Having lived in NYC for nearly five years, I feel ready to write this article. Let me start by saying that I grew up on Long Island so the city was just a train ride away. I didn’t come here from Oklahoma expecting this fabulous Sex and the City lifestyle filled with Cosmos, shopping and fancy brunches every weekend (although that does happen every now and then).
That being said, there are many things I didn’t know prior to living here and it’s been quite an experience to say the least. Here are 20 things I’ve learned (and I am 100% sure there will be a part two):
- You need to develop a different set of standards for personal space
If you’re claustrophobic, NYC is not for you. Ask any New Yorker about the morning commute on the subway and you’ll get the picture.
- It really is survival of the fittest
True story: As I was walking through the Herald Square subway station and looking down at my phone I bumped into this woman. I heard her yell something and as I turned around, she was already mid-punch and hit me square in the face. Yes, in case you’re wondering, getting punched in the face actually hurts.
- Most people are nice
Aside from my subway assault, the majority of people I meet are genuinely nice. The generalization that New Yorkers are rude definitely isn’t true.
- Subway beats taxi
During rush hour, always take the subway.
- Uber and Seamless are a way of life
You’re not a true new Yorker unless you have these two apps on your phone.
- Nothing compares to the food here
In terms of food, NYC really has the best of everything. And while it’s not always affordable, it’s SO convenient. Whatever you’re in the mood for, there will be countless options for you to choose from.
- You never know who you’re going to meet
I’ve met people on the street, subway platforms, café lines – you name it.
- Don’t say yes to a psychic on the street
This woman stopped me and said I had a “powerful aura” to which I replied “Wow, you think so?” LOL She proceeded to take me into the nearest Starbucks for a reading and needless to say it was pretty awkward when she held my hands across the table and started telling me about my future in music (if you know me then you know I have no musical talent whatsoever). It was definitely the worst $20 I ever spent. I immediately regretted that decision, but lesson learned.
- Embrace spontaneity
My favorite moments with friends were the ones when we were spontaneous and bounced around from place to place. The beauty of NYC is you don’t need to have a plan to have a good time.
- Brunch is BIG
In NYC day drinking is a thing. Nothing beats getting together with your girl friends for Saturday or Sunday brunch.
- Your roommates can become family
Thankfully, I haven’t had a bad roommate experience. The roommate I have now has become one of my best friends. To be honest, we’re kind of like a married couple – one of us always cooks for the other and most nights we unwind with a glass of wine and tell each other about our days. I’m not ashamed to admit she’s the man of the house. She’s very handy and can literally fix anything when it breaks.
- You will hear literally everything your neighbors do
There’s a one-man band in our building. Some nights he’s playing the guitar, other nights he’s playing the drums. My roommate and I lost sleep for an entire week and when we went to confront him at 3am, we knocked on the wrong door. Instead, we walked in on a group of guys who invited us to play video games. Very awkward. Eventually, we figured out the crazy musician lives in the basement (right below us). Mystery solved.
- Age is just a number
I’ve met more mature twenty somethings than thirty somethings (men and women). Age honestly doesn’t mean anything.
- How to fall asleep anywhere, anytime
Look around the next time you’re on the subway. More than half the people will have their eyes shut. Whether you’re hungover from the night before or just worked a 12-hour day, you learn how to fall asleep no matter where you are.
- An empty subway car is too good to be true
It’s always funny to see tourists make this mistake for the first time.
- New York is most beautiful at night
Nothing beats the night view of the NYC skyline. It’s true what they say, “New York is the city that never sleeps.” The city comes alive when the sun goes down.
- It’s impossible to be bored
There’s always something to do. Even if all of your friends are busy, there are a million different ways to entertain yourself in NYC.
And this brings me to my next point…
- It’s not weird to do things alone
In NYC people are always on-the-go. It’s not strange to see someone grabbing a bite to eat alone.
- Getting out of the city will keep you sane
As great as it is living here, you will need to escape the noise and fast paced lifestyle every now and then. I’m lucky my hometown is Long Island, which is where I spend most of my time during the summer.
- You can never be underdressed or overdressed
For example, it’s not strange to see a woman walk into a dive bar in a cocktail dress. Everyone simply assumes she was out to dinner or at a party earlier that night.
And of course, when in doubt wear black.