What’s better than Christmas presents? Getting boxes of your own things mailed to you from coast to coast! Today’s arrivals? RAIN BOOTS!!! My Oregon duck rain boots to be exact. You can bet I’m going to be repping my ducks to and from the subway every rainy day from here on out!
It gets even better though.. Guess what other surprises were in the box? DAVE’S KILLER BREAD!!! Aww, I’d say today was a good day and that my Mom is pretty darn awesome! There was also some random things of mine, earrings, pens, a coffee tumbler, and lots of fruit snacks. Scooter was pretty excited about the fruit snacks too I think, because I caught him trying to run off with more than one package. Which brings me to another discovery today. My dog is a total hoarder, but that can be its own blog post in itself.
Another reason today was a great day was because it was my one month anniversary of being in New York! I am officially surviving the New York life and doing it well! After a month I think it is a good time to reflect on some of the biggest misconceptions I’ve come before and during my move here and let you know how they are rolling out.
1.) “Why would you want to move to New York, it’s soooo expensive!”: I will not deny that New York is definitely not the cheapest place to live. I won’t try and tell you that the statistics are wrong, but what I will tell you is if you have a steady job and realistic expectations it can be totally doable. Apartment standards in New York are different than anywhere I’ve ever lived. You will probably pay double the amount for half of the space you would be used to in a typical Portland or Seattle apartment without the added luxuries. Most of the buildings that are more affordable are in Pre or Post WWII buildings that are not always equipped with elevators, microwaves, or dishwashers but realize that your friends are all probably living in about the same situations too. It’s been a month though and we have been completely fine without a microwave, dishwasher, and cable tv at that. What I’m trying to say is yes, rent is very high in New York, but it is still possible to find a cute, small apartment in a safe neighborhood and still manage to have some money left over for food and exploring.
If it is something you want to attempt though, my advice is to have realistic expectations. Prioritize what is important to you in a living situation and set a realistic price range. Rent is the highest price difference when moving. Food can be expensive as well, but if you minimize the amount of take-out food you order and score deals by trying different grocery stores (like Trader Joes) then it won’t be such a huge difference. The great thing about New York too is that there are a ton of events going on all of the time (a lot of which are free). My final point being, yes the city is expensive, but if you set a budget and are smart with your money then you should have no issues.
2.) “But New Yorkers are so mean!”: Another misconception I faced when moving was that all New Yorkers were rude and mean people. Over the course of the last month, I can truthfully say that I think the opposite is true. Granted, this is my personal experience and I am by no means saying that the “mean New Yorker” stereotype doesn’t hold true sometimes. From my experience though, I have yet to have an awful experience with anyone. People in the city are busy and might not always talk to you in passing, but if you give a smile I have always gotten one back in return. I can honestly say that I’ve felt more welcomed by New Yorkers here than I often did in Portland. If I stop to pick up an outfit on my way home someone is chatting up with me in the dressing room and asking for my style advice. If I’m grocery shopping alone the employees are sure to strike up a conversation with me. Even when I meet people at a party or out people genuinely seem interested in meeting me and are excited about hearing my story. I don’t know if I’m the only one who has had this experience, but I really think that New Yorkers get an undeserving bad rep sometimes. Again, I’ve only been here a month, but I can tell you I’ve been shocked of how friendly the people have been to me during my stay.
3.) “You’re not taking your car?! How will you survive!”: I’ve had a car since I was 16 years old and a month ago I can admit I was a little apprehensive about not having a car either. Truth be told though, New York’s public transportation is great! Besides my occasional mix-up on a subway stop I feel like I have a good handle on getting myself where I need to go. Of course I still need some help from websites like HopStop to ensure I’m getting on the right train or bus, but overall the system is pretty easy to figure out.
After not having my car for a month too, I can’t say I miss it too much (and I definitely don’t miss paying for insurance or gas). I’ve been on enough cab rides, and bus rides to realize I probably wouldn’t be the best New York driver anyways. Besides, rides by cabs can actually end of taking longer than a subway ride because of traffic. So although I probably wouldn’t be okay with not having a car in the Northwest in New York it has been perfectly alright. I have yet to meet anyone here that does actually drive either so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on too much.
Well there you have it! One month down, three misconceptions addressed and many more experiences and lessons to come. Stay tuned for more.