Tuesday, February 05, 2013

NYC Diaries: 7 signs you're a tourist

Hello, all! So I was thinking about what my next blog post would be, and I decided to go with something specifically related to NYC. As you know, New York City is the land of tourists. People come from far and wide to see our many landmarks, from the Empire State Building to the largest Macy’s in the world. And of course, we native New Yorkers can easily tell who’s a local and who’s a foreigner. How, you ask? Well, a trained eye can help you out with that one. And of course, there are a few tell-tale signs to look out for. You’ll know instantly that someone is a tourist if they...
Take photos of random displays or objects
I see people snapping pictures of things like the electronic traffic signals all the time, and I have to wonder, "Why do they want a photo of something so mundane? Are there no traffic signs in other parts of the country?"
Ride the double-decker buses
No native New Yorker rides in one of those things. Ever. Try the subway if you’re brave and/or don’t mind getting lost. It’s a whole lot faster.
Buy or wear an I <3 em="" ny=""> shirt
Those little shops are specifically set up for tourists, and are way overpriced. If you want souvenirs to bring home, buy a New York Times paper. It’s a lot cheaper and screams New York more than a t-shirt does.
Stand still in the middle of a busy sidewalk
This is not only unusual, it’s also dangerous. (Do you want to get trampled?). Pedestrian traffic is very thick and very fast on New York’s busier streets. So make sure you just keep moving.
Use a map
NYC may have an intricate subway system, but any self-respecting New Yorker already has it memorized. Besides, burying your nose in a map will make you miss out on the beautiful (and often strange) scenery.
Are easily shocked
For most people, seeing public nudity (the Naked Cowboy, anyone?) or any number of out-of-the-ordinary behavior is enough to make heads turn and eyes bulge. But here in New York, we’ve seen it all. Nonchalance is our middle name, and nothing really shocks or disturbs us anymore.
Tip street performers
Maybe we’re a little jaded or maybe we’re just used to it, but this is one thing NYC-ers typically don’t do. It’s not that we don’t enjoy the music or dancing or acrobatic performance. It’s just that we see them everywhere. They haunt our subway stations and even perform on the trains. Seriously.
So there you have it, folks. If you’re ever in the Big Apple, see if you can tell the difference between the New Yorkers and your fellow tourists. (And no, we here don’t usually say “folks.”). Until next week!
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--By Caitlin from Stream of Caitlinness


  1. I went to New York a couple of years ago and I absolutely loved it.

    I know those NYC souvenirs are a little expensive but I do love them. I can get a New York Times here in the Netherlands too, so I'd rather have an actual souvenir than a newspaper.

  2. I enjoyed reading these seven signs. Very funny indeed.

  3. My parents moved to NYC several years ago, so I'm in that weird tourist-sort-of-local gap. I've done approximately two of those things on that list (ridden a double-decker bus, used a map in public).

    I think you need to have a psychological evaluation if you think stopping in the middle of a NYC sidewalk is a good idea....local or not.

  4. I've never been to NYC but I bet if I do visit I'll be a total tourist, although I won't take pics of traffic signals. lol.

  5. Golly gee, thanks for these insights! I never thought that riding a tour bus would make me look like a gosh darn tourist!

  6. Many incredible musicians get their start busking (one of the 2013 Grammy nominees for best folk album started busking in NY and across the country less than six years ago- the experience, funded by the tips, helped him to get a foothold). I don't care if it does make me look like a tourist; if they're good, I'm giving them some cash for it. Their music is worth something, and if too many people treat it as worthless, a lot of talented musicians end up pushing paper or telemarketing or waiting tables instead of ever being heard.

    Seriously. Stop and listen, when you can. Some of the future's headliners are playing on the street today. Hell, some of today's headliners still play on the streets now and then.


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