The Things to Love About New York City (Part II)

(continued from Part I)

Cowgirl at Times Square

6) The People of New York
Artists, blue-collar-workers, businessmen, food industry servers, students, legal employees, illegal immigrants – if you haven’t seen it here than it is likely not to exist. The city has a great vibe for a very good reason: Because so many culturally different people come here with their different ideas of how to make it here or how to enrich this city in their own terms. It is lovely to walk through the streets and see different occurrences on almost every street corner. While you inhale campus air around the NYU buildings, you are drawn into unique music tunes by a singer playing on the streets of the Village. Or you see the show-off- rich cruising the streets in the Meatpacking District or Upper West Side. The city’s diversity is unlimited and it is so in a good way, I have to say.

7) The Boroughs…
… are about as unique as this city by itself. Manhattan as a main workers’ hub, a financial capital, a commuter’s destination. Brooklyn as a culturally diverse neighborhood with its uprising, hip areas, its dangerous ghetto blocks, its beaches, and the most populated borough aside from the Island. Queens as a family-oriented place with cheaper rent than anywhere else, and with its great ethnic diversity, which adds up to the cultural melting pot. The Bronx, still home to more people from the Bronx than from outside, but gaining a better reputation from day to day and home to the biggest zoo in this area. Not to forget Staten Island, the most isolated community, only accessible through a 20-min-ferry-ride. Once you end up in Staten Island, you won’t crawl away from there anytime soon. This is pretty much one of the main reasons I have avoided Isolata for the most part. Great for an upper scale family life and people who can afford to have a sassy, bulky car. Brooklyn is really one of my favorites and this might be the reason why I live here, but I cannot shy away from all the cultural activities going on there and sometimes even its night life. Every borough offers different things the others might not have and New York is wide open to explore.

8) Freedom, Inspiration & Independence
New York makes you feel independent to a great degree. You don’t need a car, you have the subway system. If you don’t like one venue, you can move on to the next. Broken friendships, shattered relationships? This city has 8 million people to make you forget. There are downsides to this, too, of course, but I am not discussing these now. The City has given me this great feeling of deciding on my own what I want to make of my time here and this is worth a lot. Without it I wouldn’t have stayed for so long and I am still here, discovering my limits, trying out new things, creating myself. The unlimited amount of options over here can make you crazy dizzy at first but they also give you opportunity to move on, to find some new sides about yourself which you weren’t able to discover elsewhere. Every time I go to an area I know I see sides of it I didn’t pay attention to the last time. If you went on a date with someone at a certain spot and are afraid to return because of nostalgic feelings, this is not going to happen over here. There is just too much change to even develop something coming close to it. In a good way, that is.
I believe that this city symbolizes a new beginning more strongly than elsewhere and that the American Dream, if it still exists, can be accomplished here more than anywhere else. No one knows you. You have to pave your own way, have to make your own connections, and have to work hard to show where your talents and passions lie. This is a beautiful opportunity to create what is hidden inside of you.

Trip to Harvard/Cambridge

9) Travel Opportunities
No, New York is not the center of the world, even though it gives its best to make you want to believe this occasionally. But its three airports surrounding the metro area sure make it easy to travel to destinations all over the world. Their names are Newark, JFK, and La Guardia, and they lead to pretty much anywhere in the US without having to switch flights plus they surely lead to Europe without too many complications. Disregard air travel, though, as you can discover beautiful towns around New York at a low cost: Hop on the bus to Washington DC, Philly, and Boston, and, if you’re brave enough, you can even make it up to Montreal or Toronto in roughly 8 hours of drive. Because this city has so much competition going on, it is quite easy to find good deals when deciding on leaving. And I rather suggest you leave on occasion, for the city is only as beautiful as you can stand it. Summer getaway packages to Long Island or the Jersey shores and upstate New York such as Catskills offer travel at convenient prices. Winter deals to Miami, Jamaica, or the Caribbean Islands make the cold months over here endurable. Yes, this city has options; you just have to prepare for them!

10) The Memories Created
Well, surely you create memories no matter if you’re in New York or anywhere else. I just have the impression that the experiences I had over here have impacted me more and maybe even changed me in a more extreme way than any other city had been capable of doing this before. Fashion Show in February, the nation’s largest Food Show in July, being an actress in a music video, attending press events, surfing at Far Rockaway, discovering Harlem’s seedy areas… After only three months of being here I knew no other city in Europe had given me this vast impression of achieving anything anytime you want. The things to do here are unlimited. During only one day you go through a full array of emotions: From tiredness when waking up, over anger because of rude Subway people, over happiness because of a random smile on the streets, over frustration over the city’s policies, to wisdom at the end of the day. And I’m not the only one going through these stages, I swear!

New York will never leave you unimpressed. Love it, hate it, or do both, but you will always FEEL some sort of emotion going on inside of you.

Biting in the Apple

A fellow blogger asked me not too long ago if New York is worth moving to. Bummer!
While I am still pondering out a meaningful, representable, and objective answer to this question, I will give you a great blog to read. I found it through the expat community, and it was posted on Biting the Big Apple’s site (which is a really insightful blog on posts all about New York, by the way! In case you get tired of reading just my single opinion and stories, do not hesitate to switch over to her!).

So, here we go…:

“When you move to a city, you become meaner.

You are harder. Less optimistic. Tough. Do not make eye contact with anybody in the subway. Read the book you’re kind of halfway through, listen to the terrible music you hope you’re not playing loud enough to hear. Pretend you’re the kind of person whose feet doesn’t move when the train makes a turn. Don’t look up, just push and shove and move. In the city, you are the most important person you know. Dislike and accept that. Walk that way, walk so fast and eye roll when somebody slow is walking up the stairs as you are trying to switch trains. People will ask you for money on trains, drunk people will piss on themselves, babies will cry and you just have to pretend they are not there. It’s a subway. You don’t know anybody.

Strut down the street briskly when you are only getting a bagel, a slice of pizza, or a gin drink that will take the edge off of being alone all the time.

Dress like an idiot. When you end up in the suburbs or you end up home you think ‘why the fuck am I wearing so much black and where did these accessories come from?’ Take a long shower, eat your first big meal without alcohol in years, and try not to brush anything and everything off your shoulder. Find yourself afraid of trees.

Still, in a city filled with so many people, you must not acknowledge them. This becomes somewhat difficult because there are so many interesting and attractive things, most of them wearing plaid or shorts. Grumble while eating a falafel or some kind of street cart food. When somebody talks to you at a bar, coyly laugh when they are a part of the city you just don’t venture to. Know a lot of people, just barely.

Be afraid of ‘nice guys’ because you are no longer nice. Be afraid of things that last longer than two months. Get nervous whenever you enter some part of the town that ‘that guy you hung out with’ lives. The city is big, but it is small. Never see anybody again, except some kid you went to high school with. They have a new haircut and you kind of brag about your life because you are nervous. Send e-mails to people telling you how excited you are to be in the city. Be terrified of your bank account as you furiously eat money with no utensils. Bury your head in your hands when nobody is looking. Think about how stupid you were in college, abandon those dreams and make new ones. Find fog really romantic. Find employment really romantic. Drink on Tuesday nights. Meet people on those Tuesday nights that you high-five but never get their number. Make friends and never keep them. Take personal days in the tiny kitchen that is filled with jarred spices, condiments, and a bag of chips. Learn about sushi. Have a small circle you already knew before you moved here, the kinds of people you always complain about your love life to. Hold onto and love those people fiercely. Find friends of friends you think are cute, get annoyed that you meet people this way like in high school. Have numbers in your phone that you don’t need. Preface those numbers with ‘that night at (bar).’ Find it impossible to meet anybody until you do.

Roll around with that person in a small room in your overpriced apartment. Feel like this is an accomplishment until you feel restless. Feel like being restless is a thing you should feel. Try to fix it by getting a pet. Dance in a stupid club and tell everybody the next day you can’t believe you danced. Have ‘spots’ you think are ‘the usual’ except the bartenders never remember you. Fall in love with a new kind of ethnic food and fall more in love with brunch than you thought possible. Make connections with dogs on the street. Spend too much time contemplating life on long concrete walks. See the sunrise more than you should. Barely see anybody you like during the day. Get annoyed at couples grocery shopping and miss making out in your basement. Forget to buy paper towels and use napkins to clean the table. Take cabs at 3am. Pretend to clean your apartment, pretend you are going to eventually do laundry.

Meet nice people somewhere you didn’t expect. Have a conversation with somebody you never thought you would meet. Talk to somebody out of the blue. Enjoy these moments of fate immensely. Have more faith in humanity than you did when you lived wherever you came from.

Come home late smelling like smoke. Wonder how that happened, but really you know exactly how that happened. Promise you won’t spend too much money, expect free drinks but really only get shitty weather. Send texts to everybody you miss who is not in town because you are nostalgic for everything. Be single, ‘kind of single’, and ‘sort of single’ for months. Find somebody you like enough to watch movies with. Send bills in late. Revel in the fact that this is what youth is. Barely eat fresh vegetables anymore. Loathe the summer because it is too hot and miss it when it is gone. Get to know yourself and be surprised by it. You’d never bite your nails, you think, until you bite your nails. Forget all the great reasons why you moved here, fall in love with the reasons you didn’t think- cool breezes, car honkings, and knowing how to get places. Revel in being alone, revel in learning a city. Hate every job you have. Hate every bar you go to. Love both of these. Love everything. Have really, really good days. Stare at the city like ‘I got this.’ Swear you will eventually leave.

Then you stare at the skyline. Hate it. Be satisfied.”


Re-read the post on its original site, published by the original author here. All these people have moved here for various reasons. I am, therefore, still surprised to meet like-minded people when it comes to certain topics. New York is definitely one of these. I am glad that I am not the only one who shares the love-hate relationship to the City, which is so hard to explain to people who have never been here or only visited for 2 weeks.