Month One: What I’ve Learned Living in New York City
I’ve wanted to move to New York City for the past five years.
But honestly, the AMC series Mad Men was probably the first time I fell in love with this place. That was when I was a freshman in college with a weird obsession with advertising. Ever since then, one of my biggest goals was to find my way to the city.
Fast forward five years, and three different moves that involved a lot of twists and turns, I somehow wound up sharing a two month sublease of a three bedroom apartment in Washington Heights, Manhattan. I took only two suitcases and my favorite fidget spinner from Cincinnati, Ohio to here. At the risk of sounding dramatic, to start my new life.
I left behind my entire friend group, the midwest affinity for good cold brew, and yes even the proximity to most of my family. Which were three difficult things to do.
That was thirty days ago.
You could say I’ve learned a thing or two in my first month attempting to dodge taxis, engage pizza owners that I never know if they are yelling at me or are thankful for my business, and squinting to see if that thing is a pigeon or just a mutated subway rat.
So I thought I’d dissect this month for my own sanity, and for you, if New York life is on your radar someday.
Bada bing, bada boom, landing at LaGuardia was my first challenge.
They lost my luggage which was a great way to introduce me to the struggle. But have no fear, I at least had my toothbrush while they searched for my bag. Kidding! I had to get that at the bodega across the street from my apartment.
NYC Know-how #1 — Bodega
That is a little shop with things you need to survive. Typically ran by a half scary, half super cool guy that will make you buy more stuff if you want to use your credit card.
Also the bottled sodas are typically almost expired… but whatever.
Which leads me to…
NYC Know-how #2 — Stop giving a F&%$
No time, or room to harp on stuff. I’ve almost completely eliminated my “uncomfortable in crowded areas” type moments. I’m currently at “will head bob to a good song on the subway” level.
(pats self on back)
Got my luggage! First week was filled with a lot of holy shit, holy shit, holy shit moments. Oh and a lot of sweating because let’s face it, sitting in a studio apartment for the past year working remotely doesn’t count for getting in shape.
Walking ten miles isn’t a crazy thing here on a busy day. And when it’s hot out, those raw denim jeans I thought were super cool, just make you want to question the very existence of life.
NYC Know-how #3 — Dampness
I’ve learned that although I may be sweaty, everyone else is in the same boat and we are all just a little damp. I’ve learned to embrace it, and hydrate.
And while we’re on the topic of hydration…
NYC Know-how #4— Urination
Nope, I’m not talking about the smell of the subway or my apartment’s entryway. I’m talking about the strategic game of chess that is knowing where to duck into when mother nature calls.
Sure, I have stresses being a business owner, like making payroll, but nothing comes close to the stress of leaving safe zones ie. my apartment or my office where there is a known pee station.
I’ve learned that most Starbucks, McDonalds, and Gaps are perfect potty stops. But still, it’s a real stresser. Or is it just me?
Also… did I just use the word potty?
I realized why New Yorkers stay away from Time Square like the plague. I somehow stumbled down there because I made a wrong move the other day and was presented with the absurdity that is a lot of clowns, mostly naked guitar players, and selfie sticks.
NYC Know-how #5 — Tourists and Selfies
I try to photo bomb people’s group photos. It adds excitement to my day. I know I at least am a part of twenty or thirty family scrapbooks at this point.
Living here is as expensive as you want it to be. I think the biggest misconception is that everything here is priced unreasonably. There are a ton of options to make your life not cost a crazy amount.
Sure, you may have to work a little harder to find those options, but they are out there.
I’ll let you know when I figure that all out ;)
NYC Know-how #6 — Partying
I have yet to really “party”. First, I’m not one to go out to often in general. I’m busy building a business, so I don’t have good suggestions on this. But I do know this is where money goes to drown if you’re looking to make NYC living expensive. Pregame before going out, it could save you hundreds. You’re welcome.
To end this reflection…
I have found many times to laugh this month.
But the side that I haven’t shared is the very real intensity that comes with being in a city where struggle is something that surrounds you.
It’s everywhere from the subway buskers to the business people in my WeWork. Everywhere I look I see people working hard, struggling and pushing on without taking a second to think. It’s inspiring, but also very real.
I asked someone recently “When is someone allowed to call themselves a New Yorker?”. She jokingly said “When you’ve had about two breakdowns.”
I’ve witnessed many breakdowns in broad daylight this month. I too have had my fair share of long walks to the subway station where I had to fight those same emotions from coming over me.
But that’s enough for now. Until next month, this is where I leave you.
This article was a test. If you made it to the end, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’m working on a podcast that would document this all in audio form. If that sounds like your kind of thing, let me know and I’ll get off my ass and start producing it.
k thanks. bye.