1. Everyone has a story.
People move to New York for all kinds of reasons – to become a star, to start their own business, to fall in love, or just to feel cool for a while. Anyone you talk to has some kind of interesting back story, from the Cape Verdean chef who works at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, to the woman who lived in Wichita, Kansas for 37 years, and just needed a change of pace. Residents who have lived here all their lives sometimes have the most exciting stories, as they’ve watch NYC evolve over the years from their rent-stabilized apartment windows.
2. Our green spaces are pretty innovative.
Whoever thinks there’s no “nature” in New York City hasn’t spent enough time here. Central Park is big enough that you can easily feel like the only human in the city in some parts, and the High Line is a model for positive urban ecology.
3. Every cuisine is represented here.
We know exactly which part of town to dine in if we’re craving Portuguese duck rice. We go to underground, off-the-radar Chinese restaurants for the best dim sum, and venture into the outer boroughs for Dominican, Greek, Sri Lankan and legit kosher dining. The only other way to get it is by leaving the city, enroute to the country of origin.
4. It’s a hub of business and technology.
For every person who has a cell phone in NYC, there is a tech startup busily creating apps in a studio office somewhere in SoHo. My friends work for Kickstarter, Birchbox, Uber, Facebook, Google, or are creating solutions to everyday New Yorker problems (MakeSpace is my savior, and what would I do without Shyp?).
5. We embrace diversity.
Working, befriending, and living with people from other states, countries, cultures and backgrounds is a common occurrence. Many of us try to support the businesses and institutions that existed before we moved into new neighborhoods, to help dampen the effects of gentrification.
6. Sunday brunch is the best deal in town.
Less than $20 gets you great entrees like Nutella French Toast, or huevos rancheros, and a few Bloody Mary’s, mimosas or hot mugs of coffee at most places. It’s the perfect time to rehash party stories with friends and unwind before the workweek starts.
7. If you want something — anything — you can get it.
And for the most part, at any time of day. Glass beads from Peru, juniper berries, or a date with a left-handed magician, are all accessible to New Yorkers. If it can’t be delivered to you, the subway runs 24/7 to bring you there instead.
8. There are a ton of museums and cultural centers NYers can visit — for FREE.
With the new idNYC pass, we are able to save money at the American Museum of Natural History, the New York City Ballet, and the Public Theater. I can explore the Studio Museum in Harlem every day, if I want to.
9. Your bodega salesman has you covered.
Amir or Perez provides me with the essentials — toilet paper, snacks, lotto tickets and drinks to get my weekends started. Every once in a while they’ll throw in a free Snicker’s bar when I’m having a bad day, or special-order some pumpkin-flavored beer when the season rolls around. You don’t get that kind of service at Whole Foods, no matter how hard you try. And they certainly don’t let cats sit guard over the Poland Spring bottles.
10. The dating scene offers a lot.
With over 8.2 million people, you’re almost guaranteed to fall in love in NYC. You have to work at it though – for every decent guy or girl, you’ll have to go through about 100 weirdos/creepers/non-compatible partners, but it definitely beats having to choose between Virgil the grocer bag boy, and Cletus who still lives with his parents, as the only eligible bachelors from your former small town.
11. $1 pizza slices.
Find me a place that sells a decent slice of pie for cheaper. You can’t.
12. You can live next door to celebrities.
I’m not talking, “Oh Leonardo DiCaprio lives somewhere in my Hollywood Hills neighborhood.” More like, “Martha Stewart lives in the apartment above mine. And sometimes she nods ‘hello’ to me in the elevator when she’s getting ready to walk her dog.”
13. We have three international airports within 40 minutes of Manhattan.
New Yorkers are super spoiled by the amount of access to the world we have. As a global hub, we can get cheap flights to pretty much anywhere. Getting to JFK or Newark is a relatively easy trip by public transportation, and while LaGuardia could definitely use some improvements, even with a $45 cab ride you can get direct to Miami or LA for less than $200 round-trip.
14. All four seasons are equally represented.
You don’t understand the significance of the four seasons until you’ve lived in a place that never gets colder than 40°F, or where the leaves don’t change color in the fall. Our winters may be brutal and our summers hot sticky, but we’re lucky to know what Central Park looks like in the snow, and celebrate new life at any number of botanical gardens in the spring.
15. Our urban design skills are unrivaled.
We pioneered the exposed brick movement, and we make junk collecting look chic. Just check out the interiors to some of these Airbnbs and you’ll understand why we are champions of making the most out of our tiny living spaces.
16. We rally together when times are at their hardest.
September 11th, Hurricane Sandy, race issues like the death of Eric Garner — NYers are ready to fight for their rights and beliefs, and support each other when their neighbors are in need. We respect the right to protest peacefully, and we’re quick to make change when change is needed.
17. Our people skills are pretty hardcore.
It’s common to have roommates even in your 30s. They make things a lot of fun, very interesting, and even the crazy ones teach you pretty important life lessons. Learning how to deal with people under high-stress situations — such as when the vegan guy you found off Craigslist starts stealing your food, or threatens to throw your cat off of the fire escape — comes in handy when you least expect it.
18. We’re often the first to get movies.
Outside of LA, the biggest (and smallest) films get screened in NYC before they are available anywhere else. We get a ton of quality indie flicks as well, and if you want to actually be a part of the action, The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting lists films and TV shows currently being filmed in the city so you can sneak on set or get paid to be an extra.
19. Every band comes through here.
It’s rare (and unprofitable) for a band to come into the USA and not have a tour stop in New York. We have venues for all sizes, and performers don’t have to worry about attracting an audience because there are definitely large populations of established fans, attentive audiences, and new music lurkers waiting for “the next big thing.”
20. We have the coolest accents.
People actually do say, “Fuggedaboutit!” New Yorkers are totally proud of their insane accents (and our accompanying grand, sweeping hand gestures). Ahright yous guys, let’s get outa hea’. Wanna get cawfee on Lawn Guyland? **points and rotates wrists repeatedly** Hey — I’M TALKIN’ HEA’! It’s just a lot of fun to be loud and different, and speak in our own language that has formed from Jewish, Irish, Italian and Hispanic influences.
21. The college scene is completely unique.
NYU is unlike any university you’ll ever attend, mostly because its campus is a microcosm of NYC buildings. Creative students are afforded their choice of design schools (FIT, Parsons and Pratt at the top) while getting first-hand experience with industry leaders. And there is always City College or Columbia University, if you’re still seeking a traditional college “feel” equipped with a quad and professors who wear corduroy blazers with patches on their elbows.
22. Living in the city makes you stronger.
It’s a literal and emotional thing — we are super fit from climbing up and down five flights of stairs to our apartments, and oftentimes walking a few miles to work, and becoming immune to germs on the subway. But we also thrive in what outsiders often feel is a cutthroat, competitive and stressful climate, which prepares us pretty much for any opportunity that comes our way.
23. And those opportunities are pretty much endless.
A lot of us take unpaid internships at places like NBCUniversal or The Metropolitan Museum of art at first, because we know that it’s a foot in the door to something more. Eventually those positions turn into $10/hour jobs, and higher-level promotions based on our hard work and dedication. It isn’t difficult to find work in NYC, and I really do feel that you can find (or create) your dream job if you try hard enough.