SO MUCH EYE CONTACT! (Original photo via michelle rick's flickr)

ETiquette0911sign.jpgSome (presumably New York City-based) posters on Quora are discussing cultural faux pas in New York, possibly creating the longest city-centric list of etiquette tips we've ever seen, and they're all aimed at tourists. Below, a sampling of their wisdom:

  • Don't say you're "from New York" when you're from New Jersey or Long Island. There are very nice parts of New Jersey and Long Island; some very nice people live there. But this is not Boston—you don't get to say you're "from New York City" if you're from slightly outside it. If your prevarication is discovered, this is a quick route to contempt.
  • Never ever ever EVER refer to the city as "the Big Apple." If you say this, you are a tourist, and a clueless one at that. Using the phrases "only in New York!" and "a New York minute" falls in the same category, but they may be used, sparingly, by long-time residents, with a heavy dose of irony.
  • Don't wear "I Heart NY" t-shirts, or indeed any article of clothing that mentions New York in any capacity, with the exception of gear supporting a sports team.
  • When you get on a bus or step up to a subway turnstile, have your change or MetroCard ready. There's a special circle of hell devoted to people who waste 20 seconds of everyone else's time with their fumbling.
  • Don't ask people where you can find good "New York Pizza." In New York, it's just called pizza... do not say you prefer Chicago, New Haven or (God help you) California pizza. This is a direct route to a heated argument.
  • New York eats late—don't propose dinner earlier than 7 p.m. unless the other party has kids. People won't hate you for violating this, but they may give you a strange look.
  • DO NOT eat at Olive Garden, TGIF's, Macaroni Grill or anything else you can eat at home.
  • This may seem like a no-brainer, but I've encountered it way too often: if you are a tourist, don't bring up 9/11.
  • Perhaps less of a faux pas and more of a pet peeve; don't ask "What's a good restaurant?" or "What's a good hotel?" There are literally thousands of restaurants and hotels in New York, many of them good.
  • This one is absolutely vital—don't interfere with others' privacy. New York is a very crowded place. The way people deal with it is to create their own space. Thus, what outsiders often see as aloofness and isolation is, in fact, a sign of community; there is a shared ethos that everyone respects others' privacy and expects others to respect his own. This is chiefly communicated through eye contact. If you stare at someone on the subway: if you linger in looking out your window into someone else's bedroom; if you react to or interrupt a celebrity; or if you seem to be intentionally listening in to another's conversation, you are violating one of New York's most sacred unwritten rules. Keep yourself to yourself, buddy, and let others do the same.
  • Skipping / omitting "the" in "the Bronx."
  • Do not touch a stranger's kid.
  • Don't fake a New York accent.

Are tourists really walking around the Bronx touching strangers' kids and eating California pizza before 7 p.m.? Only in New York! [via Kottke]