6 Common Misconceptions About New York City

If your first introduction to New York City was via a TV show or a movie, chances are your conception of New York might be wrong. Indeed, the image of New York in the movies can be misleading. This City changes so quickly that most of the things you see on TV shows and movies don’t really get to capture or portray the real New York City. Yes, the Big Apple on screen can make you fall in love… But, know that some aspects are just exaggerations, extrapolations, or even just plain inventions. So what’s real and what’s not?


1. New York City is only Manhattan.

manhattan nyc(Photo by Rishad D.)

Where does this myth come from? The answer is simple, because Sex in the City, Friends, and Seinfeld were all filmed in Manhattan and only rarely left the island. But, don’t get the wrong idea: New York City is more than just Manhattan. New York City is 790 sqm in total; Manhattan is only 59 sqm. It comprises 5 boroughs (Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island) all very exciting in terms of culture, communities, and architecture. To get a taste of a unique New York City experience, join our Harlem, Brooklyn, or Bronx tour to discover the other culturally vibrant parts of New York.


2. New Yorkers are rude/mean/indifferent/self-centered

Contrary to popular misconception, this one is definitely not true. Yes, New Yorkers go the distance to avoid any contact or conversation. But it’s usually because no one wants to get stuck in an awkward situation, or most people simply prefer to mind their own business. In reality, New Yorkers are actually very helpful when you need their help, as long as it doesn’t slow them down, or require more than 2 minutes of their time. Also, as long as you are not trying to sell them anything.
As rushed as life is in New York City, the residents will show you the right direction, call an ambulance for you, ask if you are okay, or even buy you food or water when you are in need and they can help. And New Yorkers are usually forgiving unless you are distracted and aimlessly walking in front of them.



3. New York is too expensive

west village nyc(Photo by A G.)

Hotel rooms in NYC can be expensive. We can give you that. But it is definitely possible to keep your other expenses down if you know where to get what. One piece of advice from us: actually try to live like a New Yorker. For example: take the subway instead of taking cabs, don’t eat in restaurants for all your meals,… A lot of things are cheaper in NYC than they are in Europe or other parts of the world, so there are many ways you can control your budget so you don’t leave the City with empty pockets… And for the record, London is the most expensive city in the world.


4. Cabs are the main mode of transport

(Photo by Marley White/ NYC & Company)

No, everyone does not take cabs in New York. Despite the fact that people in movies only seem to use cabs to navigate New York, they are not the most popular mean of transportation. As convenient as taxis can be when you are in a rush, most New Yorkers would rather hop on the subway to avoid sitting in traffic. And cabs are also more expensive!


5. The city is noisy and unsafe. 

NYPD cars

Yes, New York City can be noisy. We are in a city where after all, very few people have backyards, cars, or pools, and where apartments can be ridiculously small. So people prefer to stay outdoors when they can, making streets, restaurants, subways and any public place in general, loud and packed with people. Plus, if you are in Midtown, not a day will go by without the typical and absurdly loud sirens of police cars and firemen trucks. Let’s be real: people come here for the hustle-and-bustle, the energy… That’s what makes NYC so exciting. But if you’re looking for somewhere quiet, you’ll find it in more places than you would have actually thought. Some streets in West Village, Brooklyn, or Uptown Manhattan only to name a few, are as quiet as it can get.
And as for safety: thanks to the NYPD, New York City can be counted among the world’s safest cities and as one of the safest big cities in America. So fear not, you are safe here!


6. The city has very little green space.

central park bench garden nyc(Photo by Arman T.)

This is wrong! In Fact, New York has 19.5% of city land dedicated to parks. That’s the most in the United States according to the Trust for Public Land. New York City is actually home to some of the best parks in the country, and the world (Hello Central Park!). There is a park in New York City for nearly everything from picnic areas and skate parks to viewing the sunset and relaxing on the lawns. Whether you are looking for a calm spot or want to watch summer movies in a park, New York City has it all.


Wherever you go, be open to all the really awesome things New York City has to offer you. Regardless of what you envisioned, your experience in the Big Apple will definitely surpass your expectations.  If  you are interested in finding more to do in New York City, search through our complete range of tours, attractions, and activities. We can also tailor-make programs specifically to match your desires and budgets. Harlem Spirituals is the ideal one-stop-shop to simplify your planning! Find more information on www.harlemspirituals.com or contact us at info@harlemspirituals.com.


What is the wildest myth about New York City that you’ve ever heard?



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