What It’s Like to Live to New York

Texas to NYC

ba14d46f236534902ca7cc7c2fb87581Here’s a mix of observations and advice from a Southern born-and-raised gal who’s been in New York for nine months:

When searching for a place to live, it’s not uncommon to see bedrooms without doors, bathrooms without sinks, kitchens without dishwashers, and apartments without AC.

Don’t look at apartment listings when walking by a real estate office. It will only make you sad and wonder how anyone can live here at all.

Sometimes, a carton of non-organic strawberries can cost $10.

Perhaps once you will go to a nightclub, spend $20 on one cocktail, and then never do it again.

It’s not unusual to walk 8 miles in a day.

Because of all the walking locals do here, you don’t see many people who actually live in the city that are overweight.

In the span of just a few seconds, you can experience a number of smells, including but not limited to fish, fresh baked bread, sewage, halal food, rotting garbage, cologne and horse excrement.

Dogs are being walked everywhere, all the time. The top three dog breeds I see on a daily basis are Yorkies, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and French Bulldogs, although this varies by neighborhood.

Dogs use the restroom in all aspects on the sidewalk.

Some of the most fun can be had while people watching in Central Park. On the bike trail, I’ve seen a 65-year-old man on roller skates, another similarly aged woman on a razor scooter, and a 20-something guy on a skateboard being pulled by his running dog.

Cars don’t stop or move over for ambulances.

Most taxi drivers are not American.

Navigating the subway is tricky, but with a little bit of luck, Google Maps, the HopStop app and the knowledge of knowing the difference between uptown and downtown trains, you’ll do just fine.

0a5197683eb5ccb83bfb5eda3032aeb1Lots of people close their eyes on the subway and don’t seem concerned about missing their stop or having their belongings stolen. I don’t yet know their secret.

“If I had only left a few minutes earlier” is often the first regret of my mornings after just missing the bus or the subway. Public transportation is both unpredictable and ruthless. It waits for no one.

At some point on your morning commute, you’ll be standing butt-to-butt with a complete stranger on the packed 9:45 midtown-bound train.

The subway stations are stiflingly hot, especially in August. The hair you blow-dried just before walking out the door might be wet again. Thankfully, the trains are air conditioned.

If it rains, you will fight for your life to snag a spot on the subway or bus.

Fellow bus or subway riders will look you in the eyes and be unapologetic about stealing an open seat from you.

Every restaurant serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday, and every person under 30 will be participating in the revelry with mimosas.

You’ll always be near a Starbucks. There are more than 200 in Manhattan alone.

The most coveted restaurant reservation time is 8:30-9 p.m.

You will almost spend no time by yourself.

If someone doesn’t want a piece of furniture anymore, they put it on the curb. While I could have a whole apartment full of questionable chairs, rugs and couches, the chief concern is how to drag it home without a car.

3cc3646737f20d1476f6c6c324bbbe40Public bathrooms are essentially nonexistent. If they do exist, they are probably so gross to be nearly unusable and have probably served as the temporary residence of a homeless person. Most Starbucks have bathrooms, and you can usually get away with not buying anything. But this isn’t a secret. You’ll have to wait. If you’re at a restaurant, be sure to use the bathroom there, although they’re so tiny your knees might touch the door.

Everything you thought you knew about shoe comfort is invalid in NYC. Comfortable shoes are the most important thing to have when walking out the door. Wearing heels in the office but want to walk to work? Tennis shoes it is. One time I wore tennis shoes on my walk through Central Park to work, and I was so self-conscious I’ve never done it again. I’m extremely jealous of everyone else who does it and doesn’t care.

If you know what’s good for your sanity, never go to Times Square unless you’re going to a musical.

Nearly everyone is from somewhere else.

You’ll experience a profound sense of appreciation for beautiful, old architecture.

You’ll often hope you will just run into Jay-Z.

You won’t feel unsafe very often. People are out at all hours, a plus when making a trek back from working late or staying out late.

When someone asks if you’ve seen any famous people, the only answer for a while might be Boy George and Oprah’s BFF Gayle King.

Photos by Cecil Beaton, unknown in the New York Times and Sergey Semenov.

Let’s Add Four Hours to the Day


I often think about and hear the phrase, “If only there were more hours in the day.” So I’ve put that wish to deep thought, in hopes of parodying our go-getter, can’t-stop-won’t-stop culture. For those of you who read the New Yorker, this is my own version of Shouts and Murmurs. Tread lightly.

0107109f0e8eb99995b5edad795a17baDue to the increasing workload and constraints of time on the general population, the United Nations has decided to implement a worldwide addition of four hours (240 minutes) to each day. This means the phrase “24/7” will be abolished and replaced with “28/7.”

Because the earth’s rotation of the sun will still remain at 24 hours per cycle (we, of course, do not currently have control of that), citizens will have to become accustomed to completely ignoring what we now consider normal sunshine hours. For example, the first day of the 28-hour day, the day will technically end at what we now consider 4 a.m. This will be the new midnight, or 14:00 a.m. Therefore, if one goes to sleep at the new midnight and gets five hours of sleep, they will wake up at 5 a.m. new time, or 9 a.m. old time. Essentially, citizens will need to toss out the idea that they will rise when the sun comes up and sleep when it goes down. Daylight hours will change every day. To accommodate this, it is recommended that citizens invest in blackout curtains or a sleeping mask to prevent light from interrupting sleep.

Yes, this new system will greatly disrupt the natural rhythms of all people, places and things. But our hope is that the positives will outweigh the negatives, and that productivity  will increase while sleep deprivation decreases. If each citizen can get eight hours of sleep a night, they will have 20 hours in the day to be productive.

The value of weeks, months, seasons and years will also be compromised. But do not fret: we have a highly skilled team of scientists and environmentalists working on getting this sorted out. We will send out an additional email notification as soon as we come to a decision. Due to our early implementation of the 28-hour day, this should come very soon.

We realize this will have a great effect on every living member of this planet. But we wanted to especially assuage a few key industries who will be especially affected by this new daily structure.

To the timepiece industry: Mandatory recalls will be put in place by all timepieces that do not meet the 28-hour day time frame. This will apply every timepiece, excluding cell phones and other devices that can update over the air.

To the lighting industry: Because it will often be dark when it is, in fact, daytime, areas with significant amounts of people required to be outside must install lighting systems in order for activities to run as they would in the sunshine. This will call for an initial increase in production on your part. But never fear. You’ve got four more hours in the day.

To the beach resorts: we recommend that you discourage your guests from using the beach during the dark hours of day and night. This is to ensure guest safety, and not meant to detract from business or pleasure. We ask that you also strictly follow the 28-hour day policy, and not let guests onto beaches when it is sunny at night. We hope that an accidental positive to this rule will be less instances of skin cancer.

To the farmers: hold tight, and keep doing what you do. We are still finalizing an updated farming schedule for the new 28-hour day.

In order to prevent utter chaos, we ask that you refrain from filing any complaints or sending any displeased letters, emails, tweets or texts our way. We strongly believe that, with time, every citizen will be pleased with our decision to add to the day.

We are sorry to impose such a complicated daily schedule for citizens of the world, but and we have argued continuously over the benefits and disadvantages of creating the 28-hour day. In the end, we hope these amendments can be made efficiently. After all, there are four more hours in a day.

Things Social Media Makes Difficult

c53dcf43dc6e5af75d88ba81f1d4c36bSometimes it’s hard to be connected all the time. Here’s a list of whines and woes I often encounter when using social media.

Friendship status: Being friends with someone in real life is different than being friends with someone online. Often, these worlds collide. What do you do when you see someone you’re friends with online but not in person? (Don’t lie, you know this has happened.) Say hello? Ignore? What is the lesser of these evils?

Terminology: Have you ever explained the concept of a hashtag to an adult? It’s neither easy nor fun. Despite their initial beliefs, hashtags are not just a seldom used button on telephones. #firstworldpains

Dinner table conversations: This foible applies to all forms of portable technology. Long recorded are the familial woes of distracted children using phones and iPads at the dinner table. This translates to millennials as well. Leaving a cellular device in a purse or pocket for 45 minutes of tech-free eating and chatter? Near impossible.

Walking: Due to the perpetual home of my phone being in my hand, people, poles, parking meters and buildings become increasingly easy to run into.

General productivity: Why make money, clean your house or do homework when you can look at cat pictures or see what Kim K is up to?

Taking pictures: Tasks, outings and meals take significantly longer when you’re trying to snap the perfect picture to put on social media. If it’s not on Instagram, did it ever even happen?

Going to sleep: Bright backlight aside, nothing is so stimulating when you’re laying in bed as an endless Twitter feed. Seven hours of sleep quickly becomes six.

Phone death: Keeping a phone alive, AKA maintaing contact with the modern world, is hard when you’ve got to check Twitter, Instagram and Facebook every hour.

Hand joint health: Scroll, swipe, tap. Is the widespread malady of this generation going to be carpal tunnel?