Tips for driving in New York City

As a tour guide, I often get asked about driving in New York City and the advice I always give is: NEVER EVER DRIVE IN NEW YORK CITY. Most of the streets were designed before 1812, when everyone traveled on horses, bicycles, or on the backs of their servants. For reasons beyond all comprehension this does not stop New Yorkers from driving SUVs and four-door sedans that can easily hold a month’s groceries. Also, New York drivers are aggressive as hell. Every New York driver has an imaginary woman in labor in the back seat, and they’ll be dammed if you make them wait another 90 seconds.

Know what’s worse than a New York City driver? New York City pedestrians. New Yorkers have PhD’s in jaywalking, we can mentally calculate exactly how long we have to cross the street before we get killed. It’s live-action Frogger, and we will brazenly run across the street because what are you gonna do? Hit us? We treat drivers how unruly schoolchildren treat substitute teachers: we both know you have no power, so don’t even try. Does it mater that you are trying to delicately turn into a cramped intersection? Well, my latte is getting cold and I have a presentation at work, so I’ll just walk right in front of you like it’s rush hour in Calcutta.

Your best bet is the subway. Yes, it’s cramped and smelly and you may have to squeeze yourself through a high-powered attorney and questionably hygiened photographer for a place to stand, but it’s far more humane than the alternative.

Or you can walk. Enjoy stepping in poo.

– Mark Gilman, Tour Guide


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