SKIP THE BIG APPLE
Any New Yorker will tell you that there is a real love-hate dynamic about living in the city. The glamorous nightlife, delicious cheap eats, and one-of-a-kind boutiques come with a price, namely never-ending construction, traffic, high prices, and a fast-paced attitude. If you or your travel companions can’t get on board with some of New York’s quirks, maybe it’s best to fuggedaboudit for your next vacation.
PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE NOISE
It’s noisy, everywhere and always. Visitors will likely have a jack hammer outside the window, or someone rolling through the streets on a souped-up bicycle with an old-school boombox blaring music. It’s not just the streets that are loud — the typical noise level of restaurants and bars requires you to yell across the table to your dining companions.
PEOPLE WHO ARE CLAUSTROPHOBIC
Space is at a premium, and while there are some parts of the world where even more people pack into a single subway car, expect a lot of bodies touching you while visiting New York. Sidewalks are packed with people rushing by on either side, and establishments often put an inch or two between tables, requiring diners to pretend that there’s not another couple just 4 inches away trying to have their own date night.
PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW HOW TO BUDGET
The rule of spending in New York is that whatever dollar amount is in your wallet is exactly how much you are guaranteed to spend. Just walking on the streets can somehow cost $100 between a snack, transportation, and maybe a stop into a museum. Creating and sticking to a daily budget is a must for anyone who doesn’t want to end up spending a small fortune on a quick visit.
PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE IN NATURE
There are some iconic parks in New York, but mostly it’s a concrete jungle. There are few opportunities to appreciate foliage or stop and smell the flowers outside of the flower district in midtown or Central Park. The air tends to be thick with exhaust fumes, restaurant exhaust vents, and in the summer, straight-up hot garbage.
PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE OR HAVE TROUBLE WALKING
New York is a walking city. Considering the congestion and expense of all forms of transportation, anything under a mile is generally considered walking distance. Longer distance routes can be fun to walk in nice weather, but the weather isn’t always nice. Even when opting for subway rides, expect at least a ¼ mile walk. Comfortable shoes are a must. New York’s subway system is also notoriously difficult to navigate for individuals using a wheelchair — or those with a stroller or heavy luggage for that matter — so it’s important to know which of the subway stations are accessible for those circumstances.
PEOPLE WHO PREFER CHAIN ESTABLISHMENTS
While things are sadly changing, New York is famous for offering one-of-a-kind mom-and-pop shops. Big chain stores and restaurants are for the suburbs, and often fall flat within the context of other exciting city offerings. People who come to New York and go for Domino’s Pizza are considered heathens by the many locals who prefer the city’s own world-renowned pizza. If you love the familiar consistency of chains, stay in the state’s cozier suburbs.
PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE EXPLORING
Locals will often advise tourists to simply walk around a certain neighborhood or area to get the full experience. Part of the fun is wandering around the streets and popping into places that catch your eye, but if wandering around an unfamiliar place gives you anxiety, it’s best to find another, possibly smaller, city.
PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE GETTING LOST
Most of Manhattan is on a grid, which makes things easy to find, but step out in the West Village or financial district, and even locals have a hard time navigating the winding, one-way streets. Plan for extra time when heading to a destination, or maybe find another city for your vacation.
PEOPLE WHO ARE SENSITIVE TO SMELLS
New York can get pretty smelly, sometime offensively so. Trash bags abound on the streets, and especially in warm weather the smell of hot garbage is something New Yorkers just learn how to live with. Even when all the smells aren’t bad, walking down a street can be a bombardment of everything from fresh fish to sizzling burgers and tanning leather, which can quickly lead to sensory overload.
PEOPLE WHO OFFEND EASILY
In some parts of the country a truck driver and a pedestrian exchanging R-rated words would be scandalous, but in New York it’s something of an unofficial greeting — and neither party feels too offended. People in New York are direct, which can come off as abrasive. People who are used to more polite interactions are in for culture shock.
PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE CROWDS
Restaurants, museums, streets — virtually everything in New York attracts a crowd. Avoiding a crowd in the city means staying in your hotel room or having so much money that you can book a VIP suite for every outing. Learning how to deal with people brushing up against you and finding the right balance of pushing your way through and going with the flow are crucial skills to managing the sheer mass of people.
PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE DIVERSITY
Whatever the climate in the rest of the United States, or even the world, New York is an endlessly diverse city. It’s possible to encounter every type of person unapologetically being themselves. The diversity of New York is one of the iconic qualities that makes it shine so bright on the global stage, and those who don’t appreciate the diversity are instantly in the minority.
PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE ADVENTUROUS FOOD CHOICES
New York is one of the few places in the world where it’s possible to get just about any cuisine imaginable within a few miles radius. From Vietnamese street food and traditional Japanese ramen to experimental Peruvian cuisine and classic Russian borscht, New York has a little bit of everything. Coming to New York without eating your way through a few of the specialties would be a huge mistake.
PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE BARS
It’s perfectly easy and acceptable to visit or even live in New York City without indulging in alcohol, and the non-alcoholic cocktail scene is growing. That being said, alcohol is a big part of the culture of the city for many people, with some of the world’s most acclaimed bars and beverage professionals. Drunk people on the streets is a given any night of the week, and there will likely be people enjoying beverages everywhere you go. If being around alcohol is difficult, or if you are a staunch advocate for abstinence, it could lead to trouble.
PEOPLE WHO HAVE PROBLEMS WITH AUTHORITY
As an outsider, it’s important to respect the law of the land. In NYC, managers won’t think twice about throwing out a rude customer and using some choice language to do it. If a problem escalates, the city has some of the toughest cops around — officers who have seen and heard everything imaginable. A night in jail here is also no joke. Even if a rule seems unreasonable or arbitrary, and while it’s a good idea to be on your best behavior wherever you travel, New York is one place where it’s definitely a good idea to be mindful of the local laws.
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