How to Be a Tourist In New York City

The following post was written by Jenna Nobs.

1. Hold your iPhone at arm’s length from your face as you struggle to orient your direction on Google Maps. You might also consider carrying a sign that says, “Free mobile device, I won’t put up a struggle.”

2. Look right at the Empire State building and tell your friend that it’s not the Empire State Building. I mean it can’t be, because the other buildings around it look taller, right? Perspective, what’s that?

3. Buy a hotdog from a street vendor. Oh, this strange unwashed man is going to nestle this oddly pale dog into a bun with his bare hands? What a personal touch, isn’t New York City charming!

4. Run up to people in Elmo suits like it’s fucking Disney World. Walk away with a souvenir photo and a complimentary squeeze on the ass.

5. Marvel at people who have coated themselves in metallic paint to look like statues, then scream like a little girl when they jump at you. Natives, by contrast, never lose their cool. Twerking in the middle of the sidewalk, no problem. Body pulled out of the Hudson, another day on Law & Order. Remember tourists, always lose your cool.

6. Apologize for bumping into people, and I mean every single one. We live in a civilized society.

7. Point in a completely random direction when someone asks you where a major landmark is. It’s just so flattering, how can you not mask your ignorance in that situation?

8. Comment that you’re pretty sure this is the street corner where Ice-T called someone his bitch on SVU. It’s perfect because you can’t be wrong.

9. Hail a taxi like you’re sticking your hand into an open flame. New Yorkers do tend to bite.

10. Walk down the block in a random direction to determine whether you’re going uptown or downtown, then turn around because obviously you’re wrong. Again. Seriously do natives have an internal compass?

11. Make eye contact with pushy street vendors and listen to their ten-minute sales pitch/accept a lot of fliers you don’t want while native passersby snicker at your vulnerability.

12. Whip out your disposable camera every time you see a building that looks historical or a guy in a Spiderman suit. Feel free to block foot traffic as you do so.

13. Be in Times Square.

14. Don’t give up your seat on the subway, no matter how old, pregnant, or weak standing passengers may be. Jesus Christ you guys, I’m kidding– this is New York City, not Lord of the Flies. Have a fucking soul.

33 thoughts on “How to Be a Tourist In New York City

    • thanks so much for the reblog! if this list can help even one tourist look a little less like a tool, then I know I’ve done some good here

  1. Thanks for the feedback guys. I regret to say that although I have lived in New England and visited NYC regularly my whole life, I am still kind of a city noob. At least I recognize it though, right? Feel free to visit me at for some more random insights 🙂 I’m having a great time looking through all of your blogs!

  2. I just wrote a rather unflattering post about NYPD, so I suppose I better hold off on visits to New York for a couple of years. But your advice is definitely good, because I saw hundreds of people following it.

  3. Also, when you’re with several people, be sure to walk abreast so that you block the entire width of the sidewalk. Walk really slowly, too. Or, amble aimlessly so that it’s impossible for people behind you to tell exactly where and how to get around you.

    By the way, Jenna Nobs might be the most awesome name I’ve ever heard.

    • Too true, never forget that the rest of the city is obligated to accommodate your idiocy.

      Why thank you haha- not sure if it can beat Weebles though

  4. This post has reminded me again how much I dislike big cities. I’ve never been to New York, but I used to travel to London frequently. About three days is my limit and then I find that I just want everyone to get out of my face.

    I will visit one day, but I know I will have to brace myself and stop being my usual day-dreaming, slow walking, open, friendly self.

  5. Pingback: I Won an Award! That’s not a Softball Participation Ribbon! | NobsLyfe

  6. Pingback: The Best Ways to Sightsee New York City | Venere Travel Blog

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