Illustrations by Bryan Hollingsworth
New York City is a concrete jungle. It's wild, dangerous and surprising. To survive it, either as a resident or tourist, you have to be tenacious. Now every New Yorker has advice on how best to navigate the metropolis, but I've found the best advice comes watching nature. Maybe it's because the place is so tough, it brings out our most animalistic urges. Whatever the reason, you need to follow these seven rules if you're going to make it.
1. Move Quickly, Or Be Run Over
For the most part, New Yorkers aren't as mean as outsiders think. I've seen plenty of locals stop to answer a tourist's questions or give directions. However, no one can tolerate a slow walker on the sidewalk. You either know where you're going and hoof it, or stand to the side until you figure it out.
2. Don't Smack Talk, Unless You're Ready To Fight
I suppose this one applies to multiple places, but it especially does in the Big Apple. Just because someone looks meek does not mean rage isn't simmering in their gut. All it might take is one tense word to make them boil over and start throwing hay-makers.
3. Pedestrians Do Not Fear Your Vehicle
If you make the mistake of driving, you need to extra vigilant. Pedestrians are super aggressive and jaywalk like it's a sport. Sure, it's their life they're playing with, but their gamble could ruin yours too.
4. Protect Your Personal Space
Everyone jams together on the subway or in crowded stores. That's no problem. It's uncomfortable, but comes with the territory. However, if you try to strike up a conversation in that situation or touch someone more than absolutely necessary, watch out! Just put on your headphones, stare blankly a smartphone and pretend you're in a personal bubble like everyone else.
5. Your Smartphone Is Your Lifeline, Protect It
Imagine a New York City before smartphones. People had to stop and pull out actual maps to look for directions. Now every question you have can be answered by a few apps. Not only that, but a smartphone gives you something to look at besides instead of a subway stranger's face. However, unsavory types will steal your phone if you're not careful. I never hear about people getting wallets stolen anymore, but plenty have lost smartphones.
6. Pizza Is The Staple Food
Pizzerias are everywhere. Some are better than others, but none are inedible (unless you're some aficionado). Slices are cheap, satisfying and fast. That last one is especially important because there is always a ton to do and not enough time. Certainly not enough time to prepare food or sit down at a restaurant (if you can even afford that).
7. Multitasking While Eat Is Necessary
You're either walking while eating, working while eating, socializing while eating, checking your phone while eating ... You never just eat. Like I already said, there's not enough time for everything. Don't waste it because you're worried about indigestion.