30 Jan 100 Things No One Tells You When You Move to New York City
One week and one day ago exactly, I celebrated my two year anniversary as a new(ish) New Yorker. It was a really good day. I worked on set at lookbook photo shoot for a clothing company and as Sheila E blared in the speakers at Pier 59, I couldn’t help but smile when she sang, “the girl’s got a lot on her mind, she’s got big thoughts, big dreams… ”
In my quest for living the glamorous life in New York City, there are a few gems I’ve learned along the way. This is a long read, pour a little something and settle in for a peek in the fast life (how my Dad refers to living in the city).
1. You can negotiate your rent.
2. Mice and cockroaches are a part of your life now. Deal with it. Or find someone who can.
3. Don’t bother trying to catch a cab on a rainy day. Walk to the train.
4. The amount of rage you can expect to feel when someone is walking slowly in the middle of the sidewalk. Same for couples holding hands, strolling along at 10 a.m. during the work week.
5. Schick Pro Fusion Refill Cartridges are ALWAYS sold out in Duane Reade. Is all of New York shaving with this vibrating men’s razor?
6. It’s a big deal whenever a Mom comes to town. In a city full of mostly imports, it’s nice to have someone else take care of you–and pay for things.
7. Unless it’s 4 a.m. in the morning, there is no such thing as an empty train car. A homeless person has taken it up as his/her home and listen, that ish is RANK. Crowd on to another car with everyone else.
8. When the zombie apocalypse and/or the Anti-Christ reveals itself, it’s kicking off in the 59th Street/Lexington station on a weekday, between the hours of 5 and 7 p.m. May the force be with you navigating that hellish train platform. Don’t touch the hand rails and walk quickly if you’re using the underpass to the 6, lest you acquire gonorrhea.
9. Street cart coffee is some of the best coffee. A large cup and a croissant will cost you $3. I don’t even care that the server hands it over in a brown paper bag.
10. Speaking of carts, support locally (I think?) grown produce and buy your fruits/veggies off of one. That’s the only thing I buy consistently, that I can use up before it goes bad.
12. The C train is always, I mean always, rickety. I have only been on a nice C, like, twice in my New York life.
13. Remember when I was so thrown off by adults who shove themselves into crowded trains while the doors are closing? You become one of those people. Especially when you have to pee. But mostly when your feet hurt.
14. The best workout ever is walking around this city in high heels.
15. You’ll tear up your shoes, though. So find a cobbler you love. One of the most annoying sounds in the world is someone walking on metal because their taps need to be replaced.
16. Drop-off laundry service saves you so much hassle.
18. Street harassment gets old quick. Now I throw those creeps nasty looks and don’t feel obligated to respond.
19. Sample sales are both a gift and a curse.
20. Once you get into a routine, you see the same strangers all the time. Who said New York was huge?
21. You actually will get to know the homeless people who reside on the side steps of the school on your block.
You still won’t know your neighbors, though.
22. You’ll miss your broker once you’re settled into your new place. Is it weird to text ‘Good Morning,’ still?
23. Thanks to Uber and Seamless, you can actually leave your entire wallet in your apartment and not have to freak out.
24. Cab drivers prefer that you don’t open the door to throw up. If you feel it coming, say something, usually they will offer you a plastic bag and a napkin.
25. Go to all the museums and the libraries this city has to offer. It’s not cute to say you don’t do tourist-y things. Unless you’re talking about Times Square. Then you’re right.
26. … But if you’re speeding through Times Square in a cab at 3 a.m., then it’s amazing.
28. Cab rides to Brooklyn from the Upper East Side cost an upwards of $25 depending on traffic. Get on the train.
29. You’ll have your best ideas on the train. Same with walking home. Pull out that voice recorder (or use your voice memos) and make sure you don’t forget.
30. If your mom is anything like mine, she’ll beam with pride when she tells people, usually strangers, that her daughter lives and works in in New York City.
31. You’ll look for yourself in the back of every single scene filmed in New York.
32. You’ll try to guess the neighborhoods in New York scenes.
33. On the nights when the maintenance men pile the garbage up on the curb for trash pickup, stomp so the rats know to stay put. That way you won’t scare them and they won’t dart out scaring you. This is what I tell myself, anyway.
34. Give your best friend your spare keys.
35. It’s a weird realization when you meet writers/bloggers/singers/actresses who are nothing like their online personas. Try not to be too disappointed.
36. It’s a treat to wake up unhungover on a Sunday. Do something. Get coffee and read in the park.
37. You can cry in public and if someone accidentally makes awkward eye contact with you, they’ll apologize.
38. Leave a spare set of keys somewhere safe at work, too. Just in case.
39. Any relationships, whether romantic or platonic, that are not directly off of the train line closest to you, are considered long distance.
40. No one knows where they are going, ever. While that can said of life, in New York specifically, I mean it in terms of direction.
41. Showtime! is one of the most grating, annoying experiences on just about all of the train lines. Thank you, MTA for realizing this and taking action.
42. New Yorkers can and will band together for something.
43. Good chicken and fries is dependent upon borough. If you’re on the UES, Chirpin’ Chicken is always a safe bet.
44. When you have a bad day, the pride that you’ll feel turning a key in a lock on a door to an apartment you can afford to live in this month makes up for it. Everyone can’t live here.
45. And still have money left over for coffee.
46. Stop buying coffee. It’s much more cost efficient to make it yourself.
47. Everyone has been laid off. Sometimes more than once. Don’t be ashamed.
48. You’ll get to know your neighbors—again, helpful when you lock yourself out.
49. The laundry ladies, too.
50. Same for your bodega’s deli man. It’s official when he remembers how you take your coffee and what you want on your sandwich.
51. If you do weird things on the street, say take photos for your personal style blog, people will stare at you. And comment on your outfit. Homeless men will ask you why you aren’t wearing a coat in the winter. Unsolicited, of course.
52. I hate to tell you this, really I do. But everyone begging on the train isn’t homeless. One time, when I was on the NQR on my way to the 6, a man got on and starts with the usual ‘excuse me ladies and gentlemen…’ when a woman interrupts him to say shut the eff up. He went clean off on her, calling her all sorts of names and even getting in her face. He yelled that she had “messed his sh*t up.” So, yeah. Give at your own discretion.
53. MTA hates you.
54. There are bathrooms in Times Square along the corridor that leads to the NQR and the Shuttle. I’ve never used them so I can’t vouch for how clean they are, but hey, it’s good to know they’re there.
55. MTA doesn’t care if you’re repeatedly late to work thanks to train delays.
56. The bus is better than the train. I love taking the bus in my ‘hood with the cute old ladies carrying their Chanel bags with brightly-colored nails.
57. MTA will replace your monthly pass if you happen to lose it. I wish I would have known that when I first moved here. I was so poor, I cried at the amount of money lost and now will only buy weekly passes, just in case.
58. MTA will provide a note to your employer if a train delay makes you late. Who knows when you’ll actually receive it in the mail, though. Hopefully before you lose your job. (Kidding!)
59. Budget your time when traveling in New York. You’re either going to be really late or really early.
60. New York City is the perfect place to try a new trend. No one cares and everyone has seen it all.
61. When a cab’s light on top is lit up, he’s working. Put your hand up to hail it!
62. If you’re looking for an apartment or a place to stay, check for the nearest train. I made this mistake in my first apartment. That walk to the train is one of the longest in the city and nearly did me in.
63. Models and celebrities take the train, too. Don’t be weird about it.
64. Put money in the cards to your maintenance men during the holidays. I thought about sending one to the rental office, too, but they already get enough of my money.
65. New York City is a great place to be in love.
66. Get a pair of commute shoes. I’m serious. And a carryall that can double as a handbag/spare shoe bag.
67. The fake wall is a thing in New York real estate.
68. It’s hard to find a “true” studio.
69. Those housing lotteries are great but take years. Get on one now if you’ll consider moving here in the next, oh, 100 years.
70. New York City is a great place to be angry.
71. Garbage day is everyday.
72. You can date whatever kind of man you want to here: an actor, an athlete, or a doctor. Just smile and see what happens.
73. SoHo is just as bad as Times Square now. Everyone thinks this is where the “fashion” people hang out.
74. Get thee a grandma cart. Or a tote bag that can fit several bags of groceries in them. Very rarely will you get everything you need from one grocery store. I make three stops: Gristedes for immediate things like meats, Rite-Aid for cleaning supplies/candles (I use my parents discount card for 20% off) and Key Food for everything else, but that is 3 blocks away from me.
75. After a while, you just start to assume the crazy stuff that you see people doing is performance art. They must be studying the general public’s reaction to their shenanigans. They have to be.
76. If you wanted to, you could go out every single night. Not to a bar or club, but to a networking event, a fashion party, the launch of a new collection. Say yes to everything you’re invited to. It’s a good opportunity to meet new people and make the passed hor d’oeuvres your dinner, saving you money.
77. If you’re in an industry where PR people court you for coverage, sometimes they become your friends in real life. This has happened to me with three different people. Same for people that I’ve met at events.
78. Not to get all millennial but the work you do is important, not just because you need it to pay your expensive *ss rent, but because you’ll spend more time at your place of employment than your own home.
79. … But if you don’t think a job in the traditional sense is for you, New York is the perfect place to create your dream job on your terms… sometimes with a bunch of little ones.
80. Carrie Bradshaw was right, in New York, you are always looking for an apartment, a job or a boyfriend.
81. New York City is the kind of place you want to dress up for. Even Taylor Swift agrees.
82. Manhattan locks up its public parks during a snow storm. Seriously, I saw people “breaking” into a park so their babies could experience snow.
83. Drybar is amazing. So is Natasha at the Murray Hill location. She’s my favorite.
84. Protect your energy. This is always important but in New York, you encounter so many people on a daily basis you have to be sure you aren’t bringing any negativity into your personal space.
85. There are a million things to do, and you’ll want to do them all (FOMO is a real thing, kids) but you won’t enjoy any of them if you don’t stop and recharge occasionally.
86. If you decide to go the roommate route, go on a few dates first, just to make sure you gel.
87. You’ll become immune to the smell of garbage on a hot summer day. Until, that is, you breath it in through your mouth.
88. New York has this way of making you feel like sh*t. Like you’re not good enough, smart enough, you can’t hustle hard enough, and that’s a lie. You made it here. Work harder.
89. Make sure home feels like home. It’s hard enough to go out into the world and be brave without having some place special to hang up that armor New York requires.
90. The steam from a really hot shower can warm up your apartment when the heat takes to long to kick in.
91. Avenues run north and south, while streets run east and west. Look for the sun, it rises in the east and sets in the west, giving you a clue of what direction you should be headed. I learned this the hard way.
92. If you’re in Midtown and have to use the bathroom, the Macy’s in Herald Square has a really nice one on the third floor. Now, whether or not you can make it to the restroom and not stop during the walk through women’s shoes is another story.
93. Make sure you know where you’re going before you get on the train. I know this is ‘No, duh,’ news but once I was going to this party in Brooklyn (cough, #Hennypalooza, cough) and had to guess what stop I should get off on the L because this dummy forgot to screenshot the directions.
94. Only in New York will someone try to sell you an apartment without a kitchen. My studio may have toy-sized appliances—will Sears even service these?—but at least I have a stove.
95. Don’t put sweaters in your stove (I store pots/pans inside, though) like Carrie Bradshaw, that is an accident waiting to happen. I have booties lined up on top of my cabinets and sweaters inside the extra ones. You’ll learn to utilize all of your space like a pro.
96. The train runs when it feels like it on the weekend. Especially, Sunday.
97. Don’t give the cab driver an exact address, figure out the cross streets of your destination. Going around the block is an added expense.
98. Carry your phone charger with you. I always have mine with me and I’m not ashamed to pull it out and charge where I can, whether I’m standing on a platform in Penn Station waiting for the E uptown or in Barnes & Noble.
99. Rats can’t hear you. You have to create vibrations under them to scare them away.
100. If you’re lucky, someone will take you under their wing, acting as your New York spirit guide, sharing their wisdom, network, or in my case, bed. Arianna is mine. Be ready to pay that forward. It’s hard enough to get here, what’s more, make a life. Be nice to those you meet along the way.
Whew, we made it! Thank you for reading. Today and everyday. One of my goals for the site is revisit the days when my blog served as a digital diary and I have to say, the past couple months have been some of my favorite posts to write.
Here’s to another year of fun clothing and even better adventures in them.
As for the clothes, I’m wearing a few of my favorite things: faux fur, sequins, Cici and over-the-knee boots.
Bish, you guessed it! Woo!
Wearing: M by Marc Bouwer Faux Fur Capelet// Gap Denim Shirt// J.Crew Sequin Shirt// J.Crew Factory Skirt// Zara Over the Knee Boots// Chanel Bag// nOir & Tiffany & Co Rings// My Name Necklace Nameplate// Stella & Dot Disc Necklace// Kat von D Lipstick in Homegirl