The world is coming to New York this June. It’s the biggest Pride celebration ever, WorldPride, lasting throughout the month and culminating in the Pride March June 30. If you’re visiting New York for the celebration but don’t know English very well, here are a few tips to jumpstart your travel plans. Consider this an early welcome to NYC!
Ask for help
New Yorkers sometimes get a bad rap for being rude, but there are plenty of nice locals who can help point you in the right direction. Whether you’re in a subway station, a hotel, or on the street, chances are you can find a friendly face to help you. And remember: New York is a global city! There are enclaves of immigrants from nearly every country in the world here. It’s not impossible that you’ll stumble upon someone who speaks your language!
Learn key words
Basic phrases can go a long way in any language. Use the Internet or a language program to learn necessary words and sentences you’ll need for daily life in NYC. These include hello, thank you, I don’t speak English, and toilet.
Use your hands
Don’t be shy about using hand gestures and head motions if you’re having a hard time communicating. We’ve all been in a situation where we don’t know the language but need directions to our next destination. Miming and pointing help a lot (you can mime everything from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Bronx Zoo!), as well as nodding your head “Yes” and shaking your head “No.”
Keep a shortlist of destinations
Before you leave, write down a list of your most essential destinations on a piece of paper or on your mobile device. These can include the name of your hotel, the name of New York attractions you want to see, and events like the Pride March, Pride Island, or one of the many parties on the WorldPride schedule. That way, you can show the names of these places to a cab driver, concierge, or helpful stranger who can help get you where you’re going.
Use your tech
There are plenty of language books and mobile applications with translating functions to help ease your time in the city. A simple (free) resource is Google Translate, which is available for your mobile device. Use it for translating from English into your preferred language, particularly if you’re translating a piece of writing like a sign, email, or brochure.
Book tours in your language
No language barrier should prevent you from seeing the best sights in New York City. Luckily, many New York attractions host tours in a variety of languages, including Grand Central Terminal, the Statue of Liberty, and Central Park. Check out the attractions and museums listed in our What To Do guide. Many of them offer live and pre-recorded audio tours for non-English speakers.
Read the WorldPride Guide!
If you’re reading this article in your language, we’re betting you can check out the rest of our WorldPride Guide too. We’ve assembled articles all about New York City basics from subway tips to shopping tips to a roundup of WorldPride events you can get excited about. The more you learn about basic New York culture, the more equipped of a traveler you’ll be.