Are you visiting or living in New York City?

New York is a special place with its own etiquette rules.

In today’s episode, Lindsay interviews guest, Nick Leighton, who shares six etiquette crimes that are unique to New York City.

Listen in today to make sure that you don’t commit a New York City etiquette crime.

Guest: Nick Leighton

Lindsay introduces guest Nick Leighton.

Nick Leighton is a two-time Emmy Award-winning talk show host and journalist originally from a small hippie commune in Northern California.

Nick produces and edits the podcast Were You Raised by Wolves?

In his podcast, he is joined by his co-host Leah Bonnema, a stand-up comedian on the Late Show with Steven Colbert.

Nick currently resides in Manhattan.

Lindsay asks Nick how they came up with their podcast title, “Were Your Raised by Wolves?”

She wanted to know how wolves relate to manners and etiquette.

Nick says that the title is an English expression.

To be raised by wolves means that someone is not raised to have good manners.

This expression assumes that a person is not raised by humans but by wild animals.

Manners Versus Etiquette

Lindsay asks Nick what the difference is between etiquette and manners.

Nick says that manners are the universal principles of how you should behave; no matter what race or nationality you have.

Etiquette on the other hand is how a certain culture interprets specific manners.

He gave an example to show the difference between the two.

When driving a car, it is known around the world that we shouldn’t hit people.

That is good manners.

Etiquette on the other hand is a bit different.

An example of this is that in America, the etiquette is to drive on the right while in Australia, the etiquette is to drive on the left. Nick points out, that it is the same manners but different etiquette.

Both are achieving the same attitude.

Another example mentioned by Nick is that in certain religions, you need to remove your hat or head cover when entering a place of worship, while others require them to keep their head covered.

Again, this is showing differences in etiquette but the same manners of generally showing respect.

At the end of the day, etiquette and manners are being kind and mindful of the people around us.

New York Etiquette

Nick shares that etiquette can be local.

This can be local to a country or a certain city.

If you are planning to live in another country or a new city, you should study the etiquette of the place to be able to blend in well and build connections easily.

In New York City there is a certain etiquette that you should be aware of.

He will be sharing six etiquette tips in New York City in this episode.

  • Time is important. Nick stresses that time is crucial in New York City. Since it is a very busy and fast-paced city, you should use your time wisely. People value it so much that it must be respected. There are a lot of people that share their feedback about New Yorkers. Often they would say they are rude and are always in a rush. This is a very common stereotype. The reason for this returns to how important time is for them. It is a big etiquette crime if you don’t respect other people’s time by being late or not being ready when expected. Nick gives an example of being respectful of other people’s time when you are in a coffee shop with a long cue. When it is now your turn to order at the counter, make sure you know what to order rather than holding up the line and thinking of your order at the counter.

  • Do not block the sidewalk. When you are walking on the sidewalk do not block it. This can happen when you walk slowly or all of a sudden stop. As mentioned earlier, New Yorkers value time and walk really fast. So if you walk too slowly, you are blocking other people who may eventually be late for their appointments. New York is also very crowded so stay out of people’s way. This is another etiquette crime when you are in New York.

  • Hold the elevator door open. It is polite to hold an elevator door open in New York. Everyone is in a rush and has to get from one place to another. So if you have a chance to keep a door or elevator door open for another person, it would be very much appreciated. This is a bit counterintuitive if you think about it because initially, you may assume that in an elevator you have to get it closed as fast as possible but it’s actually preferred to keep it open for others so they will not be late. This does not apply to holding open the subway door.

  • Respect personal space. New York is a dense city and you have to be mindful if you are intruding on other people’s space. Nick’s example is when it’s drizzling in New York, you should know when to keep your umbrella away from the people around you. It can happen that you are walking on a narrow sidewalk and you are experiencing gridlock, you have to take turns passing people.

  • If you see a celebrity, you want to give them space. It is very New York when a person pretends they don’t know a very famous person. When you see them, you can treat them like a normal person. Nick funnily says that when you see a celebrity just be nonchalant in front of them but later you can text all your friends and family to share who you’ve met.

  • No bikes on the sidewalk. New York is a great place to ride a bike but you have to stay in the bike lane. It is very easy to go around the city via a bike but keep in mind that is illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk.


Being mindful and respectful of other people is important wherever you are.

In any city, you should put in the effort to abide by the etiquette in the place you are visiting or planning to stay.

It will be highly appreciated.

Etiquette crimes can happen and perfection is not demanded of you.

You won’t be any less of a person if you miss a detail or two but make sure to keep learning and be aware of it.

You can apologize if something were to happen.

Nick shares that it’s never about the crime. It’s the cover-up that can get you in trouble.

You can find more resources from Nick Leighton in his podcast Were You Raised by Wolves?

Can you share certain etiquette rules or crimes that you have in your own country that may be different from the United States?

Let us know in the comments below.

Nick’s Bio:

Nick Leighton is a two-time Emmy® Award-winning talk show host and journalist originally from a small hippie commune in Northern California. Nick produces and edits the podcast and currently resides in Manhattan.

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