Moving to New York? 7 Tips to Navigate the City Like a Local

Moving to New York is daunting enough, what with finding a place, looking for schools, and figuring out your commute. The last thing you want to do is come across as a newbie. The following tips will make you seem like a lifelong New Yorker.

You can always spot people who haven’t quite got the moving to New York thing down pat yet. They’re the ones that march eagerly toward the empty subway car instead of crowding into the crammed ones with everyone else. They’re the ones that buy bagels at the end of the day. They learn very quickly that those things are on the “what not to do when you’re new to New York” list. Want to know more of what not to do? Read on.

Times Square at Night

Image Source: Flickr/Richard Ricciardi

1. Avoid. Times. Square.

Unless you work there, live there, or you’ve got a really good reason to be there, there’s really no reason for you to hang out in Times Square. It gets really busy there, with tourists and street vendors packed shoulder to shoulder. How tight does it get? It’s crowded at midnight. Oh, did you think we mean “Avoid Times Square on New Year’s Eve”? No, we mean avoid Times Square on a Tuesday.

Cheap Umbrellas

Image Source: Flickr/Liam Kearney

2. Invest in a Good Umbrella

They tempt you, drawing you in when you need them most — we’re talking about cheap umbrellas, of course. They grace every bodega, taunting you when a freak thunderstorm hits. They’re cheap, but they’re cheap for a reason: They’ll last you a block before they’re destroyed by a gust of wind. Plan ahead and invest in a good umbrella.

3. Scope Out the Underground WiFi Spots

There are subway stations in NYC with full-blown WiFi, thanks to wireless carrier deals with NYC’s MTA. This means that if you have to send a text, you’re awaiting an important email, or you need to make an emergency phone call, you can do it at one of these stations. As of the end of 2014, 76 stations in Manhattan and Queens were wired. The plan is for every subway station in the city to be set up by 2017. Some of the stations on the list include Herald Square, Bryant Park, and the 81st Street B and C train station underneath the Museum of Natural History.

4. Speaking of Empty Subway Cars …

That sole empty subway car in an rush-hour train packed full of passengers is empty for a reason. Trust us. Sardine it in a cramped car like everyone else.

Houston Street

Image Source: Flickr/Wally Gobetz

5. Houston Street

It’s pronounced “HOW-stuhn.” Never say “HYOO-stuhn.” You’re welcome.

6. Save Money and Make Your Own Chipotle

We get it; you’re busy. After moving to New York, you don’t have time to cook for yourself all the time. The thing is, if you eat lunch out every day, you end up spending a lot of money that you could be saving. Even if you “only” spend $10 per day on lunch, that’s at least $200 per month. (That doesn’t include your $5 latte and $2 bagel in the morning, adding another $140 per month.) Insane, no? Instead, you can stock up on groceries from places like Costco (order it online via Instacart) and find recipes online that teach you how to make your own Chipotle. Then you can splurge on yourself once a month without feeling guilty.

Taxi, Taxi

Image Source: Flickr/Damian Morys

7. Practice Good Cab Etiquette

These days, with the proliferation of car services like Uber and Lyft, catching a cab may seem like a 2004 person’s problem. But there will come a time when you will need to hail a yellow cab. Don’t cheat by going downwind (or upwind) of someone who’s been patiently waiting for a car. The cab karma gods will get you.

Main Image Source: Flickr/Robert Francis


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1 Comment

  1. Edna Turner
    July 23, 2015

    Thank you so much for these amazing advices! I am going to move to New York after my graduation and I can’t wait to get there! Now I am trying to learn as much as possible for this city! Thank you again!


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