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Seven City Tips for Living in New York

August 1, 2014

2014-07-19 17.30.12

1. New York (and general) Etiquette

Just because you’re a tourist doesn’t mean you have to act like one.

Taking a photo is all well and good however, stopping smack bang in the middle of the sidewalk is not.

Real New Yorkers don’t have time to play pinball, bouncing in between and around the thousands of tourists who decide to stop in the most inconvenient place, truly possible, simply to gaze in awe at the wonders of New York City.

2. The Empty Subway Car

Don’t be fooled by this rare occurrence. If it’s late at night, or it could even be earlier in the day, if you spot an empty subway car don’t jump for joy expecting a trouble-free ride home.

It is most likely that your beloved empty subway car is plagued by a smelly homeless man, has no air-conditioning or a child’s throw-up is lingering.

Best advice, the busier cars can be safer than the empty ones, because then at least you know there is bound to be at least one other sane person on board.

3. Buying Booze

Depending on where you are from will determine whether you see New York as affordable in the alcohol department.

If you want to live it up a little and visit the fancy rooftop bars then expect to pay a minimum of $12 for a drink, $9 or so for a beer.

However, you can still enjoy drinking in NYC on a budget. Happy hours are everywhere in the city and some places will offer half price drinks or drinks for $5 and less.

There is, of course, a downside to happy hour and that is that it will usually finish up in most places around 7 or 8pm, which is early for the New York nightlife scene. If you want to save some dollar then look up a list of good dive bars or lounges, they are still all very atmospheric and fun, they just don’t break the bank.

4. Street Venders

Some people see street venders as an identifiably New York tradition. Every street corner is lined with this bad boys, emphasis on the ‘bad’.

At the peak of hunger they may seem like a good idea at the time, but there are plenty of cheap cafes around NYC whose food hasn’t been sat out all day being polluted with traffic-fumes and humidity.

My advice, grab a snack from a pharmacy. They, too, are on every corner, most of them are open 24 hours and they still offer a good choice and won’t charged you $3 for a bottle of questionable water.

5. The Chains that Rule the Roost

Forget Krispy Kreme, Ritas or Wells Fargo, New York City is ruled by a Dunkin’ Donuts at every turn, paired with Baskin Robins. Chase banks plague the streets more than McDonalds, so don’t be fooled. If you were heading to NYC to try something specific, check it even really exists there first!

6. A Whole New Culture

You may not believe it but despite how Westernised America is, there is a culture difference compared to the UK.

If you have been to America you may have spotted the few little things, and once you go, you’ll see them. Laws are different and Americas have be raised to be very patriotic, so always bare that in mind.

Sometimes it will be just the simple things. If you were to go on holiday to Spain, for example, you may attempt to teach yourself a few key phrases, well it’s exactly the same in the US. Plaster, bin and the way you pronounce certain words will be bypassed by Americans, as most of them have never had an insight into the way the British talk or phrase certain objects.

Train yourself to use American terminology and don’t be surprised if an American looks at you with a puzzled expression just because you asked for a plaster and not a bandaid.

7. Coffee Sucks

If you are a lover of Starbucks, then you shouldn’t have a problem, but if you enjoy real, strong English coffee then prepare yourself for the bitterness of the American brew.

Even the coffee shops with real barista brewed coffee can make a strong and bitter cup that don’t suffice British taste buds. Just ready yourself for a whirl-wind of coffee chaos.

In Summary

New York City and America are two very different things but hold similarities. Just prepare yourself for a very different lifestyle and culture despite how educated you may think you are after watching every episode of Friends and How I Met Your Mother. 

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