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updated 6/3/2005 4:20:27 PM ET 2005-06-03T20:20:27

Winter, summer, rain, sleet or sun -- New York City is a perennially popular destination for travelers. In fact, American Airlines said that based on airline reservations May 1 through August 31, 2005, New York is the number one domestic summer travel destination. That means the already crowded Big Apple will be bursting at the seams this summer and, with the heat turned way up, you might notice the natives are a bit more restless than usual.

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You may have heard the vicious rumor about New Yorkers being a surly bunch with a bad attitude towards tourists. As a native New Yorker, I can say with honesty that I welcome tourists with open arms and am proud to show off what, in my opinion, the greatest city in the world has to offer. I am happy to help you in any way I can. Unless of course, I need to be someplace and you get in my way.

What’s a tourist to do? New York and New Yorkers move fast, and it’s normal to feel uneasy, overwhelmed or downright frightened at the pace. Read on for our seven strategies for surviving the concrete jungle this summer – and get even more out of your trip to the Big Apple.

1. Get on at the front of the bus and get off in the back. This is a huge time saver for the people trying to board the bus, the people already on the bus and the people waiting at the next bus stop.

2. If you don’t plan on walking up the escalator move to the right. And if you are carrying a giant bag, take it off your arm or back and rest it in front of you so people can get by.

3. Move to the middle of the subway car – you will have ample time to get off at your stop. Promise.

4. Never, under any circumstances, walk more than two people across on the sidewalks. While you take in your surroundings, others are trying to get where they need to be and want to be able to pass you.

5. When you suddenly are unsure of your whereabouts and need to consult with your travel companions, move to the side rather than standing in the middle of the sidewalk while you discuss. This avoids blocking the sidewalk and the inevitable dirty looks that come as a result.

6. When you get to the subway turnstile or on the bus, have your MetroCard in hand and ready to swipe. Nothing is more infuriating than missing your train because someone decided to wait until they were at the turnstile to begin searching their pockets / purse / suitcase for their MetroCard.

7. If, for some reason, you decide to drive in New York City, leave ample room between you and the car in front of you in traffic. This way, if you get stuck at a red light, you won’t block the intersection or the crosswalk.

Armed with these tips and your common sense, your trip to New York City will be a great success. Have a tip of your own? Tell us about it on the Independent Traveler message boards!

The Independent Traveler is an interactive traveler's exchange and comprehensive online travel guide for a community of travelers who enjoy the fun of planning their own trips and the adventure of independent travel. You can access our wealth of travel resources and great bargains here at www.independenttraveler.com, or at www.bargainbox.com.

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