Lies New Yorkers tell tourists

After a 5-month trip through 15 countries, I can certainly appreciate the efforts locals make to help out tourists. I was stunned by the kindness and hospitality of random people I met. I felt like I certainly benefited from all the good karma I passed around while living in New York City’s Hells Kitchen, right near Times Square, when I was ambushed daily with questions the moment I left my apartment. With that said, there’s no harm in having a little fun with “what if” right?  What if we had a little fun with our answers?

Time Out London has been soliciting tweets on “cheeky misdirections” for locals to say to visitors, and readers of The Economist have gotten in on it too. I was thinking, we certainly we have a few lies to tell tourists that are worthy of this list!  What are yours? Below are some of the better ones I’ve read (some are more sarcastic than others).

Tourist advice from New Yorkers:

  • That “I Heart New York” shirt makes you look like one of us!
  • Swipe your credit card to enter the subway. It doesn’t always work but just keep trying it. This is especially true during rush hour but be persistent; that line forming behind you are just frustrated that machines aren’t snappy.
  • Don’t forget to tip your subway train conductor.
  • You can’t have the real New York Experience until you’ve been to Madam Tussaud’s.
  • Yeah, the line to the Empire State Building is pretty reasonable.
  • Yep, that way is uptown. You’ll know you’re going the right way if the street numbers are descending. Crazy I know, it’s the grid system.
  • You’re supposed to hail a cab at a bus stop.
  • The only open cabs are the ones WITHOUT the lights on.
  • Sbarro’s, best NYC Pizza, hands down.

  • “Cheering is encouraged during oral arguments at the Supreme Court in Washington DC

Tourist advice from around the world:

  • In Italy it’s smart to order a cappuccino with your meal. It alerts the waiter that you know what you’re doing and you won’t get the “tourist treatment”
  • Canadians love hockey. Show your solidarity with the locals by body-checking people on the street.
  • In London, red telephone boxes may be used as urinals in an emergency.
  • You’re required by law to give a cigarette to anyone who requests one.
  • When you are in an Australian pub and having a drink with the locals and someone suggests that ‘it’s your shout’, just scream ‘buy me another bloody beer’ at the top of your lungs.

Note: I don’t actually recommend doing this – we should act like ambassadors and make visitors feel welcome. This list is just for fun if you’d like to play along and see who can come up with the most witty response.

The list of lies to tell tourists came from lists made by readers (and tweeters) of Time Out London, The Economist, and Gothamist. Photo from Mark Armstrong.

What’s your favorite?  Do you have one of your own?  Leave your best ones in the comment section below.

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