How to be the perfect summer houseguest in NYC

By Sharon Krum | June 10, 2015 - 8:59AM

You know the drill: Once you move to New York City, your friends and family turn into a chorus with three repeated messages: You’re so brave (why, thank you) , you’re so crazy (it is a prerequisite for living here), and they’re coming to visit. And chances are they’re bunking at your place, undeterred by the exciting news that your apartment is the size of a cubicle. (You have NYC hotel prices to that for that.) 

We’ve had some amazing, considerate guests, and some that have reduced us to anxious puddles on the therapy couch. So in the interests of saving friendships as well as your sanity, we suggest the following New York guide be handed to your visitors on arrival, along with a subway map and hot dog. And good luck! Dear guest:

When we say make yourself at home, we don’t mean it.

Seriously. We say it because we’re classy and we’re being  good hosts. What we really want is for you to feel relaxed in our space, but respectful. You might walk around nude at your place, but please wear a robe at ours. We think it’s cool you let your kids draw on the walls at home, but if you really want to leave us some art, head to Chelsea's galleries and find us some.

The apartment is not inside Downton Abbey. There are no staff.

Nobody is more depressed about this than we are, because having a chauffeur, maid and butler is how we thought we’d be living when we moved to New York. This tragic lack of help also means you need to fold up the sofabed, hang up towels, and pack up your suitcase every day. Whatever mess you leave lying around will, in the spirit of decluttering, be thrown out the window. We hear that’s how Marie Kondo does it.

We Heart New York — but we hate lines

We are not taking you to the Statue of Liberty. We’ve seen it, it’s lovely, but the lines are insane and we have enough stress as it is. The only way we would ever go again is if a Bergdorf’s outlet store opened at the ferry stop. (Or if Mark Ruffalo were to escort us around.) There are tons of great apps now that help tourists like you navigate the city all on your own (check out our very own picks for more choices popular with the locals.)

Oh, and seriously don't even think about buying one of those I Heart New York t-shirts.


We suggest you ask your host for their non-negotiables. Can you smoke inside, on the balcony, or not at all? If they’re vegetarian, can you bring home your (massive) pastrami sandwich from the Carnegie Deli? Shoes on, or off, in the apartment? Being thoughtful goes a long way.

Remember how we told you we work at home now?

We’re so happy you’re here, but if we work at home, please get out by 9 a.m. or we will put you out with the recycling (which we do, because we’re good New Yorkers.) If you’re still in our apartment after nine, please don’t interrupt us on a business call to ask if it’s true Donald Trump sits at the door of Trump Tower every morning. Yes, it’s true. Everything you read on the Internet about New York is true.

Hello, we read your Facebook and Twitter

If you tweet that Fluffy has more room in his litter box than you do at our place, we will happily print out a list of hotels in the city. We like the Pierre ourselves.

It’s the thought that counts (ahem)

Of course it is, but here it’s also the present, which would be a nice touch when you leave. Buying dinner, a gift certificate to one of our favorite neighborhood spots,  a pretty plant or fragrant candle is a wonderful way to say thank-you-for-having-us, as is wine. We once had a guest who stayed two weeks, then took us to a Broadway show — we loved it.


  • The walls in many old buildings are paper thin, and if we have roommates, "inside" voices are appreciated.
  • This should go without saying, but please don’t bring strangers home and have sex with them on our new sofa, unless you plan to carry it to the dry cleaners the next day.
  • And please don’t drink all our alcohol, we need some for after you leave.


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