16 Things I Have Learned As A Midwesterner Spending A Week In NYC


1. You can order takeout at midnight…Chinese, American, Mexican, breakfast, Thai, you name it. This is both amazing and awful. I don’t think I can even get pizza at midnight at home.

2. Being overly friendly is definitely a Midwestern thing, but that’s not to say everyone here is antisocial or rude. People living this lifestyle are just in more of a hurry and don’t chitchat for the hell of it. Although when they do talk, they are much more blunt than the passive-aggressive Minnesotans I know (myself included).

3. Not everyone sounds like they are straight out of Jersey Shore. I expected thick accents from a lot of people, but I’ve barely heard any. There are subtle differences though. Like saying sneakers instead of tennis shoes, soda instead of pop, etc.

4. When riding the subway, everyone must stare at their phones and not speak – at least it seems as if this is a rule based on the sheer amount of people who do so.

5. Speaking of the subway, they just shut down whatever they feel like on weekends. As a tourist, this is like navigating a foreign land and is almost tear-inducing. Especially when you get on the right train going the wrong direction. So close, yet so far.

6. Driving is a shit show. I basically have roads to myself at home, whereas here people are bumper to bumper, constantly beeping and nearly colliding, then intelligently repeating the process.

7. You cannot leave your things at a table and be confident they will be there when you return.

8. Fighting for outlet space in a Starbucks (which, by the way, is located every ten feet) is like wading through a war zone.

9. Unfortunately there are no celebrities lurking in the streets of Manhattan daily.

10. Apparently smiling at cops is out of the ordinary, as I did so and then was approached by him and asked, “Are you from around here?” Uh, no. My bad.

11. If you are a writer, carry a notepad. Walking around the city will spark so much inspiration that will later be forgotten as you sit down to type and end up just staring at the screen for half an hour (example A).

12. Walking. So much walking. This means comfort over fashion, or you’ll be regretting it when your feet are throbbing as you are trying to sleep.

13. Central Park is a taste of home – away from the hustle and bustle, surrounded by green, it is definitely a place to go to clear your head and reorient yourself.

14. Texting and walking is just not feasible – at least not without looking up every other second. You will run into a fellow pedestrian, a biker, a pole, a dog…yes, I learned the hard way.

15. If you have never had rice pudding before, do not go to town on it late at night. You will possibly wake up with the worst stomach pain and nausea of your life. Also learned the hard way.

16. There’s a whole world out there. Obviously I knew this in the broader sense, but really watching people, connecting with strangers, has made me realize how predictable of a life I have lived in small town Minnesota – yet both lifestyles have their benefits.