What's up everyone? I know it's been a while since you all have heard from me. A couple months since my last entry- something that has been eating away at my soul on a daily basis. I must admit- moving to New York City has been quite the adjustment, and something I never thought I would do. In fact, I once swore off the notion.
After a very emotional break-up with "the love of my life" many years ago- an amazing girl from New York who I shared an unprecedented closeness with, I decided that New York sucked. I found 101 reasons to hate it. Too many people. Too fast. Too dirty. Too mean. Too many buildings. But in reality, I never gave it an honest chance.
Almost a decade later, after much traveling and much humility, I was presented with an opportunity to look upon New York through a different set of lenses. And to my surprise, I've come to grow fond of the hue. More than I imagined I might, and after a few months of getting acquainted, I'm finally prepared to share why.
In my first month here, I hit the the ground running. One of my best friends (and current roommate) secured me a bartending gig at the local saloon, and within three days of staking my Wandrlustr flag in the ground, I began working and entrenched myself in the concrete island jungle of Manhattan.
Three months later, and I finally have an understanding of where I am, what there is to do, how to get around, and an acknowledgement that I have no idea what I'm missing. There is so much going on here that I'm convinced one could spend their entire life devoted to acquainting themselves with NYC's offerings, and still find the grave with all but half a story.
So here's New York City in a nutshell from a newbie's perspective...
1. Things sure do move quickly. Even while swiping my metro card I feel a sense of urgency less I get run over.
2. It's true when they say that if you can make it NYC, you can make it anywhere. This place is teeming with creative individuals desperate to be noticed. It's as challenging and demanding as it is inspiring.
3. Central Park is huge. I never realized how big it was, but I do now- because I walk across it everyday to work and it takes me over a half-hour each way! It makes up 6% of Manhattan's land area, measuring in at about 2.5 miles long and a half-mile wide. It's a beautiful (and necessary) refuge in a city where half the sunshine is stolen by a wall of buildings.
4. When it comes to food, almost everything is high quality... and outrageously expensive. Unless you can stomach Halal food trucks on the regular, eating isn't cheap here. Neither is drinking. A six pack of beer just cost me about $15. Ouch!
5. You can wear whatever you want without fear of being judged. No matter what you come up with, you've gotta get really creative to draw a second glance. Weirdness is commonplace, which is somehow refreshing.
6. If you can afford a decent place to shack up here, you're probably rolling in it. My friend and I share a studio that is probably the size of your kitchen on the 4th floor of a "pre-World War Walk-up" with slanted floors and ceilings and an ancient heating system for $1,675 a month.
7. The Metro system, though visibly outdated, is remarkably efficient. It's not cheap and it feels a bit rickety, but it's definitely the best way to get around. It seemed like a jumbled mess to me compared to other subway systems I've experienced, but it didn't take long for me to figure out what the A, B, C, E, F, N, R, Q, S, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 trains are and what they do for me. Side note- pay attention to the direction you're heading before swiping. I still pay for that lesson on occasion.
8. Never take an Uber anywhere. Everybody around here seems to think taking an Uber is a good idea, but 9 times out of 10, the sentences I hear that contain the word "Uber" are accompanied by disgust in how much they had to pay for it.
9. If you are flying into NYC, try for LaGuardia Airport (LGA) over John F. Kennedy (JFK). It's so much closer to where you're trying to go on the map most likely and will save you time, money, and a headache. It's worth at least $30 extra in airfare in my opinion. If you can't avoid JFK, opt for the E Train into Manhattan (and vice versa) over a taxi. Even if you're in a rush, a taxi won't necessarily save you time, and it definitely won't save you money. From JFK, count on 90 minutes either method, and compare $7 to $70.
10. Download the Seamless App. It's the easiest way to eat in New York, and everyone uses it because no one has a manageable kitchen due to the lack of living space. Oh, that reminds me to remind you to educate yourself about Insomnia Cookies. You're welcome and I'm sorry.
11. Opportunity is abundant. Regardless of your passion, you can find a way to delve into it and probably make a living out of it here. You're the only one holding yourself back from the life you want to live!
Have some great recommendations of your own? Don't horde 'em! Share 'em below!