11 Habits You Can’t Help Picking Up If You Live in New York City

Central Park, NYC | © Anthony Quintano / Flickr
Central Park, NYC | © Anthony Quintano / Flickr
Photo of Julia Goicochea
22 August 2017

Renowned the world over for its unique characteristics (and the characters who call it home), New York City is in a league of its own. For better or worse, locals share a set of habits that set them apart from other city slickers. Here are 11 habits you can’t help but acquire living in the Big Apple.

Relying on apps to eat

The only thing New Yorkers love more than food is food fetched by someone else. That’s why on every smartphone in the city, you’ll likely to find at least two food delivery apps. From sampling upscale online smorgasbords to outsourcing our grocery shopping, we locals prefer to eat with ease.

Woman with phone and coffee l Pexels

Basing your dating life on public transportation

To non-New Yorkers, one’s love life and train line may seem like two entirely separate spheres. However, as any local can tell you, there’s no quicker romance-killer than a four-train commute separating you from your paramour. Once you introduce bus transfers (or, God forbid, the Long Island Rail Road) into the mix, the relationship is basically doomed.

Talking about Manhattan more than actually visiting Manhattan

Anything Manhattan can do, the city’s other four boroughs can do better (or at least cheaper). With the best deals, the most authentic ethnic eateries, and immersive cultural enclaves at our disposal in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, Manhattan becomes a mere myth for many New Yorkers.

Brooklyn Bridge run l Pixabay

Developing a routine route

Sure, there are numerous train and bus lines in the city, and taking a different course might be quicker, but good luck getting a New Yorker to budge from their routine route. Once you get to know a line’s schedule, smells, and “train traffic,” there’s just no going back.


One stereotype the movies get right? New Yorkers are busy people. Here, it’s entirely acceptable to take a phone call as you stand in line for coffee or to type away on your laptop while riding the train.

Reading and drinking l Pixabay

Always carry cash

After being burned one too many times by that dreaded “cash only” policy (almost always accompanied by sky-high ATM fees), you learn to carry cash wherever you go in New York City. From late-night bites to dry-cleaning bills, that just-in-case Jackson in your pocket is sure to come in handy.

Carrying conversations with strangers

In a city of more than eight million people, you’re never alone in New York City. That’s fine by locals, a group that’s well accustomed to conducting casual interactions. Here in the city, you’ll find yourself people-watching with the stranger standing in line next to you or even swapping contact info with your Lyft driver en route to your destination.

A conversation between strangers l Pixabay

Drinking from the tap

Unlike other major cities, New York boasts safe-to-drink (and exceptionally tasty) tap water. It is common to receive water poured straight from the tap in private homes and restaurants alike here.

Dressing inappropriately for the weather

From breaking out our shorts and sandals at the first sign of spring to protesting the impending winter with one last crop top, New Yorkers prioritize style (and just as often, denial) when getting dressed. On any given day, you may spot cutoffs, coats, and the occasional galoshes in a single train car.

Winter style l Pixabay

Making the most out of small spaces

IKEA has nothing on New Yorkers, the true space-saving experts. Considering a one-bedroom apartment can set you back more than many designer items on Fifth Ave, New Yorkers know how to get comfortable and creative in small spaces.

Avoiding eye contact on public transportation

Doing nothing to negate the “unfriendly New Yorker” stereotype, we’re not exactly proud of this one. However, in order to cope with the constant company and close quarters, locals tend to avoid acknowledging one another on public transportation. Tourists in need of directions will always be obliged, but consider keeping the small talk to a minimum next rush hour.

Subway rider l Pxhere

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