Tuesday, August 21, 2012

NYC Tourist Tips

With the enormous influx of tourists to the city, along with lots of newer New Yorkers who seem to have trouble getting with the program, we've seen a coinciding uptick in urban etiquette signage. There's Jay Shells' Metropolitan Etiquette Authority street signs, the plethora of "please be quiet" signs outside of bars and restaurants, and a few rogue posters instructing High Line tourists on how to behave.

Now graphic artist Desirre Jones has put together a tourist etiquette Tumblr, "NYC Tourist Tips," subtitled "How to visit New York City and not have the natives want to stab you... and other helpful hints."


click to enlarge and read

JVNY: What inspired you to make these etiquette posters?

DJ: Well, right now I'm working in Times Square and run-ins with tourists are a daily occurrence. Instead of yelling at them on the street like a crazy person I decided to make the blog.

JVNY: Has the blog helped you to alleviate your sidewalk rage?

DJ: I can't say for sure the blog has helped me feel less pissed off at these idiots, but you know, we're all human and we just got to try to get along together as best we can.



JVNY: Any plan to bring them to print and post them in public spaces?

DJ: I thought about kicking it old-school and making them into wheat pasting posters around the city but I really don't have the money to get arrested right now. Do you have any ideas?

JVNY: Maybe my readers do. Do you take requests?

DJ: Sure, I'd be happy to make up ones based on the requests from your readers. Sounds like fun!


My own request: "Don't walk and text."

47 comments:

charlie said...

Don't New yorkers do all these things as well?

Utherben said...

No, Charlie, we don't.

Anonymous said...

Mine: "Please ask for directions, but don't interrupt other people's conversations."

Little Earthquake said...

Nothing says "New Yorker" like passive-aggression!

John M said...

I walk on the right and always have, even when I lived somewhere else 30 years ago. It's like driving a car, don't understand how the concept seems to mystify others. I used to walk on the right in the mall way back when, even. People naturally do it in the offices where I've worked, too. Are there really so few people where the lefties and meanderers come from that they don't know how to walk?

Ed said...

I used to work on 40th Street and 7th Avenue. Yesterday I went for a job interview on 40th Street and 5th Avenue and planned to go to Bryant Park to eat lunch. A family of tourists had plopped themselves on the corner of 40th and 5th and were casually having a conversation, preventing anyone else from crossing the street. This brought back bad flashbacks of the impossibility of moving around when I used to work when I did (most of my co-workers brown bagged it).

Like the last commentator, I'm completely mystified why people do things things. Its so unnecessary. But in most of the U.S., walking literally is what people do to get between the parking lot and whatever building they are entering. That might be a clue.

Also, the result of middle America's own "occupy New York" movement in the last ten years hasn't be the restoration of some sort of urban equilibrium. Instead you have parts of the city that are "no go" areas for natives again -Midtown in the 40s between 6th and 8th Avenue, the Brooklyn Bridge- not because of the risk of getting mugged, but simply because its too difficult to physically move around.

Anonymous said...

I am fortunate that for the last 2 years I have been able to walk to work every day. Unfortunately, that walk takes me through TSQ twice a day, every day. I have written so many Dear Tourists posts on fb that I could probably write my own book at this point.

Anonymous said...

My hate of tourists in midtown, where I work, knows no bounds. But let's be honest, New Yorkers are just as guilty. I can't tell you how many people I see who live in the city texting on their phone while walking. Also jerks with their brief case in tow walking on the the left side or in the middle of the sidewalk.

Trevor Kirk Lawson said...

How about "Do not stop at the top of the subway stairs when you come out of the station"

Anonymous said...

Another sign that should be made for white Midwestern gentrifiers, Respect. Love how Midwesterners come to your house, eat your food, and then shit in your floor. Nothing says Midwesterners like disrespect and passive-aggression. If they'd dislike NYC and New Yorkers so much, then why move here. There's always that bus at Greyhound to take them back to their suburban sterile home of passive-aggression. Go Pack Go.

Anonymous said...

@Little Earthquake, NY'ers, passive aggressive? What alternate universe do you come from? I've lived in NYC for over 41 years. NY'ers are all different, stop watching NYPD Blue or Kojak, we're tired of the cliches that folks like you throw upon "us", i can tell you what to do with yourself but i'm a guest on here as are you.


Black Bolt

Mariposa said...

I always try to walk on the right side of the sidewalk, but usually get derailed in doing so, because I have to walk around tourists, or particularly self-centered New York trust-fund babies who think people should move for them anyway as they text or gaze around hazily in the middle of everyone's way. A lot of different parties are guilty here. Guiliani and Bloomberg have succeeded in making NYC a haven for tourists by making the city more hospitable to them than to people who live here and pay taxes, but they've also made the city a hospitable environment for people who've seldom or never done a day's work in their lives and, consequently, lack respect and awareness of the rest of the world. That's the problem here.

Grand St. said...

Strange. I thought our reputation was for a more active form of aggression, as in "Getthef*ckouttahere," "Gof*ckyourself," etc.

Mariposa said...

Grand St., I have been known to bellow "MOVE" to people who stand clueless in the middle of the sidewalk when I'm in a hurry.

Pat said...

It is more efficient to pass on the right and a good idea on stairways and in doorways. But I like the sidewalks free, even if I do have to walk around people and vice versa, because some things have to be free, and what is more public than the sidewalk. And I am just as guilty as a tourist of stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to look at something that catches my eye. It's a human thing. But as inconsistent as it seems, I detest people who walk 4 abreast and I have been known to yell, "do you guys have a parade permit, or what?"

marjorie said...

this is great!! tho i think new yorkers are WAY worse than tourists when it comes to sitting territorially knees-apart like dicks on the subway.

my advice for tourists:

magnolia bakery is that way.

if you all 7 of you want to confab to discuss your next stop, please stay in a tight circle and move to the EDGE of the sidewalk.

yes, that's [insert name of celebrity].

Anonymous said...

I used to have to walk from Grand Central to Mad. Ave. I found that it was impossible to pass slow-movers on the right. People were going in and out of stores. It was quicker to snake through on the left--you could see who was coming toward you and avoid them. Of course, sometimes this necessitated stepping into the street, and being highly aware of all traffic.

laura said...

i like the idea of these signs/posters. though i hate generic color photos, (of texters tourists etc), i think the victorian illustrations dont send the right message. i would do old fashioned "new yorker magazine" style cartoons. that would say it all. still be tasteful, & get the attention, be humorous & insulting. btw, new york is not only for suburban tourists & midwestern transplants. its also place where hunrads of thousands immigrants, 3rd world are granted amesty by bloomburg. legal or not, NYC is considered a santuary. the mayor is not doing this for compassion. hes doing it for cheap labor, & payoffs from off shore govts. i notice this blog ignores the 85% of who live in new york, & mop 7/11s, dont speak english, & live in their cloistered enclaves. just saying.......its an aspect that "J" has ignored. many of these people dont "get" new york either. especially taxi drivers.

Anonymous said...

I work near Century 21/new WTC site. I think this part of the city is just as bad as TSQ or maybe worse due to all of the construction and scaffolding. When things get too much (at least once a week) I simply sing to myself a song I made up titled "I Hate People" (the chorus is: hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate). Usually one rendition is enough to make me feel better.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: I have a song of my own that I deploy sotto voce, often in Midtown. It's a blues, and it goes something like this: "Oh, slow-walkin' tourist...why you gotta walk so slow? Your corn-fed ass is blocking...my New York right to go!" But I'll try the "I Hate People" one as well. It sounds...cathartic...

Anyway, "NYC Tourist Tips" is genius! Keep it up, Desirre!

And, btw, the "walk on the right thing"? Doesn't work in the UK...

Anonymous said...

Oh, and here's my tip:

"No, actually that's the Chrysler Building."

Anonymous said...

anon 3:27, i sometimes feeli have a ocd disorder. i see im not the only one. yes, there is a saying- "hell is other people" it seems those "other people" have grown in numbers". tell me, am i losing my mind, or am i trend forcaster?

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Pat. Those sidewalks are where I pass through to make it to work on time, but they're also where I walk with a coworker to get coffee or talk to my wife when we meet for lunch. It's a public space. Get over it, whiners. Or ask Bloomberg for speed-walking lanes.

CrabbyPerson said...

A few years ago in the Times' someone referred to slow-moving tourists as "meanderthals"—perfect term!

I walk through MeatPacking every day, longing for the beef carcasses and blood that smelled way better than the too-hip-for-you crowd that's killing the area. People down there also stop smack in the middle of curb cuts (pity the stroller-driving moms and nannies!) to text or look at the map on their iPhone, all the while oblivious to the rest of us.

I have to learn to sing one of those "Mad New Yorker" songs to get me through the crowds.

Anonymous said...

I love the Shop Local one. I'm a second generation Manhattanite who had to move upstate (following my husband's job) when my girls were little. We visit "home" regularly. Last year my 15yo daughter went to see a Broadway play on a field trip and was FURIOUS that the chaperones gave them the choices of places like Subway and McDonalds for lunch. They were in NYC for @#$# sake, and they ate at a chain? That seriously bothers me. Next time I will go along as a chaperone and make sure they get some real food.

Anonymous said...

A bit silly. First of all, nothing wrong with walking slow. In fact, as a native New Yorker, I highly recommend it to others, natives and visitors alike. Being in a constant state of emergency is not a good way of life.

Secondly, it seems to me that NYC natives are as guilty (if not more so) of texting while talking as the visitors. Probably more so since the visitors are using their phones to take photos of each other making gang signs instead.

- East Villager

Tour Guide Bill said...

I certainly appreciate the frustration many feel as we encounter people stopped at the top of subway stairs or escalators, but rather than shock these people with such violent albeit justified commands, I've taken to overwhelming them with politeness. "Excuse me, thank you thank you very much!" is what I say as I smilingly muscle my way through their obliviousness

Barbara Hanson said...

New New Yorker? Makes as much sense as a new Parisian or a new Roman. New to Ny or a new resident, I would think.

Tour Guide Bill said...

Hear! Hear! And I am constantly amazed when bus loads of kids come to the city only to exclaim - "there's a Starbucks! Ooh, look it! there's Abercrombie!"

Eek.

Anonymous said...

"Please move into the middle of the subway, you are blocking the people getting on behind you" (more NYers than tourists)
"Move out of the door opening and let people off the train before you try to get on"
"Don't expect me to stop walking because you are taking a photo across one of the busiest avenues in the world"
"I can tell you where "the subway" is, but that information is pretty useless without knowing what line you want to take"
"If the taxi's roof light is off, it is taken. That's why no one is stopping for you"
"Mind your four-person golf umbrella when walking down the sidewalk in the rain"
"No, I don't want to see a comedy show tonight"

Tour Guide Bill said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you very much - excuse me! Excuse me! Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

I always wait for people exiting the train, but what drives me nuts is the jerk-offs who wait for the train to stop, the othe passangers to exit, and people to start getting on the train, before they FINALLY get off their ASS and try to push their way out of the train, and then glare rudely at everyone who was blocking their way. If you are getting off at the next stop, be ready to get off. THis goes if you are from the Midwest, New York, or freakin Barbados.

SAS said...

George Carlin: "Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anybody driving faster than you is a maniac?"

I'm sure there are plenty of native New Yorkers who like to walk at a medium pace who don't want to be rushed or pushed aside because someone is running late for their gritty, authentic New York graphic design job. The sidewalk is for everyone. Tourists and shoppers have as valid a reason for being there as those who are on their way to work. If there's someone in your way, try saying "excuse me" instead of using it as an excuse to blame outsiders for what is a well-known cost of living in one of the largest cities in the world.

Anonymous said...

Thank you SAS, that is a lovely sentiment. I've always felt that true native New Yorkers were kind and helpful people who wanted to share their city with others, even if they are usually rushing off somewhere. After an exhausting day of walking in Paris with a toddler and over estimating the distance back to the hotel, a true gentlemen understood my improper French and hailed a taxi for me and I will never forget his kindness. I try to do the same for people visiting my hometown. We should remember that these people are probably tired, jet lagged, confused, not understanding the language, hungry, excited and over-stimulated, so their manners may not be at their best. Your kindness to them will be remembered, if for no other reason than to tell folks back home that "oh no New Yorkers are so nice!".

Just so you don't think I'm a Pollyanna, please feel free to trip NYU students bar hopping in groups and anyone wearing deck shoes.

Tour Guide Bill said...

I'm new to this group, although I've contributed three times today already, but I do have to comment on Mr/Ms Anonymous who has just returned from Paris with gratitude for the kind treatment received at the hands of a native Parisian. Terrific!

But, I must say, what's your problem with "deck shoes"? Or perhaps, like me, you have a real problem with people walking along the street wearing shower flip-flops and such baggy madras shorts you're sure they slept in them - and, my God! Their stomachs! Those T-shirts!

Anonymous said...

i work on 34th and 6th ave. how about - don't wait until you are standing in the subway turnstile to dig through your giant bag for your metrocard.

LS said...

Is there a "fat people should walk single-file" sidewalk ordinance? I bet Bloomberg would go for it.

Anonymous said...

Clever signs. Understandably, NYC can be difficult to navigate for those visiting and for those who live there. I am not from NYC, but I am a frequent visitor and adore the city. The operative word here being "visitor", meaning that I am NOT a tourist. There's a difference. I don't frequent "chain" establishments either. By the way, I have only experienced the nicest, most helpful folks in NYC in the last 25 years, not the belligerent ones. If you get that angry about people you don't even know, maybe it is time for some self-reflection. Kindness, mingled with politeness, works well together.

bronxbee said...

my big pet peeve is the people who *stand* on the left side and refuse to move on the subway escalators. all it takes is a moment or two to observe that those who want to just ride, stay on the right. the rest of us, who have places to be (like *work*) move up the escalator on the left. i have been known to growl "This is *not* a ride at Disneyworld!" also, agree with the "don't just stand there at the top of the subway steps!" i had years ago thought of writing a little booklet for sale called "New York Rules!: A guide for polite visiting in NYC." the NYC blogger beat me to it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, YES "we" fucking do!

Alastair Digby-Vaine-Trumpinton said...

This New York elitism and contempt of tourists goes too far. It's not only lame, but unjustified and illogical. As this blog has (belatedly) observed, New York itself has been transformed into a big Disney World for adults; an enormous shopping mall staffed by millions of hipsters. Yet people who are either natives or (more likely) just managed to spend a lot of their adult lives in New York have acquired some special status, and now have a right to complain about newcomers being slow to "get with the program"...Is that the living in a giant shopping mall program? Like it or not, NYC has been taken over by tourism. The only thing worse than being a tourist is CHOOSING TO LIVE in the most tourist-saturated city on the planet. And don't throw out statistics about London or Paris...

Anita Kelman said...

So where I live now, we have lots of tourists as well. And plenty of them are from New York. The tour buses clog the roads in foliage season, and many tourist drivers seem unaware that they have just stopped on a traveled road when they just put the car in park and get out to admire the view. It's just a part of the landscape here really.

Do you know that some years the fall foliage season would be so full of toursists flocking here, many of whom hadn't even thought to get reservations for a place to stay, that the local Chambers of Commerce had to institute a "take the tourists home for the night" program. Locals would put up stranded toursits, many of whom may I remind you, had come up from NYC.

So chill a bit. Remember that most people don't live in places where videos are played on buildings as in TSQ, and don't have skyscrapers and don't even get to walk a lot as in NYC. Most people, in the US at least, live in places where the walking they do is from their house to the car.

So how about just smiling at the tourists who are admiring your city and dropping plenty of bucks as they do. And I won't complain when you stop dead in the road on a mountain to admire the dying leaves.

Anonymous said...

Like anyone who lives in a tourist destination (NYC) I have hosted fabulous and terrible visitors. Some tourists help me fall in love with my city all over again with their wonder and enthusiasm. There's nothing nicer than hosting visitors who are open to trying new venues and cuisines with an open mind.

On the negative side, I have had visitors who insult my city and whine about everything. These are the ones who brag to their friends back home about how they're going to do all this cool, different stuff then, when actually here, insist on only going to chain restaurants and seeing the most mundane tourist attractions and mainstream musicals. They also insist that you accompany them everywhere, and that you pick up the tab because "this place is too expensive!!!!".

Anonymous said...

I think posting signs, rather than complaining, is the solution. I recall seeing signs in London reminding people to "Walk Left." Walking on the right side is not universal and NYC, like London, attracts people from all over the globe.

Anonymous said...

New Yorkers definitely need the "Keep Right" one - even if they walk faster, they are veering & weaving all over the road & seem to only know how to engage in constant face-offs or games of chicken walking towards each other. The concept of "Keep Right" is lost on most NY'ers - I think it is actually a Midwestern courtesy that NY'ers can't grasp the concept of.

Brian Dubé said...

Pretty funny concept. I love to show the city to others, especially through my daily photo blog (I have readers around the country and around the world) and there are people who are fascinated by local businesses and attractions. Unfortunately, to my chagrin, this isn't always the case. My two nephews came to visit me when they were younger and preferred, above all else - even over the Brooklyn Bridge and the Hayden Planetarium - to visit Toys "R" Us in Times Square. You can read about it here: http://newyorkdailyphoto.com/nydppress/?p=1442

As for etiquette, I'm sure there are New Yorkers who are just as guilty of some of these quirks. I've stopped many times in the middle of the street to take photos or video for my blog. And I've seen many people, New Yorkers and tourists alike, on their phones constantly - that's just the age we live in :)

Anonymous said...

These are without any wit and visually unappealing. Based on the snarky tone and the interview with Ms. Jones, I'm going to venture a guess that she moved to the city as a young adult and has spent the rest of her adult life overcompensating for not having a history here and, most likely, a failed acting career. She is now a dismissive "hyper-New Yorker"-- overly concerned with being hip and exclusive in an effort to bolster her self esteem. Don't be so down on the tourists Ms. Jones, they're probably your second cousins from your home town of Bumblefuck, USA.