10. Do not live in Manhattan. If you make the mistake you will waste money and several years of your live “making compromises for the convenience”. Which I get, but not really. (See No. 2 for resolving convenience issue). In the end you will live in Brooklyn anyways, because that’s where all your friends are, and the food and nightlife is way better. The Sex in The City lifestyle only exists for the lawyers, financial folks and those fortunate enough to have a magically regenerating bank account (i.e. trust fund kids). Manhattan is the most amazing borough to visit, but for me it’s not worth stepping out everyday into the madness. And in the end it just follows you in… and the magic of NYC only lasts as long as it still feels new and fresh. Keep it that way.
9. The hype and Hollywood version of what NYC is, has been so strong that unconsciously people adopted it and made it reality. As a recent transplant I wouldn’t have seen this. But a Staten Island local broke it down for me and it resonated with what I was experiencing here… Williamsburg is the best example. It has it’s charms but it turned into a strange Disneylandesque kind of place. The hype that has been generated about it has morphed into the reality. It’s as if people heard how hipster cool it was and moved their and actually turned it into a caricature of what it was. I think this applies to all of New York City. When you find the genuine places hold tight to them. They are few and far between. Quick anecdote about this: One fourth of July my friend and I wandered into an anonymous bar on 34th street. No sign or anything out front. Ordered some drinks, and after 10 minutes realized that it was full of latina women all furiously texting. Basically we figured out it was a whore house of sorts. The pimp/bartender wasn’t sure what to make of us… It was the exact kind of establishment you would see in Central America. Low brow, unassuming, but in Murphy Hill. Fuckin’ New York… It’s nice to know it can still get weird there without feeling contrived.
8. Remember that having less, can make you feel like you have more. You won’t save money unless you are doing some side work or have two jobs. Or if you climb the ladder at your office/firm. Just don’t fall into the trap where you finally start making more and then just go out and spend more. You need to save some money to have the freedom to make a move and get out when you are ready. If you don’t want to climb the ladder in your job, you gotta hustle with side work. There is more money in New York then you realize. You can make it happen. Get creative, stay in touch with people and don’t be shy to put your hand out and ask for the projects you are interested in.
7. You can end up in New York without seeing or doing anything that makes it such a special place. You will live there 10 years and never see a Broadway show, or go to that amazing Vietnamese place in Queens (Bunker), or the huge Asian market, or see Dia Beacon etc. Make plans in advance. Remind people they are doing this thing with you. Commit by buying tickets early. Don’t put it off until next month. The freshness of New York fades and you have to hit the good stuff before it loses it’s magic.
6. Go see Sleep No More. This is a unique, unreal and dreamlike experience. It embodies all the potential creativity and coolness that New York can be. (See No. 7 above to reinforce this.)
5. The best way to score a reasonably priced and cool apartment is through “Temporary Sublets” on Craigslist. Usually these people end up not returning and you take the lease over. Or for some reason post it there but are really moving out. It’s the path less searched in the housing hunt, and I can’t tell you what a difference that makes. Plus they are usually cheaper and nicer.
4. Citibikes are awesome. Slow but smooth, and totally worth it to get the year pass. As stated in No. 10, you will/should live in Brooklyn and this is fairly easy way to get across town or into Manhattan. It is limited, but for $100 a year who cares. You will spend that in two weeks on cabs.
3. Living near the G Train doesn’t count as living near a train line. It is always late, and you will watch three trains go by the opposite platform in a row and not one will go your way… And when you do get on the train the worst things happen. Homeless vomit, hipsters, violent schitzophrenic outbursts etc. See this music video for a humorous song about the G. As an aside, doesn’t the guy in it look like Ben Affleck? Anyways… (See No. 2 for how to resolve this)
2. Buy a bicycle. I don’t care if you are scared, or haven’t ridden in 10 years. Do it. A bicycle = freedom. Nothing worse then being stuck in Bushwick at 3:00AM facing a 2 hour journey on the horrors that are the G Train and the fact that there are no cabs anywhere in sight and there won’t be for another day. Manhattan and Brooklyn have some of the best developed bike paths I have seen in any city. The nature of the streets means the cars can’t go to fast or too out of control. Buy a bicycle. David Byrne supports this, and that is the final word.
1. Generally people are pretty damn friendly and cool in New York. So don’t be a dick.
-A Modern Nomad