10 Things You’d Wish You’d Known Before Coming to New York (Part II)

(continued from Part I)

6) It’s easy to meet people

One thing I always tell newcomers: Go out by yourself! Experience the nightlife, the shows, the concerts – and if you don’t have anyone to join you, then just go alone. It is not like in other cities, where no one will ever talk to you and eye you as a weirdo or outcast. Here, it is easy start a conversation with people, even when you are just nipping on a beer at the bar by yourself. I am not talking about sleazy pick-up lines from desperate men. I am talking about having intellectual talks with either gender. In the beginning, if my friend or roommates did not want to join in to the fun, I found myself torn. Torn between either missing out on the entire fun by staying home and not doing much or mustering all my courage to go out by myself and have the best evening in history. Luckily for me, 99 percent of the times I chose to experience things alone. And ended up meeting new people in a zing. Sometimes I still have to convince myself that going to the museum alone is not the worst case scenario. It’s easy to forget the courage from the past. But the fun experiences have been engraved in my memories and I am happy I can pass this little wisdom on.

7)But it’s hard to find true friends

While meeting new people is no hard feat, it is difficult to stay in touch with these people and form long-lasting relationships. Yeah, you go out a couple of times, put some more experiences on your friendship resume, but in the end it is about the quality time spent with soul mates and so-called friends that make out for a great stay abroad. Unfortunately, New York is known for being a tough town when it comes to relationships and friendships. I so far can count all of the true friends I have ever possessed in this city on one hand. That’s about five, just so you know. And two thirds of these people are not even in the City anymore. The Big Apple can be lonely at times. It can tear you apart from what you thought was so important because it offers constant entertainment. Finding friends that want to and will stay in your life – it’s hard!

8) Possibilities only limited by yourself

There are so many different paths offered, so many different careers to pursue, and so many exotic things to experience. It might become overwhelming and challenging to pick what exactly to opt for at the moment. As mentioned in Point 5, flexibility is easy to live out in NYC. And what is even better: The possibilities that exist are truly only limited to yourself and what you are willing to make out of them. But, since Point 2 and 3 also exist, your mind can sometimes play some vicious tricks on you when it comes to making the right more justifiable decision. I truly believe that this is the city where class and cultural issues are of no prevalence and where you can work yourself from washing dishes to being a millionaire. But of course you will have to work hard towards this goal. And part of this is overcoming your inhibitions and stop worrying about the potential outcomes too much. Sometimes just accepting the current moment is all it takes.

9) You have to get away once in a while

This city is exhausting, overwhelming, loud, crowded, polluted, mean … All reasons to not stay here eternally. But even after 2 and a half years, I have come to find that a little trip elsewhere mostly does big wonders. Just a hop over to Boston or DC on a weekend. Or up to Canada and down to Florida. Maybe even across the state lines to the West Coast. Either way, leaving, if only for a day or two, will set your mind straight and make you breathe more freely. Because breathing sometimes becomes very hard in New York. When everything is not going as planned, it’s best to simply escape for a little bit. “New York is only as good as you can afford to leave” is a valuable saying. Even though you mustn’t be a super-rich prick who drives out to his summer residence in the Hamptons all summer long.

10) You need experience for everything

A portfolio for being a showroom model? References for volunteer work? A resume for waitressing? Yup, the truth! Ridiculous, but the truth. And once again, this leads back to the high competition and art of bullshitting this city so readily offers. I walked into my first bars in the beginning and was already slowed down because I was missing a piece of paper that was utterly useless to the businesses in this city. Experiences all over Germany but no American contact number? What good is it for newcomers to even write it up? Well, they want to know you did something here, and the more experience you can show, the better. This is why it’ s important to keep in touch with every (work-related) contact you ever had, in case they happen to back you up for a specific job. It appears that experience gets your foot in the door, but of course you have to endure several training days and other ordeals until you finally have what you wanted. So even though you might have a fancy resume, you still always have to prove your money’s worth in the end.

Yet, there are numerous other daily hassles I could point out. Don’t ride the subway if a guy across from you is repeatedly rubbing his crotch. Don’t’ get in fights with teenagers that outnumber you and are willing to follow you home. Don’t assume picking your nose in public is acceptable! Ever!

But I will leave it to this Top Ten for now and am expecting you to add more points in your comments starting now…

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2 thoughts on “10 Things You’d Wish You’d Known Before Coming to New York (Part II)

  1. I found 6& 7 to be true in Orlando as well. If I hadn’t gone out by myself, I would rarely have gotten to do anything. But the majority of the time people would notice I was alone, comment on how brave it was, and invite me to join their group. I didn’t make many lasting friendships that way, but I did at least have some good nights, and even when that didn’t happen I still had fun.9 reminds me of that song Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen (which is apparently from an article Mary Schmich wrote for the Chicago Tribune which advises people to “Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.”

  2. Disagree with number 8. Possibilities are limited by your visa status. But that is from my story. Nice Top Ten. You know what? You said you’d wish to know these things before but would it change anything? I think no 🙂

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