7 Cultural Observations of People Living in Manhattan

Carol Kubota
5 min readSep 15, 2017

Don’t have the money or time to go outside of the country for vacation? Take a trip to New York. The inhabitants of New York City come from just about every country around the world. Stand around for awhile and you will hear Spanish, Thai, Arabic, Indian, Italian, and German spoken all around you. New York also attracts visitors from all over the world.

Why is New York City so appealing?

City Parks

People living in a big city don’t have yards. Their yards are the city parks. People play,nap,jog, walk their babies, and picnic in the park. The grass is green and trees provide shade.

People learning how to juggle in Bryant Park

Playing Board Games in Bryant Park

Taking it Easy

International Restaurants

You don’t need to go to Italy to eat Italian food. You can go to “Little Italy” in Manhatten and find Italian restaurants. Some are better than others. The restaurants are smaller and usually owned by families who live locally. We found Thai, Japanese, MidEastern, Korean, Cuban, Mexican and many more.

Great food and Great prices

Kofte Kebab Ground lamb patties blended with Turkish spices and kasseri cheese on top

French Bakeries

New York has a French bakery on just about every corner. The locals eat pastries and drink coffee on their way to work, coffee breaks, and lunch hours. The pastries are very European. They have more butter and less sugar. Endless varieties of pastries, cakes, fruited pies, croissants, and fresh yogurt choices. Many of the bakeries have outside seating.

Great place to get breakfast.

Cakes and pies


Fruited Tarts


Many New Yorkers don’t have driver’s licenses. I had an aunt who was a writer for CBS news. She never had a driver’s license. It’s not necessary. The traffic in NYC is slow moving and there is no place to park. People are constantly honking their horns. It pained me to see fire fighters and ambulances trying to get through traffic. It’s not because people would not pull over. There is no space to move. The roads through the city are very narrow.

Public transportation is the norm for most people. Taxis, Uber, Lyft, subway, bicycle, buses, and skateboards. Subways are very crowded during rush hour. They are cheap. The cost for a one way ticket is $2.75. Weekly, monthly and yearly passes are available. The seats are comfortable. The subway is clean and people are polite. Just get out of their way. They will help you anytime you are lost. Look like a lost tourist and they will have pity on you.

People are always in a hurry.

Rush Hour



New York is known for the city that “never sleeps”. People are out late at night. Theaters have shows that end around 11:45 p.m. New Yorkers eat late. The restaurants become very crowded because space is much smaller.

Time’s Square

Unfortunately, there are not as many people here as usual. Times Square was cordoned because of a severe accident.


New Yorkers love their theaters. New shows debut in New York. Tickets can be very expensive for some of the most popular showings. The theater is accessible to those who are rich and tourists who spend the money. They know this is their only chance.

Grocery Shopping

There are no “box supermarkets” in Manhatten. Locals shop at smaller grocery stores. The stores are stocked with every ingredient for just about any kind of international recipe. There at at least thirty different kinds of cheese, dried fruits, fresh vegetables, breads,sauces, ready made salads and sandwiches. There were no carts to push through the store. The aisles are very narrow. The locals don’t buy a lot of food at one time. They have to carry it home with them.

Local grocery store

These seven cultural observations are based on a five day experience I had in New York City. Others might have different observations.

If you get a chance, check out New York City.