41 Things That Happen When You Move To New York City


1. You learn that stepping out of your front door almost guarantees you will spend at least $20 that day. Somehow, somewhere, you will spend it. Sacrifice this money as a toll for leaving your apartment.

2. You also learn there are many stereotypes about the city that aren’t true. But if there is one that is, it’s that your wardrobe will slowly shift to fifty shades of black.

3. Maybe every once in a while, you throw in some navy.

4. Or some neon.

5. You instantly develop an aversion to any and every “tourist spot.”

6. But you’ll still jump at the chance to go to them when you have friends in town. You’ll call this “playing tourist,” like it’s a game.

7. You come to welcome those pockets of time you can spend in the subway without phone service. It may be smelly and crowded and loud and you don’t always get a seat, but for those glorious 30 minutes, you have a reason why nobody can need anything from you.

8. And a 45 minute commute really isn’t so bad (especially if you only have to take one or two trains.)

9. You develop strange preferences and aversions to neighborhoods you’ve never even visited.

10. Spending $4 on a cupcake or coffee (or a cookie) doesn’t seem so astronomically egregious.

11. Or $10 on a single bottle of juice, for that matter.

12. You develop a habit of walking to a subway stop that is slightly further away from the restaurant just so you can have a little extra time to digest dinner.

13. You exist in a semi-permanent state of wondering what that weird smell is.

14. You learn to ignore whatever that smell is because you probably don’t want to know.

15. You especially learn to ignore that smell in the summer, when you know it’s just a fetid mix of hot garbage and humid shame.

16. You grow strangely fond of certain subway buskers who come up with creative stories or special talents in an attempt to just make a buck.

17. The guy at the 24-hour bodega by your apartment talks to you more often than your own parents — and slowly, he begins to remember you not by name or face, but by your usual purchase.

18. If you go too long without taking a cab, getting into one makes you momentarily carsick.

19. You grow immediately distrustful of anyone who is actually smiling as they walk down the street.

20. Despite the fact that you cannot afford the astronomical cost of a gym membership, and despite the fact that you rarely have time to make it to the gym, the combined efforts of the stairs in the subway, the stairs in your apartment building, and all of that walking have given you the buns n’ thighs of absolute steel.

21. You’ve considered taking on a second job in the never-ending effort to make just that much more money.

22. This map is all you could have ever asked for in your life.

23. You’re always friends with a friend who knows an apartment broker.

24. Your new New York City schedule dictates that dinner usually happens anywhere from 8 to 11 pm.

25. (And it’s usually a hot date with Seamless.)

26. You learn to only ever buy enough groceries to last you a few days — and you learn which foods you can trust to leave around your roommate.

27. Taking time to break in new, uncomfortable shoes? No, you just learn to wear ’em and suffer the consequences.

28. Dating someone in a different borough seems easy enough at first, but soon enough, you’ll come to think of it as something akin to a long-distance relationship.

29. Whether or not you can afford to hire a dog-walker, you suddenly see the appeal of having a cat. Or a fish.

30. Or maybe just a plant.

31. You constantly tell yourself that this will be the week you do your own laundry, instead of giving into the siren sound of the wash-n-fold service.

32. Whenever anyone from your hometown makes an allusion to Carrie Bradshaw, or any other pop culture “creative type” whom they think you’re channelling, you suppress the violent shudder that involuntarily grips your body in response.

33. You will always have that sinking suspicion that that person you went on a date with is actually Patrick Bateman. Or Don Draper. Or Carrie Bradshaw. Or Hannah Horvath. Or any other semi-relevant pop culture “New Yorker.”

34. It’s no longer considered rude to ask how much someone spends on rent — even if they’re a complete and total stranger.

35. Whenever you meet someone, they will immediately tell you what they do for a living within 0.5 milliseconds of stating their first name.

36. Rent-control becomes the ultimate, mythical, beautiful unicorn dream.

37. But you’ll settle for a place with a washer/dryer in the building.

38. No matter how long you’ve been there — be it three days or three years — your parents will still ask you when you’re planning on “moving home.”

39. The day a tourist asks you for directions is the day you feel like you truly have arrived.

40. The minute you move to a new apartment, you immediately regret not moving to that other neighborhood you were vaguely considering.

41. But you refuse to deal with the hell that is moving into your walk-up ever again.