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Dangerous Activities to Avoid While Visiting New York City

Updated on June 19, 2013
NYC: Big, Beautiful, and Dangerous
NYC: Big, Beautiful, and Dangerous | Source

New York City is considered by many to be the greatest city in the world. It is a fantastic destination for admirers of art, architecture, theater, music, sports, and multiculturalism. There is an overwhelming abundance of activities to keep you occupied and entertained as you explore the city. There are literally millions of web pages dedicated to these traditional attractions, so this article is going to focus on a different aspect of visiting New York City: innocent activities that are perfectly safe in most other places, but which are downright dangerous and even life-threatening in NYC.

This could be the last thing you see before stepping into traffic and dying. Be careful!
This could be the last thing you see before stepping into traffic and dying. Be careful! | Source

Gawking at the Immensity

One distinguishing feature of the city is that it contains a great number of very tall buildings. If you come from a smaller city, a suburb, or the countryside, you will only naturally be tempted to stare up at the towering spires that rise all around you. Avoid this temptation! While you’re walking around with your neck craned back and your dizzy gaze turned skyward, you leave yourself vulnerable to several types of terrestrial misfortunes. You could bump into a fast-walking New Yorker, who will likely make rude gestures toward you, curse you out, and make you feel like a fool. You could trip over a napping homeless person and take a nasty spill on the sidewalk. Or, worse yet, you could unwittingly wander off the sidewalk all together and enter into the speeding stream of traffic, which could prove deadly. So please, keep your eyes on the ground and pay attention to where you’re going.

"Where's the rider?" you ask. Morgue.
"Where's the rider?" you ask. Morgue. | Source

Using Alternate Forms of Transportation on City Streets

While we’re on the subject of the speeding stream of traffic that makes New York City’s streets as perilous as a piranha-infested jungle river: it is a very bad idea to travel those streets on substandard vehicles. By “substandard” I mean any vehicle that is not motor-powered and does not offer any basic protective safety features, such as rollerblades or a bicycle. Every moment on one of these reckless man-powered modes of transportation could be your last. You’re squeezed onto the right shoulder of the road, passing precariously close to a never-ending line of parked cars on your right, knowing full well that at any moment the next driver-side door you approach could pop open and stop you dead in your tracks. Meanwhile the motorized traffic zooms by mere inches from your left elbow, and it’s all you can do to keep your balance as the wind generated by these speeding demons attacks you and threatens to send you sprawling to your death. The stress of this situation is so great that if the traffic doesn’t kill you, a total collapse of your nervous system might.

Of course, you may think I’m wrong. You may see bike messengers darting in and out of traffic, and you may think that it looks like a fun and exciting way to get around the city. And although it looks dangerous, you’ll probably think that you’ll have no trouble handling it. Just remember two things: those bike messengers are professionals; and sometimes they die. Don’t try to bike around the city, please.

An empty subway station is creepy - but just wait until you get outside!
An empty subway station is creepy - but just wait until you get outside! | Source

Nighttime Subway to the Outer Boroughs

On your visit to New York City, you may feel the self-destructive desire to have an adventure, to experience something that will make a great story to tell all the folks back home. One sure way to accomplish this is to hop on a late night subway train heading out of Manhattan to one of the outer boroughs, like Queens for example. At some point, get off the train at some random stop (like maybe the one for Jamaica, Queens) and leave the subway station to go for a walk around the neighborhood. As soon as you rise from the depths of the subway into the open air and catch a glimpse of the world you’ve arrived in, your first panicked reaction will be to run back underground and catch the next train back to Manhattan. This would be a good idea. Every moment you stand exposed in this world you are at risk of being the victim of various criminal acts, including (but not limited to) assault, battery, theft, rape, and murder. Get out of there as quickly as possible. Better yet, don’t even leave Manhattan – especially not at night.

Manhattan, New York, NY, USA

get directions

This is where you want to stay.

Jamaica, Queens:
Jamaica, Queens, NY, USA

get directions

This is where you don't want to be.

Note: No offense intended to the good people of Jamaica, Queens. I’m sure lost tourists confidently walk down the nighttime streets of Jamaica all the time without being harmed in any way. However, on first impression it can be a scary neighborhood in which to find yourself unexpectedly. Please understand.

Parting Words

I hope these descriptions of dangerous behaviors to avoid while visiting New York City has been informative. If you heed my warnings and stick to the more traditional tourist destinations, like Broadway shows, museums, and famous buildings, you should have a fun and safe trip to the greatest city in the world.

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    • profile image


      18 months ago

      This is a good article, and the pointers of it make great, good sense, regardless of what city here in the United States (or throughout the world, for that matter!) a person visits and/or lives in.

    • Wayward Advice profile imageAUTHOR

      Ely North 

      5 years ago

      New York is a great city. I hope you get to visit some day.

    • ameliam.michelle1 profile image

      Ameliam Michelle 

      5 years ago from London, England

      Amazing hub Wayward, well every city has its own positives and limitations, leaving aside these lacunas New York is a great city to visit. I would love to visit this city and will definitely take a clue from your advice. Vote up

    • Wayward Advice profile imageAUTHOR

      Ely North 

      5 years ago

      Again, I'm just being honest. I visited NYC many times as a young man. I walked around staring at the buildings and I got yelled at. I rode a bike on the streets and I feared for my life. And one night I got on the wrong train and ended up in Jamaica, where people yelled threats at me and I was scared. True stories. Enough said. I'm sorry if it hurts your feelings. It is not my intention to offend you, just to share my experiences.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      No, as someone who lives in one of the "outer boroughs", I'm quite positive that you are very much a troll. Your shpiel about the "outer boroughs" is the typical squeal of a bigot who thinks that Manhattan is safer than the "outer boroughs" for the "obvious" reasons. *wink wink nudge nudge*) Many people have been murdered in Manhattan in the middle of the night. In fact, some of the city's most recent, shocking acts of violence happened in Manhattan. A gay man was not only murdered in the Village last month, a person was stabbed to death on 14th Street a few months ago.

      In fact, that whole area of the Village and Christopher Street has become pretty much a hellhole right now after sundown and sometimes even in broad daylight. I would sooner take my chances walking around in Jamaica, Queens at 3 in the morning than Christopher or 14th Street in Manhattan.

      As for everything else you've said, why on earth would a tourist be visiting an outer borough after dark, anyway? It's articles like these why I've stopped writing on HubPages. This site is a complete and utter joke, filled with nonsense articles that aren't informative or well thought out, just ignorant and misinformed.

    • Wayward Advice profile imageAUTHOR

      Ely North 

      5 years ago

      Trolling? Just being honest. There's a difference.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Trolling for page views?


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