Living in a big city like New York can be fun and exciting. But I think sometimes we get caught up in the fantasy of it all that we forget city life has its shortcomings too.
Here are some major pros and cons of living in New York (or any big city) to think about if you are considering relocating.
Everything is quite literally right at your fingertips
Any kind of food you could want is most likely no more than a block away. There’s a coffee shop every 300 feet, no joke (which is helpful if you’re a New Yorker and run on caffeine).
You basically live in a gigantic mall too. Every store imaginable is somewhere in the city and there’s probably one uptown and one downtown for convenience. Shop till you drop is not just a saying here, it’s a lifestyle.
There are bars and clubs everywhere that you never have to worry about driving to or having a DD from. You just hop the train home or grab an uber.
And let’s not even get started on the amount of things to do in the city. There’s always a museum or art exhibit to visit, a show, a concert, a new restaurant. The options are unlimited.
One of the things that first drew me to New York was the energy here. It makes you feel something you can’t get anywhere else. It’s a sense of invincibility. Like you could do anything you wanted no matter how crazy it seemed. You can follow your dreams, be who you always wanted to be, and the city would help you manifest that.
It’s an inspiring place to say the least. There is always a talented person on a street corner playing music, performing a dance, or selling their art. Being around other people that are pursuing their dreams always gives me a sense of belonging. I never feel alone in following my dreams either; we’re all in it together.
Always a stunning view
New York is beautiful; there is no doubt about that. Most big cities are. There are so many pretty sights that you never get bored of for some reason.
Of course the NYC skyline is famous for it’s stunning view, but here are some of my favorite little spots that are just as gorgeous in my opinion.
And I can’t forget to mention not only the beauty of the city, but also the entertainment of the other sights. It wouldn’t be New York without the crazy man offering hugs in Union Square dressed in all tie-dye. There’s always something interesting to look at. Big cities are the best for people watching in general.
The Job situation
The one good thing about New York is that there are always jobs out there.
Just not always the jobs you want. Actually, rarely the job you want.
Tons of retailers and restaurants are hiring constantly, but be prepared to only make minimum wage. Sure, New York is a city full of opportunity. But you have to be willing to fight for those opportunities.
There is competition in almost every industry because the city is so densely populated with educated, talented individuals. And finding the ways you stand out from the rest isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do.
Loneliness is real
I know, I know. 8.6 million people, how could you possibly feel lonely?
Well, it’s the truth. In a city full of people, I oftentimes find myself feeling extremely alone.
Everyone here is super busy. We honestly just don’t have much spare time to hang out with people. And if we do, it’s not much. Or we’re sacrificing doing other things like grocery shopping, laundry, and sleeping.
Take the subway once or walk down a crowded street and count how many people have headphones in their ears. The culture in New York that makes us feel alone is one we have created ourselves. We shove our headphones in and tune out the world. Therefore, tuning out human-to-human interactions.
In the end, I guess it’s our own fault that we’re all lonely af.
The Daily Grind
The major con for me at least, is that New York life is a grind on a day-to-day basis.
Everyone lives on a very tight schedule because if we didn’t we wouldn’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done.
We spend so much time waiting, in lines, for trains, for our laundry to be done.
To give you an idea, here is a little breakdown of how long things take me personally:
Train to and from work:
37 minutes each way (without delays)
Minimum of 45 minutes, Max of 1 hour 15 minutes
Time I waited in line at Whole Foods on a Thursday night:
Picking up a mobile order at Starbucks:
Don’t even get me going on the Starbucks thing, I love them and their chai tea lattes but, c’mon.
You see my point though. If your time is precious, maybe consider your other options as opposed to a big city.
City life can be extremely fulfilling for some and frustrating for others. Hopefully this little Pro/Con list helps someone out there trying to deicide whether to move to the city or not. I love making lists so share some of your Pro’s and Con’s about city living in the comments below, I’d be interested to see what you guys think.
There’s something oddly comforting about being alone in the darkness. It’s more like a feeling of serenity, when the rest of the world is still asleep.
8.5 million people and I am alone on the street in the early hours of a Sunday morning. For a city that never sleeps, New York is eerily quiet on this morning.
There are no sirens wailing in my ears.
There are no honking cars.
And the car wash down the street isn’t open yet. No men rushing around washing tires. No water running off the sidewalk and onto the street.
The bagel place on my way to the train station still reads “closed” and the lights are off, the building dark.
I can hear everything better this way, though. The crisp morning air whooshing around, the streetlights clicking to a new color, and the trains rumbling on the tracks above me, all sounds so much louder.
There’s also something nice about having the streets all to myself. I don’t have to move over for someone passing, or watch out for dogs or children running down the sidewalk. And I don’t really have to pay attention to the “walk” symbol because there are no cars on the streets either.
I can feel things better too. I feel my lungs filling with air, pumping my body as I walk purposefully. I feel my feet hitting the crumbling sidewalk with every step forward.
And I feel my own heart beating, reminding me I am alive.
Ok, ok. I know the title of this sounds a little dramatic, but let me explain.
The New York City subway can be a dangerous place, or as we New Yorkers prefer to call it, “the train”. In 2017 there were 181 incidents involving people coming in contact with trains, 44 were deaths. But I’m not just talking about this kind of death involving the subway, despite it being important. I’m mainly talking about the everyday hustle and bustle of riding the MTA. Whether you live in New York or you’re just visiting the city, here are some of the ways you can make your subway experience super fun more tolerable.
Since we already touched on the serious stuff, let’s just wrap it up here. Watch the damn gap, ok? The last you want to happen is to get jammed in that little area between the train and the platform. Did I create a horrific image there for you? Well sorry, but it’s no joke. I know too many people who know someone who has gotten injured from not paying attention to that gap. Or people who have witnessed someone fall in there. So just be careful ok. And do what the warning labels say. They’re there for a reason. Watch the gap, Stand clear of the platform edge, Do not hold doors, all that good stuff.
One thing I learned very early on while taking the subway was that if a car is suspiciously empty during a busy time of the day, you most likely want to follow your instincts and avoid it. If you make the same mistake I did, you’ll end up in a car that combines all the worst smells on earth in one; dirt, body odor, rotten food, feces maybe? Homeless people sleep on the subway all the time so do yourself a favor and try not to get stuck in a car they’ve made their home. And if you do, jump off at the next stop and switch cars. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Speaking of the homeless, (yes it’s sad to see all the time) some of them are straight up douchebags. Watch out for those ones. No one should ever be forcing you to cough up change if you don’t want to. If you feel compelled to give something, then be my guest. But remember that there’s tons of people turning them down everyday. Ignore the beggars and panhandlers who try to make everyone on the train feel like shit for not helping them. You can’t save the world with your coin purse. The only people I ever truly feel like donating to are the performers or ones that try to at least give you something in return. And let me tell you, there are some true talents out there. Violin players, singers, dancers, magicians, you name it and I’ve probably seen it on the subway.
Headphones are your lifeline in New York, if I haven’t made that clear already. If you wanna avoid being talked to by strangers, or worse, then pop those babies in. I wear mine all the time, whether I’m listening to music or not. It keeps the crazies away, ’cause you know we got plenty of those. Mostly I just do it for my own safety not because I think those people are nuts and not worthy of being listened to. I just don’t know what some of them are capable of and I avoid confrontation anyway so I’m not exactly inclined to get into a fight with someone on the train.
*Just a quick note: If you wear headphones, don’t forget to stay aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the people around you. Plus, you might need to listen to the train conductors announcements once in a while so be wary of that too.
There are oftentimes announcements that run across the screen on the train giving you warnings from the NYC police department just reminding everyone to keep their belongings with them at all times and watch for suspicious activity. The thing most tourists worry about with riding the subway is getting their shit stolen. Despite how rare that is, it is a reality. Be smart, keep your stuff close to you, and always in your sight, especially when it comes to carrying groceries or other shopping acquisitions home with you. Open bags are an easy target for pick-pocketers too, just as a general note. Don’t go all “clutching your bag for dear life” on people because that’s another way to direct attention to yourself. Act natural, but be mindful.
Most things about the subway, we just cannot control. The delays, the skipped stops, the smells and more importantly, the temperature. The train cars are all air conditioned, nice right? Yeah, sure. But the stations are hot as hell. Like unbearably hot sometimes. In the summer its terrible because you’ve already walked to the station in the heat and then once you get underground it just kicks up another 5 degrees. In the colder months it the opposite. You walk round on the street level with your fall jacket or your winter parka. But once again, you get down into that station and its a goddamn sauna. You really can’t win here, I’m just gonna be honest with you. So mentally prepare yourself for profuse sweating and uncomfortable stickiness.
Comment below if you have a good public transport story and share this post to save a life!
When you move from a small town in upstate New York to one of the biggest cities in the world, you have no choice but to learn fairly quickly,immediately, how to survive in such a place. It didn’t take me long to figure out what I absolutely could not leave my apartment without unless I was wishing ill will upon myself. So here’s the 5 things I never leave without, no matter how heavy my bag may get. Trust me, your shoulder may ache, but your little NY heart will thank you.
I can’t tell you how many times (ok, I will tell you. Literally EVERY time) I’ve looked at the weather, saw that there was no rain in the forecast, and left my umbrella sitting on the shelf in my closet. New York does this funny thing where it just decides to be unpredictable and a day that is meant to be sunny and 89, can turn into a rainy mess within an hour. And that hour always happens to be the one where I need to walk home from the train station. In order to avoid taking an unwanted outdoor shower, I carry my umbrella with me everyday. I don’t care if there’s not a cloud in sight, that baby is going in my bag. Plus, here in New York we’re weird and we use our umbrellas not only when it rains, but when it’s too sunny, too windy, or even when it’s snowing. So toss it in there, it can’t hurt to be prepared.
#2- Your Metrocard
If you’re like me and you’re poor af, you don’t have money to drop on cabs or Uber everyday. So you take the subway, which requires that good ol’ Metrocard we know and love. That dumb, flimsy piece of yellow and blue laminated paper (or whatever it’s made of, I have no idea) is your lifeline. Nothing is more annoying than realizing halfway to the train that you forgot it, or even worse, getting all the way there and having to stand in a long ass line to get a single ride ticket or a new Metrocard. Not to mention the $1 fee for the new card and then whatever amount you need to add after that. Save yourself the trouble and choose a safe place to always keep it. After you swipe it through, make sure it goes right back to where it was (I keep mine in it’s own slot in my wallet. Don’t just throw it in your bag. That just increases your chances of losing it).
#3- GUM (or some kind of breath freshener)
You never know who you’ll meet on the streets of New York; a celebrity, your boss, a future partner, or maybe someone who’s skeptical of the dental hygiene of New Yorkers. Keeping gum or any kind of breath freshener with you assures that if by some chance you meet someone worthy of conversation, they won’t smell that Chipotle rice bowl you just had for lunch. ‘Nuff said on that subject.
*Pro-tip: One of the most long lasting flavors of gum is Trident. I learned this from a friend at work and after my own testing, found it to be pretty damn true.
#4- Your favorite pair of headphones
Mine happen to be the plain Apple headphones you get with a new IPhone. I’ve added some Earhoox to mine because it helps keep them in place while I run. For some reason my ears just don’t hold earbuds as well as other peoples’. Headphones can make or break it for you in the city because we do a lot of waiting around. Waiting in lines, waiting for trains, sitting/ standing on trains, trust me, it gets boring. Most of us listen to music or podcasts while we do this waiting. Plus it’s also helpful to talk on the phone to people with them, so grab a pair that has a microphone. When your hands are full, it’s much easier to talk hands free than with a phone shoved up to your face. Oh and the best part about headphones is that they’re the universal sign for “Don’t talk to me” or “I’m not hearing a word you’re saying”.
Okay, okay, I know I’m getting a little cliché here, but this is just as important as the other four things. New York is a busy place and you can’t let little hang ups ruin your day. So always leave with a positive attitude in order to make it in the Big Apple. Sometimes things can get a little hectic or overwhelming, I admit to letting stress get to me once in a while. But we have to step back and look at the bigger picture sometimes. I’m living in an amazing city, one that I’ve dreamed of living in for so long. At the end of the day, I get to see things some people will only ever see in photographs. I get to walk these streets and call them home. So chill, just take in the sights and the experiences. They are what shape us as people, after all.