Things to see and do in New York

We explore what New York has to offer business travellers in the second of our City Guide series...

If you only have a little bit of time free, you either want to walk or take the Subway to a few of New York's most iconic sites.

Staying in Manhattan is going to be the best way for you to see as many sights as you can in a limited amount of time.

Firstly, you should head over to Rockefeller Centre. If you get there early enough, you might even be able to catch The Today Show being filmed. From there you should try and make your way over to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. This deck provides an incredible view of the city, including the iconic Statue of Liberty. If you want to have time to do this, you should leave early in the morning. The observation deck opens at 8 am.

Next, make your way over to Central Park to see one of the most well known parks in the world. You could even bring your work with you to and just spend the day working in the park if you want to do so in beautiful surroundings. 

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Some other things worth seeing if you have time: The MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) and the all-time famous Empire State Building. These are only a few of the main attractions that New York has to offer. To get the best experience out of limited hours, pick out one or two things that you absolutely want to see and pencil those in to go see them during your free time.

City customs

In the US there are many unsaid social and business customs that are important to know. The first is that Americans, for the most part, are big on manners. Although some people believe that New Yorkers can be extremely rude, they still follow a lot of the social etiquette seen all around the US. One example of this is that you should always be polite and smile when you meet someone. It is also customary to shake their hand, especially in business settings. 

In New York it is also very customary for men to be courteous to women, such as helping with their coats, holding an umbrella for them, holding door opens for them, and even helping them with their chair in a restaurant. Not all men perform these acts, but don't be surprised if you see some of these things happen, or if they happen to you.

One of the most important customs to be aware of in New York is how strongly they take dress codes and some establishments have strict criteria. Even those that don't tend to specify have some form of dress code. Casual Friday is a prime example here where many offices let employees dress down on Fridays. Not all businesses have Casual Friday, but many do, so it's always good to check with other employees to see what their policy is.

An example of a set dress code is when events are labeled as "formal" or "black tie". Usually events with these kinds of dress codes are very fancy affairs where appropriate attire would be a tuxedo for men and a long cocktail dress for women.

Finally, punctuality is key. In NYC - especially at major corporations or businesses on Wall Street - time is money so being late is seen as highly unprofessional and rude. Always do your best to be on time when going to work or business meetings. In fact, arrive a little early if you can.

Useful lingo

While visiting New York you may experience some language barriers. English is primarily spoken, however, New York is referred to as a "melting pot" for a reason as more than 800 languages are spoken. This makes it "the most linguistically diverse city in the world," according to Forbes

The other thing to look out for while visiting New York is that New York City has a lot of its own nicknames and slang for things. Here are some of the terms to keep an eye out for:

The Big Apple: a term referring to New York City (most locals do not use this term)

Slice: if you order a "slice" then it is assumed that you are ordering a piece of plain cheese pizza

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I'm about that: This means "that is something that I would participate in"

Pedicab: refers to the bicycle rickshaws that are used to take tourists around the city

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