20 Things I’ve Learned in My First Year Living in New York City

I have been living in New York City for about a year now and I would like to share a few things I’ve learned about living in this amazing city.

  1. Sidewalks are often uneven.  Watch where you walk, especially if you wear open toe shoes.
  2. In addition to walking, sidewalks are for trash and it can be smelly.  However, some buildings wash down their sections of sidewalk in the morning.
  3. It is a well dressed city.  It makes you want to dress well and look nice all the time.
  4. You have to tip everyone who works in your apartment/condo building during the year end holidays.  Although it is optional you will get reminders though emails or flyers.
  5. The weekend subway schedule is confusing, for example, the A train runs on the C track.  So, read the posters and listen to the train announcements on the weekend.
  6. You will love delivery services and will use them more and more.   You can have pretty much anything delivered to your apartment.
  7.  There are a lot of free events though out the year.   For  example, free museums on Friday nights, free museums on the first weekend of each month (sponsored by Bank of America), and Shakespeare in the Park (in the summer).
  8. Summer outdoor movies are very popular.
  9. Expect to wait in line for a long time when shopping at Trader Joe’s unless you get there early in the morning.   There is only one Trader Joe’s wine store in the city in Union Square.  You can get beer at all Trader Joe’s stores through.
  10. You will learn to get fruits and vegetables from the stands on the streets outside your apartment.
  11. Starbucks are everywhere.  You can find them in almost every corner, literately.  Some of them even open 24 hours.  However, I prefer local stores that make great latte.  My favorite is Stumptown at the Ace Hotel (expect to wait in line for a long time).  They really take their time making your coffee.  They also serve Doughnut Plant donuts.
  12. The subway is not the cleanest in the world but you can take it almost everywhere in the boroughs for $2.50 a ride.
  13. Williamsburg is hip and full of young professionals.   I prefer living in Manhattan though.
  14. It is somewhat true that you won’t really find New Yorkers in Times Square unless they work in the area.   I have to walk through to get to work.  In the morning it is nice and quiet but in the evening it is very crowded.  I went to the Swatch store in Times Square last week and the sales person there made the comment “we don’t get the locals here.”
  15. All the street fairs in the city have the same food and merchandise vendors.  The only exception is Smorgasburg in Brooklyn which has local vendors.
  16. There are so many good restaurants to try.  Many of them, you will have to wait in line (unless they take reservations).  Food is more expensive here, in general.  For example, Chipotle is more expensive here compared to other cities.  One exception is Trader Joe’s which sells their products at the same price in all their stores.
  17. There are a lot of smokers, especially on the sidewalks.
  18. TKTS Booth is for tourists.  There are other options getting discounted tickets to the shows, for example, Today Tix app.
  19. There are Duane Reade stores (owned by Walgreens) on almost every corner.  They are not the cheapest but the most convenient.
  20. There are still many areas and neighborhoods I have yet to explore.   Who knows how many years it will take.