In honor of the hero who divided a strip of sidewalk along Fifth Avenue into lanes for "tourists" and "New Yorkers," we decided to put together a few tips for the masses who will be visiting New York this summer.
People on the streets of Manhattan can be easily divided into two groups: New Yorkers who want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible, and tourists taking a leisurely stroll through the city. New York is overrun with out-of-towners year-round, of course, but it gets worse every spring and summer with throngs of people coming to check out the big buildings and go to M&M World. And while we want visitors to NYC to have a wonderful and comfortable time here, spend lots of money, and tell their friends to come too, we also want them to get out of our way and not make our lives a living hell.
If you're planning to visit New York over the next few months, here are a few simple lessons you should keep in mind so you don't run the risk of accidentally pissing off a New Yorker.
It's Called a Sidewalk
That's right, not a side-"stand there and look at a map" or a side-"slow down and look at the pretty buildings." If you come to a full stop on the sidewalk, you're going to interrupt the regular flow of traffic, which means people will run into you or be forced to go into the street to get around you. So just don't stop. If you really must, do it someplace out of the way, like next to a lamppost or bus stop or some other structure that pedestrians are going to have to avoid anyway.
Two at a Time
Now that we've got you moving along at a clip, please don't walk more than two abreast at any given time. On small sidewalks, there is no other option, but even in areas with huge walkways, large groups of slowly moving people are a bitch to get around. Please don't make us play a game of reverse Red Rover.
Right Is Right
Just like the tourist lane crafted by that creative prankster, it's important to always stay out of our way. The easiest way to do that is remember that slow traffic should stick to the right—it's just like those giant freeways running through your yard. Follow the same rule when walking up subway stairs, when confronted with another person coming at you, when arguing with Jo-Dean about whether or not she should buy that top she saw in the window at Express. Always stay to the right. This is part of the unwritten contract that all city dwellers have to abide by. We're letting you in on it. You're welcome.
Know Your Place
We want tourists to experience as much of the city as possible. But you also need to leave some of it for us. All of Midtown, especially between 42nd and 59th Streets between Fifth and Eight Avenues is yours. Enjoy it. There are lots of fun (overpriced) things to do. But stay away from Ninth Avenue. The people who live there need places to eat, too. The South Street Seaport? It's all yours. So is the Statue of Liberty. And Ellis Island. You also get the line in front of stupid Magnolia Bakery and anything else associated with Sex and the City tours. Go wild! You can have all of Soho—but only west of Broadway and east of West Broadway. Clog the Apple Store, window shop at Prada, get a cute pair of earrings from one of the ladies on the street. However, leave the boutiques to the east of that—like in Nolita—to us. We like to shop and you are only making it harder. We're going to have to share Uniqlo, but going on Saturday is idiotic, so you can have fun waiting 30 minutes to try on a puce polo shirt. We can also all share Central Park. It's large enough for everyone. As for Brooklyn, don't even try it unless you have a native guide. That place even confounds Manhattanites, so you'll be totally lost.
Ask for Directions
Contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers are quite nice and we don't want you to get lost. (Nor do we want you hogging the sidewalk to look at a map—see above.) So ask for directions and you'll find that usually the person you ask will hook you up. Even on the subway people will tell you which line to take and which stop to use, and they're usually a lot easier to understand than whatever garbled nonsense comes out of the mouths of the MTA robots housed in those little kiosks. It's a sense of pride for New Yorkers to know the best way to get everywhere, and they don't mind sharing. But don't ask for recommendations. That's what a hotel concierge is for and we're not letting you spoil our favorite spots.
Get to the Show Early
Anyone who lives here who enjoys theater knows that any show, especially of the Broadway variety, is going to be packed with people who just got their stubs at the TKTS booth earlier that afternoon. We're glad that you're culturing yourselves. However, we suggest you get to the show like an hour early and stand in line. People who live here know you can just breeze in 15 minutes before the curtain, but we're not going to tell you that. The reason we can stay a little bit longer at dinner or work is because you all get there so early so the line isn't too bad when we want to show up. This is one "ugh, tourists" behavior that is actually great for New Yorkers so keep it up!
Don't Bother with Ground Zero
We know you want to pay your respects and that's nice, but the museum isn't built yet and the whole area is just a giant pit full of a bunch of cranes. It's not much to look at and taking pictures of yourself there is a little bit creepy. So don't go out of your way. But if you want to poke your head in on your way to Century 21, go ahead. God knows we always do.