Lessons from a City Girl


New York  was my home for 25 years from birth until the time I boarded the plane to embark on my new adventure down South.  Was I sad to go?  Well, to put it to you mildly yes.  I was actually crying on the plane about how I was leaving the only place I have ever known.  But, I also knew that if I did not board the plane that day I would  be homeless in NY and may miss an opportunity to grow as a person.  Nothing during this Southern adventure was guaranteed except for the fact that NYC would always be exactly where it was and that I could go back at anytime.  That is what got me through and I know one day NYC and I will meet again.  Things will pick up exactly as they left off.  Now that all of that is out of the way I wanted to share lessons and tips about NYC.


Lessons from a City Girl

  1. First things first, it’s the city not Manhattan.  All true New Yorkers refer to the Big Apple as the city.  If you don’t you are one of two things: a tourist or not from NY.
  2. Anything goes in NYC.  You can have no hair, blue hair, or walk around topless and everything will be fine.  Seriously ,I have seen so many things nothing phases me anymore.  I even saw a homeless man and a drunk start fighting on a subway car.  At the next stop the car cleared out of people and these two dudes were left fighting.  I will always wonder what the outcome was lol.  So, be prepared for anything to pop up or happen at anytime.
  3. Do not stop and look up in the middle of the sidewalk. I hate, hate, hate when tourists do this.  You will get pushed, knocked into, or fall down from the New Yorkers who are going on with their day.
  4. Jay walking is an art form.  People just walk out from between parked cars and I am totally guilty of this.  Hey it’s a crowded city and we need to get around somehow.
  5. Never, I repeat, never give money to people panhandling. A.) they will buy drugs or booze with the money B.) They are not really homeless and are just posing as a homeless person or C.) They are crazy and will try to grab your wallet.
  6. We order pies not pizzas. No, I do not call up and say I want one pizza.  I say I want a large pie with pepperoni. It’s pie not pizza people.
  7. The only place where you do not need a license to get around or have to own a car.  I had my license since I was a teen but did not drive until I moved to the South.  Buses, trains, the ferry, walking, and cabs were my main mode of transportation.
  8. I need to schlep my stuff around. Just put a schemer of cremates on my bagel.  If you are true New Yorker you know what those words mean.  I have used them down here and people asked me what those words meant.  They are just a part of my vocabulary.
  9. True New Yorkers can pinpoint a tourist from a mile away.  Yes, I’ll always know a tourist by their walk, their clothes, the way they use a MetroCard, and how they actually wait for the light to cross the street.  Also, they will stop to ask you for directions or to take your picture.
  10. It is the city that does not sleep.  I have traveled all times of day and night here and there are always people around.  But know where to stay away from during the wee hours of the morning.
  11. The place where you can survive on $1 pizza and bagels. If your strapped for cash one of these two things is the way to go.
  12. All the hipsters live in Brooklyn.  Yes when you enter this beautiful borough you will men in plaid shirts with beards and sometimes glasses.
  13. True Brooklynites hate the “hipsters” from Brooklyn.  I am a Brooklyner at heart and all these hipsters trying to be all the same and cool are annoying.  Brooklyn is known for being unique, vibrant and gritty.  Brooklyn does not include the starry eyed Midwestern transplants who are trying to be cool and make it big in the city.
  14. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge and then go and explore DUMBO.  This is so touristy but as a true New Yorker I love doing this.  It is especially pretty at sunrise or sunset.  Also it is good to walk the Brooklyn Bridge and then walk around DUMBO.  Go to Grimaldi’s for a slice!  You will not regret it!
  15. Grimaldi’s and Denino’s are the best pizzeria’s around!  Their pizza is amazing and I wish they shipped to me down here in the South.   Grimaldi’s is amazing!  They have coal fired pizza
  16. Nobody ever wants to venture to the lost borough of Staten Island or Statnyeland as someone from their will say.  You would only go there if you had family there or lived there.  People from the city, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens hated traveling here due to the  toll when crossing the Verrazano Bridge and length of time commute wise if you don’t drive.
  17. Never, and I repeat never, ride in an empty subway car.  If is not filled with people it is for a mighty fine reason. Such as vomit, creepy homeless man in it, pee on the floor etc. Just don’t do it!
  18. Do not eat your meal on the subway. A granola bar or slice of pizza yeah! A full on dinner from Wendy’s not on the.  Plus you will most likely spill it on yourself or the unfortunate riders sitting on either side of you.
  19. Buca la cara aka open your mouth.  You will not get anything in this city unless you are a loud mouth, ask for what you want, and not be afraid to talk back to people.  The meek get passed dover in this city.
  20. New Yorkers do not do touristy things.  Yes most of us have gone to see the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island but we usually only do this once and never again.
  21. Weschester and above is considered upstate and there are not if and or buts about it.  It is just they way it is.
  22. You know how to hop a turnstile or get two people through on one metro card swipe.  Oh the art of taking the subway.  if you are true NYer you’ve done this at least once.
  23. Yes, we have an accent and are proud of it. 
  24. Everything is pretty much dirty so don’t use your hand sanitizer all the time bc in like two seconds you’ll have germs on you again.
  25. You know what dirty water dogs, toasted nuts and toasted coconut piece are and have tried one.
  26. Wo Hop at 17 Mott st downstairs is the best Chinese food place around.  Yes, this is a dive/hole in the wall but there is no other place to get fried dumplings at 2 am.  Love this place!
  27. You want an honest opinion just ask a New Yorker we’ll tell you how it is or what you don’t want to hear.  We are good at being blunt and frankly do not care if we hurt your feelings.  We do not sugar coat anything.
  28. It’s a loud city which is part of it’s charm.  I love the noise of the city.  When places are too quiet it unnerves me  and makes me antsy.
  29. Central Park is a must see and is such a beautiful place in the summer and winter.  This park is in the center of the city.  It is a divider of the East and West side.  The prettiest time of year is in fall and spring.  Go check it out and take a stroll or just sit and people watch.
  30. New Yorkers can make it anywhere.  No other city will compare to the Big Apple once you leave it.  The transition from small town to
  31. Do not buy a I heart Ny t-shirt.  Just don’t do it.  This is like the most touristy thing you can do.  Nobody wears then around the city unless you are a little child or just want to look silly.
  32. The character people in Times Square will want a tip after you take a picture with them.  So beware I warned you about this.  Plus some them are creepy and try to grab women’s butts.  Just avoid these people/characters.
  33. You will be living in a micro sized shoebox.  There are no roomy pace unless you are a billionaire and live on the Upper East or West sides
  34. The best place to eat bagels
  35. Your breakfast consists of a bagel with cream cheese, a bacon, egg, and cheese, or cream cheese lox and a tomato
  36. Cheap coffee is everywhere.  Get coffee from the carts or a bodega because those are usually the cheapest places.
  37. Learn how to travel the subway, stow your bags, hold and fold your newspaper.  Those things can save you time, glaring stares, or an exchange of words.  Keep you bars on your lap or between your legs, don’t put the bag on the empty seat next to you
  38. When job searching you will hear more now and have more doors slammed in your face than ever before.  There are thousands of people who come here looking for their big break.  Well, this city is super crowded and has hundreds of people wanting the same thing as you.  Obviously there are more people than opportunities so be forewarned that you will hit bumps in the road, not get hired, or get laid off.  That only makes the success you find even sweeter.
  39. Broadway plays are the shit and you need see some of them.  I have seen more plays than I can count and have loved every minute of it!  These are once in a lifetime experiences and I was blessed to be able to see so many plays in my life.  The best bet for tickets on the cheaper side is to go to a TKTS booth in Times Square for same day shows!  I have gotten incredible seats this way such as front row mezzanine! Do it!
  40. We seem mean and unapproachable but we are the nicest, honest, and caring group of people you will ever meet.  Ayers help each other out and support each other.  We come of as rude to outsiders because we have shit to do, places to go, people to see, and jobs to get to.  If anything happens New Yorkers come together and help each other out!  They did during Hurricane Sandy when that hit New York hard!   So don’t worry tourists or first time visitors you are in good hands.
  41. We are always in a hurry.  Yes it is true!  This city never sleeps and is a hustle and grind type of place and nobody wants to stop or get another persons way.  Hey if you piss of a New Yorker than you better be prepared for what’s coming.
  42. There is food, food, and more food!  There are tons of cuisines to try in this diverse city.  you can grab dumpling in China-Town, have comfort food at a diner, grab a donut and coffee, or eat an expensive steak at Peter Luger’s you can find just about anything you fancy in this great city.
  43. Go to The Strand.  This is the best bookstore around and I love the atmosphere here.  Plus who don’t love getting lost in stacks of books?  Great books at great prices.  Plus look at their rare book room it is pretty neat.
  44. New York is the by far one of the best cities, if not the best city, in the world!  There is no other place like it anywhere.  No matter what time of day or night there will always be something to do or see.

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