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Most expats moving to New York are prepared to hit the ground running and embrace this jet-setting, business-savvy city. However, if you really want to take a big bite out of the ‘Big Apple’, here are some tips to help you blend in and quickly feel like a local.

How to blend in New York City

Get your walking shoes on

New York is known as the city that never sleeps and it seems to be buzzing both day and night. What you quickly realise is that New Yorkers walk and they walk at speed. Take off your high heels and put on your trainers because pounding the pavement is the fastest way to get anywhere. But be warned, these people have places to get to – so don’t hold up the flow, if you need to check your phone or look in a guide book, step to the side of the sidewalk or face being run over.

Make friends with the subway

Forget the busses – they’re mostly for tourists.  Rather get yourself a Metro Card. The New York subway runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week and with maps posted at every station, it’s easy to get around. There are also apps like NYC Subway Map that you can download to your phone to help you speed around the city like a local. As with all public transport everywhere – avoid travelling alone late at night and watch your belongings.

Be a coffee snob

If you are going to work all day and party all night, then it’s essential your caffeine hit really does the trick. Local New Yorkers are as particular as the French and the Italians about their coffee and always aim to get freshly roasted beans at gourmet coffee shops. Look out for Everyman Espresso, Blue Bottle Coffee and La Colombe – where you can get a great cup of brew that’ll keep you on the move.

Embrace street food

Street food is a favourite with locals in New York – and it is delicious and very good quality and value. You’ll find a food truck on virtually every corner offering everything from hot dogs and burgers to Korean tacos and Italian Lasagne. Indoor markets are another local attraction where you can find affordable meals and artisan vendors. Favourites are Chelsea Market, Hudson Easts and Gotham West Market.

Bag yourself some brunch

New York invented brunch (or so they claim), that unique combination of breakfast and lunch. Weekend brunch is an essential part of a local New Yorker’s day and includes everything from gourmet burgers to bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon.  Be aware that the most popular spots often feature a queue and most places start serving brunch at 11 am – so get there early to reserve your place.

The show must go on

New Yorkers actively support their city’s cultural life but they don’t like paying full price for the experience. Do as the locals do and look for discounts on Groupon and Living Social. You can also really play it cool and show up at the theatre when the box office opens on the day of the performance to see if you can score a discounted rush ticket.

If you are a South African living in New York and would like to know more about how you can maximise your expat wealth through financial emigration, accessing your South African retirement annuity and our tailor-made tax solutions for South Africans around the world, contact FinGlobal today.