9 Things I Learned After 10 Weeks in NYC

“If I can make it here, then I can make it anywhere,” said both Frank Sinatra and Jay-Z in their odes to the big apple. Since I was little, I always dreamed of moving to New York City, and this summer, thanks to an incredible internship opportunity, I gave this dream a test run. Like most dreams, it wasn’t perfect with lots of trials and errors, but my summer in the city was indeed an eye-opener.

  1. 1. Comfortable shoes are a must

    In the city, the most reliable form of transportation is your own feet. Cabs can be costly, and the subway does not always take you directly to your location. How Carrie Bradshaw ever pounded the pavements in her designer heels, I have no clue! While many women confidently walk the streets in their heels (these women are, for sure, a superior breed of women), I could NEVER do it. The backs of my heels were bruised, splintered and heavily bandaged during my first few weeks, which made for an uncomfortable walking experience. I quickly learned that flats were the way to go or wear sneakers for your walk and do a shoe change once you get into the office. 

  2. 2. Meals will rarely be under $15

    I am a girl who loves to eat, and NYC is a city that loves to make food. This is a doomed pairing when you’re an intern. After a few outings with friends, my belly was well fed, but my wallet was not. I found that there was really no way around this dilemma unless you loved fast food chains. I adopted the “treat yourself” way of life and decided the best thing to do was to enjoy my new friends and the food before me. I have to say, though, don’t go too crazy! Yes, food is essential, but there are cheaper solutions to eating out like cooking your own meals and saving your larger meals for later. Make that dollar stretch!

  3. 3. ...And movies aren't cheap either

    The movie theatre is an excellent escape from the crowded, smelly streets of New York and one of the best ways to beat the heat in the summer. But like most things in New York, this sacred summertime ritual comes with a hefty price. A ticket to a matinee show can cost anywhere from $15 to $18, and snacks range from $8 to $12. This also depends on where you see your movie, too, which can be a struggle within itself. I had a hard time finding a clean, safe theatre when I first arrived, but I was able to find one that fit my needs...30 minutes away. Still, there are lots of options for movie houses that range from your typical commercial theatre, foreign film houses, and indie theatres. You may have to catch an early showing for a more reasonable price, but you gotta do what you gotta do for the love of entertainment!

  4. 4. Subways are the best mode of transportation, but also very crowded

    The MTA is probably the most famous and well-known mode of transportation. Yes, it is not glamorous, and the platforms get too hot and exude a funky smell, but if you wanna get where you're going quick and cheap, the subway is the best option. I got the unlimited monthly pass while I was in the city and it was easy for me to swipe in for my work commute and my weekend outings. A warning though: you must get comfortable with the idea of people! Hop on the subway during rush hour and you’ll be adding yourself to the piles of hot, sweaty, smelly New Yorkers.

  5. 5. Always keep walking

    When you’re in a large, metropolitan city with thousands of residents, you’re bound to see something a little strange. It’s 2019, which means that we live in a world filled with what-ifs and significant safety precautions. It may seem instinctual to stop and want to watch a fight break out on the street, but it’s in your best interest to keep moving along. Just act as if you’ve seen it all before and you’ll blend right in with the rest of the city.

  6. 6. It really is a fast-paced environment

    From my multiple trips to NYC, I understood that you had to at least walk quickly to keep up, but my recent journey made me realize that you had to think that way too. NYC waits for no one, and that includes when you’re ordering your food or picking up groceries at Target. Like I said before, there’s a lot of people in NYC, which means stores and services run a tight ship. You just have to stay on your toes!

  7. 7. Catcalling is a real thing

    Luckily, this didn’t happen to me, but I heard stories and overheard some encounters. These stories made me realize how very real this is and how, if unwanted, can be very uncomfortable to be the subject of those calls and to watch on. These instances made me realize that society still has a way to go in making changes. 

  8. 8. Maps are the key to navigation

    Whether you need to find the closest grocery store or the nearby subway line, mapping apps are your key to finding your way around NYC. Service, though, can be dodgy in the city, which means your mapping may not always be accurate or give you the best option for transportation. I recommend downloading an alternative mapping app, like Citymapper, to help guide you in the city. 

  9. 9. There is no "off-season" in NYC

    Unlike Disney World, there really isn’t a time where NYC is less crowded or has shorter wait times. There’s just always tourists around stopping in the middle of the street to take pictures or gawking up at the tall buildings. The only way to avoid these tourists is to avoid the typical tourist traps (i.e., Times Square, the Empire State Building, basically most of midtown). I recommend trying to find an oasis from all the hustle and bustle of the city either uptown or downtown.