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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m a big fan of the gym. I’m also a big fan of running, so being able to find time to do either of those things has been a bit of a struggle when trying to balance a job, time with friends, schlepping back and forth from Brooklyn on the subway everyday and having some alone time as well.
Obviously it’s not hard to stay active when you live in a city that never sleeps. And when theres always something to do, you just kind of get a workout in without thinking about it. But when it boils down to it, some of us want to hit the gym or get a good run in anyway, so here’s some tips on how to do that.
1. Walk whenever you can, but not to an extreme.
Walking is great for burning calories and getting your heart rate up, especially if you’re dragging around groceries or your giant purse loaded with everything you need to survive in NYC. (See my post 5 Things to Never Leave Your Apartment Without) So walk when you can. Get off a stop early on the train when it’s only a few extra blocks to your destination. Walk to a store that’s a little farther from home instead of the one right around the corner. But remember not to over-do it. New York can get super hot in the summer, as I’ve learned. And with all the tall buildings and tons of people, there really isn’t much air flow here so be careful not to give yourself a heat stroke from too much walking. At the end of the day, cardio is the best way to burn fat, so walking is a great way to stay in shape.
2. Find cool places to workout that isn’t the gym.
I never minded running on a treadmill in order to get a run in. And the gym can have other equipment that’s nice to use once in a while. But that can get boring. Or, in my case, your gym can get super over crowded and have tons of broken treadmills that make it almost impossible to even find one to use. So, what my sister and I love to do is find other fun places to go for a walk or a run that gets us out of our boring gym routine and into the New York air (despite how dirty it may be at times.)
My current top 3 recommendations for outdoor places to run/walk are:
Chelsea Piers: This is super beautiful to run/walk at when it’s closer to sunset. The views are amazing and it’s less crowed than it would be in the daytime (plus a little cooler cause you get a nice breeze off the water). It’s a great path that’s safe and has tons of space so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck behind slow pedestrians. Highly, highly recommend. I love it here.
Maria Hernandez Park: This park has recently become one of our favorite places to walk or run. It was actually recommended to us by a friend that lives in our neighborhood. The setup is much like an outdoor track and even has markers to let you know that 1 lap= 1/3 mile, so that’s pretty cool. The part I enjoy the most is that it’s always full of people hanging out, playing sports on the basketball and volleyball courts, kids playing on playgrounds and tons of other runners. Definitely worth checking out if you live or work nearby.
Central Park: I haven’t had a chance to go for a run in Central Park but it doesn’t take much convincing that this is, no doubt, a beautiful park. And based on the countless movies and shows where people go for a run here, it’s a hit among all New Yorkers. I for sure can’t wait to get some miles in here and give my official feedback on it.
Carrying your groceries home, lugging laundry to the laundromat or even just walking a little farther to the next subway station can turn a mundane task into some form of exercise. We so often just skip the gym or say we’ll go tomorrow and feel guilty about it when instead, we can use everyday tasks as a way of burning calories. Again, make this something you do consciously but not to an extreme. Don’t ever force yourself beyond your physical limits just because you feel bad about not making it to the gym on a very busy Wednesday. Celebrate the victory of walking a few extra blocks to the train stop or carrying a few heavy bags of groceries home. I know for me, sometimes the constant pressure to swipe that little membership card weighs on me and I feel bad for not putting in effort. But in different ways, I am putting in the effort. And sometimes nontraditional forms of exercise can be so much more fun than walking on a treadmill and staring at a cement wall. So don’t discount the simple ways you can get in a workout when you’re just too busy to make it to the gym. Any effort (no matter how small) is better than no effort at all.
I hope this post gave you some ideas on how you’ll stay fit in NYC or any other big city. Feel free to share this with a friend, or leave me a comment and let me know your tricks on how you stay in shape. I’d love to hear them!
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.