Most people think New Yorkers are unfriendly and kind of mean, but that's not true at all! Okay, that's a little true, but in a city so full of people, keeping your wits about you is an absolute necessity. Otherwise, you become a prime target for all the hawkers and scammers and con artists who call the city home. More importantly, though, native New Yorkers don't exactly love tourists clogging up the sidewalks and failing to understand the local customs. If you want to blend during your trip to New York, ensuring the best service and best experience possible, here's a handy list of "DON'Ts" and "DOs" to help you out:
1. Wear Those Stupid Rain Ponchos
This is a city, not Disney World. You're not riding a log flume, so hold an umbrella like a functioning adult. Or instead of a rain poncho, you can always hang a big, flashing sign over your head that says, "I'M A TOURIST." Honestly, that would probably still look less stupid than the poncho.
2. Stare Up at Buildings
Yes, the buildings are very tall. Some of them have very cool architecture that you can and should admire. But blatantly looking up at them, especially while impeding the flow of foot traffic, is a sure sign of a tourist. Instead, move off to the side, out of people's ways, and STOP BLOCKING THE SIDEWALK.
3. Go Anywhere Near Times Square
Times Square is New York's butth**e. It's basically just ten blocks full of tourist traps and bad, overpriced food. The only people there are tourists or locals who work nearby. Seriously, if you want to experience anything authentic in New York, keep a safe distance.
4. Buy Anything That Says "I LOVE New York"
Not a single person who lives in New York owns any piece of merchandise that says, "I Love New York." Not a single one. Zero. Not a shirt. Not a mug. Not a keychain. Nothing. This is a fact.
5. Give Anybody Money for Performing on the Subway
Performing on the subway is illegal, but much more importantly, it's annoying as s**t. Sure, some guy breakdancing on the train might be "fun" and "magical" if you see it once on your Saturday foray into Brooklyn, but try being interrupted by the same thing every single day on your commute home from work. These dudes rely on tourists because every local can't stand them. Do. Not. Encourage.
1. Fold Your Pizza Lengthways Down the Middle
Real New Yorkers fold their pizza. Why? So we can eat more of it, of course. When you're in New York, do as the New Yorkers do––crush your pizza in half and shove the whole thing into your mouth all at once.
2. Yell "AYY I'M WALKIN' HERE" at Everyone in Your Way
Everyone in New York is always walking everywhere, and when anyone gets in their way, they stop and angrily yell, "AYY I'M WALKIN' HERE" to let everybody else know. While this behavior may seem aggressive, it's actually a customary form of greeting in the Big Apple, so when you do it everyone will immediately know that you're a native New Yorker, too.
3. Sing "New York, New York" while Dancing in the Street
Photo of Frank SINATRA Redferns
New Yorkers LOVE Frank Sinatra because, in spite of being a massive woman abuser, he sang the "New York, New York" song. Real New Yorkers sing this song constantly, and they also dance to it in the street. Before coming to New York, make sure you know all the lyrics and maybe a few dance moves too so you can better blend into the crowd.
4. Scam People
Here in New York, we're all about the hustle. Hustles come in all shapes and sizes. You can dress up in a janky Elmo costume or shill your lousy mixtape, but the important part is that you harass people until they give you money.
5. Take Your Shirt Off and Shout at Yourself
If all else fails and you really don't want anyone to know you're just visiting, take your shirt off and shout at yourself. This is a surefire, foolproof way to become one with the city. Even lifelong New Yorkers will recognize you as one of their own.