New York City is one of the most beloved cities on earth—and for good reason.
That being said, New York City can also be pretty overwhelming at times—particularly for first-time visitors. As the home of well over 10 million people, countless shops and restaurants, thousands of events, and lots more, it can be a lot to take in.
Luckily, a bit of planning and research can ensure that your next visit to New York City is totally stress free, leaving you with the confidence and energy to soak up everything the city has to offer.
Here are five things you should know before heading to “The Big Apple.”
Follow Sidewalk Etiquette
The sidewalks in New York City can get very crowded—oftentimes with fast-moving and purposeful people—so it’s important to adhere to a few unwritten rules.
First and foremost, it’s a good idea to bear right, just as you would if you were driving. Don’t be that person plowing into a crowd of oncoming pedestrians.
Perhaps even more importantly, don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk. At best, you’ll frustrate the person behind you. At worst, they’ll walk right into you.
Follow Subway Etiquette
Because cars are so expensive, traffic is so heavy, and parking is so difficult to find, many New Yorkers prefer to get around using the subway. That means that subway cars are generally pretty crowded—and just like they city’s sidewalks, they’re governed by some unwritten rules.
First and foremost, you’ll want let people disembark before you try to board. Doing this isn’t just courteous, but it allows some space to free up before you go hunting for a spot for yourself. Once you’ve boarded, it’s also good form to take up as little space as possible.
Secondly, steer clear of anything that might annoy your fellow passengers. For example, don’t play music or videos through your phone speaker—nobody else wants to hear it. It’s better to use headphones, and even then, be congnisant of the volume.
It’s also a good idea to avoid eating odorous, messy food on the subway. Nobody wants to smell what you’re eating on a crowded car, and you can only imagine how somebody might feel when they accidentally sit down on some of the toppings that escaped from your burrito.
Don’t Spend Too Much Time At Times Square
Times Square is beautiful, and it’s definitely worth checking out. That being said, it’s not the kind of attraction you need to earmark all that much time for. Once you’re sufficiently dazzled by the flickering billboards and cacophony of city sounds, head off and explore the rest of the city.
Trust us, as cool as Times Square is, it’s not even in the top-50 attractions in New York City.
Eat Your Pizza Properly
If you order a slice of pizza and start attacking it with a fork and knife, there’s a chance you’ll soon be using that silverware to fend off a swarm of angry New Yorkers, determined to drive you out of the city for defiling one of their most cherished dishes.
Ok, we’re exaggerating a bit, but New York pizza is meant to be eaten by hand—oftentimes, folded in half. No cutlery needed.
Don’t Just Stick to One Borough
You could spend weeks exploring Manhattan and barely scratch the surface of what it has to offer—but that doesn’t mean you should. The same goes for New York’s four other boroughs: Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
If you’ve got the time, venture out of whatever borough you’re starting in and see what the rest of the city has to offer. You won’t regret it.