New York City / Manhattan, New York

The Fearless One

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What's it like to live in New York City / Manhattan?

What is it like to live in New York City?

New York City occupies a special place in the American consciousness as the tumultuous seat of our financial markets and the buzzing capital of our culture. New York is celebrated for its wealth of nationalities, ethnicities and languages. But why would anyone want to live in NYC? It's insanely expensive, there are too many crazy people, it's bundles of energy and famously, "If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere." And lots of people love the challenge! Most important, it’s the city that exemplifies American pluralism, the “melting pot” that attracts new immigrants looking for work and college graduates drawn from their hometowns by the promise of excitement and opportunity. Its appeal hangs on its image as a city where everyone can try, get, and be anything. It has been my home for more than 40 years and I love it for its social and economic freedoms. My education and computer technology background fit right in and I found great career and social successes. Am I wrong or what?

But NYC is not a panacea, it has its own problems just like any other city. First of all, it's terribly expensive, living costs are very high, you live in a small apartment that cost a fortune or commute from far away distances. Taxes are high to pay for all the social services, city employees and infrastructure support. The New York City government's budget is the largest municipal budget in the United States. In 2016 the NYC city government had a budget of $80 billion a year. The best jobs are in NYC and unless you are wealthy, you must commute and the hours required while being stuffed on packed trains and subways which are actually a frustrating second job. Second, the City is densely crowded. People are piled on top of one anther. Third, you will never get a good job unless you have a great education, NYC is comfortable for skilled and educated people only. Others scrape by! NYC is also being seriously gentrified, wealthy people move in to replace poorer people who are moving out.

On the other side of the coin, NYC is certainly a playground for adults. There's never a dull moment in NYC. It's the city that never sleeps. It offers a thousand different interesting things to do every day. Besides high paying jobs for the talented in the business, banking, financial, advertising, business, performing art’s world, there is Broadway, Greenwich Village, China Town, Little Egypt, parades galore - St. Patties Day, Halloween, Macy's Thanksgiving, street theater and theatrical Flash Mobs, thousands of restaurants, bars, night clubs, museums and parks to pleasure your life away. Living or commuting to NYC is like being a member of Delta Force. It ain't for everyone but if you can do it life is great and you are a very special person.

What is it like to live in New York City?

It was pretty shitty and awesome.

The shitty:

  • Rent’s too damn high - I was sharing a studio with 2 guys near the Upper East Side. When a 1 bed unit opened up, we moved in and brought in another one of our friends because the rent was ridiculous. A Mayorial candidate ran his platform on the “rent’s too damn high” motto.
  • Food’s expensive as F - When I moved to NYC, a chicken chipotle bowl was $6.25 in CA. In NYC it was $8.25.
  • It’s crowded and dirty - Probably because there’s 8M people living in a small part of NY state. Still blows my mind why so many people decided to stay on this tiny island of Manhattan.
  • The people - Nobody is trying to make F.R.I.E.N.D.S in NYC. - - People can be superficial and cutthroat, only befriending you if you have some sort of social status. While it’s a huge city, it’s also a city of strangers. Took me a while to find a solid group of people who I could call friends.
  • Lifestyle - Super fast paced. Feels like time goes 2x faster in NYC than any other place. People are working 60 hour weeks and can go many months without even seeing the sun (come in around 7am and leave around 2am).

The awesome:

  • The seasons - NYC is beautiful in the fall, cold as F in the winter, lively in the Spring and hot as F in the summer. The holiday season was my favorite - you could really see the city light up with smiles and giving.
  • The diversity - You can meet all kinds of people and eat all kinds of food. When I went to Chinatown for the first time, I thought I was back in China. Got to practice my Mandarin.
  • The bustling - There’s a lot going on in NYC from the political to the financial to the media. There’s no shortage of events/things to do. Many times, I would find myself immersed in some sort of event just by walking around the city. One time I took a company car home at 3am and saw the city still lit up. - It’s truly a city that never sleeps.
  • The subways - No cars needed, just take the subway to get around. The subways are super convenient and runs all night. You learn to develop a love/hate relationship depending when you take the subway and what subways you take. For me, the G train played hard to get with me at times.
  • The people - Not all people are mean. I found a good group of friends in Brooklyn and a great squad through church. People are generally receptive if you put in the effort to show them that you care.
  • While it was tough living in NYC, it was a great life experience in hindsight. I learned a lot and met a lot of really diverse and smart people. I can testify that if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere.

If you’re in your early 20s, go suffer and live it up in NYC :)

What is it like to live in New York City?

  • If you take a girl out on a first date in Manhattan and don’t - offer to pay, don’t expect her to pay you any attention afterward.

  • Most New Yorkers—particularly Millennials and younger—are not “racist.” Why? The only color our generation cares about is green!

  • There’s an old New York joke that best sums up the city: “Why couldn't the baby Jesus be born in New York?” Answer: “Because they couldn't find 3 wise men or a virgin.”

  • If you’re a girl on the subway, you always have to be on alert. After all, some guys are known to “film up” a girl’s skirt. Ugh!

  • Here’s New York City in a nutshell. Last summer, while riding the 1-Train, I spotted Sarah Jessica Parker seated across the way. Sure, she had on sunglasses and a hat, but it still—it was “Carrie Bradshaw,” hehe.

  • Every New Yorker knows the unspoken rules are as follows: The traffic rules are made up on the fly and the crosswalk signals are for decoration!

  • “New York City is the city so nice/ they had to name it twice.” —Genius Turner

  • Manhattan is so compact that the Upper East Side (richest area in the nation) is only separated from the South Bronx (one of the poorest) by a mile or so.

  • The cost of living in Manhattan is so high that Money talks, while everything else is on mute.

  • “Walking in New York I make eye contact with people’s dogs more than with people.” —Kristen Schaal

  • Because NYC is the nucleus of the world, you literally can network with people from all over the globe.
    Here in NYC, anyone with an ounce of talent and “chutzpah” can make a living. A “subway performer” once told me on a good night she makes $500.

  • While strolling around the City at night, if you’re in tune: you can feel the Muse, dahling! After all, everyone from Donald Trump to Michael Jordan was born in the Big Fruit!

  • Everyone living in NYC embraces the motto: “Reputation is the cornerstone of power.” —48 Laws of Power

  • Last but not least, living here in the Big Fruit quickly teaches you the following lesson: You might as well be yourself, dahling, because everyone else is already taken.
    GOD BLESS & may all your dreams come true, dahling! :)

What is it like to live in NYC?

That's a big question with a lot to unpack. Would be easier to answer if you wanted to know about specific stuff.

Obviously right now things aren't quite the way they usually are, but for me the population difference was a bit of a culture shock by itself. There are just people everywhere doing their own things, living their own lives. New Yorkers often have a stereotype of being rude and unaccommodating to strangers but I don't think that's true; it's just that everybody has something going on at all times so it can be easy to tune out the crowd. When you're in a small town it's easier to notice a stranger in distress; here they can be one of hundreds or thousands in your immediate surroundings.

If you live in Brooklyn or Queens, Manhattan is usually like a half hour to an hour subway ride away. I personally don't go to Central Park all the time as we have our own parks, but you could if you wanted to. The outer boroughs all have their own little ecosystems so you don't need to rely on Manhattan for all your amusement.

Lots of people choose to live in Manhattan but it is a little pricier in general. There are expensive areas and not-so-expensive areas. And then there are areas where it's mostly just tourists… not so much right now of course.

There are a lot of pros and cons to living here. One of my biggest pros is the quality and variety of foods and cuisines that are available… you can get pretty much any dish if you seek it out. A con is that your average apartment has far less space than what you would get in the rest of the country. I think your average New Yorker tends to learn how to be a bit minimalist and do more with less. My sister is always giving me gifts of like… for lack of a better word, crap that takes up space that I don't have room for. You can't really be the hoarder type here unless you're loaded because most of us don't have that must extra storage space.

Those are just some ramblings off the top of my head. Anything else you want to know, just ask.


Living in Manhattan vs. Brooklyn (The Reality)