Author: Kaydi Poirier
I moved to the greater NYC area at the end of December. The seven months between graduation and the move felt like an eternity, so ringing 2012 in my new apartment in a new city was just the fresh start I needed — especially after saving for it for months by working in restaurants and retail.
Now that I’ve been here a little while, allow me to share some advice. My love affair with NYC is still young (and has its ups and downs, like any brand-new relationship!) but so far, we’re pretty happy together. Here are a few things a girl from small town Maine has learned about life in the big city:
1. Don’t live in Manhattan. There are plenty of recent grads I know who do, and they love it. Who wouldn’t, right? But if you’re starting at the bottom rung in your industry, and/or don’t yet have a full-time job (like me), it’s a bit unrealistic. Rent an apartment you can afford! I live just across the Hudson River in New Jersey, and it takes me 50 minutes or less to get to work in midtown Manhattan during rush hour. I consider it a pretty good trade-off, since rent for my one-bedroom is at least half what it would be for a studio (bleh) on the Upper West Side.
2. Window shopping on Fifth Avenue is the best way to spend your lunch break. Since my office is close by, I do it all the time. Dreaming about the things I’ll buy myself someday when I’ve “made it” is a huge stress reliever! I always go back to my cubicle feeling refreshed and ready to work to get there.
3. You need to explore MoMa — more than once. That’s the Museum of Metropolitan Art on W 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Take an afternoon, and just go. Or better yet, skip happy hour and go on a Friday between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. when admission is free! Any other time, bring your college ID to get the student discount. There’s no expiration date on those things, so who has to know?
4. Some of the city’s best food comes from a truck. Yes, I’m telling you to eat the street meat. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it! The gyros I’ve had from NYC street vendors are just as good, if not better, than the ones I ate in Greece while studying abroad — and here, you can get them with hot sauce! So delish. I had the freshest strawberry-banana-pineapple smoothie the other day for lunch, and it was $4 and filling. I’m still trying to track down the Belgian waffle truck I came across a couple weeks ago, and when I do, I’m sure the splurge will be so worth it.
5. People-watching will become your new favorite hobby. Okay, this sounds a little sketchy, I know, but it’s one of my favorite things about New York. Maybe it’s because I’m a journalist, but I enjoy seeing what the people around me are wearing/doing/talking about/eating/etc., and in this city, it’s always entertaining!
This list grows everyday while NYC gradually becomes my new home. I’m far from a “real” New Yorker, but making this city my playground is pretty much the most fun I’ve had since college… and in many ways, it’s better!