new york city manners vimbly

She sure is a beauty, isn’t she?

From those of us that are lucky enough to call this great city our home, we appreciate the magic it gives to visitors. We love walking by a group of people admiring that building we so nonchalantly pass everyday on our way to work with no further attention given to its magnitude. We love that everything inspires you, and that we inspire you. “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” is the mantra we are following — and we know many people would love to trade places with us.

That being said, you tend to forget that we are actually trying to make it here. The infamous New York minute is constantly ticking by, and as we try to juggle our lives and rush between boroughs — our emotions and nerves might be running on 6th gear. So in case you don’t want to experience the rude side of The Big Apple — you might want to read this. Learning some New York manners will make your stay much more enjoyable, and we’ll invite you back with open arms.

Disclaimer: We New Yorkers are actually quite friendly if you’re not interrupting us on our morning commutes. How would you like it if on your commute someone knocked on the window of your car to ask for directions? We’re walkers here, so that’s what it can feel like when a tourist is holding us up on the sidewalk. We’re generally not just taking a nice morning stroll. Sorry if we’re in a rush. We are very happy you’ve come to enjoy our city. Follow these tips to have the best time possible.

Subway manners:

new york city manners subway etiquette

Learn the subway etiquette before entering the platform

We know you’re on vacation with no hurry in the world. But despite your jetlag — you’re on the go at rush hour. If you are committed to taking that risk, we suggest you follow these simple rules:

  1. Stay on the right hand side of the escalator. Nothing a New Yorker in a hurry (Which, let’s be honest, we always are) hates more than blocking of escalator. Left hand side is the fast lane – don’t block it.
  2. Yes, we get it. Even Hillary Clinton had problems with it, but please just swipe your card with the right amount of speed. Not too fast, not too slow. If you’re still trying for the tenth time in a row — maybe step aside and let people pass. We’ll appreciate your manners. 
  3. Prepare to be pushed around in the car. There’s no such thing as personal space when on a subway during rush hour. If you don’t move inside, you’ll be moved inside. Simple as that.

Stairs, escalators, elevators…

new york city manners vimbly

You don’t want to be THAT person.

You will most certainly be cursed at if you stop right in front of that last step, elevator door or end of an escalator. Worst yet, if you dare to pull out your phone while you do it. Dear tourist, take a step to the side for goodness sake, and let people behind you pass. If you don’t step aside, you’ll create a bottleneck effect a.k.a everyone behind you gets stuck. In less than a New York minute, you’ll receive some very deadly stares. So just for everyone’s sanity – don’t do it.

Selfless selfie

New York city manners selfie vimbly

Selfie time! But please, pose on the side.

The Rockefeller Center is cool (especially during the holidays), so is The Empire State Building and pretty much everything here. Yes, New York is a beautiful canvas for photos, and that’s why we all love taking them. But don’t be selfish just because you’re taking a selfie. Step aside from the center of the sidewalk and strike a pose — you’ll get plenty of likes from us.
Crossing of streets

new york city manners crosswalk vimbly

Stop and step aside.

You’re most likely from a smaller town, or a city where people actually follow the rules. But now you’re in New York — we don’t have time for rules.

Waiting for the light to change is an excellent opportunity to snap some pictures or just admire your surroundings. But blocking the way is a dreadful mistake. We get it, you don’t want to mess with the police and you are most certainly in the right. But if a local spent time waiting for every light to change, they would be spending half the day standing at crosswalks. If you’re not into jaywalking — let locals pass. Have some manners.

Slow walking

new york city manners vimbly

Hand in hand you go

You don’t realize how much you utterly dislike people walking slow, until you’re surrounded by them on a crowded street when trying to get from point A to point B in a hurry. Better yet, people walking slow in groups, hand in hand or next to each other.

But this is the reality when living in New York. No, we don’t expect you to walk our pace, but we expect you to give us space. New Yorkers are not afraid of expressing their feelings out loud, so hold on to your map in case you decide to challenge a busy business man on his way to a meeting. 

Bike lanes

new york city manners bike lanes vimbly

It’s written on the walls. No lanes, it’s written and painted on the lanes. Like actually.

It is quite self explanatory — yet so difficult to understand (even if there is an actual bike painted on the lane in case of language barriers). When walking on the streets, or a bridge, just steer away from these lanes. You don’t want to get hit by a messenger in hurry.

If you decide to be adventurous — which we strongly encourage — rent a Citibike and explore the city by wheels! But please, oh please, stay away from sidewalks.


Your friendly New Yorker