New York Survival Tips I live in New York City, and work in a major tourist destination, so I see a lot of their ilk on a regular basis. In addition, I've traveled extensively myslf, so I feel I have a pretty good feel as to the perils and joys of being a tourist. It is in this spirit of camaraderie that I offer these tips on being a tourist in the Big Apple (that's what it's called, here), the greatest fucking city on the planet.
Say "fuck" a lot. It'll help you blend in with everyone in this stylish city. You may not be able to afford your Manolo Blahniks or dinner at Nobu, but if you say, "Gimme a fuckin' slice" (never a "piece" of pizza, always a slice), no one will ever suspect that you're an interloper.
Don't wear your backpack on your chest, no matter how worried you are of pickpockets and thieves. First of all, you look like a tool. Second of all, it's like wearing a big neon target in the middle of your cammoflage, a target reading, "I'm a tourist, and my valuables are all sitting right here for you to grab. Don't forget to ask about my money belt!" Hell, if I carried a weapon these days, I'd mug you myself. Carry everything in a stylish fanny pack instead.
Stay out of Central Park, even during the day. It's infiltrated by pederasts, some of whom prefer to roam the leafy green areas of the park while jacked up on LSD and angel dust. You should especially avoid the benches near the 7th Avenue and Central Park South entrance to the park, which is a known meeting place for the local chapter of NAMBLA.
As a tourist, the best places for you to get the most out of your New York experience can be found in Midtown, especially Times Square. Everyone walks at your speed there, and it's one of the few places you can safely take your camera out without having it snatched away by a local knife-carrying boy. So click away at the stunning neon be-decked architecture of Times Square, content in your safety. If you get tired or wish to partake in some of New York City's finest dining, you can always step into one of our world-famous chain restaurants conveniently located just north of the square. Some may recommend "Applebees," but may I suggest TGI Friday's? The world's largest TGI Friday's can be found within moment's walk of Times Square. New Yorkers love to eat, and so an hour in this quaint cavern of a restaurant will give you a chance to examine Gothamites in their element. While you watch, order the Jalepeno Poppers. Aren't they delish? "Delish" is Yiddish (that's Jewish speak) for "tasty." The secret is the Ranch dressing, slathered over everything.
Don't under any circumstances leave Manhattan. You may have heard of the outer "boroughs" of New York in your favorite sitcoms such as "King of Queens," but remember that sitcoms are fictional. There is nothing interesting going on in New York City outside of Manhattan (and, even then, there's no need to go north past 50th Street or south past 14th Street). If Manhattan was good enough for Carrie Bradshaw, it should be good enough for you (she was only quasi-fictional, after all!).
If you see a celebrity, don't look them in the eye, make any sudden movements, or loud noises. New York celebrities can attack when provoked, and the notoriously corrupt NYPD will do nothing to stop it. Donald Trump once tore a sycophant's throat out with his teeth on local television, and the NYPD didn't even file charges.
The truly adventurous tourist may want to head out for a drink one evening. This is a dangerous proposition, and should only be attempted by those with fine-tuned survival instincts. All potential muggers know that anyone heading towards a bar must be carrying upwards of $100 (the standard price of three cocktails in a dive bar. You should carry more if you want a place with windows or a working toilet). The best area for tourists to go is Chelsea, on the lower west side of the island. To blend in, might I recommend leather chaps? Agree with anything anyone asks of you while in this neighborhood. They are just kidding about "nipple clamps," but they might get offended if you refuse to play along. This is New Yorker's way of extending an appendage of friendship towards you; we are a rough lot, but fair.
If you choose to go to another neighborhood for a drink, please be warned. The smoking ban, enacted two years ago, has pushed a lot of aggressive people out to the entryway of local bars. Remember, it's not illegal to smoke crystal meth in bars, only cigarettes, so those people chain smoking furiously outside their bar are just trying to take the edge off of what's not yet illegal inside. They may also blow smoke directly in your face--do not take it as an insult. Smokers are driven by the desire for everyone to smell of smoke, whether than can smoke in bars or not. Take it as a sign of affection--one of those smokers may be sidling up next to you once they re-enter the bar, entranced by the scent they put to you minutes earlier.
You're probably safest if you stay in your hotel room from 10pm until 9am. Take my word for it. Best not to look out the window without using a mirror to peer around corners first. Just trust me on this. You're better off not knowing why.
In the event of terrorist attack or loss of pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the Empire State Building, Crystler Building, and AOL Time Warner Center. Please affix your mask before helping your child. Staten Island can be turned into a flotation device in case of a water landing. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the nearest exit, taking into account that the nearest exit might be a tunnel. Regardless, the party here in the radioactive crater that remains of the city will still be infinitely cooler than what you'd get up to back in the Midwest.
Get out of my way when you're walking on the street with me. Otherwise I'll burn you with my cigarette.