Tuesday, June 17, 2008

An Angsty Guide to NYC

My trip to NYC this past weekend reminded me of how much I love the city and how much I hate tourists. In Chicago, at least, I don’t have to deal much with tourists as far as my regular routine is concerned. In NY, however, you’re constantly battling an onslaught of sightseers. It’s hideous to say the least. Most tourists are instantly recognizable to the trained eye and they are universally despised by city-dwellers. There is a particular breed of tourists that arouses feeling of hatred and anger more than any other. You know what I’m talking about: the ones from Anywhere, USA. They don’t abide by the unspoken city rules and consequently get treated as such.

So here are a few tips for NYC-bound travelers. They’re really easy to follow and should drastically improve the quality of your trip.

Dress for the place you’re at. One thing that sets tourists apart from New Yorkers is the way they dress. Fanny packs, I “heart” NY tshirts, clunky gym shoes. That is not appropriate attire for a cosmopolitan city. Fanny packs, especially, are an invitation to getting mugged or cheated. So it’s best to try and blend in, rather than stand out. Check out some street fashion blogs (thesartorialist.blogspot.com) for some inspiration.

Don’t linger in the street. People HATE it when an obnoxious tourist walks in front of them and abruptly stops to take pictures or when they consult their maps in the middle of the fucking street. If you must do that, go into a coffee place (there are at least 5 on any city block) and sit down, get a drink, and figure out where you’re going. Or just simply ask, nicely, and we’ll give you directions.

When eating out, avoid the obvious tourist traps such as anything in Times Square. In fact, don’t even GO to Times Square. It’s a waste of time. Buy a postcard from somewhere instead. There are thousands of amazing restaurants in the city. Whether you’re in the mood for French, Italian, Chinese, or plain old American food there’s something for everyone. My pics? Cozy Soup and Burger for delicious late-night fare, Congee Village and Xo Kitchen for the cheapest, most delicious Chinese food (there’s no “Orange chicken” here, so consider yourself warned.) My favorite Italian place is Puttanesca on 9th and 57th. The prices are reasonable and the fresh pasta is divine. But they only take cash or American Express (I found this out the hard way.) Brunch is a time-honored tradition so Sunday morning get yourself to the Upper West Side or the villages and indulge in eggs benedict and mimosas. They are they best hangover cure.

NYC is a walking city. Everyone walks or takes the subway. In case of late night inebriation, cabs are the way to go. Don't complain about the rats/garbage/heat as there's nothing you can do about it. So make like a New Yorker and walk, walk, walk. It's the best way to see the city anyway. In case you get too far, there's always a subway stop within 5 blocks.

Hope this was somewhat helpful and that it didn't put off too many people. NY is a wonderful city that has a lot to offer, if only you go in with a positive attitude, a platinum credit card, and no fanny packs.

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