Oh, tourists. I heart you. No, really! The way you walk hand in hand in hand, side by side by side down every sidewalk… or the way your money belt bulges from the waist of your elasticized pants… or the look of fear that enters your eyes when you realize you have to ask a local for directions. You make me giggle. And for that, I salute you!
I also would like to make your trip to NYC a little easier and pleasant. As a resident of Soho, which is overrun daily by hordes of people coming to see the “real” New York through the windows of Prada, H&M and Uniqlo, I offer you a guide… not on where to stay or what to do – but on How To Act. It’s a simple list of things that will help you fit in, or at least not annoy the locals to the point of tears. And so we begin:
1. Do not walk hand in hand in hand, side by side by side. We have very narrow sidewalks here and if you haven’t noticed I can’t pass you on the street as the streets are full of cars, buses, trucks and the even more nefarious form of transportation: bicycles. We New Yorkers do walk fast (we have places to be!) and don’t enjoy being clothes-lined. So, think of the sidewalk as a highway. Slow movers to the middle please so fast walkers can go around.
2. Speaking of bicycles… If you choose to ride a CitiBike, don’t ride it on the sidewalk or against traffic and obey all traffic laws, please. Unless you want to get creamed.
3. When taking the subway, please get your subway card out and ready to swipe before going through the turnstile. Nothing will make New Yorkers hate you more than if you stand in front of a turnstile while a train is coming rummaging through your purse saying, “I know it’s here somewhere…”
4. When taking an escalator, or going through a door, do not stop at the top of said escalator or immediately outside of the door and chitty chat. Keep it moving. Creating traffic jams is practically illegal here in NYC – just ask Chris Christie.
5. There are grates on the ground, get used to it. They are also really well enforced. So, if you have flat shoes on (which you most likely do), WALK ON THEM… leave the ungrated ground for those of us in heels or with small dogs. Worse comes to worse – the grates will fall and you may drop ten feet or so. The bright side: you can always sue the city and earn millions from the fall. Now that‘s a bonus!
6. Paper maps are so passe – get a smart phone with a moving map so you know where you are and where you are going. Sure, you can ask, but please make it quick.
7. When you whisper really loud to each other about the people around you on the subway… we can hear you.
8. Don’t carry all those shopping bags on either side of you, taking up double the space on the sidewalk. carry them in front of you please.
9. When it’s raining and you are carrying an umbrella – lift it up when you pass people so you don’t jam the spokes in my eye or crash into me.
10. whatever you do, don’t do THIS… we New Yorkers will videotape you doing THIS and post it for others to see. I mean come ON – that’s our subway, man… Don’t defile it with your bogeys.
I’m sure there are more things to do – but I can’t think of them right now – it is, after all raining and I’m feeling mildewed. If anyone else has any suggestions, please leave them below – and keep it clean, people!