The most frequent question after my tour is where to eat nearby. Locals already know to avoid Times Square traps. Passable options include Carmine’s for family-style Italian and Junior’s for cheesecake. Stage Deli and Carnegie Deli are New York traditions since the 1930s, but head to Hell’s Kitchen (a neighborhood, not a devilish restaurant) along Ninth Avenue for affordable, diverse cuisine beyond the glow of chain restaurants.
Look like a local
Nobody wants to stand out as a tourist, and fortunately you don’t have to. The city is so diverse that it’s easy to blend in as long as you avoid common missteps. First, don’t navigate with the free subway map. Unfolding it will instantly blow your cover. So will shopping bags from M&M’s World, Abercrombie & Fitch and Forever 21.
New Yorkers love to take pictures, so a fancy camera won’t draw undue attention. But standing in the middle of the sidewalk forces locals to break their stride. If you need to stop for a picture, pull over to the side and let the foot traffic zoom by.
Finally, please don’t ever say “the Big Apple.” The moniker – whose origin requires a three-part explanation – is acceptable in written form, but play it safe and call it “the City.”
Take small bites
You can’t see it all your first time, or even your first lifetime. Rushing around to check off a dozen famous sites in two days will leave you exhausted and unsatisfied. Consider exploring fewer areas in depth. A walking tour is the best way to see the city. Dozens of operators are reviewed on TripAdvisor, including those specializing in neighborhoods, food or TV/film locations. Comfortable shoes should be a priority on any packing list.