I have had a lot of my friends move to New York recently and they have all asked for some pointers on how to adjust to the city life. I write this article because– as a man in his mid-twenties who has lived in New York for three years– I am uniquely qualified to give advice on the best ways to assimilate to the city.
Listed below are 10 ways take a bite out of the Big Apple without it taking a bite out of you (winking emoticon).
1. Your Phone Will Work On The Train, But You Have To Yell
It happens to all of us. It is the early morning commute and you are on a crowded, aboveground train talking to your mom. Uh-oh though, the train is descending underground and the signal is getting spotty. What do you do? There is only one remedy. You will need to talk louder. Much louder.
2. Ask a Bodega Worker “How Are Things Going Over There?”
It’s 9 o’ clock, which means it’s time to buy your daily allotment of beer and Ben & Jerry’s from the bodega on the corner. You have been doing this for 5 months now, so it is high time you make an attempt to connect with the guy behind the counter. A good place to start is to ask where he is from as you are walking out of the door. When he answers, simply say “oh yeah? How are things going over there?” Whatever his response, you have shown your empathic side. Now you can leave.
3. At a House Party, Put Your Arms Around Native New Yorkers and Say “Tonight This Is Our Fucking City”
Congrats! You are at your first house party! You have been here long enough and been within earshot of enough people throwing house parties to be invited. This is a huge milestone for any New Yorker. Now the question is, how do you connect? Well, one thing about every New Yorker is that they take great pride in being from New York. A good way to bond with them is to say that, “spiritually, you are also a Native New Yorker.” They will love it. If you really want to drive the sentiment home though, put your arm around them, stare wistfully towards the skyline and whisper “Tonight, this is our fucking city.” They will also love that.
4. The Subway Stations Have Bathrooms.
Can’t hold it? Not to worry. One of the great things about New York are the amenities and these are certainly some of them.
5. Take the Time To Get To Know Your Duane Reade Cashier.
One of the most glaring examples of corporate greed is how at most Duane Reeds, they only have one cashier. As a result, the lines run long and patience runs short. Those cashiers probably aren’t even asked how they are doing. So, when it is finally your turn in line, be sure to ask how they are doing, and don’t leave until they tell you.
6. Want To Get Back From Midtown to Brooklyn Late Night? Take a Taxi.
Out late with friends after work in Midtown? Don’t worry about taking the trains which run poorly anyhow, or an Uber that will pool you with 2 people that won’t stop talking about working at Deloitte. Go with a classic and take a taxi. Just say that one magic word every cab driver loves to hear–“Brooklyn”– and whisked away into the night you go.
7. Heard A Street Name in a Rap Lyric? Mention it.
The RZA and Biggie said the street name that you are eating near in a song. You know who probably doesn’t realize that? Your waiter. Mention it
8. Get a Tattoo of Your Home State Somewhere Visible, Lest You Forget Where You’re From.
You’ve been in New York for 7 months now and the memories of Wendy’s parking lot hand jobs and jumping into watering holes are quickly leaving your mind. What better way to keep the memories fresh than to get a giant tattoo of Florida on your forearm? Now when people ask where you are from, all you have to do is point to your forearm, then to your heart.
9. Do Not Listen To Me
This is perhaps my best piece of advice. Do not listen to me under any circumstance. There isn’t a bridge strong enough that I haven’t doused in proverbial kerosene and set ablaze. The greatest thing about New York is the anonymity and yet, I am still known as a douche. Avoid my words and me at all costs.
10. I am a Fraud
The gnawing sense of inadequacy never leaves me. Why did I move here? There is a massive hole in me that that is unfillable. Moving to New York did not do it. Writing this article did not either. Maybe I will move back home soon to try and find God, but I doubt he listens, or even exists.
Anyway, I hope this article was helpful. Good luck to all the recent transplants. The city is yours if you make it!