A lot of people dream of becoming a New Yorker
. As the most famous city in the world, it's only natural that it draws countless travelers and dreamers to its sprawling metropolis. It's also often glamorized in movies and TV. Over the years, the world has built up this idea of living in New York City. But the reality may be far from what you're imagining! This isn't to say that life in the Big Apple is only a made-up fantasy, however, it's not all sunshine and roses. Especially for its newer residents. If you want to start your life as an expat in New York soon, here are a few things you ought to know!
Go Out There and Socialize
In a busy city like New York, making new acquaintances is a must! Whether they're your new friends or your next-door neighbors that you only greet when you pass each other, it's important to have all sorts of connections. Especially when you're an expat in New York. If you've just relocated here
, you won't know anything. You won't know where to buy affordable food. You won't know who to call when you need to fix your plumbing. And you won't know what to do when there's a medical emergency. Making acquaintances with other people, especially local New Yorkers, means that you'll have a friend to rely on to show you the ropes.
Learn to Mind Your Own Business
With that said, however, New Yorkers are known for their fast-paced way of life. Not to mention blunt and straightforward personalities. If they don't have time for you, they don't have time for you! It's become a stereotype that you've likely already seen in movies
and TV series set in New York
. And yes, they're just as intimidating in person! So when you're out and about in the Big Apple, learn to mind your own business. Don't just walk up to someone randomly, especially not when they're walking down the sidewalk. If they're walking fast, that's a surefire sign that they don't want to be disturbed. And American social customs
dictate that you shouldn't anyway!
As far as public transport in New York
is concerned, a MetroCard is an absolute necessity! It's a travel pass that lets you access many modes of public transportation in the city, not the least of which is the subway system. The card is pretty efficient too. Unlike single-ride tickets, where you'll have to queue up and pay with cash, you can simply deposit more money to your MetroCard in order to ride the subway again and again. Imagine when you're rushing off to work and there's a long line at the station's ticketing office. Thanks to your MetroCard, you can simply go straight to your train.
The Subway is The Better Transport Option
Taking a yellow taxi
is a pretty 'New York
' thing to do, isn't it? You can do it like in the movies—whistle with your fingers and a cab will zoom straight to you! Pretty cool, right? Well, taking the subway is also a very 'New York
' too. Not to mention affordable, convenient, efficient, and faster. So if you don't drive your own car in the Big Apple, the best alternative is to ride the subway
. As cool as hailing a taxi off the street seems, there are other commuters, traffic jams, and possible language barriers you need to worry about. But taking the subway? It's easy peasy!
There are Lots of Cheap Eats
One of the best parts about being an expat in New York is getting to enjoy the city's culinary scene. Home to many Michelin-starred restaurants
, the Big Apple is a true-blue food capital of the world. However, spending a lot of money comes with the territory. If you're one to stick to a strict budget, you'd do well to avoid expensive eateries in New York. Instead, you can always go to mid-range restaurants, cheap diners, and more. Their food is just as delicious as those in high-end places. Heck, even a dollar slice of pizza, a New York snack staple
, will taste just as good!
Shop at Flea Markets
While on the subject of food, you ought to know that eating in is far less common than you think in New York. Unless you're inviting someone over, there's no reason for you to cook. Especially since, as already mentioned, the Big Apple has a lot of cheap eats! With that said, if you do want to cook for yourself or for other people too, there's no better place to find your ingredients than at a flea market. There are tons all over New York, from various neighborhoods
to even the different boroughs. Most of what they sell are quality products at affordable prices. What's not to love?
Always Keep Cash Handy
Since New York is an expensive city, practically every single place requires you to use your credit card. From paying your luxury home
's rent to going to a bar, the Big Apple will swipe your credit card left and right. But don't just rely on it! You'd do well to keep some cash, be they a couple of bills or loose change, handy. They're for leaving a tip, buying cheap items, filing up your MetroCard, and more. Also, there are still a few places in New York that only accept cash.
Winter is Extremely Cold
If you want to live the expat life in New York, one of the first things you ought to know is that winter can be extremely cold here. Don't let the beautiful scenery and the charming novelty of it all fool you. Movies and TV might've shown a more ideal version of experiencing winter in New York
, but in truth, it's a lot more complicated. Don't forget to pack thick coats and jackets, make sure you have a heater in your apartment, and prepare to shovel snow more often than you'd like. That's the true winter season in New York!
Expat life in New York isn't as easy and as happy-go-lucky as movies and TV shows will tell you. There's a lot you need to know before you can truly settle down here. But on the other hand, there's a lot to look forward to in the city as well!