NYC etiquette

This Quora thread on NYC etiquette makes me a little homesick:


“Don’t say you’re “from New York” when you’re from New Jersey or Long Island.”

I say I’m “from New York” if I’m out of town, which I am most of the time because I’ve lived in California for more than a third of my life.

Julie and I disagree on whether I’m also “from California.” After this long living here, I say yes.

Or, rather, I say, “Yeah, dude.”

Don’t ask people where you can find good “New York Pizza.” In New York, it’s just called pizza – most New Yorkers don’t even know “New York Pizza” is a thing outside New York, or that there is a “New York-style” (see Where can you get New York-style Pizza in London? and its ilk). Just go to the local corner pizza shop and help yourself; I promise it’ll have “New York-style pizza” unless it says very explicitly otherwise.

Yeah, but it might not be any good. When I’m visiting my brother, I rely on his recommendation. When I’m in the city on business, I ask the hotel concierge. When I do that, I do specify that I want New York pizza, at a little hole-in-the-wall with formica tables and a counter in front. I don’t want no damn tourist pizza.

New York eats late – don’t propose dinner earlier than 7pm unless the other party has kids. People won’t hate you for violating this, but they may give you a strange look.

This is a big source of disagreement with me and Julie. She’s from the midwest [1. Also a source of disagreement with me and Julie. She says Ohio is not the midwest, it’s the Great Lakes Region.], where folks sit down to supper at 6 or so. I keep New York dinner hours. I think I wore her down on this one over the years, which I’m not proud of. On the other hand, I do enjoy finally getting to eat dinner at a normal hour.


  • Don’t steal someone else’s cab, along with guidelines on how to make sure you’re not doing that. I’ve broken that rule, I’m afraid, although I didn’t know I was doing it. I’ll know better now.

  • “When you refer to locations in Manhattan, don’t give the Avenue first – always start with the Street.” I never knew that was a rule, but I do it instinctively.

  • “Perhaps less of a faux pas, but a sure tipoff that you’re a tourist; if you’re in Manhattan, don’t refer to “North” and “South;” it’s “Uptown” and “Downtown,” respectively.

  • “New York is a walking city.”” One of my favorite things about it.

  • “Don’t touch a stranger’s kid.”

  • Do feel free to talk about where you live and how much you pay for it, even though that would be considered too personal elsewhere. “New Yorkers are obsessed with real estate.”

There’s lots more. Worth reading the whole thing.


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