“I live here.” I find myself saying that on a regular basis. I have lived here, truly lived in NYC, with my own apartment, my own struggles, and my own dreams for four months now. Yet, I still will find myself stopping in my tracks every so often to say “I live here.” I am pretty sure I will be finding myself having the same epiphany over and over again the whole time I live here. Everyday is not perfect. Some days are difficult, some days are awful, but it is OK, because some days are magical. Some days are more than magical.
I have learned a lot. It is a different life in many ways than you could have anywhere else, and with that you learn new things. Here are some of the things I have learned so far.
1. There is a New York look: I have always known that New York was diverse, but I never realized that such an eclectic group of people could all adopt the same mannerisms. But there is a New York walk, a New York look, and a New York attitude to common occurrences like panhandlers, subway dancers (especially if they are really good), and that person who talks really loud on the bus. Most of the time each person is dancing to his or her own drum and having a party of one in order to find their dreams, but once New Yorkers get on the street they all carry themselves the same way. And, its not because they are mean or lacking personality, but because they are determined, goal oriented, and really just wants to get to Trader Joe’s before the line gets too long.
2. How to shave a few minutes off my travel time: It may seem silly but if you have time in the subway is important to walk to the side of the subway that is closest to your exit. It truly saves you so much time.
3. If there are three empty seats, live room for people: It’s just an unspoken word that if there are three seats available on the subway, you should take the seat that is not touching someone. People just want some space. Also, on the way to work and the way home from work, people want peace and quiet. So just give it to them.
4. Just dance in the rain: Let’s be real during busy times an umbrella is not really going to keep you dry on the streets of New York. When you are on a skinny sidewalk with like 30 people all toting umbrellas, everyone ends up hitting each other and dripping water on each other. Also walking up and down the subway stairs, water is going to fall on you from all directions. So if you aren’t walking to something important, just enjoy the rain.
5. Have a plan-B always: You thought that you were going to that restaurant for dinner tonight? It has an hour wait. You thought you were taking the F uptown? It isn’t running. Anywhere else in the world, these things could be a sign that you should turn around and go home. But, don’t. You have a life, and part of the adventure is forgetting about what you thought you should do, and instead find a plan B. It’s a big city, there are a lot of things to do, a lot of trains you can take, and a lot of people to meet.
6. NYC Rent: Before I moved here if I heard anyone paying the amount the average person does here for a tiny apartment, I would have thought they were insane. And, well I still do. We are all insane. But, let me tell you having a little bit of New York, little being the key word, that you can call yours, makes it all worth it.
7. Commute time is important time: It can be hard to imagine how people in New York have time to rewind. To be honest, the time that you get to relax the most is when you are commuting. I live in Chinatown and three of my best friends live in the UWS, so I spend almost an hour each way to see them during the busiest time of the day. This is the perfect time to read each day, or listen to music, or write. One of my favorite thing about every big city I have lived in — London and New York — is that there is someone within eyesight reading each time you are headed somewhere. It may just be me romanticizing my reality, but I would love to think that I am continually attracted to places exceptionally full of readers.
But the greatest thing I love and the best thing I have learned?
8. It is always a good thing where you live somewhere that amazes you on an almost daily basis.