Photo: William Perugini/Shutterstock

17 Things You Should Be Grateful for Living in New York City

Lifestyle Food + Drink Culture
by Colin Heinrich Nov 26, 2015

1. Pizza

It’s an entire city of people who recognize that anything thicker than two inches is really just a pie. An entire city that knows to fold the pizza, and if it’s too messy, you dab it with a napkin and fold it anyway. Where you can get a slice for a dollar and it’ll taste better than anything that costs ten times as much. Don’t take it for granted.

2. Cold Weather

I know the cold can be unbearable (and it’s only going to get worse), but there’s still magic in ice-skating through Bryant Park and watching the leaves change. Los Angeles acts blasé, but you know they dream of a White Christmas. And hey, at the very least, we’re all in this together. Everybody loves a bit of shared gallows humor.

3. Brunch

No other city has perfected the Sunday Brunch culture quite like New York. I’m not saying you have to show up to work on Monday with a hangover, but you wouldn’t be the only one.

4. Mom and Pop Shops

The city is gentrifying, so be thankful for the little local shops while you have a chance. My butcher is a 70-year-old Italian man who hardly ever actually lets me pay. It’s can be hard to find that kind of relationship in this city, so hold on to the ones you have.

5. Public Transportation

The G train runs so poorly it can hardly be called transportation. You can’t remember how many times you’ve had to turn down the guys hawking fruit treats. There’s a couple breaking up right in front of you on the L. But you know what? You can pop in your headphones, read a book, and let somebody else deal with it. It’s still better than getting stuck in traffic.

6. Rent Control

If you got it, flaunt it. If you don’t, just try to muster up that little spark of optimism that brought you to this city in the first place.

7. The New York City Local Snapchat Story

New York is one of the few cities in the world so exciting on a daily basis that Snapchat has a running Story where people all over town can add video clips of what they’re getting up to at any given moment. Concerts, dinners, speaking events, Broadway shows… there is always something going on, and you will never have time to do it all. The Snapchat Story is the ultimate way to earn yourself a bitter feeling of FOMO, even when you’re doing something awesome yourself.

8. The Skyline

I haven’t lived in this city long, so I don’t know how many people have become desensitized to seeing the lights of the city at night as they cross the Williamsburg Bridge. If you’re one of those people, I have to say, take a moment and remember how beautiful they are. Except for 432 Park. That thing is an abomination.

9. Orphansgiving

This city is full of people who can’t make it home for the holiday. And even though it’s a city of nearly 9 million people, there’s still enough of a community feeling that you can get together with a big group of fellow castaways and feel like a family for an evening.

10. The weirdos

At this point, you regard the guy in the park covered in pigeon shit with the same care you afford the bench he’s sitting on. This Thanksgiving, take a minute to appreciate, not only the fact that people like that can exist in this wondrous city, but the fact that you now consider it normal. So who’s the real weirdo?

11. The diversity

There are over 800 languages spoken in New York City. That’s more than anywhere else on the planet. You could walk outside your door and meet somebody with a story unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. You might have turned into the kind of person who never ventures further north than 14th St. Try getting outside your bubble.

12. The everpresent glimmer of hope that you’ll wind up on Humans of New York

Don’t lie. You secretly wish Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind Humans of New York, would approach you on the street, and you’ve already practiced in your mind exactly what story you’d tell him. It would be sincere and passionate, with not a dry eye in the comment section. One of these days…

13. The 4 AM Closing Time

Because let’s face it, you weren’t ready to go home yet anyway.

14. Nobody cares if you cry in public

In a city this big, it’s impossible to find a quiet place by yourself when everything gets too much. And everybody recognizes that. So let those tears flow judgment-free, girl. You’ll never see any of these people again anyway.

15. Food carts after 1 AM

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. And you don’t know how much you need that hot dog until you can’t find the food cart after leaving the bar. And then we’re straight back to being thankful that nobody cares if you cry in public.

16. TimeOut Magazine

I’d never know what was going on in this city if it weren’t for the free magazine they hand out in the subways each week, detailing all the best shows, restaurants, bars, and events going on. With any luck, I’ll even wind up on the Snapchat Story one of these days.

17. New York Itself

At the end of the day, there are a lot of things you shouldn’t be grateful for. But at the end of the day, you live in New York City. The greatest city on Earth. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. And that’s one thing you should never take for granted.

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