Tips for the “New” New Yorker: How not to get lost.

We all are afraid of getting lost as soon as we move to New York. The streets are new, the subway system is hard to learn and bike paths don’t exist on all streets yet. So what to do? My best and worst suggestion is to get lost. Spend a couple hours and just wander or take the subway to somewhere new. You will never learn until you end up in deep Brooklyn nowhere and need to get home somehow.

MTA subway map poster! It's not as confusing as it looks....

MTA subway map poster! It’s not as confusing as it looks…

But until you feel comfortable, I have some suggestions for those who are direction impaired. Learn that avenues run vertically and streets run horizontally on the island of Manhattan. East and West sides are divided by 5th Avenue, so if you live on 2nd Avenue, then you live on the East side, and when you live on 10th Avenue, you live on the West side. For some of you, this is no surprise but trust me: I was surprised when I initially came to New York – it embarrassingly enough took me a week to learn! Besides this general knowledge get a pocket map, or at least a pocket subway map – they sell these at every tiny gift shop known to man.

My cellphone, don't judge me for Cat Me.

My cellphone, don’t judge me for Cat Me.

For those of you who have joined the 21st century with smart-phones things will be a bit easier – especially with the built in map function.  My favorite all time App for New York City is NextStop, which tells you not only when the next subway train is coming but also tells you all the alerts on the rails. NextStop is a must and it’s only like a dollar! When I bike, I like to use Bike Route for it tells me the safest bike routes to take ( I am a panic freak on a bike, which isn’t the best thing when going through Astor Place accidentally). So invest in Bike Routeif you are interested in traveling to school by other vehicles of transportation other than train and your own feet.  For my last suggestion (besides getting  Hop Stop as an App), I suggest getting Around Me! I love Around Me for I have a weird fixation with Dunkin Donuts coffee so whenever I need a fix in a strange place, Around Me will tell me where the closet one is to my current location. It keeps my habit going strong!

So start studying some maps, learn the city and don’t be afraid of getting lost!

About Katie

Hi there y'all! My name is Katie and I am an Admissions Counselor here at Parsons. I am a recent graduate of Parsons, I majored in illustration and I am currently getting my Associates degree in Graphic Design. When I'm not at Parsons, I am a avid baseball watcher, park sitter, book lover and an aspiring hoarder.


  1. Cheryl (Thompson) Traylor

    Hi Katie! I just love your blog! What an encouraging tool for newbies of NYC.I wished this communication technology was around when I attended Parson’s over 30 years ago. I remember getting lost in Brooklyn on my way to a class at my instructor’s loft. Not only did I get to class late, my pocket was picked of my wallet. Thank God for the tokens in my back pocket. At least I got home that evening. Keep up the good work!!

    • Katie

      Thanks so much for reading and thank you for your wonderful comment as well! Its so nice to hear from alumni and get to hear their experience. Eek pick pocketed, ugh – what a nightmare! Now I’m thinking, I’m lucky I just got lost!

  2. To say I’m a little late to this post is an understatement, but thanks for the information, Katie! I downloaded both Hop Stop and Around Me as you recommended. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to find Next Stop on the android app store. Hopefully now I won’t get lost on every occasion I decide to go for a walk… Thanks!

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