Reflections on Living in NYC & NYC Guide

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It’s crazy to think that I’ve been living in NYC for about three-and-a-half years now. I remember how excited/nervous I was when I first announced it in this post. I’m certainly no expert and I still hesitate to call myself a New Yorker, but living in the city has definitely taught me a few things. For anyone who’s thinking about moving here, I thought you might like to hear my perspective and for those who already live here, perhaps you can relate.

NYC on television is very different from NYC in real life. This seems like an obvious one, but let me explain. I think before you move here you have a certain picture of life in the city. Maybe that picture came from Sex and the City or maybe you’ve visited once or twice before. I went to college in Connecticut and visited New York on several occasions while I was in school. When I graduated and knew that I was moving to Manhattan, I thought I knew what to expect. Boy was I wrong. There are some things you won’t fully understand until you actually live here. Yes, there are the glamorous landmarks, but there’s also the smelly and crowded subways, the 6th floor walk-ups, and the muscles you’ll develop from carrying your heavy groceries for several blocks. This is not to discourage anyone, just to point out that the reality is a lot grittier than what they portray on the small/big screen.

– Apartment hunting is no joke. I thought writing my senior theses in college was stressful, but that almost seemed like a cake walk compared to hunting for my first apartment in the city. I think if you talk to anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you that I’m not easily stressed, but during that time period I was ready to gouge out my eyes and pull out my hair (pretty picture, no?). I’ve moved around in the city a couple of times now and I think I’ve picked up a few tips along the way, but that’s another conversation. I have not met one single person who enjoys moving in the city. If you are moving here, do tons of research and gird your loins.

– You can do a lot with a little. I think *80% of the population is the city is making just enough to get by (*this is not a real statistic, just a number that I totally made up!). You may not be making a ton of money, but it is possible to live here. You’ll start cooking meals at home or learn how to stretch that Seamless order into two meals. Chances are you’ll be living in a smaller space, so you’ll learn how to take advantage of every single storage opportunity (under the bed, on top of the shelf, the oven…). Items with multiple functions or devices that collapse for easy storage are your best friends. There are times when money is very tight and I ask myself if it’s really worth it to be paying an arm and a leg for rent. For me, the answer is yes.

Opportunity is everywhere. There’s so much to do and see in the city, it’s impossible to be bored. You all know that I’m a homebody, so I’m not always hitting up a new bar or sampling the latest restaurant. However, when I do want to venture outside, there’s a plethora of activities to choose from. Living in the city and writing this blog has given me access to some cool opportunities and I’m grateful. Every once in a while, I’ll have a perfect NYC moment where I feel so lucky to be living here. Those moments are the best because they allow me to fall in love with the city all over again.

Some days are the best, some days are the worst. I don’t think this is specific to NYC, but perhaps it’s a bit intensified here. Some days I am loving life here and other days I get my lease renewal or see my credit card bill and I’m in total despair. When you’re living here, you hustle, you bustle, and often you struggle. The city takes and it gives. There’s an amazing energy that comes from being surrounded by people of all different backgrounds, but there’s also utter exhaustion when it feels like you’ve given everything you got. When I first moved here, I was fresh out of college and I wasn’t sure I could hack it. Slowly I began to think of New York City as home and for the moment I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

All of these thoughts were swirling in my head because I was working on my NYC Guide. I’ve toyed with the idea for a long time now and I was hesitant because I didn’t think I had anything to offer. Occasionally people ask me for recommendations though, so I thought maybe at least a few people would like to know about the things/places I like in the city. Of course this is not a comprehensive list, just a few places that I would highly recommend. I’ll be updating this page as I discover new places and I hope you’ll find at least one good suggestion on my list.

Apparently reflecting makes me mushy because I am having some feels right now. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and my blog in general. It’s amazing when I think about how long some of you have been reading this little old blog! I shared some of my resolutions last week, but one resolution that wasn’t on that list was to try and write a few longer posts like this one. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but of course it’s always harder to hit publish when you’re getting more personal and putting your opinions out there. Depending on how this goes, I’d like to do longer posts like this on certain topics and hopefully they will spark a bit of discussion. How does that sound to you?

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