Your friends will only meet up with you in the city.

They’re outsiders now. They haven’t been introduced to the majesty and magic of the Bronx, so to them it’s a faraway land at the extremities of the MTA’s reach. They probably won’t be willing to take the two/three hour subway ride from Brooklyn or to give away part of their soul to pay the bridge tolls. My advice, get used to taking the 1,4,5,6, B or D, because they’re going to be your only connection to other-borough friends. And you will quickly learn to read the service changes posters, because you will get screwed (I’m looking at you, 6 train).

You will eventually, maybe, possibly, somewhat, get to know which neighborhood is where.

Throggs Neck, Pelham Bay, Fordham, Riverdale, East Tremont, Castle Hill, Co-Op City: the Bronx is a patchwork of different neighborhoods that seem to just mesh right into each other without any official warning that you have left one neighborhood and have entered another (except for City Island, that being an island and all).

You pick up some Spanish whether you want to or not.

With over 50% of The Bronx’s population being Hispanic or Latino, chances are you’re going to pick up some basic Spanish. After a few weeks of shopping at the deli on the corner, going to the taqueria down the block, or even just interacting with your landlord/lady, soon you will be able to at least exchange some pleasantries without the locals laughing at you. Hey, maybe you’ll even learn some bachata.

You’ll discover some New York history that you never knew about.

Did you know that salsa (the dance) originated in the Bronx? Or that Edgar Allen Poe wrote his famous poem Annabel Lee, among others, from his cottage there? How about that the real Little Italy isn’t in “the city” (Manhattan for all you non-NYC natives), but actually on Belmont/Arthur Ave?  The Bronx is a goldmine of some of the most interesting historical tidbits of New York City’s past.

You may never go back to Queens again.

It’s so close, just on the other side of the river, but so far. Damn you MTA, why are there no buses that go over the Throggs Neck?

This story was produced through the travel journalism programs at MatadorU. Learn More

You’ll be called crazy…

The Bronx has a tough reputation. Just by saying you live there, you have more street cred than Drake. It’s a name that evokes Fort Apache-esque imagery of cops hopelessly waging a war on crime from outposts reminiscent of soldiers in a hostile country. Your loved ones will be concerned for your safety, so expect a couple hundred “be safe” messages when you so much as voice the thought of going out past dark.

…But soon, you’ll see you aren’t.

However, the first morning that you wake up and hear birds singing in the nearby trees, or the first time you lie in the grass beneath a clear blue sky in Pelham Bay Park or when you sit down at Orchard Beach in the spring with a nice book, the cool sand between your toes, you’ll realize that you’d have been crazy to have listened to the horror stories. The Bronx is full of hope, determination, and some of the nicest people this great city has to offer.