Posted Apr 3, 2015
You Know You’re Living in New York City When …
New York has been described as the greatest city on Earth and also one giant pile of litter dissected between two rivers– needless to say, for many New Yorkers, the city presents quite the love/hate relationship.
It’s romanticized with the glittering lights of Manhattan, has a hipster mecca in Brooklyn, an international hub in Queens, and millions of tiny apartments in between. It’s tough. It’s overwhelming. You can literally experience the world (in a sense) with the numerous pockets of multicultural NYC neighborhoods.
The truth is, NYC is a conglomerate of all these things, because living in New York City is unlike any other experience on the planet. There is a certain set of things that only New York renters understand. In fact, you know you’re living in New York City when …
Sirens Have Become a Way of Life
You simply don’t hear them anymore. It’s like white noise. In many ways, hearing complete silence is stranger than hearing the hubbub on the streets, especially if you’re a lifetime New Yorker.
You Have a Different Set of Standards for Personal Space
New York is crowded, from the streets to the subways to the bars. Living here means that you might be smushed against a total stranger on the train, Kindle in hand, and think nothing of it. You will be toe-to-toe in line for the next brunch opening, wait over an hour for a table and call it a “relaxing” Sunday.
You and hundreds of others will be waiting for the lights to change on the streets and grumble under your breath about how tourists always seem to get in the way.
Being truly alone is next to impossible here, so if you don’t feel comfortable living with several roommates or hearing the neighbors above, next door, or below you, NYC is not the place for you.
You Forego What You Thought Were Basic Amenities
No closet? No living room? A kitchen/bathroom combo? But… there’s a washer and dryer downstairs? Where do I sign?
You Have a Love-Hate Relationship With ‘Traditional’ NYC Foods
You roll your eyes when your out-of-town friends want to go to Shake Shack and Carnegie Deli. However, if someone disparages these places in any way, you will become fiercely defensive.
After all, New York delis, a New York bagel, and a New York slice of pizza are sacred things, and only New Yorkers have the authority to critique them.
You Have a ‘Resume’ of Sorts for Your Potential Landlord
The rental market in NYC is competitive, there’s no doubt about it. As such, many people looking for places in the city carry along their renter’s history, employment status, and a checkbook for writing out their first payment just to get a head start on other potential renters.
If you snooze, you lose. Finding that “perfect” apartment means it’s best to close in on it as soon as possible– there are no guarantees that it will be available the next day (or even within the next few hours).
You Laugh When Out-of-Towners Talk About Their Expensive Rent
New York is expensive. Period. Because rent is high here, people tend to forego cars for the subway (driving is next to impossible anyway) and opt for multiple roommates to find some wiggle room in their budget.
New York is tough on your wallet, but if you’re smart, it’s not impossible to call New York home. You just have to prioritize things differently.
Neighborhood Boundaries are Everything
You know you’re living in New York City when you can map exactly where the rent drops by $300 in Bed-Stuy or where the nearest dog park is in East Greenwich. There are many defining characteristics of NYC neighborhoods, but they all have their strengths and weaknesses.
Even mere blocks can make a huge impact on your bottom line and day-to-day routine. Select wisely.
Your ‘Yard’ is City Parks
“Nature” to a New Yorker is grabbing a drink on High Line with friends after work and admiring the well-manicured plants along the way. The same can be said for Manhattanites heading to Central Park for a pick-up game of basketball or walk around the fountains– you’re outside, right?
Simply put, there is really no such thing as a yard in NYC, especially for renters. However, New Yorkers are blessed with some of the most beautiful (albeit man-made) green spaces on Earth.
Having even a tiny plot of grass in the front of your apartment building can seem like a luxury to New Yorkers. If you need to stretch out, head to your local park and learn to love it. For many New Yorkers, it’s easy enough.
You Go Out During the Week and Stay in On the Weekends
The workweek in NYC can be exhausting, but you know that trying to head to that hip new bar in Williamsburg or getting dinner with friends on the weekends just doesn’t happen– in a city with more than 8 million people, there are bound to be scheduling conflicts.
Plus, there are plenty of suburbanites who come to the city on the weekends, making things even more crowded. In a city as fast-paced and crowded as NYC, it’s best to plan those fun nights during the workweek when you know you can find a seat at the bar, a stool at the local coffee shop, or a table at your favorite eatery.
Despite the sheer size, complexities, and challenges of NYC, many New Yorkers will go on record and say that they would never live anywhere else, and I can’t say I blame them.
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