How to Ask A New Yorker for Directions

Travel Tips — By elizabethmonson on April 7, 2010 at 12:29 am


Start by asking your hotel- It’s your concierge’s job to know where things are and provide you with help. Even if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for, they can point you in the right direction, especially with basics.

Know what you are looking for- It is much easier to answer “Which way is Lafayette Street?” than “Do you know where the museum is?” Do you mean the Met, MoMA, or maybe one of New York’s quirky smaller museums?

Lafayette Street, NYC

A building on the bustling Lafayette Street in Soho.

Choose wisely- Often the person walking the fastest is doing so because they know where they are going, but no one likes to be interrupted when they are in a hurry. Pick someone who looks like they know what they’re doing, but won’t run right past you.

Ask for recommendations- New York has a lot of secret hidden spots that only the locals know and they are often the best. Everyone feels likes to feel like an expert, so let them; ask for their favorite French restaurant or dumpling spot. You are much more likely to stumble upon a gem this way than with the same guidebooks every other visitor has.

Start with Nile Guide Local Experts’ top 10 Things to Do in New York City and add your own favorites!

Start by being friendly- The friendlier you are, the more likely you are to get a friendly response, simple, tried, and true.

Become a subway expert- Downloading one of these helpful apps will answer a good chunk of your questions, we promise!


Tourists looking at a map

Tourists looking at a map.

Block traffic- If you’re lost and need to stop and check directions, do so, but move out of the flow of traffic, whether it be people, cars, or bikes. It is dangerous for you and inconvenient for everyone around you.

Ask someone with a map- They are probably lost as well.

Be afraid to ask- New Yorkers are surprisingly friendly and like to give advice. Plus, we get lost on our way to the Frick every once in a while too.

[photos courtesy of A. Strakey, Rob Young, Ed Yourdon]

Tags: nyc directions, nyc directions subway, nyc travel, tips, tricks