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The British Survival Guide to New York

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by Katie Thompson (subscribe)
University of York Graduate, aspiring to be a journalist with dreams of one day publishing my own novel. Blog: twotwothompson.wordpress.com/ Published work can be seen at www.theyorker.co.uk and www.yorkvision.co.uk
Published August 8th 2012
方洪渐 from zh (Wikimedia Commons)


We Brits are known for our politeness and our reserved nature- unfortunately, in New York these are two traits which could land you in hot water. Make sure you pack these top tips into your suitcase before heading to the Big Apple.

1) Learn your lingo- to avoid the awkwardness of having to explain that you're looking for a place to wash your panties, (a laundromat!) take the time to learn a few American terms. For example, when you arrive into customs, you are on vacation not holiday, you are looking for the restroom, not somewhere to 'powder your nose' and you like your eggs sunny side up]. (That's a fried egg to you and me.)

2) Don't look up- pesky street vendors can smell a tourist a mile off, especially if they're walking around with their noses in the air. The sky high views in New York are vast enough that you can appreciate their architectural beauty from a distance.

3) Learn to lie- talking of pesky street vendors, the best way they can reel you in is to ask where you are from. If you can, try to name somewhere that sounds relatively obscure, and perhaps even go as far as to feign an exotic accent! Their second favourite tactic is to ask what you're doing tonight- telling them you have tickets to a Broadway show never fails. Above all, keep walking!

4) Watch out on the crossings- in New York, there are two symbols on a zebra crossing- a raised hand and a walking man symbol. Do NOT attempt to walk when the hand symbol is showing- this is known as 'jay-walking' and could land you in a spot of bother should a member of the NYPD catch you. Also, though the walking symbol may be displayed, use your eyes! Drivers are still allowed to pass when this symbol is showing, however pedestrians technically have right of way, so watch out for any taxis trying to cheekily make the corner.

5) Get bronzed up! Another dead giveaway for we humble Brits is the simple fact that we are so pasty-skinned by nature. If you can, consider slapping on a little St Tropez before leaving for the airport. This, paired with your best American accent, may fool street vendors into thinking you are a seasoned New Yorker.
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Very clever, congratulations on your first article.
by Shannon Meyerkort (score: 3|1777) 1955 days ago
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