So You Want to Be a New Yorker? Read This!

You want be a Carrie Bradshaw, Serena van der Woodsen, Blair Waldorf or whatever overly dramatic character from Glee that’s living the glamorous life in the city. Take it from a relatively new New Yorker – it’s not like that. Granted my life is full of dramatic, fantastic, unexplainable events worthy of a Lifetime movie (lookout for the premiere in 30 years) but it’s still mostly UN-glamorous.

New York is liberating, heartless, depressing in the subzero winter and magical in the blistering hot summer. You spend countless hours waiting for the subway or blow all your money on cab rides. You pay out the a** for a tiny living space with no air conditioning, sandwiched between the projects and the Trump Tower. You’re a regular at the grocery store because you have to make frequent trips since you can’t carry everything at one time – either that or you picked up smoking and don’t actually eat anymore.

We put up with everything because no other place in the world gives you the same sense that anything could happen at any given moment. You never know who you’ll run into on the street, who will ask you on a date, whose going to offer you a job or figure out the subway weekend schedule.

So lets get down to the nitty-gritty on how to move to the city and become a New Yorker with as little pain as possible:

1. Find a reliable roommate. Everything will be cheaper if you’re splitting the cost.
2. Decide if you value space or convenience when looking for an apartment. If you like space then go look in Brooklyn, Queens or Hoboken. If you like convenience stay in Manhattan.

Rag & Bone3. Throw everything away in your wardrobe that isn’t black, gray, white or an obnoxious statement piece. A pair of black skinny jeans will be your wardrobe staple.
4. If you have a good amount of money saved up (near 5 grand each for you and your roomie) find a broker who will help you find a place according to your specifications.
5. If you need to save money, find a bunch of offers on craigslist for no fee apartment leases so you can skip the broker’s fee. It’s not as convenient as using a broker and is a lot more time consuming, but saves you so much money (beware of scams – never pay up front or give out credit card information.)
6. Set up about 2 to 3 days to stay with a friend or in a hotel to come to the city so you can check out potential places with your broker or all your leads from craigslist. It might be easier to sublease for a short period and look for a more permanent place in the mean time.

Monika Chiang 7. Learn to walk fast. Whether that’s practicing in your Monika Chiang heels or wearing Steve Madden boots. FYI: we wear boots year round.
8. Wear sunglasses even if it’s not that bright outside to avoid eye contact with strangers. Some Persol shades will do the trick.
9. Pick a bar and become a regular. Even if you don’t drink, it’s a great way to make friends.
10. Get fit. The city is physically demanding so you better hit the gym in your Monrow sweats.

Starting a life in the city is expensive and you’ll find that you hardly have any free time. As Carrie Bradshaw put it, “In New York you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment.”  The energy and ambition here is addicting and you will find it hard to leave once you hit your stride. Good luck!

Yours truly,

Afaf

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