Travel: How to Fake the NYC Lifestyle as an Outsider

Brighter than Vegas
Justin in SD / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA


While being enthralled in the magic that is Times Square, you may not notice that you stand out like a sore thumb. Here’s how to avoid getting caught in the crossfire of an angry New Yorker trying to catch their train, getting scammed, and everything in between.  New Yorkers are not all the same, but they do tend to follow certain patterns in certain situations.

Pick up the pace!

New Yorkers are in a hurry – all the time! Stay out of everybody’s way by walking at a fast pace. An interesting study done in 2006 by Richard Wiseman measured the seconds it took people in different major cities to walk 60 feet. He found that the walking speed for people in a city “provides a reliable measure of the pace of life in a city”. New York City came in 8th in the world (and the only US city to make the list of 32) with 12 seconds to walk 60 feet.

With all the fast walking going on in New York, it is important to stay out of people’s way. Texting and walking not only looks stupid everywhere, but in New York it is a major break in the code of conduct. If you must spend more than a second looking at your phone, pull over and get out of the way.

Immediately buy a Time Out New York Magazine

This will help your adventures in NYC go as smoothly as possible, so get this immediately upon arrival at the newsstand. It will clue you in to the secrets that most tourists don’t know. Wouldn’t you like to know the days and hours that museums open up their doors for free? How about the new art gallery opening events and restaurant reviews? You’ll need this useful information about as much as you’ll need some crucial technology to navigate the city.

Download a few apps

Hopstop makes sense of the confusing subway system, and pretty much guarantee you get on the correct train. CabSense NYC is also extremely helpful if, for some reason you have to take a cab instead of walking or using the subway. This app tells you which nearby cross streets will be the best to try to hail a cab depending on the day and time.

Don’t get lost with New York City Compass, which will tell you if you are making your way up, down, or crosstown. When lunch time rolls around and you are wandering the streets like the helpless tourist that you are, comes in handy to show you where many food trucks are parked so you can pick what you want and head in the truck’s direction armed with knowledge of daily specials and discounts.

Sidewalk Scams

The best way to make it past the following scams (or variants of the following) is to wear headphones and ignore the people that approach you. Tourists and college kids are great targets for scammers – and if you give attention and then try to back out, you may end up getting mugged. If they are really persistent you should run into the nearest building, or as a last resort pretend not to speak English. Never fall into the following common scams:

  • Shaking hands with strangers – they might not let go until you give them money
  • Raising money for kids basketball jerseys
  • Paying for the glasses of the guy who bumps into you. He’ll argue that you give him 50 dollars to cover some of the costs of his glasses due to your carelessness.

With these things in mind you can blend in and avoid the desperation of getting lost or scammed, which should make your vacation to the Big Apple the best that it can be.

Author: Mary Song is a writer for Best Travel Deals from Albany, NY. When she isn’t writing about New York attractions and hotel deals, she enjoys gardening and playing with her dogs and cats. She likes to vacation all over the Europe, the Caribbean and the best parts of the U.S.


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