13 Essential Survival Tips For Introverts In New York City

Joshua Saxon Joshua Saxon

Being an introvert in NYC

It can be tough being an introvert in NYC. This is the city that never sleeps and it always seems to be working hard to provide more opportunities for people to gather, get loud and get their drink on.

But you’re an introvert. You love New York City and everything it has to offer, but gosh darn it if you don’t need to recharge on your own every once in a while. Secret NYC feels your pain, so here’s how to avoid the hustle and bustle of NYC when you need a little “me time”.


1. Have your excuses ready

Excuses Zach Galifinakis
There are a lot of people in New York City. So unless you totally lock yourself away from the outside world (don’t do that), you’re likely to be invited to a lot of social events you’d rather not attend. If you do find yourself obliged to go to a party or dinner, prepare an exit strategy (even if it does involve a little white lie) and let people know ahead of time that you can’t stay too long. Just make sure it’s believable.


2. Avoid drinking too much alcohol

Ron Swanson Drunk
Don’t binge drink as a social lubricant. You’re already feeling uncomfortable and booze is just going to emphasize your awkwardness. Have one or two if it takes the edge off, but bear in mind you’re likely to do or say something you’ll regret if you get hammered.


3. Suggest a bike adventure in Central Park

Bikes in Central Park
[Blog of Ys]
Invite your friends to a bike adventure in Central Park and you can spend time with them (reducing the amount of texts you receive insisting you come out) while cycling along keeping yourself to yourself. Cycling is a great activity that allows you to be social without too much interacting with people.


4. Carry a book on the subway and stay close to the doors

Reading on the Subway
“Hey, I know! Let’s cram ourselves into a large underground cannister on wheels to the point where the air you’re breathing becomes 20.9% oxygen/89.1% body odor,” said no introvert ever. Make sure you always have a big book or newspaper to read so people are deterred from starting a conversation with you. Also, make sure you can see your exit path, keeping close to the doors if possible.


5. Explore New York City on your own

Explore NYC alone
[Michael Hrotoski]
New York has got to be one of the best places on the planet to just explore on your own. Grab yourself a guide book or try to get yourself lost (a little trickier if you’re a born and raised New Yorker). Discover a quirky little coffee shop and enjoy some alone time.


6. Lose yourself in the stars

Stargazing in NYC
[Amateur Astronomers Association]
There’s nothing quite like looking up at the stars if you want to feel alone in the universe. The Amateur Astronomers Association is an introvert’s dream. While there will of course be other people there, they’re unlikely going to be encouraging you to chug a beer bong or go to some cool after-hours bar for yet more interacting with people. It’s just you and the stars.


7. Get up early to avoid the crowds

Times Square Early Morning
[Flickr/James Lyon]
Don’t feel like hanging out in Times Square because you can’t face all the people? Get yourself out of bed early and head over before 12pm. You’ll find it far more tolerable.


8. Invite your friends to an indoor quiet club

Silent clubbing NYC
Clubbing. The introvert’s worst nightmare. You’d rather give a presentation in front of your class reunion and realize you forgot to wear pants than go clubbing. But how about a club where you can strap on a pair of headphones and dance to the beat of your own drum?


9. Take a secluded picnic in Central Park

Quiet picnic in Central Park
[Pinterest/Jazz Zombo]
Central Park may not seem like an introvert’s paradise. But there are some spots you can go to hide from all the shouty people. Try Conservatory Gardens or head to the North Woods.  


10. See Manhattan from a helicopter

Manhattan from helicopter
Is the hubbub of New York City getting to you? Then why not gain a little perspective on a helicopter tour of Manhattan. You’ll have the roar of the engine on your side (“Sorry? I can’t hear a thing over this noise!”) leaving you to just enjoy the view.


11. Wander around a bookstore or library

Louis CK bookstore
For many introverts, there’s nothing quite like browsing a bookstore. Strand Bookstore is a good bet if you want space to be left alone. Or if you’re a little more on the geeky side, spend a bit of time looking around one of New York City’s many comic book stores like Midtown Comics – you’ll be in good introverted company. And of course, the New York Public Library insists on quiet.


12. Take a trip outside the city

Montauk Beach Alone
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of Hell’s Kitchen. Then hit the beach in Montauk in Long Island, or one of the many sleepy little towns in New Jersey like Hamilton or Short Hills.


13. Take some photos

Taking photographs in NYC
Possibly the best activity to do on your lonesome. Hide yourself behind a big piece of photographic hardware and experience New York City with the kind of quiet contemplation you feel most comfortable with.



Featured cover image: Lifehack

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