During the most recent summer, I had the opportunity to live in New York City for two months. Now it wasn’t all fun and games. The main reason I was there was for classes and an internship, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t manage to squeeze in fun between being adults and getting coffee for everyone.
Ever since I was a kid, it was my ultimate dream and goal to live in New York City. I basically planned my entire life around Rachel Green and Carrie Bradshaw. I wanted a cute studio apartment overlooking Central Park or an apartment over a cute, little coffee shop. Only problem? I don’t have a million dollars to spare for a one-bedroom apartment where one step you’re in the kitchen and when you turn around you’re standing next to the toilet. So, my reality when I lived there was a tiny bedroom I shared with two other girls and a handful of cockroaches.
So my tips on finding housing and places to live in New York is to make sure to fully do your research on everything. I know there were people in New York from Kent who said they would never want to live in Mid-Town again, so make sure you’re comfortable with the location where you’re staying. I luckily lived in Greenwich Village and was only a short 10-minute walk to Union Square, The West Village and Chelsea. So while it’s not necessarily overlooking Central Park, I never had to deal with the Penn Station and Times Square traffic. Do you think rush-hour is bad here? Try New York City at 5 o’clock at night.
Let’s talk about spending money. Now I got pretty lucky, I was only there for 2 months so I didn’t have to stress too heavily regarding needing a large amount of money to be comfortable. I also got lucky regarding the fact that the place I lived at offered two meals a day so I wasn’t too pressed regarding spending money on food daily. But you’re also in New York City meaning there are clothing stores all around you, and I promise you’ll find time to do plenty of shopping. We always joked that when we were going sightseeing or just walking around we always found ourselves at a mall or at the nearest Urban Outfitters. So prepare to do some shopping, but also there’s no sales tax on clothing there so that’s a bonus!
The best part about New York is that everyone there is a strange and a little out of the box. You get so used to walking down the street and just seeing the oddest people walking. It became routine that when I walked to my internship I would pass a lady every morning who stood outside CVS with a water bottle full of white paint, that she’d just slowly painting her and her clothes with. I eventually stopped turning my head to her actions because it’s stuff like this that you saw everywhere. People-watching in New York City is unlike anything you’ll ever come across. Having lived right by Union Square I’d catch myself just going to sit on the steps of the park and just watching everyone walk by, it was oddly relaxing. Also, I can promise you’ll never be the strangest person in the city so crying on the subway (I did that a couple of times) isn’t really given second looks. So, what I’m getting at is if you need a safe place to break down and cry and no one looks at you, then the city is the place for you.
One thing I could do without in the end was the never-ending catcalls from men when you’re just trying to walk down the street. I remember my second day in the city and this man approached me while I was standing in a group of people and was persistent with his advances, asking if I was married and calling me cute and all these other names. I got whistled at more than I’ve ever wanted to be and asked on a dinner date with a man I said two words to. It starts to make going out alone miserable. You start to second guess what you’re wearing, and you almost know that walking out in a dress and heels will ultimately cause someone to say something to you. I tended to just ignore them and focus my eyes ahead of me, which I think gave them the hint that I didn’t really appreciate being called names and having things yelled at me while I just walked to class.
When I came home everyone had one question on their mind for me, “Do you see yourself living in New York now?” and the answer to that question, as much as it breaks my heart is no. I love New York, and it will forever be one of my favorite cities, but it’s just too much, having lived in the suburbs for 21 years it’s something that I’m so accustomed to. and I need to be able to have a good mix of the city life and suburbs in my life and New York City just doesn’t really provide that. I’ll never regret the time I spent there but I’m on to different things in my life. One goal and dream down, a thousand to go.