You think you’re the next Carrie Bradshaw / Jonathan Ames / Andy Warhol / Jay-Z.
You are not as cool as any of those people. Get it out of your system because unless you’re famous already, there’s a 99.9% chance no one in New York is going to care about who you are. Those characters and famous figures are awesome role models, but honestly, just be yourself — try and remember that New York City is one of the only places in the world that openly accepts everyone, no matter how weird / drunk / JAPPY / yuppie or otherwise you are.
You’re looking for your “soul mate.”
Somehow, people find NYC to be “romantic” (despite the garbage-strewn streets, rat-infested subway stations, and overwhelming scent of piss that follows you everywhere). Stop setting relationship priorities / barriers, and start sleeping with everyone. With a population over 8 million, there are way too many people living in New York for you to waste time dating every single one of them.
For every nice guy or sweet girl you meet, you’re going to have to go through at least 100 assholes / bitches first. Having a one-night stand helps you get the milk for free instead of having to buy the cow (especially when a gallon of milk here costs $4.29). Have safe sex with everyone, and settle on the first guy / girl that makes you orgasm like crazy. That’s a keeper.
You choose to live in terrible apartments.
It is possible to find a sick apartment in New York City without using Craigslist, and without paying out the ass for broker’s fees / first month’s / last month’s rent. How? Patience and perseverance. Don’t move somewhere “because it’s the cool place to be.” Likewise, don’t move anywhere unless you’ve done a little research about the area (yeah, Marine Park is in Brooklyn, but it’s also about an hour and a half from any decent NYC action). Never, ever pay rent that is more than your room is actually worth; $1300 a month to sleep on an air mattress in someone’s spare closet is lame, and does not “build character,” especially when you can rent a decent one-bedroom apartment in Inwood for the same price.
Also, consider the people you live with. If your roommate is a weirdo, move. If your roommate is a catty bitch, move. If your roommate does a lot of drugs, never pays their rent on time, leaves dirty dishes in the sink, has sex in your bedroom without asking you first, and you have not relocated yourself since the first incident, consider yourself to be an NYC fail.
You don’t “get” the subway system.
It’s really not that complicated, and everyone has Google Maps on their phone anyway. If you don’t, A) you’re not tech-savvy enough to belong in New York City, and B) you at least have a computer at home where you can Mapquest your end-location before you get there. If the platform has a sign for “Brooklyn,” it means the train is going south; “Queens,” the train is going east; “Bronx” means north. You have no excuse for getting on the wrong train, unless the F train decides to run on the M track, in which case everyone will be messed up, so cool your jets and take the bus if you have to.
You spend way too much money on booze.
Purchasing a $15 cocktail multiple times in one evening is why last night’s dinner consisted of Ritz crackers and day-old cream cheese. People in New York spend way too much money on alcohol, and there is no reason to justify it. It’s possible to get drunk on any type of alcohol, so stop buying chipotle-spiced lychee martinis, and start finding those dive bars that sell $1.50 cans of PBR. Then maybe you’ll be able to pay that outrageous utilities bill on time, for once.
The easiest way to remedy this situation is to get other people to buy you drinks. Or you can take advantage of free open bar opportunities. In a city where stepping out your door is an invitation to be overstimulated culturally, maybe it’s just a matter of finding a new hobby.
You think it’s too expensive in general.
Forget about rent and overpriced alcohol — New Yorkers price everything like it’s made out of gold. Cigarettes will run you between $10 and $15 a pack. One month of unlimited subway rides costs $112 (about $3.75/day). The Dollar Menu at McDonald’s legit will cost you double. Even if you’re making a decent salary, you will still be too poor to compete with New York City’s cost of living (especially when you see what your lifestyle’s price tag can fetch you elsewhere). If you don’t enjoy paying $24 after sitting in traffic to take a taxi to a destination ten blocks away, you’ll never make it in New York.
You won’t settle for shitty jobs.
Currently, about 8.7% of New Yorkers are unemployed. But it’s not because they’re sending out 50 resumes a day and getting nothing from it — it’s because they are too damn proud to settle for anything less than their $100k college degree warrants them. “I’m a fashion blogger” means they spend all their time making zero dollars by reposting things on Tumblr. “I work at a PR firm” means they get paid $30 a day to hand out flyers for new nightclubs. You’ll probably get some haughty looks after admitting you’re a hostess at Applebee’s, but would you rather make some money, or no money?
You will probably slave away at a job you’re overqualified and underpaid for. The best thing to do is realize it’s only temporary; in eight-months-to-a-year, you’ll either get a promotion, or you’ll find a new job. You will not be “discovered,” but it is possible to land your dream job if you are dedicated and know where to look / who to ask / what kind of person you have to sleep with to get hired.
You can’t navigate the music scene.
Or the art scene. Or the theater scene, or any other aspect of culture that will swallow you whole upon settling in any given NYC neighborhood. There is seriously culture everywhere — Banksy sold his art on a random sidewalk, for crying out loud. People get psyched to star in a no-budget, avant-garde play involving latex body suits, that they will perform for only one night in the basement below a Turkish restaurant. If you don’t “do” art, you don’t deserve to be surrounded by it 24/7. Get out.
You don’t eat bagels or pizza.
It’s cool if you’re gluten-free, or whatever (there are plenty of places that will fulfill your dietary needs), but seriously? A bagel for breakfast and a slice of pizza for lunch will cost you less than $5 most places, allowing that extra money you’d spend on an $11 salad to go towards something greater — like toilet paper for the month. Nowhere else on Earth will you ever find products as glorious as the New York City bagel or slice of pizza.
Some attempt to replicate it elsewhere, to no avail. You can’t make it in New York if you can’t appreciate the culinary scene, because we literally have every kind of food on the planet here, and taking the small stuff for granted is a huge “Fuck you!” to NYC.
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