My boyfriend and I just got back from a week in New York. It’s safe to say that we absolutely love it there, but it was a ‘punch you in the face’ steep learning curve when we arrived. We were complete tourists and spent the week tearing around seeing as many of the major sights as we could, but we still have much, much more to see. There were quite a few things that I learnt whilst in New York and from panic research on my favourite New York blog (and favourite of all time actually), Cup of Jo.
Go right. If in doubt and in every situation, just go right. Being from the UK, I have compelling, almost magnetic urge, to always move left. This urge must be suppressed, at least until you get home, then you can skip down the left hand side of the pavement to your hearts content. Walk on the right, go down stairs on the right, stand on the right. Also, if you decide to stop in a busy area (read: anywhere), just step out of the way of everyone else.
Don’t get hurt if people are a bit more direct with you than you’re used to, tough talking is part of the rough and tumble of New York. Depending where you’re from, it can be a bit of a culture shock but give it back a bit and the rightful balance of the world is restored.
Spend some time finding functional and stylish shoes before you go, especially if it’s your first trip and you have a lot to see. Walking around in NYC is fantastic, but not if you only pack heels or blisteringly painful flats. Running shoes are generally not a good look for strolling around the stylish streets of New York.
Hailing a cab. Firstly, people comfortable with this all look like they know exactly what they’re doing. Apparently, you should step into the street so you’re visible, look for an available cab (with the middle light on), raise your arm, look him in the eye and boom, you’ve scored a cab. This is not how it went our first time. I strongly suspect that others can smell your fear in New York. Except, humans don’t have a particularly good sense of smell, so it’s more like they can see your fear from the confused look on your face and panicked look you’re shooting to your pals. Act like you know exactly what you’re doing, a rule which appears to apply anywhere.
If you want to read a proper guide, Cup of Jo taught me everything I know (I fell straight into no. 6, the ‘flapping with your Metrocard’ trap, that thing is baffling).
Another secret I learnt from Cup of Jo is the whispering gallery in Grand Central. It’s totally unmarked, but if you stand in one corner of the arches, you can hear what someone in the opposite corner is saying to you! It took us a couple of attempts, but it does work.
One final bit of advice that I read is that you shouldn’t bother celebrities if you spot them, but you can brag about it on your blog. So, in honour of that, I’d just like to add that WE SAW STING. We played it cool, didn’t squeal or shove a camera in his face, but I do have several blurry pictures of ‘Sting in the distance’. Proud.