VISITORS to 1920s NYC could study the Valentine’s City of New York: A Guide Book. As any reader of P.G. Wodehouse’s Psmith, Journalist will now full well, New York was a dangerous place back then, overrun by gangs, slum landlords and shysters.
Some Simple Dos And Don’ts
- Don’t ask a pedestrian where a certain street is. He is usually too busy to stop, and if polite enough to stop, won’t know. No New Yorkers knows anything about New York. Consult the Guide.
- Don’t cross the street in the middle of the block. In Paris they arrest you for that, in New York they simply run you down. Use the corner crossing only.
- Don’t leave finger rings on the wash stands of public dressing rooms while you go outside to telephone. It is bad form…
- Don’t buy the Woolworth Building, Brooklyn Bridge, the Metropolitan Tower, the City Hall or any prominent structure because a stranger happens to want to sell it to you for a few hundreds dollars. The Goid Brick industry is till a flourishing industry in New York.
- Don’t hand your baggage to a porter outside Grand Central unless he wears a red hat.
- Don’t travel with a dog.
- Bring somebody else’s kid if you can’t bring your own. Children are great company.
- Don’t take the recommendation of strangers regarding hotels…
- Don’t get too friendly with plausible strangers.
- Don’t gape at women smoking cigarettes in restaurants. They are harmless and respectable. They are also “smart.”
- Don’t forget to tip. Tip early and tip often.
- Don’t block the sidewalk. New Yorkers will gather in crowds to see a young lady demonstrate a new razor in a shop window or a safe going up the side of a building. Ignore such gatherings; show our ex-hicks that you come from a real town.
- Don’t judge the importance of a man by the number of times he is ‘paged’. That is old stuff.
- Don’t telephone if you are in a hurry. Walk. It’s quicker, though it used to be the other way ’round.
- Don’t act as if you were another Daniel in the lions’ den… New York is just like your own home town, only bigger…
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