Dos and Don'ts

Jaywalking: Just about everyone in New York routinely bypasses traffic lights and boldly heads for the other side of the street. Follow in their footsteps? Best not to. What look like simple maneuvers are most often the product of years of observation and practice. (Not to mention chutzpah.)

Helpfulness: New Yorkers, just about always in a rush, can still be counted upon to slow down and assist with directions, map reading, subway and bus info. You name it. The locals like to help.

Taking the Subway: It's the way to go. No street traffic to slow you down. No stuck-in-traffic cabs filled with people who realize they should've taken the subway. On weekdays, some 4.9 million people a day do it. Even the rich go the underground route, Mayor Bloomberg among them.

Art for Free: Locals haunt the museums during those select times when there are no admittance fees. The Museum of Modern Art, for instance—where a ticket costs $20 (among the steepest in the city)—is free on Fridays 4-8 p.m.

Summer Weekends: New Yorkers love to flee—to the beach or the mountains—when the weather's warm. The city streets have a more relaxed feel then, and traffic noticeably clears. You can see up and down the avenues without a crush of vehicles marring the view. Perfect time to ride the bus! Restaurants are less crowded, too.

Ground Zero: A good place to sit and reflect is along the Hudson River at the Sirius Dog Run, on Kowsky Plaza in Battery Park City, near Ground Zero. The fenced-in space, where dogs can be off-leash, is named for the only police dog killed in the attacks, a 95-pound yellow Lab called Sirius.

Phrase Book

Soho: From "SOuth of HOuston," the neighborhood immediately south of Houston Street, famous for boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries.

Houston: Pronounced "house-ton," the major east-west street that separates Greenwich Village from SoHo, the Lower East Side, and other lower-Manhattan neighborhoods. Numbered east-west streets start north of Houston; all streets below Houston have names.

Greenwich: Pronounced "gren-ich," without the "w." Greenwich Village remains a bohemian neighborhood in downtown Manhattan, known for restaurants and nightlife.

Nolita: From "NOrth of LIttle ITAly," the neighborhood between SoHo and the Lower East Side that was once a poor immigrant community and now is home to restaurants, bars, and trendy boutiques.

Tribeca: From "TRIangle BElow CAnal" and pronounced "try becca." A neighborhood on the west side of lower Manhattan known for pricey warehouses-turned-loft-apartments and celebrity residents.

On Line: This has nothing to do with the Internet. New Yorkers stand "on line" for tickets, not in line.

About New York and the United States

  • <p>Photo: Central Park</p>

    New York

    Get travel tips, see photos, take a quiz and more with National Geographic's Ultimate Guide to New York.

  • <p>Photo: Colorado River flowing through canyon walls</p>

    United States

    Explore the United States through facts and photos, related features, a country map, and more.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Join Nat Geo Travel's Communities

2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

  • Picture of a volcano on Reunion Island

    Who Will Win?

    Browse photos of nature, cities, and people and share your favorite photos.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Get Social With Nat Geo Travel