Cultural intelligence

Do’s and don’ts in New York City

Expect New Yorkers to be friendly but in a hurry. They will absolutely help you with directions or whatever you need, but get to the point. They are not big on pleasantries or idle chitchat. Just ask, "How do I get to 8th Avenue from here?" and they will help you. Skip, "Hi. I'm from Australia, and I'm wondering ... " because as much as they want to help you, they are in a hurry. 

Have your credit card out before the taxi stops or before you get to the checkout line and know what kind of coffee you want before you talk to the barista. There are 8 Million people that crowd onto this little island called Manhattan each day – things have to run smoothly and as fast as possible.

Some Tips:

- Houston Street is pronounced House-stun Street, not Hyooston Street.

- New Yorkers tend to avoid the touristy places, like Times Square: too many slow-moving gawkers. So don't invite your New Yorker friends to meet you there.

- Barnes and Noble has clean bathrooms.

- Don't trust anyone on a bicycle. (Sorry, cyclists, I know some of you obey traffic laws. But many of you, don't.) 

- If you're trying to hail a yellow cab, limo drivers will try to lure you into their black cars. Know that this will cost you a lot more than the cab will.


NYC has about two temperate months a year. The rest of the time, it's freezing or boiling. Pack appropriate clothes. Preferably layers. 


Have you made some blunders in New York?

share print