle-daddle when you walk, make sure to stay as far right as possible.
Don’t abruptly stop to take a picture, as likely someone will slam right into you. Move to the side first.
4. Tip the Right Amount
Tipping is a big deal in New York, and in all of America in general.
Unless the service was absolutely horrendous, a bad tip makes you look rude and cheap. In general, you’ll want to tip at all sit-down restaurants, and also remember to tip your bellhops, cabbies, and anyone else who provides you with a direct service.
In general, tipping around 15-20 percent is appropriate. Sometimes however, the tip is already included in the price, so make sure to check the receipt beforehand.
5. Explore Beyond Manhattan
Many tourists make the mistake of only visiting Manhattan.
This is a shame, as New York is full of charming burroughs, such as Queens, Brooklyn, and Bushwick, that are just waiting to be explored.