I’m Sam, a 22 year old Jersey/City girl currently attending LIM College in Manhattan. I’m a senior studying Fashion Merchandising and soon to be graduate (FINALLY)! In my free time, I enjoy brunching with friends, thrifting and keeping up-to-date with the latest workout crazes. I have lived in the Big Apple for a little over two years and recently moved just across the Hudson River in Jersey to start my first entry-level job as an Account Executive for a brand called, Macbeth Collection. I got thrown into adulthood pretty quick but I have New York City to thank for the preparation.
It’s no secret New York City is not quite like any other city, in fact it is a city incomparable among the rest. A city, full of life and inspiration, with commotion, passion and captivating strangers loitering around every corner. No wonder so many creatives, fashionistas and hipsters have wandered here, even if they can barely afford it. Whether you are a born and raised New Yorker or not, the moment you step onto the city’s streets, something is moved within you.
Aside from the beautiful mayhem New York City is made up of, moving here can often be a nerve-racking and exciting time. It is easy to get caught up with the headaches of finding an apartment, securing financial stability and finding your way overall. Take it from me, New York City can be a crazy concrete jungle at first, but with these 13 tips you will be a New Yorker before you know it! Breathe, no seriously, BREATHE because you are about to be in the greatest city in the world.
- You are always in a hurry (even if you’re really not)
New York City is no city for standing still or making your way at a leisurely pace. So get ready to adjust your speed! We can’t stand when tourists window shop up along Fifth Avenue or aimlessly stare at their phone, so please just act like you’re in a hurry even if you’re not. If you’re determined to become a New Yorker and aren’t used to the “on-the-go” lifestyle, at least prepare for the move by adding several long, vigorous walks to your routine before you get there (Soul Cycle helps!)
- The Turtle Doesn’t Win The Race Here
Slow and steady isn’t the name of the game when it comes to apartment hunting. You need to be prepared and aggressive, and not to mention act fast! If you love a place, be prepared to put down your deposit, first month’s rent and broker’s fee, as in the very moment you’re standing in the apartment. If you are lucky, you may have found one of the hidden gems with no broker’s fees but they are hard to come by. The time between putting down the deposit to lease signing can take a New York minute, so have the funds ready to jump. When the search breaks you, as it does almost everyone, brush it off with your roomie and then get back up again (come on, you’re about to be a New Yorker, we don’t quit!)
- Prepare to Pay
It’s no gimmick, New York City will literally cost you an arm and leg to live. Unless you are one of the lucky few who has plentiful amounts of money to spend upon your move to one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., if not the most, you will have to throw your idea of the perfect apartment out the window. So here’s the deal, you can’t have rent, location and size, you need to get ready to sacrifice one. I choose rent and location, my rent was sure not affordable but it was doable and the Upper East Side was the place for me. I felt living uptown you got the most bang for your buck and I always dreamed of Central Park being a few blocks away. Trust me, it was not as glamorous as Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen from Gossip Girl. Stay tuned on how I managed size…
- Get Rid of 75% of Your Belongings
Okay, that was a bit dramatic but seriously, New York City is not a city that offers a wealthy supply of space. Listings for an apartment often say “cozy”. At first, I thought this meant a nice little one-bedroom, maybe with a cute kitchen or fireplace. Sounds nice right? Nope, “cozy” usually means you can touch your fridge from your twin size bed. Square footage is a premium here in NYC so prepare to use up every last inch of your closet. The easiest way to save money on apartments is to downsize to belongings you can’t live without. This was probably the hardest thing to get used to and you’ll soon relate to Carrie Bradshaw when putting shoes in the oven (probably not Manolo Blahnik though.)
- Say Goodbye to the DMV
Did you get rid of everything like I told you? Great! Now that you have compacted what you need to move, you’ll need to learn how to get around the Big Apple. You will probably forget how to drive because driving in NYC is best left to the cab drivers. Walking or the subway is your go-to in avoiding endless amounts of traffic. Sooner or later, you will notice the subway lines are grouped in colors-green for the 4, 5 and 6 on the east side, blue for the A, C, E on the west, and so on. You will get the hang of it, I promise! Get a subway map app for your phone, it will be your BFF when you are settling in. Oh, and if you don’t want to be knocked unconscious from the homeless guy’s odor on your way to work, then never get in the only empty subway car. From experience, wedge yourself into one of the crowded cars and be thankful.
- Tuesday is the New FriYAY
In New York, 10 hour days are the norm. This means that by Tuesday, you’re exhausted and in need of a cocktail (or a few). The good news for you is that NYC has one of the best bar scenes. I mean we have a cocktail named after our most famous borough, Manhattan. The best part is you never have to worry about how you are getting home after because you have the subway (woot, woot!)
- Calling all Foodies
Have you seen some of the food crazes blowing up on Instagram? Yeah, half of the places are probably home to NYC, such as Black Tap’s Milkshakes, Chalait’s coffee art and Dough’s edible cookie dough. We have some of the trendiest treats and spots on the block and you can get pretty much any type of food delivered at any time. I mean after all we are named, “the city that never sleeps”. You would think all New York’s delicious treats would pack on the pounds, but we New Yorkers walk everywhere. Be sure to follow @nycdining, @nycfoodgals and @infatuation_nyc, you’ll thank me later.
- “In Pizza We Crust”
This deserves its own tip because when it comes to pizza, New York City does it best. Don’t ever bet against pizza, if there’s one food that continues to get better and better around New York, its slices and pies. Sometimes you will feel you like pizza more than most people so do yourself a favor and visit some of my favorite places: Artichoke Bastille’s Pizza, Rubirosa, Joe’s Pizza, John’s of Bleecker Street and the list goes on.
- Sunday Brunchday!
Today’s the day you round up your best gals for a boozy brunch and lay down all the gossip from your week. Brunchin’ has become a habit for New Yorkers and personally, it is the best meal of the day! You will find your fav spots soon, but in the meantime, check out these places: Jack Wife’s Freda, The Smith, The Butcher’s Daughter, Two Hands and Penelope’s.
- Wait, how much was that salad?!
I hate to break it to you but living a healthy lifestyle in NYC doesn’t come cheap. A $15 salad here is considered to be on the cheaper side, but a girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do. On the brighter side, NYC caters to us healthy living New Yorkers and you soon won’t blink at paying $30 for a workout class. Oh, and you’ll be forced to look at the calories on menus of any chain restaurant, so you can forget about your appetite after that! Check out some of the hottest calorie-torching workouts spots: Orangetheory, Shadowbox and Switch Playground. On a budget? No problem! Central Park has many eye-catching spots to get your workout in, all for $0.
- The Yellow Ones Do Stop
Always go for the yellow cabs. Green cabs are only able to pick up in the surrounding boroughs. I promise you won’t have to whistle, “Taxi!” like in the movies to hail one. Simply put your arm in the air and look for cabs where the numbered sign on the roof is lit up, but the little “off duty” sections on either side of the number are dark. Just remember, the driver doesn’t want to hear your sob story, boy problems or drunken fights so get in, stay silent and get where you need to go.
- Fashionistas Welcome
New York City is home to one of the fashion capitals in the world and here anything goes. You can strut anything on the street but the best part is we are all about comfort too. Heels are overrated here and they are for sure not worth wearing in the Meatpacking district on the cobble stone streets (that’s what booties are for).
- New Yorkers Are Not Always The Nicest
New York City has culture, arts, music and restaurants that top anywhere else, however its expensive cost of living and other little inconveniences make New Yorkers complain time and time again. Don’t take it personal if they take it out on you. There’s also this rumor going around that they are rude, but long-time residents are happy to give directions or make small talk while waiting in line at Starbucks. Once you’ve found yourself talking with a stranger about the wait time for the E train, you’ll know you’ve made it!
Photos by: Hannah Miller
If you are still ready to take on the concreate jungle after giving this lifestyle a closer look, pack your bags (lightly) and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime. I hope you guys enjoyed this post, and I’ll be seeing some faces in the Big Apple soon!