10 Things You Shouldn't Do In New York!

by Matt Schlenker

Posted on 15th February, 2016

New York City Skyline

The cultural and financial capital of the USA, if not the world, New York City is an adrenaline-charged, history-laden place that holds immense romantic appeal for visitors. The "Big Apple," the "City That Never Sleeps", is the nation's true trendsetter and opens the doors to incredible lifestyle for one and all. In visiting New York, you, too, are opening yourself up to a world of wonderful opportunities. But while visiting, here are a few cultural faux pas that you should avoid in New York!

Don't refer to the subways by their color

I know what you mean when you say "the yellow line" but, seriously, its the NQR.

New York Subway NQR
Don't hail a taxi by sticking your arm in the air for five minutes

If the light on top of the car is lit, they are available. If not, they have a passenger. Also, don't yell "Taxi". Whistle only if you must.

New York City Taxi
Image Credit - Stefano Corso

Don't ask people who live in the city to meet you in Times Square

Yes, we all know how pretty the lights are. There are two problems with this.

  • Times Square has roughly a billion people in it at any given time. Walking through this area is a huge pain in the ass.
  • Saying "Meet me in Times Square" is super vague. Times Square is huge. Plus, with all the people, it's about as helpful as saying "Meet me downtown."

Times Square Crowd
Don't tell me a place is dangerous (at least in Manhattan)

You know where you are most likely to get mugged? Your mecca, Times Square. I've had friends from 150th St all the way down to Ave C, and I've never had a problem.

New York Mugging
Don't speak loudly on the subway

You never realize how quiet the subway is until your buddy is using his outside voice in the middle of a silent train.

Talking Loud Subway
Image Credit - CTA

Have your metrocard ready

You have been waiting in line for 5 minutes and just now you've decided to go spelunking in your pockets?

New York Metro Card
Image Credit - Mr.TinDC

Don't form a chain when you are walking on the sidewalk

Bonus asshole points if you are all holding hands. If I have to go into the street to pass your posse, you're doing it wrong.

Blocking Sidewalk
Don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk

Congratulations, you have just become an obstacle on a very busy and narrow walkway.

Don't complain about the smell of garbage on every block

Yes, it's stinky. No, there is nothing we can do about it. No, you are not helping out by reminding us.

Stink Garbage
Don't profusely apologize for bumping into someone

There are collisions all the time. I will walk into someone or someone will walk into me just about every time I am walking. A quick "excuse me" or "sorry" is fine. No need for "OMG are you okay?"

Don't come to the city to be boring

I have a few friends who come into the city and want to see a movie. Or go to Olive Garden or McDonalds for all of their meals. If I invite you to the city, I want to show you the city.

New York Fun

For a bonus, here is something that is a faux pas everywhere but NYC.

Feel free to ask me what I pay for rent

I'm not sure why this is a thing, but I know what all my friends pay for rent and they all know my rent. I've asked once or twice in the company of out-of-towners and am always amused by how their jaw drops at such a "personal" question.

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About the Author: Matt Schlenker

Matt Schlenker

"Matt is a Columbia neuroscience graduate turned web developer. A man-bun enthusiast, he spends most of his time in New York City, playing with his cat and shooting darts with his friends in between freelance jobs. He writes about NYC, dating, and psychology, among other things..You can follow him here.


New York, Cultural Faux Paus, Subway, Times Square, Metro Card