This is New York, baby

Copyright: Louise Ralph

The streets of New York City are an assault on the senses – the traffic, the noise, the seething masses, the cocktail of odours.

But if  you want to get into the spirit of New York, you really need to cast off your tourist hat and walk in a New Yorker’s shoes for a while. Or, in NYer speak, go ahead and just do it…

  • Ride the subway at peak hour – but be prepared to make like a sardine. It doesn’t matter if the carriage is full, people just keep ‘getting on in’, making it an interesting balancing act between crushing up against people and maintaining your personal space (which is clearly more of an attitude than a reality)
  • Walk the streets, fast. Because he (or she) who hesitates is lost – and possibly shoved in the back and told to move aside. Seriously, NYers have places to be and they get pretty annoyed with dawdlers or someone who stops dead in front of them, oblivious to the human pile-up behind them
  • Wear flats. I’m guessing this is where the corporate wear + running shoes look took off. Today, ballet flats are the shoe of choice for getting places. If you’re going to wear heels, make sure you can walk at pace and negotiate grates and uneven pavements – or things could get ugly
  • Tune out to the sirens, horns, vendors and people trying to get tourists to take a city ride. And turn a blind eye to the trash on the streets and the construction going on absolutely everywhere…
  • Catch the lunch hour buzz at one of the eateries in Pearl Street, between Hanover Square and  Coenties Alley in the Financial District, or get ‘on the line’ with office workers at the best street vendors or food outlets in the area
  • …and who can argue with this? A sign outside an East Side bar in New York City

    …and who can argue with this? A sign outside an East Side bar in New York City

    Check out the dog walkers – and the dog parks dotted around the city. Some off-leash areas even have water features you’d normally see in a kiddy pool, with water squirting up out of holes in the concrete. The dogs love it… and New Yorkers clearly love their dogs!

Most of all, stay positive – NYers are remarkably cheerful considering every time they hit the streets they have to negotiate streams of locals and tourists.

We’ve found them to be mostly polite, helpful, and always up for a laugh – and that’s not something we

So walk fast, be friendly and eat well… this is New York, baby

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