Rarely does a New Yorker empty-handedly leave their house for the day. As varied as the city is, there are certain things you’re almost always going to encounter on a daily basis. Be ready to handle the most common NYC situations by learning what things New Yorkers don’t leave the house without.
I needn’t remind you that we’re in the middle of a pandemic right now.
Comfortable walking shoes
According to the Mayo Clinic, the average American walks 1.5 to 2 miles a day. The average New Yorker, on the other hand, laps their fellow Americans, putting in an average of 5 miles a day, according to Ask a New Yorker. That makes sense, considering how NYC is America’s most walkable city. With an abundance of traffic and lack of parking spaces, cars aren’t the most convenient mode of transport here; therefore New Yorkers are far more likely to pound the pavement. So before you head outside, make sure you put on some comfy shoes, preferably stylish ones. This is New York after all.
Chase Bank card
If New York had an official city bank, without a doubt it would be Chase Bank. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Chase Bank branches are ubiquitous across the city. Out of Chase’s 5,000 branches across the United States, 685 branches are in New York City alone. Mind you, New York City has an area of 302.6 square miles. That means there are more than two Chase bank branches for each square mile in NYC. If it’s going to be everywhere, we might as well make use of it, right?
A lot of the newer and smaller eateries in New York are card only. But your Visa is going to get you nada if you’re trying to buy food off the street or at one of those hidden gem spots in Chinatown. Besides, it’s also good street sense to carry about twenty dollars in cash in case of an unexpected expense. Like getting mugged. (I’m kidding!)
Unless you plan on traversing through the boroughs on foot and swimming across the East River, you’re not going to get very far in this city without a MetroCard. Consider this your golden ticket to the city, or at least your golden ticket to the city’s public transportation.
Hand sanitizer/hand wipes
Current pandemic aside, New York isn’t the place you’d want to go around touching things with your bare hands. Especially if you plan on using public transit, having some sort of hand sanitizer on you is a must. Pro tip: use a hand wipe to hold on to the poles on the subway or the bus. That way you’re keeping your hands clean and sanitizing the pole for the next person who takes your spot.
Reusable shopping bag
Back in March 2020, New York State was supposed to fully implement a plastic bag ban, meaning that you wouldn’t receive a plastic bag to carry out your purchases at most places. Your options would be paying for paper bags or putting your purchases in a bag of your own. Although the pandemic has caused the state to delay the enforcement of this new law until June, in many stores—particularly supermarkets—the bags are gone. Either you bring a reusable bag or you try to make your way home cradling an armful of apples and oat milk.
With a city as dense as New York, you sometimes find yourself in close contact with other people. And when I say close, I mean close enough that you can tell whether or not they’ve showered in the past 24 hours. No one wants to be, or be next to, the person with the stinky pits, so make sure you have a mini deodorant on you so you can avoid the dirty smells and the dirty looks.
BONUS ITEM: A sweater
Although the outdoors may feel like hell during an NYC summer, the indoors feel like the Arctic. Office buildings, department stores, and subway cars crank that AC, so carrying around a light sweater will keep you warm as you go between those two environments.
What do you think of the most common things New Yorkers don’t leave the house without? Is there anything you would add to the list? Share it in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading!