Taylor Swift had the right idea. Drop it all and move to NYC. Of course she probably took a private jet to move here, upon landing arriving to a fully furnished unthinkable loft, with a walk in closet the size of Tennessee. For the rest of us regular folk, moving to the big apple probably wasn’t an easy feat.
I moved right after graduating college, with just a few suitcases in hand, and to a tiny ass room that barely fit my air mattress. Yes air mattress and yes tiny ass room. Moving to NYC wasn’t easy or glamorous, but its something I look back on and smile at. I love knowing that I was able to pack up my life, move to a big city and not only survive, but thrive. This city can either swallow you up, or propel you forward in ways you never thought possible, it’s up to you. Here’s some tips that I’ve come up with to help you survive your first year in the city that never sleeps.
1.Be ready to share
If you’re coming from a wide open state like Texas, where you have privacy in your own place, your own car and the only time you have to deal with crowds is at your local mall or restaurant, be prepared. New York is packed to the max and so will your living situation. You are going to have a shared living space no matter what, so just be mentally ready to share your space. Restaurants and bars are smaller and tables are normally uncomfortably close. Train rides are overly packed and awkward, especially at 5pm and elevators rides will never feel more crowded. Be ready to share your space wherever you go and just go with it, its New York.
2.Make nice with your roommates
The people you share your space with may not always be the people you’d like to share your space with, but make nice or shit can go sour real fast. Everyone is busy in New York so you might not even see your roommates, especially if they have a separate entrance. But most places have shared bathrooms and kitchen space so you eventually will run into them. Be cool and don’t be an anti social New Yorker, you never know when you might need to borrow some milk.
3. What’s Yours is Yours
Because you’ll be sharing a space with multiple people, or if your’re lucky just one, you need to make it clear that what’s’ yours is yours. Don’t let your roommate keep eating your almond butter from Trader Joe’s, that shit isn’t easy to get. Make it clear that what’s yours is not to be shared.
4.Invest in smart storage
Your room is going to be tiny as shit. I’m going to keep it real with you. All these nice spacious apartments that you see on tv shows based in New York are just for show. No one lives in spaces like that unless your making $$$$$. Or you have a sugar daddy name Earl. So resort to living like you did in your college dorm days and you’ll be good.
5.Save Save Save Save Save
In a New York minute everything can change, and you have to make sure you’re prepared for it. So make sure you’re saving up and getting ready to either move into your own place one day, in the not so near future, or just so you won’t have to live off ramen incase you lose your job.
- Smile Less
My first year I used to smile at people who would smile at me, I stopped as soon as I realized guys thought it was an invitation to talk to me. No sir I don’t want to go to your basement apartment with you. If you’re naturally a nice person you still can be, just don’t be smiling at random men in the streets like I did.
7. Keep Your EyesTo Yourself
This sounds weird but do it. Look at your phone, read a book on the train, shit just stare at the floor, whatever you do just don’t make direct eye contact. Making direct eye contact with people on the subway is literally the most awkward thing in the world. Once you do it you’re like do we keep looking at each other, do we look away, why the hell are you still staring at me, why the hell are you licking your lips at me now? Shit can get weird real fast.
8.Be Alert AF
People in New York are weird. You are going to see people taking massive number two’s on the train, you might step in a puddle of pee without knowing, and there will be the oh so comforting sound of a couple arguing in public. You have to just remain alert at all times and make sure you’re aware of your surroundings. It’s an amazing city to live in but weird crap happens left and right.
9.Catcalling Is Real and Its Annoying
I can literally write a book about all the catcalling incidents that have happened to me since moving to this city. Some are funny, and some are really scary. I’ve had people follow me, and even grab me. This plays back to being alert, and being not too friendly. Its going to annoy you with the amount of comments being said to you, and its going to happen literally everywhere. Guys in New York know they possibly wont ever see you again, so why not yell absurd comments at you as you walk by? Just keep it moving and don’t feed into the reaction they want to get from you.
Walking around the city without headphones is literally an open invitation for people to come up to you and talk to you. I know this sounds really anti social, and it is. You give those random catcallers, and weirdo’s a chance to shoot their shot. Not wearing headphones means to them that your open to hearing stuff, and your not. So plug up those ears and tune them out. Its sad but this is how bad catcalling is in New York. Post on that soon.
11. Swiper No Swiping
You’re going to need a metro card to get around the city, but to avoid the swiping nightmare, get an unlimited. Its the best card for your buck and it lasts for 7 days from the date you buy it. For $31 it allows you to go anywhere in the city. It adds up if you pay an individual rider fee which is $2.75 each swipe of your card. So invest in an unlimited and you can swipe away.
12.Sanitize your Life
This is pretty basic, but it can get overlooked if your moving from a suburban area. Most people outside of New York probably just carry hand sanitizer because they’re trying to prevent extra germs, but in New York you need to be slathering that shit on like your life depends on it. Because lets’ be real it probably does. This city is beautiful, but it’s dirty AF. People pee, pick their nose, cough and grab stuff, sneeze and hold onto rails and poles on the train, it’s a germ filled place. So make sure you have hand sanitizer on deck to prevent yourself from all of it.
13. Don’t Touch It
I used to have a bad habit of touching my face, but since moving here the fear of death made me stop. If you’re grabbing onto a pole on the train, and then getting off and grabbing onto the rail to go up the stairs, then start touching your face, you’re spreading all that crap you picked up along the way all over. My first year moving here I got the worst eye infection of my life, and it was caused by spreading germs from the city into my eye. So fight the urge and don’t do it.
14.Be a Sneakerhead
In Texas I only had one pair of sneakers, and they were my workout shoes. Since moving to New York, lets just say I’ve added a few more pairs into my closet. You see pictures of celebrities in amazing heels, going about New York. But if you notice they’re normally being photographed as they exit a car, or enter one. They aren’t walking everywhere and taking the train like you are. So if you’re going to wear heals most people pack a pair of sneakers or flats, just incase. You don’t want to be caught doing that I cant wear heels walk. It isn’t cute.
15. Go from 0 to 100Real Quick
New York winters can be brutal, and so can the summers. So to make sure your space is comfortable, and by space I mean your room, invest in a heater for the winter and an air unit for the summer. Most places in New York don’t have central air or heat, so you have to be prepared to put out the cash for that on your own.
16.Your Kitchen Needs To be SpotlessRoaches are a problem. Read it, and read it again. I’m not going to sugar coat it like the storytellers who told me roaches weren’t really a New York thing, because they are. But to keep them away you have to make sure your kitchen is clean at all times. That means coordinating with your roommates on making sure no dishes are left out and that all food is stored away properly. Trust me once you see one it’s a roach hotel from there.
17. That Portable Life
In states where you need a car to get around you most likely had a car charger for your phone, the same logic goes for New York. You will be walking and taking public transportation so your car charger is now your portable charger. Invest in a good one that you can have on hand should your phone die while you’re out, trust me that’s the worst. I love the portable chargers from Wattz Up Power, they do the job but in style. Who wouldn’t want a unicorn charger? They have tons of other fun chargers too.
18. Uber Everywhere
The New York transportation system is a good one, but at times can fail you. Your train can be 15 minutes delayed, or you missed it because it came 5 minutes early. In the inevitable event that it does fail you, take advice from drake and Uber everywhere. I like having both Lyft and Uber open and I type in my destination and compare prices, whichever ride is cheaper I’ll request that one. Uber and Lyft both do reduced fair rides in New York very often and its best to take advantage of those 50%off weekend rides when you can.
19. Cash Rules Everything Around Me
A lot of places in New York are stuck in the 90’s and take cash only. Newer places are now starting to use Apply Pay, but small restaurants and street vendors typically are straight cash. So I always like to have at least $20 on hand for a good rule of thumb. You never know when you’ll need it.
20. I’m the Map, Really I’m the Map
You’re going to need help getting around the city, and thankfully you have technology to help you do that, but make sure you’re using the right options. Google Maps is the best to help get you to where you’re going. Its shows you the quickest and easiest routes, and it also lets you select an arrival and departure time.
Enjoy this city and all it has to offer. You’re already brave for moving here, so don’t be scared to live it up and make this city yours. Go forth and explore this concrete jungle armed and ready with these tips. Just like T-Swift said, “Welcome to New York, It’s been waiting for you”.