As some of you may know, I recently celebrated my two year anniversary with NYC. (Check out this post to find out how/why I moved here!) After two years of living here, I think I can officially call myself a “New Yorker” now; and it doesn’t hurt that when a tourist asks me for directions I can actually point them in the right direction (usually), ha! And it occurred to me the other day, that while it’s no secret that New Yorkers have a lot of quirks/unspoken agreements with each other, I finally can spot most of them and find myself acting the same way. So here’s my list of “things all New Yorkers can agree on” or “undisputed facts about life in NYC, from a New Yorkers point of view.”
Number 1: New Yorkers really don’t like other humans
Okay that sounds mean, lol, but seriously this is not the most friendly city in the world (duh) and more often than not you’re likely to get a scowl from a stranger than a polite “good morning”. It isn’t for everyone, but it actually doesn’t bother me. The city is such a busy place and everyone that you pass on the street is on their way somewhere so nobody is really trying to stop and chat or really paying anyone else any mind. You get used to it, and eventually even start to feel the same way.
For example, on my way to work from the subway stop, there’s a pretty large event space that sometimes hosts big events that draw tons of tourists. On these days, commuting can be a nightmare. There’s just so many lost people and slow walkers in my way when all I want to do is get to/from work! I know this sounds ridiculous haha, but sometimes you just want to get where you’re going with minimal obstacles or people in your way. I seriously believe that New Yorkers are the most hardcore pedestrians out there, simply because the city forces you to be. Everyone walks at a more brisk pace, and when someone gets in the way of that, they’re definitely liable to get snapped at. It’s just the way it works! I like to call it “pedestrian rage” (like road rage) and New Yorkers have it on lock, hah!
Number 2: Yes, there is escalator-etiquette, and you should learn it fast.
In my experience, there seems to be an unspoken rule in NYC that when riding the escalators, driving rules apply. If you like to leisurely stand and ride the escalator (up or down) please stand to the right side so that the left side can be used as a passing lane. This is so funny to even write out but it’s so real! Similar to the pedestrian situation I described earlier, people have places to be! And the hardcore people climbing the escalators have no time or patience for you blocking their way. And I can’t lie; even I’m guilty of feeling a bit of irritation when someone is blocking the “passing lane” on the escalators. Usually I give my usual eye roll to myself and then kindly ask them to scoot to the right so I can pass. Again, this sounds small but it will save you from some pretty unpleasant interactions with angry people if you ever visit the city!
Number 3: Always look before you sit down on the subway. You’re welcome.
Seriously you guys, if you remember nothing else, remember this one. True story: when me and Craig (the boyfriend) were apartment hunting two years ago, we got on a train and I sat in one seat with an open one next to me. I guess neither of us checked before he sat down (rookie mistake!) because he sat right in a puddle of God knows what! The entire back of his jeans were soaked and there was just nothing we could do until we got back to the AirBnb we were staying at so he could change. It was horrifying because like..seriously, what did he sit in?! Who even knows, but it’s NYC and I’ve seen some crazy things happen on the subway so I’d rather not sit in some mystery liquid lol. Needless to say, we never made that mistake again and since then I’ve definitely seen numerous seats full of all shades of liquids and avoided them like the plague. #NotTodaySatan
Number 4: Train delays are a way of life
You would think that one of the most important & glamorous cities in the world would have a really great public transportation system with minimal flaws and highly efficient processes…well NYC doesn’t exactly meet those expectations. Unfortunately the subway is a necessary evil that all of us who don’t make six figures have to deal with on the daily, and one thing we can all relate to are the dreaded train delays. I think I just heard a collective groan from everyone in NYC right now as I typed that, hah!
Seriously, don’t expect to get anywhere in the city without at least one delayed train, a train running on a different line than its own (i.e. the G train making F train stops), or a train simply just not showing up for 45 minutes (yup, been there!). It’s cool though, because since pretty much every New Yorker has dealt with MTA issues at some point in their life here, people are usually super understanding about you arriving late to things due to the trains. Unless you’re willing to fork over at least 10 bucks for an Uber everywhere you go, train life is the only life. I suggest carrying a book or some headphones so you can at least pass time with music or your favorite podcasts. Again, you’re welcome!
Number 5: NYC is basically one major construction zone
You know all of those iconic shots from the Top of the Rock, or the sparkling skyline during the night, or any scene from Gossip Girl where you see the pristine buildings of the Upper East Side or Fifth Avenue? Yeah, only about 25% of NYC actually looks like that, and that’s generous. One of the biggest things that I noticed immediately upon moving here is that everywhere you go in Manhattan, there is construction. Scaffolding, caution tape, and makeshift pedestrian walkways along the curb instead of on the sidewalks are pretty much constant wherever you go. It’s interesting, considering that NYC is pretty much packed to the brim with all the buildings that could possibly fit on a 20-mile long stretch of land, yet somehow they always find room to build more. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to cranes lifting pieces of metal the size of dumpsters hundreds of feet into the air over your head; and the sound of tractors backing up and the banter of construction guys all just become background noise eventually.
Now please excuse me while I officially deem myself a New Yorker and get ready to brave the subways on my way home from work today. I will say that NYC has definitely given me a new appreciation for cars and I can’t wait to drive again whenever I do leave this city. That won’t be anytime soon though. In spite of its…eccentricities, NYC is still the most magical city I’ve ever lived in and has my heart for the time being. Let me know if you liked this post and want more! Xoxo, Gossip Girl 😉 totally kidding lol.