This month marks my fifth year living in NYC, which is totally crazy to me. I always thought I would live in New York for one or two years and then head on back to VA where I would live with my parents forever and cater to them in their old age. Now I can’t imagine leaving this crazy town. I mean, where would I get my hair done?!
Fun facts: I haven’t driven a car since I got here. I will never own a home as long as I live in the city. I rarely grocery shop — mostly I order take-out because my kitchen is too small to cook anything worthwhile. I walk fast. I have to pay to do my laundry. I never have to worry about a designated driver on Saturday night. I don’t smile at strangers. I know the best froyo in town is on the 7th floor of Bloomingdale’s. I likely spend more to rent my apartment than you do on your mortgage. Living in New York is like living in whole new world. Sometimes I hate it, but mostly I love it.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Everyone is smarter than you: You might think you’re good at something, but you quickly find out that you’re mediocre at best when you move to the city. I think the phrase If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere, it’s up to you, New York, New York is basically a nice way of saying that this town is crawling with people who are better than you so sit down and shut up, ya big dummy. I firmly believe that you are only as smart as the people you regularly hang out with. So if you want to be a smarter person, come work in New York City.
You will become a bonafide food snob: I may have witnessed my husband, who is probably the chillest, nicest person ever, visibly cringe at the mention of TGI Fridays. When even your sketchy local bodega makes the best sandwich you’ve ever tasted, it is nearly impossible to go back to chains. My heart was broken when I recently went to Olive Garden (an old fave) and truly hated it. I could have cried. Curse you, delicious Eataly food!
People sometimes say passive aggressive (rude) things about living in NYC:
Stranger that you just met at a cookout in your hometown: “Oh, you live in New York?! Oh I could NEVER live there! It’s too crowded and loud and dirty and horrible.”
haters people do have a valid point about the dirty and horrible part. Once you nearly step in human excrement in the park, a tiny part of you is never the same. But I also know that these people aren’t talking about human excrement, they are talking about Times Square — the only place they went when they visited NYC in the 11th grade. The memory of sweaty, doughy tourists packed together in a shimmering, blinking square mile of hell traumatized them for life. Don’t worry, I have a similar aversion to Times Square. It is the worst. The rest of the city is pretty great, though, so stop hatin’.
You will be poor: I am convinced that there is a secret ‘leaving fee’ in this town. The leaving fee states that the moment you step out of your apartment $50 is deducted from your bank account. This fee must exist otherwise I truly don’t know where all the money goes.
You will think about getting a dog, but then you’ll decide against it: I can not tell you how many times I have had this conversation:
Friend: Aww, look at that dog. Ugh, I want a dog!
Me: Me too!
Friend: I should get a dog.
Me: You totally should! Then I can play with it. My building doesn’t allow dogs (insert sad face).
Friend: Yea, but I work so much and the dog will be alone all day. Plus, dog walkers are so expensive. My neighbor has to pay one to come to her apartment twice a day!
Me: Totally. I guess it wouldn’t really be fair to the dog.
Friend: No, I guess not.
Seriously, I have this exact conversation every month. It never gets less sad.
Brunch: Brunch is a very important part of a New York dwellers life. Without brunch you would die. This is a fact. The best brunches have alcohol specials like unlimited or discounted breakfast cocktails. You will stop at nothing to get a table at this places. Then you will eat delicious yet overpriced breakfast foods and guzzle down mimosas like it is your last meal and you’re slated to be humanely executed by the state at 4pm (aka when brunch ends).
Anyway, all of this is to say that this city isn’t forever. New York isn’t exactly the best place to grow old. But if you ever get a chance to live here, do it.