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How to P*ss Off a New Yorker in 12 Easy Steps

Paula Froelich
Editor in Chief
May 29, 2014

We, the citizens of New York, love tourists (no, really, we do!) — you bring economic stimulus into our city and give us oodles of giggles. And we know you want to fit in. We know you don’t want to annoy the heck out of us unintentionally or make our eyes roll back in rage… or do you? Sometimes I think people come to visit our fine city just to freak us out, and why not? It adds to the experience! I started this list earlier this year (with nose picking video!) and have been updating it along the way.

Here’s the top 12 ways to really rub a New Yorker the wrong way:

1. Walking down the street hand in hand in hand. I get it, you love each other and/or are afraid of someone going astray (traveling with my Dad and Aunt Dee and Uncle Jim is like herding cats, trust me, I get it), but on the busy sidewalks of New York you are just as likely to clothesline someone as you are in a WWE ring. Do a daisy chain down the streets of Soho and watch locals’ faces contort in rage. You should probably videotape it.

Move it — to the left, to the left… (Photo: faungg/Flickr)

2. Stop in inappropriate places. Whether right in front of a subway turnstile, or at the top of an escalator, or just outside of a revolving door, or right in the middle of a busy sidewalk— don’t stop to check your bag or chitty chat. That’s like braking in the fast line on the freeway.

3. Avoiding sidewalk grates while wearing sneakers. Then laughing hysterically as New Yorkers in heels are forced to navigate those grates in heels. It gets really bad when the heels get stuck in the grates and the shoes come off — or break. (Sidenote: You really should think about walking on the grates. Worse comes to worse, they’ll cave in and you will fall ten feet, possibly busting an arm and then get to sue the city for millions! Bonus!)

Think of the children (Photo: Eden, Janine and Jim/Flickr)

4. Rent a Citi Bike and pull an Alec Baldwin by riding the wrong way down a one-way street. Or riding on the sidewalk. New Yorkers with small dogs (or children or love of limbs) will literally freak the heck out on you. Wear a GoPro to capture all the excitement. 

5. Assume we can’t hear you whispering on the subway. We may zone it out, but in this shared space a (really loud) stage whisper about “that man over there” or “that weird homeless guy” brands you as a tourist, if not a jerk. Mime it with nods instead. (PS. He’s not homeless, he’s a hipster — don’t worry, it’s a common confusion.)

6. Drive your car into the city and get really angry about the traffic. (Yeah, I’m looking at you, Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut!) New Yorkers really appreciate anyone adding to the noise pollution levels. Trust.

7. Talk in a fake New Yawk accent like you just walked out of DeNiro’s cab in Taxi Driver. ‘Nuff said.

8. Act like we’re all going to mug you. It’s not the 1970s. 

9. Obsessively pick your nose and drop your boogers on the subway floor. Like this thoughtful young man below:

10. Ask for directions, without knowing where you want to go. 
New Yorkers are multitalented but not psychic (well, not all of us anyway), so as one New Yorker “Mel” puts it, “I need to know where you tourists would like to end up before I tell you which train to take and what stop to get off at.” Know the name of the site — or at least whether it’s on the east or west side of Manhattan. Surprisingly 45th Street and Fifth Avenue are quite long.

11. Brandishing your umbrella like you hate eyeballs. When it rains, as it tends to do, reconsider holding your huge black golf umbrella that you can’t see through really tightly and close to your face as you ramble Godzilla-like down the street. Laugh uproariously as you poke out several eyeballs and run into people instead of, say, lifting your umbrella as people pass. 

(Photo: iStock/Thinkstock)

12. Stand too close to them. In an elevator. On the street. In the subway. Doesn’t matter. New Yorkers like their space. Sometimes it gets crushed, but when there’s room, best to spread out. Stand too close and you will most likely get an elbow in the side. If you’re lucky.

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