As a daily commuter into NYC via Metro-North to Grand Central Terminal, followed by two subways to my office, I go through one of the busiest transit hubs anywhere twice a day. Since it's tourist season, I also get to see lots of silly things tourists do. And since I live here and love the city, I've got a few suggestions, both of things to not do, and things that you shouldn't miss. So, based on my observations, here are a few tips for NYC tourists this season.
- Don't come to Grand Central Terminal during rush hour. GCT is a really interesting building, and I understand why you'd want to see it. It's definitely
worth a quick stop - the architecture, the famous star map on the ceiling, and
the laser light show are all worth a visit. But it's an astonishingly busy place
during rush hour. You won't enjoy your visit during the rush hour crowds. Instead, come in the evening after dinner to see the light show, or come during the afternoon to see the sunlight through the windows. Believe me, you won't regret it.
- If you must come to GCT during rush hour, please don't stand
in the middle of the terminal taking a picture of the ceiling. There are thousands of people crossing through; it's crowded, noisy, and difficult enough as is, without
the obstacle course of tourists who are wandering around staring at the ceiling,
not looking where they're going. And if you're taking a picture of the ceiling during rush hour, walking backwards to compose your shot, and you bump into someone and knock them over, remember that you are the one who wasn't looking where they were going. It's not the fault of those mean NYers. (I saw this happen on three separate occasions this week, and two of them went into a rant on how rotten NYers are. Come on, if you were on your way home after a long day's work, and some idiot crashed into you because they were walking backwards staring at the ceiling, wouldn't you be grumpy? Don't blame the person you collided with!)
- NYC has gotten a lot safer than it was back in the 70s. That doesn't mean
that you shouldn't be careful. If you want to count your wad of cash, do it
someplace unobtrusive! Last week, I saw a tourist get robbed, because he was
counting his cash. He had a thick wad of 20s, and he was obviously far-sighted,
so he was holding the wad of cash out at arms length. And he was doing this during
rush hour in the middle of the main concourse at Grand Central Terminal. Naturally, someone
grabbed his cash and ran away. It sucks to be robbed, and there's no excuse for
the robbers, but at the same time, you've got to use your brain! Even if less
than one percent of the people in the terminal are dishonest, that means that there
are at least a couple of dozen scumbags in the crowd. If you do something stupid
to make it easy for them, you're going to get robbed. And there are definitely
pickpockets wandering around GCT looking for victims - so don't make yourself
an easy mark. Just use a bit of common sense, and you'll be fine.
- When you're riding a busy subway train, do hold onto the rails if you're
stuck standing up. I don't care how great you are at surfing - the subway isn't a
surfboard. If the train brakes suddenly (and it probably will), you're going to
fall, and you're not just going to hurt yourself - you're going to hurt the people
you crash into.
- If you don't know where you're going, step out of the crowd while you figure it out. If you stop at the top of the stairs at a subway stop, blocking the entrance for all of the people behind you while you study your map, they're going to be grumpy. That's not mean NYers being rude; that's you being rude.
- If you're on a subway platform, and you're not sure where you're going, don't just stand there being confused; feel free to ask random people on the platform for help. (Seriously!) The NY subway system is very confusing; those of us who ride it every day realize that it's confusing, and NYers really aren't mean scary people. Most people will be glad to take a few seconds and help you. You're not going to get beaten up, stabbed, mugged, or pushed onto the tracks for asking. Really!
- While you're getting around town, take the time to check out the buskers at some of the major subway stops. There are some really great performers. Union Square, 42nd street, Penn Station, GCT all frequently have some really good buskers! (There's a brass band that frequently performs at Union Square during the evening rush that's really excellent.) Just try to keep the stay out of the walkways where people
are trying to get to their trains while you're watching.
- Check out some of the smaller NYC restaurants. One of the really great things about NYC is food - you can get just about any kind of food you can imagine. Don't come to NYC and eat at MacDonalds or TGI Fridays. You can get much better food for better prices from some of the little hole-in-the-wall restaurants. For example, up around 98th street on Lexington Ave, there's a tiny little Jordanian restaurant that makes the best falafel I've ever had. Five bucks will get you an amazing falafel sandwich, and a nice chunk of absolutely terrific baklava. There are similar tiny places serving Greek, Ethiopian, Chinese, Korean, Armenian,
Vietnamese, etc. (Alas, my favorite example of this closed recently; there used to be an absolutely incredible Chinese noodle restaurant on Columbus and 88th street.) And don't be afraid of the street vendors - the best shishkabob I've ever had came off of the cart of a street vendor in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- Don't miss the Museum of Natural History. It's amazing. It makes the
Natural History museum at the Smithsonian look like crap. It's really one of
the finest museums of its kind in the entire world.
- If you go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you don't need to pay for admission. They have a suggested donation, and they do their best to imply
that it's the real admission fee, but it's not mandatory. Part of their deal with the city is that they're not allowed to charge admission. So don't miss the Met because you can't afford the tickets - for the regular exhibits, you don't need to pay. (That doesn't mean that you shouldn't pay if you can afford to; it's only fair to support the museum if you've got the money.)
That's all I can think of for now; NYers, feel free to add your own tips in the comments!
so where are these great vietnamese places to eat? i have found that, when compared to seattle, the vietnamese food in NYC is neither plentiful, easy to find, nor is it exceptionally tasty.
Thanks for this:I'll be visiting nxt month, so I'll have to remember these. I'll be doing the AMNH (I have a friend who works there), but I've also been told by my host that I'll be taught how to jay-walk.
Oh, are there any English restaurants in NYC? Somewhere in the world, outside of the UK, there must be one.
Being Israeli, it would be very unlikely for me to go all the way to NY just to get "cheap" falafel :)
Having just come back from NYC I would second going to the AMNH and the Met. They are both awesome.
I'd add to your suggestions:
- get a good map of Manhattan that shows the subway stops. That makes navigating the subway system a lot easier than trying to find (and quickly read) a map on the platform. It also helps you figure out where the nearest station is, which is very helpful when you've walked far from your original station.
- wear comfortable shoes, not just for walking, but for going up and down steps. At least for me, comfort turned out to be more important than fashion.
Do you have a web site or guide you'd recommend for restaurant hunting? I found it a bit overwhelming to have so many choices.
Go watch a show on Broadway. I've lived in NYC for a year and make one month visits to the place every two years. I watch a show for the first time only last year. I missed out a lot.
I've got a terrible memory for locations. I've got friends who live on the upper west side, in a building at the corner of 89th street and CPW. They've taken us to someplace that I really liked, but I don't remember exactly where. I've also been to one about six blocks away from the AMNH, but again, I don't remember exactly where.
My wife swears by Zagat's. She gets the latest Zagat's every year, and pretty much memorizes it. I just go where she tells me to. But she finds it to be a pretty reliable guide.
It can be funny sometimes. For example, last weekend, my wife and I went to a concert at Carnegie Hall, and went for dinner at the Carnegie Deli before.
The Carnegie Deli is a very classic traditional NY Jewish deli. They give you absolutely obscenely large sandwiches, full of the most amazing meats. (I had a sandwich with pastrami and corned beef; I ate less than half, and made a weeks worth of lunches for my kids with the leftovers.) Some of the Zagats comments were "I don't see why it's so great; they gave me a ridiculously overstuffed sandwich." Duh, that's the *point*!)
You really should experience a sandwich at a real NY jewish deli. It can seem pretty expensive, until you realize the sheer quantity that you're getting. My sandwich was about $15. $15 for a sandwich! But it must have had a pound and a half of meat on it; and $15 for more than a pound of top-quality jewish corned beef and pastrami is actually pretty cheap!
And there's nothing in the world quite like NY kosher pickles. They're not cooked at all - they're made by slow-brining and lactic fermentation. You can get them
very fresh (they call them quarter dills; they've been brined for a couple of weeks, they're bright green, and have barely started to sour at all); or you can get them really
strong (they call them garlic dills, they're dark olive green all the way through, and they've been in the brine for about three or four months). They're totally unlike the cooked pickles that you get in the store.
On the subject of paying for the museums: If you work for a major company that might be contributing to the museums, check whether they give enough that their employees can get in for free, and bring your company ID. You can check ahead of time, or at the entrance desk. I bring my IBM ID to the AMNH, the Met, and MoMA. The rules differ at each museum (my whole party goes in at some; MoMA limits me to two free guests).
(Alas, we used to get into the Guggenheim and the Whitney also, but no more.)
As a worker in midtown, I recommend the site
and its blogroll.
Oh, and cameras in museums:
Learn to turn the flash off on your camera, and do it. Most museums allow non-flash photography in the main (permanent) exhibits (but usually not in the special exhibitions), and most ask you not to use flash. And it's disruptive to the folks around you, in any case (and will often give you nasty reflections off the glass, as well; see here for comments on using flash inappropriately).
"If you're on a subway platform, and you're not sure where you're going, don't just stand there being confused; feel free to ask random people on the platform for help. (Seriously!)"
This (along with a few of your other points) highlights one of the things I've noticed in densely populated areas: What's considered polite tends to be what gets everybody where they're going as efficiently as possible.
So if you're having trouble figuring out where you're going, most people would rather help you than have you stand there (even if you're doing your best to stay out of the way) while you figure it out - answering your question will cost them a lot less time than it saves you (and probably little enough that it won't make any difference to them).
(But don't expect them to offer help, because if it turns out you're just having trouble making up your mind, then they've wasted both your time and theirs - you're the one who knows whether you need help.)
I really really really want to visit to New York some someday. Though somehow I imagine that having ridden the London Tube enough times, I should just about be able to manage the NYC Subway (although I gather that being able to stand without holding on, on the tube, doesn't mean you can do the same on the subway)
Ah, we come 1-2 per year and never miss a Broadway show (sometimes two). Also, Max Brenner, Katz' Deli and any corner family diner....
NYC really is worth the expense and trouble of visiting. It's really a wonderful city. I can't imagine every living anywhere else. It's not a particularly pretty city,
but it's a wonderful place - for museums, for eating, for shopping, and just for absorbing the atmosphere. In case you can't tell, I really love the place.
The NYC subway is really different from pretty much any other transit system I've ever ridden. It's much more erratic.
Unlike most cities, the NYC subway system wasn't planned. It was the first subway system in the world, so the tunnels are very old, and it was originally built as a collection of separate, privately operated lines - so different lines have different track and different trains. Further, a lot of the current lines are hybrid - that is, they were formed by building connecting tracks between sections of the older system.
So it's a lot of old track, mixed with other track sections installed at different times, and operated with a variety of automatic and manual systems.
The end result is that the system is very bumpy, and very prone to abrupt speed changes.
So if you ride, you'll notice that almost all NYers really do hold on to the rails. In fact, not holding is something that we use to identify tourists.
I've never been to Brenner's. But Katz's is pretty much the prototypical NYC deli.
It would be a shame to come to NYC and never try a real pastrami sandwich at a good deli. I've never had pastrami outside of NYC that can compare. I don't know why; it's not that hard to make, and the recipe isn't a secret. But no one outside of NYC seems to make either the pastrami or the pickles like they do in NYC.
If you're into the pickles, it's worth heading down to the lower east side to try "Gus's". Do a Google search for their current location; I don't remember exactly where they are.
But there's no one in the whole world who makes pickles like Gus's. Yum!
As a New Yorker, I also agree that Broadway is a must, but you don't have to worry about buying tickets in advance unless there's a specific show you want to see. If you just want to see a show and aren't very particular about which, go to the TKTS discount ticket booth in Times Square the day you want to go (it opens at 3:00 PM for evening performances and 10:00 AM for matinees) and pick from what's up on the board. It won't have the shows that are most popular (those sell out), but there's a lot of great stuff available.
And yes, New Yorkers are people for whom efficiency is king. If you don't get a lot of conversation out of someone you're interacting with, it's probably not that they're rude, it's that they value your time and don't want to take it up unnecessarily.
Also, definitely be prepared for walking.
Finally, a correction: the London Underground actually predates the NYC Subway by about 40 years (1863 vs. 1904), and it was similarly built by competing companies (more than in New York, in fact, which only had three at the peak). I think a lot of the problems with the Subway are due to the lack of funding in the 70s and 80s. Other cities spent that time modernizing their metro systems and expanding in some cases, while the Subway could barely keep up basic maintenance. Plus, the Subway is the largest system by mileage and number of stations, and one of the few that runs 24 hours a day, so it doesn't get quite as much TLC as other systems.
91st and Amsterdam (or thereabouts). Saigon Grill (I think). Was in the news last week. Racketeering, withholding wages.
On the edge of Chinatown, Baxer, a block or two below Canal, there's a string of places. Pho Pasteur, I don't know the other names.
To be honest, I'm not a big broadway fan, which is why I didn't think of mentioning it in the original post. But yeah, a lot of people really love it - and TKTS is a great thing for catching a show on the cheap.
But I am a big fan of music in NYC. NYC has more great venues for catching music of all different kinds than anywhere else I know. Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and
Symphony Space for classical; tons of Jazz clubs down around
Washington Square park; great venues for avant-garde everything, like the Turning Point, etc.
I'll recommend the Sony Wonder museum, especially if you are going with school-age kids. This is a hands on technology museum which is free, but you have to book tickets in advance.
We weren't that enthralled with the Natural History Museum, but perhaps we're just not Natural History fans. We tend to gravitate more toward science museums (Try Toronto or Boston or San Francisco). If you are going to the Museum of Natural History, try to figure out what ticket package you are interested in in advance so you don't have to figure it out on the spot when you get to the front of the ticket line. Buying tickets is quite the production, since you need extra tickets and reserved times for some of the special exhibits.
Definitely see a show if you can.
Nice post but the first 8 apply to just about any city in the world. While in Victoria station in London, England, last year I just had to laugh my head off at the similarity in how the commuters behave here in Toronto. I automatically knew where to stand.
I guess most of these tourists must be country or small town folk.
No doubt NYC is a great place. I'll have to get there one day.
i'm going to have to go to NYC sometime in 2009 or -10, and i'm dreading it already. i'm a small-towner through and through; the crowding and population density that's implicit in much of what you say will surely have me climbing the walls within a day. which is as long as i'll likely stay, get in, do what i need to do, get out.
i think i'll have to find someplace reasonably safe to park my car within walking distance of one of the outermost subway stations, ride that to where i need to go, then do my touristing in the few hours afterwards before i get too annoyed with the big city and need to get back out. if the car-park-spot was close to a motel i could do my sleeping in, that'd be even better. what i don't know is whether that's even possible; i assume it must be, but i can't know just how the city's configured.
any hints for someone diametrically opposed to you in the city-liking and -living department?
I'll be in NYC in late February - let's go to Gus's then.
They say that the new pastrami deli in Carrboro NC is REALLY good but I still have to try it.
McNulty's sells some fantastic coffee and tea...
#21: "any hints for someone diametrically opposed to you in the city-liking and -living department?"
(I was Anonymous@#11; I think I forget to put my name in the box.)
I think remembering "do your part to get everybody where they're going as efficiently as possible" (and some simple but not necessarily obvious consequences thereof; in particular, don't forget that you're part of "everybody") is probably necessary and sufficient to keep you from getting too frustrated. Unless what you're doing is going to require a lot of traveling from place to place, getting in in the morning and out in the evening is probably not going to be enough on its own to drive you crazy, and knowing in advance what to expect and how to act will probably remove a big part of the annoyance.
(Also, definitely get local recommendations for touristy things to do, and do them. You owe it to yourself to get some of the benefits of spending time in a big city to balance the parts you don't like.)
When you've lived in New York City, everywhere else is out of town.
Hey, TypePad let me sign in, told me by name that I could comment, and then called me "Anonymous" when I posted the "out of town" comment. I don't like anonymous posts.
-- Bob Munck
What's the best way to get from the AMNH to the corner of Canal Street and the Bowery, where the very cheap bus back to Boston departs? I ask because I had to do this, not too many months ago, and I ended up riding the C train all the way to Canal Street and playing dodge-the-pedestrians, arriving just barely in time.
Yeah, Canal Street is a street to avoid walking down if you actually want to get anywhere. Probably the best way would be the B or C to 59th St. and then the B or D to Grand St. (if you get on a B, just ride it all the way there, but the B doesn't run on weekends).
My NYC tour guidesmanship has been decaying exponentially since I graduated Stuyvesant High School in 1968 and left for Caltech, on full scholarship, aged 16. Here's where I used to take out-of-town guests:
(1) Hidden gems of Pennsylvania Station (now demolished), the model for Isaac Asimov's Trantor; or Grand Central Terminal, depending on which one they arrive at. By the way, that's Grand Central Terminal where the trains come and go (don't miss the Oyster Bar and the groined ceiling echo location outside it). Grand Central STATION is the main Post Office nearby. The famous clock at Grand Central Terminal's main lobby, imitated on Saturday Night Live, and a classic place to meet in the chaotic crowds.
(2) Quick meal at the Horn & Hardart Automat. Get your quarters and nickles change from the amazingly fast change-ladies, put the right coinage in the slot next to the food you desire in the glassed-in shelves (the broiled franks & beans were fine, and the lemon meringue pie), and the little door opens, you take your food, and carry it by tray to your choice of table.
(3) A few blocks East, and North, to the United Nations. You have now, technically, left the United States. See the hanging replica Sputnik 1, and the big Foucault's Pendulum. Buy some UN postage stamps, good only for mailing from the N, but they add a bit of fascination to the postcards that your guests want to mail. Say, all that's still in NYC, right?
(4) then decide: uptown or downtown? Broadway or Greenwich Village or the Museum of Natural History (and the adjoining Hayden Planetarium), or Broadway, or Chinatown and Little Italy, and thus determine the choice of foot, bus, or subway...
More next time I stop by here. Got to make a cup of coffee, Miss the nickel coffee at the Automat, even though, drinking it, you sometimes watch and pity the local impovershed getting a free cup of hot water and mixing in free ketchup and free crackers to make poverty tomato soup. Probably back in style now across America as the depression sinks in.
#10 applies to #9 as well.
Best tip I can think of for tourists. Just keep moving. For god's sake, don't just come to a stop in a walkway, stairway, etc. You can always backtrack. Try and be aware, and considerate, and don't get in other people's way.
Ugh. They should post this in the subway stations. I hate those people who block passageways to gawk at things. And they have the nerve to be angry at people who are standing behind them! (not all of them, but some do)
As a DC-area resident who spent the summer in NYC doing an internship, I have one point of disagreement: while AMNH is awesome, it does not make NMNH look like crap.
While AMNH has a clearly superior fossil collection, both in terms of the specimens and the organization, NMNH has a vastly superior mineral and rock collection in terms of the specimens and the organization.
In terms of all those other, less important things, like stuffed animals, I call it a draw.
Of course, both are amazing places, and everyone should plan on spending at least a day, if not two, visiting each per visit to NYC or DC.
[[Disclaimer: One of my majors is geology]]
You're right about the Natural History Museum; I really love the one in NYC. Right now I live near DC so the Smithsonian is more accessible. It's still good, but the on in NYC is excellent.
I am going to have to disagree with you on the natural history museums. I thought the American Natural History Museum in NYC was pretty boring compared to the Smithsonian. AMNH is more like a diorama museum, with little to read and learn. I was ready to leave within a couple hours. Note: I am the type of person who will linger around anything that's even slightly interesting.
The first time I was in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in DC ... wow! I spent two entire days in there (with my not-quite-as-enthusiastic fiance who sat on the benches half that time). I think I read everything there was to read. It's the best museum I have ever been to, by far.
As far as art museums go, the Met is the best. I generally find art museums a bit boring (this is where I sit on the bench while my fiance lingers around paintings), but the Met was very exciting. They have art in there that is over 2000 years old. They have suits of armor that were worn by kings, famous old guns, ancient Egyptian statues. Unfortunately, we were only in there for about 1.5 hours before we had to leave to catch a bus. Knowing that ahead of time, I only gave them 10 bucks when they said suggested donation of 20 (and yes, they really do try to hide the fact that it's only a suggestion).
Oh, and you're definitely right about asking questions in the NYC subway. We were having trouble finding our way around down there, but quickly got all of our confusion cleared up by some nearby, friendly NYCers.
And, I really try my hardest not to be one of those annoying in-the-way tourists when I am a tourist, because, just like you, I find them to be annoying when I am trying to do my daily routines and they are in my way. It seems to be worst on and around public transportation systems.
Here on the DC Metro, we have a saying regarding escalators: Stand right; walk left.
Re Chris, #35:
Here in NYC, most subway stops don't have escalators. So the rule should be no standing on steps; slow walkers to the right, fast walkers to the right.
Unfortunately, all too often, it's more like "Tourist stands in the middle of the staircase holding an unfolded subway map while the train arrives and then departs and subway riders desparately try to squeeze around, and then complains about how rude NYers are for being annoyed."
In general, NY tourists really aren't a problem. But this time of year, the number of them is so overwhelming that in every subway station, at any point in time, you've got at least one of the "dumb as a brick" variety. (That's as opposed to, for example, the financial guys, enough of whom manage to do a variety of self-important "I'm more important than you" shit year-round to cause people like me to dread seeing anyone in a business suit get into the subway.)
Thank you for a lovely, concise guide about what visitors to NYC should NOT do. Sometimes, it can be a bit difficult recommending what TO do, as there is such a cornicopa of possibilities, and different people like very different things. So, I usually recommend that visitors grab (in addition to Zagat's, which some one else already mentioned) a copy of Time Out New York. It's a weekly mag, and makes it much easier to get some idea of what's out there in a more systematic way. It lists almost every play, movie (not just the standard top 20), musical performance, comedy show, etc., broken down by those categories, with brief reviews, prices, phone numbers, etc.
If you're waiting on the subway platform, let everybody off the car before you push on. This is something that shouldn't need to be said, but I've seen tourists violate this basic politeness.
Did anyone manage to chase down the man who took the money from the tourist counting money with their hands stretched out? Usually there's a lot of cops at GCT.
Re Billy #39:
No, no one managed to catch the guy. At the height of rush hour, it's just so crowded that it's easy for someone to disappear into the crowd. You just don't have time to get enough of a look to recognize the thief well enough to grab 'em. I was probably about 10 yards away when I saw that, and I can't even tell you if the guy who grabbed it was white or black. It just happened so quickly, in the middle of such a mass of moving people. The only reason I noticed it at all was that I saw the idiot holding the money out counting, and was thinking "That's a dumb thing to do" when someone snatched it.
# 36: "So the rule should be no standing on steps; slow walkers to the right, fast walkers to the right."
Hehe, this sounds remarkably like the sorting algorithm for my filing: everything goes on top. :-)
Thanks for the guide, btw. It's been ages since I went, but I still vividly remember J.J. Applebaum's jewish deli, a couple of blocks from Madison Square Garden. Swell sandwiches!
#38: Oh, please. The locals violate this far more than the tourists do, and I've seen frustrated tourists have trouble getting out of the car in time.
Sounds like New York is like the average big city.
I'm from Pennsylvania and like to do daytrips to NYC. I highly recommend www.hopstop.com. If you register your phone ahead of time, you can text it for walking and subway directions. Just text from (your address) to (where you want to go). Or if you want, you can get subway/walking directions online to print out and take along. I often take my hoptstop directions from where I plan to park to the different places I plan to go,in the order I plan to go to them.
I like food walking tours too, like this one: http://www.foodsofny.com/
And I use this website to find a good rate at a parking garage near where I plan to be: http://nyc.bestparking.com/
I understand getting frustrated with people standing in the middle of an aisle (or not driving fast enough, or being in the wrong lane and then having to switch lanes, etc.) But I have adopted a kind of Zen attitude about it. They are probably hopelessly lost and overwhelmed, and I can be happy no matter where I am or what my situation. So I try not to RUSH anywhere, even when I am in rush hour. If rush hour is going to get me angry and upset because people aren't moving fast enough, I sit and have a coffee and read a book until it's calmed down a bit.
I used to say I wanted to live in NYC, but the cost of living is SO ridiculously high compared to where I live...I'll have to wait until I'm making a boatload of money to be able to afford it!
re Tip #5 and Mark C. #36 I have observed what must be a common human behavior to pause or stop in the most obstructive spot or pinch point, not just NYC tourists. Examples include stopping upon entering or exiting a space like a room or atrium through a door, especially at parties or during rush hour. Also slowing down instead of flooring it near the end of freeway entrance ramps, stopping or pausing at the top or bottom of stairs, and momentarily entering a motionless trance-like state when the red light turns green.
I have also observed that dogs, wild animals, and most cats do not usually exhibit this behavior. Dogs just blindly rush through the pinch point, possibly due to either exhuberance or aggressiveness, while cats and wild animals quietly observe the pinch point from a convenient vantage, move quickly through the point, then either pause in an out of the way spot or run away in a panic.
In mathematical terms, I think there must be some way to describe humans, deer, cats and dogs, and even taxis, as different particles with attributes analogous to charge, spin, and mass, and any door or stoplight as maybe a slit in a barrier surrounded by a magnetic field, or something. Such a mathematical system could be applied to pedestrian or vehicular traffic flow, architecture, or civic planning, thereby introducing some rigor into otherwise "soft" "sciences", to the benefit of us all, including NYCers and tourists.