How Not To Die On The NYC Subway

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!

Thanks for reading!

DO’s and DON’Ts of Job Relocation

The one question I got sick of answering when I told people I was moving to New York was,

“So do you have a job lined up down there?” or other variations of the same inquiry.

With a quick smile and a sassy tone of voice I would answer,

“Not really, I’m just kinda winging it!”

Which was mostly the truth. I had somewhat of a plan, but not a solid one (one I would come to wish had been a littlemore solid).

For a while I liked giving that answer. It made me feel young and free and spontaneous. And maybe even a little inspiring to the people who looked at me with envy when I told them about my New York dreams. Eventually though, it got a little exhausting having to repeat myself over and over. And eventually it began to concern me that so many people were worried about my job situation.

“Should I be worried?” I thought.

Before I moved to New York, I was working at a government hospital about 40 minutes from home. My dad also worked there (the main reason I got the job) and we carpooled to work together everyday. It was a good situation. I liked my job (mostly I just loved the people I got to work with), I made decent money, and had awesome benefits. I mean who can argue with paid vacation and sick days?

The other great thing about this job was that I could transfer to any other government hospital in the US as long as my position was available there.

Sounds like the perfect plan, right? I thought nothing could possibly go wrong here.

Well, I was slightly too optimistic at this point…

About a month or so before I moved, I kept checking the postings to see if my position was open in either the Manhattan or Brooklyn locations that would be close to my new home. And there were a few, which I applied to and awaited a call for an interview.

A call, I would soon find out, that would never come.

Long story short, New York is a busy place. The hospital I was hoping to get into was way behind on sifting through applications, something I learned after numerous unanswered emails and phone calls that promised I would be informed of my application status soon. So in order to pay the bills, I ended up just starting work at a retail store, making hourly wage and doing part-time hours.

As this post goes up, I am still working retail. But after months of getting no answers and waiting impatiently for new positions to open up, I have good news to report.

I have a contact from back home, who originally tried to help me make this transfer happen, that has offered to get in touch with the Manhattan location for me and try to push through an interview.

After continuing to apply for any position that I qualified for, regardless of the location, I was asked to do a phone interview for a position a little farther upstate and my application for a position in Albany, NY has been referred to the next step of the process.

Moral of this story is that things may not fall into place exactly when you want them too. But eventually, on their own time, they will. Don’t lose hope.

In the meantime though, here’s a few DO’s and DON’Ts of job relocating that I’ve learned.

  1. DO have the job locked down

Apply for jobs plenty of time in advance, get the interview (whether it be in person or over the phone if you can’t travel for it), and have the job offer in your hand before you plan your move. Trust me, it’ll relieve a lot of stress if you know you’re walking into something as soon as you’re settled in your new place.

  1. DO contact the right people

You may be surprised who has connections that can be helpful to you. So reach out to the important people but don’t forget about the ones that want to see you land on your feet. Even if they don’t have much power in regards to hiring and relocation, they may just know someone who knows someone who can get you the job.

  1. DON’T assume things will work out perfectly

We all know how the saying goes, so just don’t do it. Don’t assume things will just work out. Or that people will do their job when it comes to getting you a position. Annoy them, email them everyday, call them and leave messages. I know it sounds tedious, but the only way I ever got answers was by constantly keeping in contact with the necessary people.

  1. DON’T get discouraged

It’s not easy relocating your job and not everything is unicorns and rainbows sometimes. It might be a rough experience like mine was, but don’t give up. Because just when you want to give up, things might start to work out. Exhaust your options and lean on your support system when it gets too overwhelming or stressful.

You’ll get through it, I promise. And you’ll come out the other side stronger and smarter. Which is never a bad thing.

Thanks for reading!

 

5 Things to Never Leave Your Apartment Without

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.

#1- Umbrella

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”.

Buy the Earhoox here, I love mine: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MXMTELG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

#5- A positive attitude

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.