Living in NYC has been an interesting experience with many ups and downs. After a year of the NYC hustle, here are some of the things I’ve learned about one of the world’s best cities.
After years of enjoying Middle Eastern culture while living in Palestine, I faced the immediate shock in the USA. The culture shock of going to America was very real, but even more so were the things I’d learn about life in New York.
They say if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. I don’t know if that’s exactly true, but NYC is like nowhere else. Not just in the NYC culture, but in the way this city acts and the way this city looks.
Here’s what I’ve learned since living in NYC.
So loud: There are sirens—constantly. Screaming, yelling, the hustle and bustle of city life, I guess. But there is just so much noise. You don’t even always know where it’s coming from; it’s just there! Manhattan is the biggest offender, but it’s hard to find quiet places no matter where you are.
There’s always something to do: When I first moved to my Brooklyn apartment and got settled into a semi-regular, day-to-day life, I started looking for things to do and see. Not just those touristy things to do in NYC; but parties, clubs, activities, events, festivals.
Every day I get an email with 50+ things to do, often free or cheap. It’s overwhelming. There’s just too much to do in NYC and it never stops. That’s not a bad thing, of course, but sometimes the paradox of too many choices is just..too much. “Too much amazing” doesn’t make it easy to find stuff to do; it makes it harder. So sometimes you’ve just got to gamble and go for it.
The skyline is always amazing: Something about the NYC skyline is truly striking. No matter where I am if a 100+ story building pops up in your perspective, it’s hard to avoid looking up. Personally, I just can’t resist taking a photo even when I’ve got a million photos already.
Happy hours are a way of life: Everyone in NYC is perpetually busy—and loves to use that as a professional excuse. But that’s just made the everyday “Happy Hour” so important. So many bars and restaurants offer evening deals (sometimes all-day or all-night deals), and that often defines the beginning of any social event.
Parks & green spaces DO exist—if you know where to find them: NYC is a city of steel & glass; buildings that stretch to the sky. And besides its most famous parks, there are actually bits of green throughout the city. Finding NYC parks aren’t exactly easy, but thankfully this is a very walkable city, so when you’re out and about, it’s possible to spot and enjoy little bits of nature here and there.
New Yorkers are nicer than you think: There’s a common misconception that New Yorkers are unfriendly; it’s the thing most travelers to the city immediately realize is a myth. Because truthfully: New Yorkers are often very nice. Sure, there are jerks among the masses, but in more instances than not, New Yorkers are happy to help strangers, their fellow city-dwellers, the tourists & the foreigners.
NYC is an incredibly diverse city; more so than just about anywhere else. And it’s that diversity has made the people here so special, so unique, so friendly, and so helpful. It’s a beautiful kaleidoscope of people and ideas which has made New Yorkers so open to others. New Yorkers are nicer than you think.
Listen, living in NYC has truly been one of the best decisions of my life. It’s changed me in ways I didn’t even expect. For better or worse, living in NYC has been an incredible experience. There’s just so much culture here, so much to experience and see, do, touch and eat.
NYC is unlike anywhere else and while living in New York City might not be for everyone, it’s honestly still so exciting and interesting. I love NYC!