1. You stop giving a shit about garbage.
Sure, you were mortified when you first saw the block-long piles of leaky garbage bags teeming with rats stacked outside of every building in the city at night, but now they are just part of the scenery.
2. You have picked a “totally fine” piece of furniture up off the street for your apartment.
Of course, since that bedbug fiasco, you have become completely adamant that neither you nor your roommates ever do that again.
3. You begin to resent everything new.
You will make the bold (and not entirely inaccurate) claim that everything new is part of the vapid squeaky-clean capitalism machine, and it is ruining the ma and pop city that you knew and loved. And moved into three weeks ago.
4. You stop getting excited about being able to take the train everywhere.
It doesn’t matter how convenient and fast it almost always is, eventually you will find yourself trapped under the East River for an hour in a metal car cramped with sweaty, stinky passengers because some drunk guy was pushed onto the tracks at 1st Ave. And your concern won’t be for the drunk, it will be for all the train traffic that is going to make you miss your downtown connection.
5. The rats on your train platform don’t scare you anymore.
At least not since you gave them names. “Jerry Seinfeld” is looking mighty greasy these days.
6. You’ve learned to appreciate the dead of winter and middle of summer.
New York is all about enjoying the seasons, especially the ones that are too miserable for tourists and feature an extended break for all of the colleges and universities in the city. This is when New Yorkers get to finally enjoy the empty bars, parks and museums that were otherwise too much of a shit show before.
7. You’ve become totally wary of the “New York slice” hype.
When a visiting friend asks you where the “slice” can be found, you will tell them that it’s whichever one is closest that isn’t Dominos, Pizza Hut, Papaya Dog, or 2 Bros. Two Boots is fine. It’s all f*cking pizza.
8. You no longer get nervous when you find yourself in an unfamiliar neighborhood.
Part of this is knowing that there are dozens of public transportation options available to take you home, but you’ve also realized that all of the talk about New York being the scary center of crime and unpredictable violence hasn’t been applicable in years.
9. You realize that it isn’t New Jersey you are mocking with your friends when you watch the sunset across the Hudson… it’s the America on the other side of it.
And it is a terribly, terribly boring place full of things that you can only vaguely picture when you remember that one time you had a layover in Atlanta on your way to LA.
10. You start questioning if you should just move to California.
It’s cheaper, warmer, has more nature and those incredible, smog-filtered sunsets over the ocean. But San Francisco has sold it’s soul to the tech industry, San Diego is too small, and you will be dead before you ever consider owning a car in LA. What are the other cities again? Portland?
11. You know how to find and enjoy the cheap things in the city.
New York is expensive, but you know what’s super cheap? Bodegas. Late night happy hours in the Village are too — as are the Met, the Natural History Museum, and tickets to see the Brooklyn Cyclones. Watching people salsa dance in Union Square is free, as is Shakespeare in the Park and riding Staten Island Ferry past the Statue of Liberty. Not everything is the price of a cocktail in Midtown.
12. You are fully aware that upstate is there for when your inner human soul needs some outdoor activities.
Yeah, the Hudson during the Fall is a beautiful sight, and the small towns scattered along it bring all the charm and ease you need to leave the city. It is a serious trek, though, so you’ll wonder if it might just be easier to find a friend with a rooftop/backyard that has a wilting plant that you can jog around.
13. You’ve realized that New York City is just a glorified rat maze.
And we are the rats. All we can do is eat our fancy cheeses in our expensive restaurants while drinking our imported wines, and wonder how many people in the room would consider breeding with us. And yet, the ebb and flow of the daily grind keeps us complacent, as we travel on our daily commutes through the network of underground tunnels that connects the city, hoping to find some sense of gratification for sticking around this challenging and overpopulated city.