Texas to NYC
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.
“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.
Public 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.