Guess what? I moved to New York!  I know! I can’t believe it either. I explain why and how in this video. Moving to New York made me quickly realize, one thing. Deep deep down at the pit of my heart… I am a country mouse. It was hard to admit it, especially as I’m the type of person that likes walking around cities. I thought I was ready for New York. I guess my 26 years of mostly living in the suburbs has shaped me as a person. Like many, transplants or newbies to the city, my first few months were about surviving New York. Or at least I tried to. As much as I wanted to show New Yorkers that I was one of them, so many things I did gave me away quickly. I had many silly rookie moments that I’ll like to share with you:

1: I live in Brooklyn

Prior to moving to New York. I was aware that there are 5 boroughs. What I wasn’t aware of was how big some of these Boroughs are and how New Yorkers described their locations. On my first week, I set up an appointment to meet up with Jane, a potential friend. We needed a meeting point that was close for both of us. “Where do you live right now?” Jane asks. “I live in Brooklyn” I gleefully replied.
“But where in Brooklyn though?” she seemed confused “Um… Bushwick” slightly surprised, I thought that information would be enough. “ok, but where in  Bushwick?” she was still not satisfied. At this point, I was like, girl! Do you need me to write down my home address? How much more do you need to know, isn’t saying Brooklyn enough. When we finally met, Jane explained that she knew I wasn’t from New York because of the way I described where I lived. “Brooklyn is huge” she concluded, “So you have to be specific” she continued this time laughing. I started laughing as well. I might as well embrace my newbie status. 

Surviving New York: Brooklyn Bridge

Surviving New York: on the Brooklyn Bridge

 2: Rats!

If you really know me, you know that I can’t do rodents. Even hamsters. Yes, it’s that serious. I once had a mouse in an apartment I shared. It was either the mouse stayed or I moved. I dedicated a whole month to eradicating that mouse and it’s family members. Let’s just say, that for the rest of my time staying in that apartment, there wasn’t even a hair strand of mice left. Upon arriving in New York, I suffered numerous sightings of not just mice but worse, rats! Those disgusting things are huge. Have you seen them? And they were just chilling in the metro and on the street as if it was a law-abiding New Yorker. I had been trying to keep my cool- In an attempt to blend in like a local- but I gave my cover away when I shrieked upon seeing a rat run across the metro platform. Passersby looked at me for a second and then moved on. They weren’t fazed like I was. I wasn’t just fazed, I was terrified. “oh well, I tried. I’ll just have to embrace my newbie status”. 

oh and I definitely would spare your eyes by not including an image of a rat. They don’t deserve that honor!

3: Public Transport

One of the reasons I moved to New York was for saving money on transportation cost. I knew how accessible New York was by train, bus, and foot. New York is one of the few cities in the U.S. that actually has a functioning public system. What no one told me was how inefficient the public transport service could be. You’d think that a city that values time and money would also translate into its public transport.  Not at all! You’ll find out the hard way that you have to add an extra 30- 40 mins for your destination in order to accommodate delays. Don’t count on the trains or buses in New York to come on time. In fact,  a great ice breaker with any New Yorker is to rant about their public transport system. 



Surviving New York: Metro

Surviving New York: NYC MTA

p.s. Althought not perfect, I do enjoy the convenience of having public transportation available. 

 4: Pizza Pizza

There has always been an ongoing battle between New York and Chicago when it comes to having the best pizza. I’ve tried both. All I got to say is that when it comes to pizza in the U.S, New York comes to mind #shotsfired. And let me tell you something about New York’s pizzas, besides them getting the reputation of being thinly sliced, they are huge. No one told me that.  I made the mistake of ordering 8 slices of Artichoke Basille’s Pizza. Let’s just say that it took me a week to finish it all. 

Surviving New York: Nyc Pizza

Surviving New York: That’s one slice of pizza, y’all

 5: Construction everywhere

For some reason, New York never gets done with construction. There is always something being built or fixed. If you are a newbie like me, it can get overwhelming. However, New Yorkers seem to be unfazed by it. Come to think of it, New Yorkers seem to be unfazed by a lot of things. 

 6: Bodegas are not what you think

As someone who speaks Spanish, when I think of Bodegas, I think of wine cellars. However, in New York people refer to Bodegas as convenient stores. I think that’s strange. Maybe Bodega means convenient store in another Spanish speaking country. Who knows… Still accepting my “newbiness” even in Spanish accents.

7: Logistics is tricky here

Say you live in Brooklyn and you have an appointment somewhere in Brooklyn. My newbie mind thinks, “Oh they are all in Brooklyn so it should take at most 30 mins to get there” LOL! WRONG! See, the way the train logistics is structured, it could take over an hour to get from one area in Brooklyn to another. The same goes for other boroughs. Even when “maply-speaking” it should be quicker, that’s not always the case. Sometimes you can save time by combining bus rides and walking. 

Surviving New York

Surviving New York: Traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge

 8: How do you say “H-o-u-s-t-o-n”?

One day while looking for directions in bustling New York. I asked a New Yorker to guide me, “Where is Houston street”. In the most New York accent, this man said: “Turn to the corner and you’ll find ‘HOW-stən’ street”. Um, excuse me, say what now? It was the first time I  heard anyone pronounce Houston in such a way. I’ve lived in New Orleans for 2 years straight. Down here in the south, and I am pretty sure anywhere else, Houston is pronounced “HYOO-stən” even this certified channel agrees with me here. 

Wikimedia- Houston St.- Jess Hawsor- Nyc, U.S.A

 9: Many many many mosques in New York

There are over 200 mosques in NYC alone! That’s a lot of mosques. As a newbie who is used to having a maximum of 2 big mosques in my city, I was impressed but overwhelmed. During Ramadan time, I was torn between where to enjoy iftar because every Muslim community was always sharing food.

 10: Realizing that the world is just next door

New York is one of those cities where you can find literally any type of cuisine under the sun. Craving Peruvian food? New York’s got it. Curious to try Uzbek dishes, you can find that somewhere in New York. Looking for the best West African restaurant in New York? In fact, that is the wrong question to ask. The real question is, what borough has the best West African food, not where in New York. The same applies to many types of cuisine in this packed and busy city. When it comes to food in New York, you don’t need to travel the world. The world is just next door. 

11: Where are you traveling from?

I was meeting up with some friends and one of them asked me, “Where are you traveling from?” As a newbie, I thought that was an odd question. I mean, I never mentioned traveling anywhere to these people. Plus they already knew that I moved from New Orleans, so why were they asking me this strange question. “I mean, what borough did you come from to get here”, the friend clarified after seeing my puzzled face. “Ah, that’s what you mean!” I said laughing. Ever since then, I noticed other New Yorkers ask this question. I found it strange and funny at first. But come to think of it, with New York’s weird logistics + late trains + big boroughs, this question actually kind of make sense.

 12: The city that never sleeps

Prior to moving to New York, I used to think that every single shop or entertainment centers opened 24/7 or that people were out and about 24/7 hence the title, “The City that Never Sleeps“. I am a live witness to tell you that New York definitely sleepsSome restaurants and shops in Manhattan even close at 9 pm. Also, at a certain late hour, many of the streets are empty. Till now, I don’t know why New York earns this title. 

Surviving New York

Surviving New York: Terrace view

Surviving New York Bonus: New Jersey

New Yorkers have a deep dislike for New Jersey locals. I don’t get it yet. Maybe it’s the stark difference of lifestyle and city setup. However, I find it hilarious especially knowing that many New Yorkers eventually settle in New Jersey. It’s a puzzling phenomenon. For now, if you are a newbie like me, the best way to irritate or rile up a New Yorker is to say nice things about New Jersey. In fact, you can add that to your list of things not talk about (Religion, Sports, Politics, and New Jersey) when in New York.


That’s my Surviving New York story for now, what’s yours? Have you ever moved to a new city? What are some interesting things you’ve noticed about this city?

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