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From New Yorkers to Tourists With Love

by Stephanie Kuo
A A
Times Square

vagueonthehow, flickr

The week between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve is often peak tourist season. And in preparation, a NYC etiquette expert dishes the do's and dont's for visitors.

For many New Yorkers, there are a few key places to avoid at all costs during the holidays – like Rockefeller Center or Herald Square. But the most famous – or the infamous to the locals – is Times Square, where many will agree some of the worst acts of tourism occur.

Henry Alford is an etiquette expert and the author of Would it Kill You to Stop Doing That? A Modern Guide to Manners. He said the three most egregious tourist violations are:

  1. Walking four-abreast on the sidewalk: “If you and your family form this phalanx of human meat, you are going to incur the wrath of all New Yorkers."
  2. Not knowing how and when to say “Thank you” and “Excuse me."“It’s a small act of courtesy that I think everyone should do.”
  3. Blocking doorways“I have like a little robot voice. I go, ‘Doorway, doorway, doorway,’” he said. “It makes me pig-biting mad!”

 

Although New Yorkers have developed quite the bad rap for being rude, Alford said it’s really about tourists being aware and learning to adapt to the environment – no matter how fast-paced or no-nonsense it is.

“Know that when you come here, you don’t want to be a clot in this bloodstream because we’re just going to roar right over you,” Alford said. “And good luck with that.”

But even though congested sidewalks and blocked subway doors can be infuriating at times, Alford said New Yorkers really should cut tourists more slack – because we’ve all been guilty of being the tourist somewhere. 

For more pointers on how to be on your best behavior when visiting the Big Apple, listen to Johnny T. His video (below) is better than any guide book on the market. 

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