The culture editors’ guide to on-campus etiquette

From the L Train to L Train Vintage, we’ve got you covered.


Alexandra Chan

Washington Square Park is the center of both NYU and the surrounding Greenwich Village neighborhood. There is a certain culture of etiquette that new students should abide by when out in New York City. (Staff Photo by Alexandra Chan)

Hello, NYU students! Congratulations to those of you who are new here, and welcome back to our returning students. We recognize that some of you have never stepped foot on campus before this semester, while others are back from a rather long hiatus. In any case, we could all use a primer on how to act at NYU, and we hope all y’all find our guide useful.


New York is known for its infamous subway system. It’s great for daytime use, but expect to wait 20 minutes with the rats and roaches if you’re out past midnight. Don’t be afraid of the buses — they’re often cleaner and quieter than the subway — and take the crosstown buses if you don’t want to walk across the avenues. Yellow taxis are cheaper than Ubers and Lyfts, and we recommend taking them late at night instead of public transportation. If you prefer using your phone to get a ride, the Drivers Cooperative offers a driver-owned ride-hailing app.  If you’re planning to take public transportation, leave 20 minutes earlier in case of delays. If you have to walk or take the subway, Citymapper is superior to Google Maps. Citi Bikes are fun because you’re busy trying not to get hit. It’s a great way to see the city; Hudson River Greenway has a long and scenic bike path, and Central Park has wide paths perfect for exploring.


College is a great place to rebrand yourself. Lots of people dress up the first few weeks of school. Believe me, I’ve tried. But it’s OK to pull up to class with sweatpants, especially at 8 a.m., despite the pressure to show off in the big city. Speaking of rebranding, shopping for second-hand clothing is a great way to ball on a budget. Buffalo Exchange and L Train Vintage are not the only thrift shops in the city. In fact, they’re not even thrift shops. Our personal favorites, though, are The Attic NY, Crossroads Trading Co., Beacon’s Closet and 2nd STREET USA. When washing your newly thrifted clothes in your dorm, keep a close eye on them. Make sure no one takes your drying time. It would be a pain in the butt, especially when it’s the middle of the semester, and it’s 3 a.m. and you’re burnt out. Oh, also, NYU is no longer using Campus Cash. Instead, download the app Hercules CP Mobile to input cash, and select your washer and dryer.


We’re lucky to have three on-campus coffee shops, but they are not all created equal. Dunkin’ in New York sucks in general, Peet’s Coffee is OK and Starbucks is the most reliable. As such, Starbucks is popular. If you’re ordering Starbucks before a 9:30 a.m. class, please take one for the team and place your order before 9:15 a.m.. When we all order at 9:15 a.m., we all end up late. Starbucks is also a good place to spend extra Dining Dollars on non-food items like mugs. 

In terms of cheap food, dollar pizza, halal cart meals and bacon-egg-and-cheeses are your new best friends. Joe’s Pizza is overrated and literally 300% more expensive than 2 Bros. — if you can get a slice for $1, why pay $3? Finally, if you have extra meal swipes, you can use an app called NYU Share Meals to donate them to students experiencing food insecurity. 


It is common to have non-Stern classes in the basement of the main Stern building on West 4th Street, and this comes with two dangers. First, that building is called Tisch Hall, not to be confused with Tisch School of the Arts around the corner on Broadway. Second, you cannot print in Tisch Hall without a Stern email, so print your assignments before rushing to recitation. Speaking of rushing to print things, the closest printer to 194 Mercer Street is in the library on the top floor of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Bobst is another great resource for students. They boast tech workshops like Research 101: Back to School Basics — which helps you navigate NYU Libraries’ online environment — and Introduction to Git and Github, as well as a huge suite of software resources like Microsoft Suite, video and editing software Final Cut Pro, and data services and analytics tools like MATLAB and Tableau.

Getting around Washington Square

Washington Square Park is an essential part of the NYU experience. There’s also free entertainment in every corner for an outdoor moment. That’s that for daytime, but you can’t walk through it when it’s past midnight; the park is closed. And for the millionth time: Don’t walk under the arch or you won’t graduate on time!

For those of you with classes in the Silver building, we kindly advise you to suck it up and take the stairs, especially if your recitation is just a flight away. The elevators are generally packed, and waiting on them will make you late for your expensive elite education.


Heed your adviser’s words and just do your core requirements. Don’t be that senior.

Parks and recreation

Central Park is amazing, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg! Hudson River Park and Inwood Hill Park are great for pretending you’re in a real park with trees and stuff, while Tompkins Square Park has more of a WSP vibe. We also encourage you to explore outside of Manhattan. Touristy ways to do this include walking across the Brooklyn Bridge (note that it’s deceptively long and breezy) and taking the Staten Island Ferry for a free view of the Statue of Liberty. Enjoy your time off campus, and always carry $20 in cash just in case.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, August 30, 2021, e-print edition. Contact Sabrina, Alex and Joey at [email protected].