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As a New York native, I take pride in my city. When family and friends visit, it’s always great to introduce them to different neighborhoods. It’s almost as if every 10 blocks of New York has a different personality. After a while, they tell me that there are little “NY” things that they haven’t picked up yet, like the fact that no self-respecting New Yorker would ever say that a pizza or bagel as good NY ones exist, even if they secretly believe it. (Which means they’re wrong, no pizza is anything like New York pizza. Lookin’ at you Chicago.)

I thought I’d offer my two cents on how to survive the vibe of the city. Not that I’ve fully even figured it out, (I doubt anyone REALLY figures it out), but having been born and raised here, I’ve picked up a few NY street-smart tips.

“Wait a Minute!”

Ok, so here’s the deal. New Yorkers really don’t have time for anything. That’s how we get everything done. A New Yorker’s walk is everyone else’s run. True story.

With that said, never, and I mean never, stop in the middle of a sidewalk. Just don’t do it. If you’re trying to contact your significant other, have to call your doctor, teacher, lawyer, dog, whatever, step aside and make that call. People are probably already late as is, but they will blame you for those .02 seconds lost when you decided to stop midway. The only acceptable place to do that is Central Park. Otherwise, if you stopped in the middle of a street and icy looks could be felt, New Yorkers will give you a stare equivalent to walking into a freezer. Full of ice. In Antarctica. On Neptune.

“Where’d My Money Go?”

New York is the city of business, and by that, we mean everything is a business. When walking, you’ll notice little tables set up with clothing, iphone cases, bags and accessories, makeup, pretty much anything that can be sold. This is where you have to walk as fast as possible without making eye contact. Now normally that would be considered rude (and to be honest, it kinda is), but slowing down and making eye contact is their cue to begin their pitch. If you do get sucked into a vortex of never-ending deals and “best prices”, then, well, you’ll probably end up buying something, because those guys are REALLY good at what they do. I probably have 4 or 5 scarves from them, and I don’t even wear scarves.

“Hmm, People Are Crossing the Street, I Should Too!”

NO.

New Yorkers do this thing all the time where they’ll cross the street even when they don’t have the light, zoom past a coming car, make it to the other side, and continue walking their normal 3.5 mph. Unless you’re 100% sure you’re not going to die, (and by that I mean the driver gave you a signal to let you pass or that there aren’t any cars in sight), don’t do it.

Don’t Be Me.

I could write a book about NY Subway tips. We all know the obvious “don’t sit in an empty cart, it’s empty for a reason” tip, but how about the “when you step out of the cart to let people leave, make sure you can get back on” tip? This is vital. I can’t count the number of times I’ve stepped out of a cart to let people leave, only to have everyone at the station SHOVE themselves into a cart that no longer fits me. Don’t be that person. Don’t be me.

Actually, there are a couple of (unfortunate) “don’ts” to keep in mind.

Don’t always count on finding a seat. Don’t always count on being on time (remember those people stopping halfway that we talked about?) There will be people in your way when you’re rushing to the station or running down the stairs. Waiting. Stopping. Causing everyone to be put into a terrible mood. Sometimes they stop in the middle staircase. Sometimes they stand around in front of a train that they won’t even get on. Sometimes they won’t move when you try to get out of the train. The thought gives me anxiety, but I digress.

Here’s another thing. Imagine sitting at home, connecting to wifi and disconnecting every two minutes for a prolonged period of time. It would drain your battery right? The same thing happens on the subway. Your phone battery catches signals on only certain stops (for now). That means signal is being cut off and connected several times throughout a ride. It helps to put it on airplane mode to save battery, or make sure it’s always fully charged. Otherwise, it’s going to go from 30% to 5% REAL quick.

“Is that Guy Dressed Like A lobster?”

Yes, yes he is. To be honest I can’t explain that.

Our Weather Is Ridiculous

New York is notorious for its strange seasonal weather. Spring is in Winter, Winter is in Summer, Summer is in fall and Fall is maybe 3 days long. So make the most out of those fall hoodies while you can before the 1 day summer and winter week from the frozen part of hell arrive.

“LOOK! It’s Leonardo DiCaprio!”

I have lived in New York my entire life. I have yet to notice a celebrity on my own; whenever one is around, either a friend points them out, by which time they’re out of sight, or I’m too busy walking by to notice. You might notice them. There’s no “right” way to react, but most New Yorkers don’t really don’t care. Feel free to cry/scream, though. No one’s gonna hold it against you for freaking out over Leonardo DiCaprio.

That’s it for now. As we all continue to maneuver NYC and all its craziness, I’ll be sure to keep you updated on everyday life hacks to making NYC your own empire.

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