New York City is an extremely popular tourist destination, and it’s no surprise why. It’s filled with so many historical and cultural landmarks from the Statue of Liberty to Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge. As the largest city in the country, there’s so much to do here from Broadway shows to shopping to experience delicious cuisine. As the center of so many things in the United States, it’s no wonder so many people are drawn to visit. However, when visiting the city for the first time, there are some common mistakes that people make.
Here are the ten mistakes that all rookies make the first time they visit NYC and why you should avoid them.
10 GETTING INTO AN EMPTY TRAIN CAR
The subway can be crowded places, especially during rush hour times or in certain parts of the city. When you see an empty train car you might be tempted to rush inside thinking it’s your lucky day, but there's a reason that car is empty. If a car is empty on an otherwise crowded train, it’s usually because something has happened in there. Maybe it stinks really bad or maybe the AC or heat is out. No matter the reason, it’s empty because no one wants to be in there, so it’s best that you stay away, too.
9 WALKING SLOWLY AND STOPPING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIDEWALK
One thing that is sure to frustrate people who actually live in New York City is when tourists walk slowly or stop abruptly on the sidewalk. Because so many people walk in the city, there is a flow to sidewalk traffic. It’s important that you keep up with that flow and walk yourself to the side if you need to stop. While it can be tempting to stop mid-stride to take a picture of all the wonders around you, this is one thing that’s sure to upset others around you and make you look like a tourist.
8 THINKING TIMES SQUARE IS THE PINNACLE OF THE CITY
Times Square is an area of NYC that all New Yorkers scoff at. While people who live there might venture through to see a show, they generally avoid it otherwise. This isn’t to say you should never visit at all because it’s definitely an experience, but it’s not worth too much of your time. Overall, it’s just busy, obnoxious, and overpriced, and it doesn’t really represent what NYC is all about. You’d be better off spending more of your time exploring other areas of the city.
7 GETTING CONFUSED ABOUT WHICH WAY THE TRAINS ARE GOING
Navigating the subway system for the first time can be a little confusing, especially if you’re not used to public transportation. Luckily, these days it’s easier than ever to get around as there are so many apps that will give you detailed instructions on how to get from place to place using the subway.
Even still, it can sometimes get confused about which way you’re going. Be sure to read the signs at the platforms carefully and to ask for help if you aren’t sure which way you’re headed. But, don’t feel too bad as even people who’ve lived in the city sometimes get confused or distracted.
6 NOT BRINGING CASH
When visiting New York City, it’s really important to have cash on you. While many other places you can often get by for weeks without paying with cash, this isn’t true here. Many of the bodegas or other small restaurants only take cash, and even some that do will make you spend a certain amount of money to pay with a card. You’ll be saving yourself money and making the experience easier on yourself by having small bills with you.
5 FORGETTING TO BRING COMFORTABLE SHOES
One thing that people might not realize when they first visit the city is that they’re going to walk a lot. Even with public transportation, there are many places that require a good deal of walking to and from the subway. Plus, with all the sightseeing, you’ll be walking miles each day. It’s important to wear shoes that are good for walking. If you don’t, you’re going to be regretting your choice by the second day of exploring the city.
4 NOT HAVING A CONVENIENT BACKPACK OR BAG WITH THEM
Similarly to wearing comfortable shoes, you’ll also want to make sure you have a bag you can keep on you that’s easy to wear. Unlike in many places where you have a car and can leave stuff in there, you’ll need to bring almost everything you need with you for the day in your bag. It’s usually not that fast to get back to where you’re staying once you’re at, so you’ll want to have a good backpack or some other kind of bag to keep everything in.
3 ONLY SEEING THE MOST POPULAR PLACES
Visiting New York City for the first time can be overwhelming because there are so many things to do, it's hard to pick. Even just trying to see some of the main landmarks can take up a lot of time.
While many of the iconic sights are worth seeing, this doesn't mean you have to see everyone. There is also a lot to be said for some of the smaller museums and lesser-known neighborhoods. Consider venturing to another borough for a different and fun experience.
2 NOT UNDERSTANDING HOW TO GET FROM THE AIRPORT
New York City is a complicated place sometimes. It’s not always simple to get from point A to point B. The airports are all somewhat out of the way from Manhattan, and you’ll want to understand the best way to get from the airport to your destination. Taking a rideshare is often your best bet if you’re willing to spend money. Byt, if you're trying to save, you’ll want to make sure you understand how to take public transit from the airport.
1 ASSUMING EVERYONE IS UNHELPFUL
While New Yorkers might get a reputation in other places for being rude, this is actually pretty untrue. People who live in the city are often focused on what they’re doing, and they aren’t overly friendly. But, this doesn’t mean they aren’t helpful. They are usually very willing to help you find your way around if you ask them for help. While they might not be likely to make small talk with strangers, they usually understand the city is overwhelming and are happy to help out if you're polite.