Insider Tips for Students in New York City

By: Abigail Grigoryan  |  September 30, 2020

By Abigail Grigoryan

As new students coming from a public high school without knowing anyone but each other, my roommate and I wanted to create a way to connect incoming students. We teamed up to start @SternClassof2024, a women-only account for Stern students on Instagram. Our goal was to bridge the gap between students from different countries and backgrounds while providing a way to check out what’s going on in and around Stern. As a girl born and raised on the streets of Brooklyn, I spent a lot of my life exploring the city. I wanted to provide some insider tips for anyone coming, so people can truly experience the beauty of city life.

As the largest city in the nation and one of the world’s most significant centers for everything from finance to fashion, New York City is a hot spot for a social life. New York City’s five boroughs are the greatest campus in the world, and this transition to city life will be the most exciting time. While it may seem very scary for a non-native New Yorker, you’ll grow to call the city home. Check out these tips to make the most of your experience. 

  1. Buy a Metrocard

NYC is a walking and busing-oriented city, so the subway is the fastest way to get around! The app Transit has so many features that will help you navigate the train lines, and it’s especially useful for people who are not used to riding the subway! Fun fact: you can transfer for free between buses and subways. The transfer gets encoded on your MetroCard, so when you swipe it again, you won’t be charged. Transfers are good within two hours of when you paid the fare!

  1. Get the Citizen App

In NYC, you need to be situationally aware. Citizen alerts go out within seconds of a 911 or user report. If there’s an incident, like a robbery, nearby, you’ll know to avoid that area. If there’s commotion like police activity, helicopters overhead, or road closures, you can open the app and find out why. 

  1. Carry an ID 

In New York City, you should always have some kind of identification. In addition to safety purposes, a student ID can get you discounts for tickets to Broadway shows, performances at Carnegie Hall, and entry to awesome museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Frick Art Collection, and the New Museum. 

  1. Learn and understand “foot traffic” etiquette

New York is a walking city, and “foot traffic” etiquette is important. If you need to stop and check a map, make a cell phone call, or do anything else that causes you to stop walking, step to the side and let others pass. If walking in a group of three or more, make sure that your group is not blocking the way for others who wish to pass you. It’s common courtesy — you will get glares and be called out if you don’t.

  1. Go explore the Neighborhoods and Boroughs

If you’re coming to NYC and all you’re doing is staying in Manhattan, you’re boring. There’s a bunch of awesome things to do all over. Go across the bridge to Park Slope and check out all the cute shops. Take a spontaneous trip to the Bronx! Just don’t over exaggerate that you’re “New York Living,” especially if you’re too scared to go to a different borough. Go explore and take some pictures!

New Yorkers are a different breed, and I’m not talking about the people coming from the suburbs. “Gossip Girl,” “Friends,” or any other New York-based show does not account for the actual way of life here. New York is the city of dreams so don’t let yours get away due to a negative attitude. Your attitude will affect the way you work and maintain relationships with others, you should treat others the way you want to be treated because you’ll see how much people will influence your life for the better. Above all, enjoy yourself. Have fun, get lost, and find your way back. New York is the perfect place to be young and free. 

Follow @SternClassof2024 on Instagram for more tips!