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Owning New York: How to Not Look Like a Tourist When Visiting NYC

New York can be an intimidating place, especially for visitors who want to fit in. While it might take actually living here to be able to call yourself a “New Yorker,” we do have some tips that will help you blend in with the scene without much effort. Read on for our suggestions on how to own New York and pass for a local.

1. If You See a Celeb, Play It Cool 

Celebrities are in abundance in NYC, but New Yorkers pretend not to notice. If you do see Sarah Jessica Parker or George Clooney walking down the street, do like the locals do and don't go rushing over for photos and autographs. Play it cool.

2. Don’t Be Caught Holding a Subway Map

NYC map

Whatever you do, don’t be that person holding open the unfolded MTA map. It’s true, New Yorkers don’t know every stop on the subway, but there are apps for this, people. Google Maps comes in pretty handy, as does the NYC Subway app. You’ll look like you’re sending a text, but you’ll really be trying to figure out where in the heck you are. That’s so New York. (There are also maps in the stations and in every train car, if you're out of service and in need of guidance.)

3. Let People Out of the Subway First 

Nothing will gain you more hate in the city of dreams than by blocking the subway doors as the train pulls up to the station. Seriously. Simply stand to the side of the car doors and let the people off of the metro first. Once every person has exited that needs to do so, then you can run and grab the first empty seat you see.

4. There's More to Manhattan Than Times Square

Times Square

Image: Dave Doe/Flickr

When tourists think of New York, they automatically think of Times Square. When New Yorkers think of New York, they think of everywhere but Times Square. In fact, Broadway and 42nd gives a lot of us some major claustrophobia. Yes, you can dine, drink, and see some amazing theatre here, but there's lots more to Manhattan. Get out of there and explore!

5. Don’t Sport Any “I Heart NY” Attire

I Love NY

Image: Britt Reints/Flickr

It’s fine if you want to buy it, just don’t wear it while you’re still in the city. “I Heart NY” gear is like wearing a fluorescent vest that screams “I’m a tourist!”. Also, avoid the jeans and sneakers look. That being said, don’t be afraid to stand out with your fashion. New Yorkers love playing around with style.

6. Pull Over to the Edge of the Sidewalk

New Yorkers are fast, and the sidewalks get crowded quickly. Even if you’re walking at a casual pace, you’re likely to get some glares. If you need to stop, send a text, or figure out where you are, make sure you move to the sidewalk’s edge. Another bonus tip? Don’t walk three people wide. It’s almost worse than stopping in the middle of a sidewalk to take a picture.

7. Never Look Up, Especially With A Camera

New Yorkers never look up. They never stop to admire the Empire State Building or the Chrysler while they’re making their way down the sidewalk. Stopping to ogle will have you discovered in a second, and if you whip out that camera… a millisecond. True, if you keep your eyes down you’ll miss out on all the sights that New York has to offer, but hey, you’ll fit right in.

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