New York City is an American gem. There’s no place like it. You can travel the globe and see all the most famous cities, but there’s something about New York that keeps tourists flocking back year after year.
You can feel the city’s heartbeat as you walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or shop for souvenirs in Chinatown. You can talk about the Mets or Yankees with cab drivers as you cruise through Harlem. In Times Square, you can take in the bright lights and know you’re surrounded by the city that never sleeps.
As much as New York offers, it’s dangerous sometimes as well. The locals watch out for those dangers, but tourists might not know so much about them. We’ll talk about some NYC dangers you should avoid in the following article.
Tourists who visit New York might gape at the skyscrapers above them. When they do, they make potential accidents more likely. For instance, tourists might not exercise enough caution around construction sites.
Construction accidents cause 27% of NYC work-related fatalities, which means they’re dangerous places. Obviously, a tourist likely won’t fall from the high steel when a construction crew erects a building, but you can hurt yourself near a construction site, even if you’re not working there.
Scaffolding collapses can hurt not just the workers on them but also anyone walking by. Falling construction debris or tools can cause a traumatic brain injury if something lands on you.
As a tourist, avoid construction sites, even those cordoned off by chain link fences or other barriers. Cross to the street’s other side when you see one, and you won’t take any unnecessary risks.
Crime exists in New York, and tourists make tempting targets. If you’re strolling around staring at a map or looking up at the tall buildings, you show everyone around you that you’re new to the city. You can attract criminals that way.
It’s not the bad old days during the 1980s and 90s when crime stats rose exponentially. Still, crime always lurks to some degree in a city with more than eight million people.
Avoid crime by sticking to well-lit streets, and never go down any dark alleyways. Keep your wallet safely in your front pocket where you can feel it, rather than in the back pocket where a pickpocket might walk off with it.
Do not take the subway anywhere late at night. Instead, take a taxi to get back to your hotel, or you can take an Uber just as easily.
If you do take the subway anywhere, stay alert when you’re on the platforms. If you’re not watching where you’re going, you can fall onto the tracks. If that happens, a train might not stop in time and can run you over.
When the train arrives, if it’s crowded, let everyone off at their station before you try to board. Once you board, take a seat if one’s available. That should deter pickpockets as well.
If you have a purse with you, keep a tight grip on it. Look around and notice who’s standing next to you. Anyone with shifty eyes or who looks like they’re sizing you up is a possible threat.
It is best not to make eye contact, but try not to appear ill at ease, either. If someone hassles you, you can always notify the train conductor. They can have the police meet the train at the next station if that becomes necessary.
You take a risk if you stop and talk with anyone. Maybe you encounter someone who seems friendly. Perhaps they’re harmless, but they might also have bad intentions.
For instance, you might have someone ask you for change. When you take out your wallet, they may try to snatch it and run away.
You might encounter someone who has a sob story about needing money to take a train home, or maybe they need to get to a doctor’s appointment. Those are classic grifts that prey on the softhearted. If you give this person money, perhaps they need it for a legitimate reason, but they’re more likely running a con.
If you give them some change or a dollar, they’ll usually ask for more. It might seem cruel to refuse them, but taking out your money in public attracts unwanted attention more times than not.
Keep your eyes open and your wits about you as you explore New York, and you should enjoy your stay.