New Yorkers have earned that bad reputation as brash and abrasive, especially towards tourists.

This general observation might sound unfair since New York City is a fast-paced metropolitan city and locals are often seen briskly walking going about their day, and time-wasting is a luxury they cannot afford. This doesn’t mean they don’t answer questions or give directions to the uninitiated. But some things simply annoy New Yorkers or even other visitors who observe the way tourists behave.

So in a rebuttal of sorts, if New Yorkers act the way toward visitors as they are described above, here are some of the reasons.

Tourists walk without a sense of purpose

In a city of 8.6 million people, the city’s streets can get crowded quite easily. There has to be a certain pace people have to align their daily cadence as a way of being considerate to others. But some don’t, and we presume they are NYC tourists.

They walk in one direction, suddenly stop and change direction and pause, and so on. It’s understandable for a newcomer to feel a bit disoriented, but blocking others’ paths while staring at Google Maps on their mobile phones in the process is a sacrilege.

Tourists take selfies with the annoying selfie sticks

Yes, New York City is a popular city, and the proof is often needed before one can truly prove they’ve been there. Therefore, doing a selfie is perfectly acceptable. But to brandish their aluminum selfie sticks out of excitement that it’s just a matter of time before they hit someone’s head is simply unacceptable. Especially in a crowded location next to a famous landmark. During rainy days, the experience goes from bad to worse!

Tourists mess up when riding the subway

Tourists often wobble the moment they take the beloved yet dilapidated subway trains. Once the train starts in motion, these visitors who don’t hold the handrails are thrown off balance and fall over each other. Sure they’ll laugh at such a blunder, but it’s dangerous. What if they fall over a frail old woman or someone holding a delicate item and break it?

Tourists walk together in fours side by side

As if they own the whole town, some tourists walk hand in hand on the pavement. They seem scared of being separated from their companions that they need to walk side by side at a slow pace. This leaves no space for other people to overtake them.

Tourists misuse shared bike facilities

In the wrong direction, passing by pedestrian areas, or not returning bicycles properly after use, these visitors have no apparent respect towards the next users.

Tourists are clueless when ordering coffee

After following a long line of customers in a shop, tourists should have made up their minds after several minutes of staring at the menu. Then suddenly, during their turn, these patrons stop and change their minds, and ask more questions, thus delaying the ordering process. This behavior reminds us of the Soup Nazi episode in Seinfeld which by the way was set in the very city we’re talking about.

Tourists wear backpacks in the middle of crowded trains

Backpacks have been a subject of closer scrutiny since the bombing at a Boston marathon in 2013, but remain a popular travel accessory for New York visitors. However, when taking the subway that tends to get crowded fairly quickly, backpacks worn by passengers automatically doubles the space he or she uses.

Many tourists (and some locals) do not make adjustments by dismounting their bags and carrying them to conserve space in subway carriages.

Tourists ask for directions all the time

Even with technology within our reach, some tourists prefer to pester other people even for basic information. Not that it’s wrong to ask, but do so as the last resort and if you’ve exhausted other efforts. The Internet is littered with travel guides. There are apps about maps and product and shop reviews. The irony is that while these tourists can’t seem to part with their phones, some of them don’t see the idea that the information they’re looking for is within reach. Try talking to Siri, will you?

Tourists suddenly stop in the middle of the sidewalk

Visitors in New York City often get amazed by the buildings and landmarks they are familiar with from movies or TV series. Or maybe they found some interesting food or merchandise displayed nearby. That’s why they pause, take their phones and cameras, and take photos (or selfies) or examine the product. While doing so, they block the people following them.

Tourists walk slowly

The pace of life in New York is frenetic so if you’re a slow walker you’ll be forgiven only if you’re not going to slow down other people’s pace while they are on their way to their destination. It’s like the annoying slow, old car taking the fast lane much to the chagrin of those who are in a hurry behind it.

Tourists photograph everything

From graffiti on the wall to manhole covers, everything about New York City must be captured on film. That seems to be the philosophy of some tourists who are trigger-happy with their cameras. Nothing wrong there as long as they maintain decency and are sensible to other people and things around them. While they pose in front of a landmark, people passing by have to respect their photographs and pause while waiting for them to conclude the shoot. But others don’t seem to care how long people need to wait before they finally nail that Instagram-worthy photo.

Tourists cannot master the simple act of swiping the subway card

This may be a combination of an old dilapidated railway system and tourists not trying it out before, but when they try to swipe the card as they enter the subway, it doesn’t work. Did they swipe the wrong card? Was the card swiped at the wrong side? Is the card still valid? Like getting stuck longer in a toll booth while the driver looks for coins, this experience in the subway turnstile is irritating to some locals.

Tourists accusing locals rude

The way locals react to how tourists behave as listed above makes them the villains who wish their visitors would go away for good. Since not all tourists behave badly and not all locals are sympathetic to them, it’s hard to make a general statement about how one feels for the other.


Locals surely benefit from the visitor money being poured into their shopping sprees, hotel stays meals at the diner, and patronizing the Broadway shows so they have tourists to thank for. But that doesn’t mean license for tourists to misbehave and be indifferent when they’re in town. Mutual respect is needed; one has to show respect first before earning it.