On being a “New Yorker”

Hi friends,

It has been such a lovely weekend here in NYC. In fact, it is the first weekend that has made me feel like spring is really here and that summer will be here soon as well. There are people everywhere you go and it is nice to see that there is grass in the park and that the trees are blooming.

This got me thinking about pearls of wisdom that I’ve accumulated while living in NYC. I originally moved here in 2008, then moved out to work in DC for a year, and then came back to start grad school in 2010. So, unofficially, I have been living in this city -on and off- for the past 8 years. It is crazy to think that this is the city that has always felt like home, even though, I grew up in and went to college in New Jersey.

So, what have I learned about living in NY? Tons of things that have served both as life lessons and have made me realize that I was very naive before moving here. Below I list a few things which I love about this city and some lessons I have learned while living here.

  1. There are tons of people here. It doesn’t matter where you are and what the temperature is outside, there are always people here everywhere. From the actual New Yorkers, to those who have moved here in search of job opportunities, or just the opportunity to live in this city, people are everywhere. This creates a lot of opportunities to get to meet people from all over the world and country.
  2. Even though there are lots of people here, NYC can be quite a lonely place. Unless, you make it an effort to get out there and network with people, you will feel lonely.
  3. With that said, you need to find a solid group of friends that make you feel comfortable in your own skin. It was hard when I first moved here to do this. It took me almost two years to find friends whom I genuinely could connect with and be honest with about everything. There are so many different types of people here, so it may take a while to find the group you fit into.
  4. Everyone here has their own sense of style and views on life. It is okay to have your own and to share them with people if you feel like it. I have never felt judged for dressing a certain way or for expressing how I feel about different things. With that said, you will find many very stylish people here, and this will transform the way that you view fashion.
  5. If you are lonely or have not made friends yet, there are tons of things to do on you down in this city. You might have to do them alone, but you will still have a good time.
  6. Museums, to me, are everything. This is one of the world’s meccas of art. If you are not out there going to museums or galleries, you are missing out. I’ve learned that art does not need to be beautiful to evoke emotion.
  7. Everyone here hustles and works a lot. In fact, sometimes it seems like being busy is the norm here. This is good because you’ll meet some of the most driven people here, but it will also bring into perspective trying to have some life-work balance.
  8. Almost everyone here is good-looking. Even if people are not secure about themselves, they sure do know how to play it cool. Most of the people I’ve met are really good looking and have a way of representing themselves in positive ways. This creates a very nice (and competitive) dating field. It is funny that even at church I saw some of the most stylish and good looking men (and women).
  9. If you aren’t jaywalking, you aren’t a New Yorker. I think everyone here jaywalks because we are always in such a hurry.
  10. If you aren’t obsessively looking down at your phone, then you aren’t a New Yorker. I think this applies to many other parts of the country, but here everyone is looking at the phones all the time. (I do this all the time and it is not good).
  11. Food is amazing here. From the five star restaurant, to the hole in the wall, you will find some of the tastiest food here. Don’t be afraid to explore and try new foods all the time. You’ll be surprised to find that you like the unexpected. Adding to that, you can find so many different food options (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free etc).
  12. Some shops are really nice. You can literally find any type of clothing here.
  13. Parks are safe havens from the bustle and hustle of the city. If you ever feel like getting away from the craziness of the city, then all you have to do is go into a park and just take a few deep breaths. It actually really helps.
  14. Everyone here seems to be working out or in shape. Seems is the important word, but most people here are in shape and it is hard not to be when walking (even to take public transportation) is so common place here. People usually do not have their own cars here.
  15. You will constantly be taking the subway or bus, just because it is the easiest, fastest, cheapest, most convenient way to get around. Learn to embrace the subways stations and their odors :).
  16. Enjoy your time here…no matter what you are doing. Most people come to NYC for a short period of time (few days to a couple of years) and them move out (even if they end up coming back). So, it is important to embrace the reasons why you’re living in NYC and to make the time to explore the city. Culturally there are so many things to do and it would be a shame to leave the city and not have experienced all of those things.

Overall, I think NYC is a city of dreamers and doers. This is what gives it some of its magic and what makes me proud to live here. I have met some of the smartest, most motivated, people here and this has broadened my view of the world. For me that has been the greatest lesson that this city has taught me.

Also, being open minded and keeping in mind that you never know what is around the corner/what new adventure awaits is extremely important while living here.

Hope you are all having a great weekend,

M

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