You may or may not know about the seriously low apartment vacancy rate during the summer. May to September are the most popular months to move in/to New York City (book those moving trucks now) and if you’re going to be one of my new neighbors, these tips are for you! Some of these are personal, and this list certainly does not include all of the things you need to know, which is why this is not a ‘top 10’ list, but a regular list. Feedback encouraged!
- Walk right, run left.
This tip comes to you from the wonderful District of Columbia–my college and post-college town. Here is the translation of the tip: Stand right, walk left. (DC) = Slow walkers to the right, fast walkers to the left (NYC). If you have ever lived in (or even visited) DC before then you probably figured out that if you don’t stand to the right on the Metro escalators, you just may get smacked from behind and tumble down the Metro escalators…head first. Not something you want to do. I’m talking stitches, possibly even death. I digress…
New York is a fast-paced town–the rumors are true. My theory is that New Yorkers aren’t trying to be unfriendly, but rather, we tend to develop a mentality of ‘doing it all’. Be it those who work full-time and have families. Those who go to the gym before work. Or those Wall Street guys who plan two dates in one night. There’s simply too much to do in one day that we don’t have time to stop and smell the roses. If you do happen to have time to smell the roses, by all means, stop and smell them…just step to the right (same goes for texting and walking) so the rest of us can keep moving.
- Stay away from the Trader Joe’s in Union Square.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Going to the Trader Joe’s wine shop in Union Square is completely acceptable because it’s the only TJs wine shop in the city. It is right next door to TJs the grocery store, but that TJs makes those of us who never thought we were claustrophobic, claustrophobic. Lines out the door, down the block on weekends. If you must, go super early or super late. But seriously, there are are other TJs in the city now. Also crowded, but slightly more spacious.
- Sign-up for Seamless.com.
You will learn to love delivery. Especially if you live on the 5th (like me) or 6th floor of a walk-up building. If you get home from work to find an empty fridge/freezer, Seamless is there for you. If you’re hungover on a Saturday or Sunday morning, Seamless is there for you. Heck, if you want sushi for breakfast, Seamless is there for you. Check out retailmenot.com to see if there are any coupon codes for new users!
- There are better burgers than Shake Shack.
Probably gonna get some nasty replies on this one. I’ve been on a burger quest in New York since I arrived almost two years ago. I’ll fill you in on my favorite spots in another post, but don’t waste your time waiting in the Madison Square park line. If you’re walking by and there’s no line, go for it! Don’t get me wrong, Shake Shack can be yummy, just not worth an hour-long wait.
- Drop it off.
Laundry. We all want to wear clean clothes, right? I seriously hope you answered yes. A lot of you college graduates may have only recently learned how to do your laundry, but here’s a tip you’ll want to pay attention to: it’s completely acceptable to drop your laundry off and have someone do it for you in New York City! There is a wash & fold place about every few blocks in almost every neighborhood in Manhattan. A lot of dry-cleaners offer this service, but there are also a ton of places that only do wash & fold. I was able to get by doing it on my own my first year in the city because I was in a luxury doorman building with a nice laundry room. I was always surprised at how many people from my building still dropped their laundry off. Thursdays and Fridays after work, there were a ton of rectangle-shaped (the shape of nicely folded laundry) laundry bags on the floor in my lobby. Speaking of, if you need your laundry done the same day you’re dropping it off, be sure to drop it off before 9am and if this happens to fall on Mon-Wed, the employee you drop it off with will be less likely to snicker at this same-day request. It’s definitely more expensive to do this as opposed to going to a laundromat; I now do a mix of dropping it off and doing on my own, but I’ve completely stopped feeling bad about something that is so so normal in NYC.
- Leave enough travel time.
If you’re trying to make friends, keep friends, get a job, keep a job, remember this: people like people who are on-time. Sure, I’ve been late before (I’m only human), but it’s something I try to avoid. The key to being on-time in NYC? For every mile/20 blocks you’re traveling, add an extra 10-15 minutes on to the time you think you need to get there. There are times where you will not have to wait for a train on the subway and times you will make every light in a cab. And for those times, I suggest having a book/nook to read or music to listen to for entertainment because you may have arrived 20-30 minutes early. For those other times, though, where you have to wait 5 minutes for each leg of a 2 transfer subway ride and the train goes the speed of a snail, you’ll be so happy you added that extra time on for traveling.
- $1 happy hour beer specials? pshhh…deal with it.
Drinks are expensive here. Even at the “dive” bars. And especially at the clubbbz. You just have to get used to it…unfortunately.
- Join a (social) sports league!
My favorite (and the easiest) way to make friends! Make sure you sign-up for the ‘social division’ or equivalent thereof. If you want to be serious about a sport, that’s fine…just sign up for the more competitive division or a league that is strictly for competition.
- Have no shame.
There are serious caveats to the above. While it may seem acceptable to wear UGGS in July (you’ll see it), it’s not. My #9 tip is all about friend-making! Maybe I have two tips in a row about making friends in the city because I’ve been there. I moved to New York hardly knowing anyone. A couple of close friends, but mostly random people I knew once upon a time. I’m happy to say that a lot of those “random” people are now my good friends! I’m talking intern friends, college friends, friends-of-friends. Use facebook, twitter, gchat to figure out who you know here and reach out to them! It’s kind of like dating: some of those attempts will fail and people won’t write you back. But some of them will and they may just end up being your new BFF.
- In the late spring and summer months, wear as little clothing as possible.
When the weather gets warm, the subway gets HOT, yo. It’s pretty much worth leaving for work extra early so that you have time to change out of your shorts and tank when you get there. Or, if you work in a more conservative office, and you’ve joined New York Sports Club, there is probably one close to where you work…use the locker room and change there. Whatever you do, don’t stand too close to the platform edge (serious tip here). It’s so hot, you could faint. Much better to faint on the concrete platform, than onto the tracks.