How to be a Courteous Tourist
We all know, ‘If you can’t make it here you can’t make it anywhere,’ or ‘The city that never sleeps,‘ mottos. None of those sayings will help them when they come to the city. I think as New Yorkers we should help those visiting our great city, by providing tips and suggestions to make their stay as pleasant as possible while not annoying the hell out of us. Let’s start with something easy and that is the famous ‘I Heart NY’, t- shirts. Nothing says I am a tourist more than walking around the city in a t-shirt of it. And you either paid a lot for or it may fall apart after the first wash because you got it cheap. If you want to buy and give them as gifts or wear them when you get back home that’s fine, but don’t wear them while you are here. You’ll be more noticeable than a bad rash. Just a heads up, there are so many other t-shirts that you can buy that are much cooler with New York on them.
Leave the big-ass backpacks at the hotel. Yeah, you know what I am talking about, the kind of backpack that one would take when they go camping in the woods. You don’t need it in the city. First off, it is big, bulky, and clumsy, it will limit your ability to walk the crowded streets and be trouble while using mass transit. New Yorkers get pushed around enough, the last thing they want is a giant bag pushing into them in a crowded subway or bus, bumping into them while trying to hold on to their coffee.
Here is another helpful tip, New Yorkers are always on the go. If you have to ask for directions please do not ask anyone that you see is in a hurry, rushing through the streets or talking on the phone. Thet could be talking about business or a family emergency, as a tourist you don’t want to interrupt them, it’s not polite, trust me there are enough people here that you can ask.
Being a New Yorker myself I hate when people stare at me for no apparent reason. So some words of wisdom, “Don’t stare at people.” You just might stare at someone who’s had a bad day or even worse is on the run from the local authorities, so stay safe. Keep your eyes to yourself and look at the beautiful things the city has to offer.
Tourists for some strange reason like to walk into to the streets and take pictures of oncoming traffic. It may be a cool shot but please go back to the sidewalk and take as many pictures as you like. The streets are dangerous not only with cars but bicycles, they won’t see you and you won’t see them because you are too busy taking pictures. The last thing you want to do is end up at the emergency room, it won’t be pleasant.
When you decide to take a picture while walking, please don’t stop suddenly! Someone for sure will bump right into you because in NYC we’re always rushing to get somewhere. Instead, slow down, move over, and then take the picture, whatever it is it will still be there.
Many tourists complain about how expensive everything is, but you knew that before you got here. In fact, many top destinations are expensive to visit, especially tourist attractions. So please no more whining or complaining, just spend your money wisely and it will all work out. When you come to one of the greatest cities in the world, expect to pay, plain and simple.
Never, ever take someone’s cab…during rush hour or lunchtime, or whenever. Let’s be safe and say it’s never a good time to take anyone’s cab. There’s plenty of cabs out there who would gladly pick you up, especially if you are wearing the “I Heart New York City” t-shirt. But do yourself a favor and keep an eye on the meter when you get in the cab.
Take National Common Courtesy Day to heart and follow our advice every day.
*All photos taken by the author