New Yorkers and their neighbors can be gruff, but polite. Beyond the tough exterior lies a person who is generally willing to help you enjoy the region.

  • Greetings Shaking hands with both men and women is customary on first meeting.
  • Lines/Queues Cutting in line happens sometimes, generally when 'saving a space' for someone, but is looked down upon.
  • Traffic People will speed, cut you off, pass you on the right and make rude gestures. Keep your cool and don't follow their lead.
  • Tipping American servers rely on tips to compensate for lower salaries, so please do, from 15 to 20 percent for good service. If your taxi driver is good, throw him an extra dollar or two.
  • Cell phones Some commuter trains have 'quiet cars,' so be aware, and when in doubt, text.
  • Bargaining Not common in the United States.