NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette
Nathan W. Pyle
William Morrow/HarperCollins
$10, 144 pages
ISBN 978-0-06-230311-0

I kept expecting this book of cartoon tips to be funny and it wasn’t. Then I realized it wasn’t meant to be funny. It was meant to be what the title says: tips and etiquette, like how to order pizza and how not to hang on the subway pole (I admit I do that because I don’t like touching its mega-germy surface), avoiding garbage and similar pieces of wisdom. Most of these tips—like the smelly garbage one—would be germane in 50% of the places on earth, but there is the occasional nugget like the Horror Of The Empty Subway Car (usually involves two or more of the following: a bum, puke, piss, poo.)


This book started as a webcomic by Pyle, a recent Ohio emigre who came to NYC to produce TV shows. The tips got socialed all around and a book deal followed. Pyle’s art falls into one of the Seven Kinds Of Weak Comics Art categories that I have identified over the years, namely “Thinks He’s Toth, But He’s Not”—relying completely on contrasty pages with stark white and black areas, without really having a great grasp of anatomy or architecture. The simplicity of the imagery does carry it through though, and people like diagrams.

I have never used this particular TJs technique but might give it a shot.

Despite these flaws, this is a useful book if you have just arrived in New York or even if you needed a brush up on some of the basics. Now that NYC has been turned into a complete shopping mall/holiday for nouveau riche euro trash, Hedge funders, trustafarians and Tom Brady, it’s good to remember the olden days when street smarts—and not the Benjamins—were the key to survival.
I have never used this particular TJs technique but might give it a shot.

No website but there is a FB page.


  1. Thanks so much for taking a look! I appreciate the honest review! In my experience, the other Trader Joe’s locations in the city are less crowded, so I’ve never employed such strategy at the other locations. Oh, and you also might like the animated ebook (available through Apple retailers).

  2. See, this is why I don’t write reviews. Busted in minutes!

    I usually go to the Chelsea Trader Joe’s since its close to my office and is a veritable Versailles compared to Union Square’s limited space. Don’t ever try to buy wine at the wine shop on a Saturday afternoon though—Saturday night is wino night in the East Village.

  3. Yes, the Trader Joe’s on Sixth Avenue is always easy to navigate (and great line management)! Even the one on the Upper West Side is decent, if on two floors. The first one, over on Fourteenth? Yeah, I’ve avoided it ever since that first day when I saw the entire store was one long line.

  4. Haha, Versailles indeed! And similarly, the Brooklyn Trader Joe’s could be Windsor Castle. And I agree re: The Wine Shop – Saturdays and the nights before storms draw quite a crowd. But then depending on my route, I’ll buy groceries at a nearby progression of Duane Reade / bodega / fruit stand.

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