13 things you should never do when visiting New York City

13 things you should never do when visiting New York City
NYC apartments all watch House of the Dragon at the same time

As a tourist, there is so much to discover in New York City. Whether that’s exploring museums, viewing attractions, or chowing down on delicious food, the list is endless.

However, there are some things that you should avoid doing when you plan your visit to the Big Apple.

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Read on to learn some of the things not to do when visiting the city so you can have the best possible time, from two New Yorkers.

Never take the tourist cruise

One of the most scenic ways to see New York City is by water, especially during the warmer months.

The Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and Manhattan skyline are all must-sees and there’s a way to see them without spending $40+ per person on a fancy tourist cruise. The commuter ferry.

The East River ferry from Pier 11 in Manhattan to Hunter’s Point South in Brooklyn takes passengers for a ride as it passes the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and Williamsburg Bridge.

And it only costs $2.75.

The best way to see the Statue of Liberty is by boat, there's no need to stop at Liberty Island. To see Lady Liberty for free you can hop on the Staten Island ferry from Whitehall Station in lower Manhattan. The boat goes right past Lady Liberty which is arguable

Never skip out on the subway fare

Although it may be tempting to leap over the turnstile at the entrance - especially when no one is there to watch. However, don't do it. If you avoid paying the $2.75 and get caught, you will be fined $100.

Never get on an empty subway car

The subway system is one of the most effective forms of transportation in the city. However, it can also be dangerous, especially if you enter an empty subway car.

If you ride in an empty car, you can risk the chance of potentially getting robbed or physically harmed by someone else who enters at another stop.

Never lean on subway poles

While on the subway, hold onto the pole with your hands instead of leaning on it. It’ll help make room for others to grab ahold of the poles as well so they won’t get hurt.

Never eat at restaurants that you already have back home

Sure, sometimes you want to eat something familiar to you, such as a McDonald’s or TGI Friday’s. However, the city is home to many of the top restaurants with options at every price point.

Never stand in the middle of the sidewalk

There’s a reason they call it a New York minute - people in the city walk, talk, and act quickly.

Walking is a primary mode of getting around, and New Yorkers are notoriously fast walkers. The New York City Department of City Planning estimates most pedestrians walk at an average speed of 4.5 miles per hour.

This means stopping in the middle of the sidewalk is unforgivable.

If you find yourself lost, wanting to take a photo, or distracted by your phone, be sure to pull off to the side to let people go around you.

At the very worst, you can get knocked over by someone walking quickly, and at the very least, you’ll be yelled at.

Never bound into bike lanes

Situated between the pedestrian sidewalk and the street on avenues and major streets are bike lanes. These are a narrow portion of the asphalt dedicated to bikers only.

When crossing the sidewalk to the street, it is pivotal to check for bikers in addition to cars.

In the past five years, New York has increased the number of bike lanes and thus the number of bikers has increased.

There has also been an increase in motorized bikes (also called e-bikes) and e-scooters in the city, leading to an increase in pedestrian accidents involving a bike or e-bike.

Before stepping off the sidewalk be sure to look both ways in the bike lane.

Don’t visit Times Square

Manhattan’s Times Square is a great place to see many attractions, eat great food and watch Broadway plays. But, that is only one neighbourhood in the city!

You can visit a museum such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on the Upper East Side. Every Saturday from 6pm to 8pm is Pay-What-You-Wish hours. Still, you must obtain timed tickets before your visit, which sell out quickly.

And if you are curious about exploring other boroughs of New York, you can visit Domino Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at no cost and take in the beautiful sights of the East River, or visit the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. It is $30 a ticket for the all-garden pass for non-New York City residents.

Bring cash

Plenty of services in New York City still use cash as the primary form of exchanging currency, and some places will offer a discount if you use cash instead of card.

Cash is useful for places like coffee shops, bakeries, and $1 pizzerias.

You also may need cash if you plan to take advantage of NYC nightlife as some clubs and bars have cash-only cover charges.

Plus, cash is typically the preferred tipping method.

Skip Ubers and take a cab

Even though Ubers are a popular form of transportation in other cities, New York is famous for its yellow taxi cab service.

Both car services use time and distance to calculate the trip price but you’re more likely to get a better deal with taxis.

Yellow cabs do not surge charge during rush hour, unlike Uber, and you can give them specific directions to take to avoid extra fees.

Plus the iconic yellow cars are nearly always available to hail on the street whereas Ubers have to be summoned.

Don’t wear open-toed shoes

It goes without saying, New York is known for being dirty.

People throw cigarettes, gum, trash, bodily fluids, and more on the streets and sidewalks often so be sure to wear close-toed shoes when venturing around.

Bring a reusable bag

If you plan to do any shopping in New York then you’re going to need to bring a reusable bag.

In 2020, New York City banned plastic bag usage and implemented a 5-cent charge on paper bags.

This means if you’re shopping at a store you’ll likely have to pay an extra 5 cents per paper bag you use but not all stores carry paper bags.

Some boutiques and smaller shops won’t offer paper bags and instead offer pricey canvas bags.

Not only is it easier to use a reusable bag, and eco-friendly, but you’re avoiding the small additional charge when you bring your own.

Don’t assume there will be public restrooms

The city houses many things, but public restrooms aren’t one of them. Restaurants and other establishments generally have bathroom availability for patrons.

So to avoid having to buy something just to go to the toilet, relieve yourself before you head out on the town!

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