3 Pros and Cons of Living in NYC

Around 2 years ago in 2013, on one of the hottest day in summer, I moved to New York City. I ended up staying there for 1 year. Not too long, but just long enough that I'm not considered a tourist anymore. In my memory, it was a very fast pace world where anything can happen, good or bad. You need to watch your own back and take care of yourself because everyone else has their own agenda. And on top of that is the glittering, glamorous side that people see: the flagship stores on Fifth Avenue, the expensive fine dining, and the iconic buildings that make up the skyline of Manhattan. 

It is a hard place to describe, because it's a bunch of sounds, smells, scenery, and feelings all mashed together into one. But I want to try my best to share my experience. And I do feel privileged to be able to experience it (living in NYC) at such a young age. Would I go back though? That would be a dilemma. I'd say not unless I have a very decent salary and am mentally more prepared. So here goes, my experience as a college fresh-grad, living in New York City for a year:


1. Everything is happening in NYC

By this I literally mean everything. Famous singers on tour stop at NYC, international DJs play at clubs in Manhattan regularly, and even top sports team play at the various stadiums in New York. It's almost so normal that people don't bat an eye when famous people appear. Just out of curiosity, I looked up concerts upcoming on, guess what I see? Elton John and Justin Timberlake will be singing at Barclay's Center. New york Giants will be playing the San Fran 49ers. David Guetta is playing at Marquee and Hardwell will be playing at Pacha. You don't need to wait years until your favorite singer comes to town, or you don't need to fly somewhere just to see someone. There's so much to see your schedule is damn packed for the rest of the year. And beside these mainstream events, there's plenty of other things to attend, like underground raves, live jazz clubs, and literally an art gallery opening each week.

(Top Left:Pacha NYC, Top Right: Marquee, Bottom Left: EDC NYC, Bottom Right: Circle)

2. It's easy to navigate and convenient

It's really a no brainer getting around New York, especially in Manhattan. Streets start from lowest number in the south and gradually increases as you go north, and 1st avenue starts from East and increases as you go west. It gets complicated after lower east side but you won't really go further south unless you're going to China Town or Wall street area. And even though taxis are so expensive, the subway runs 24/7, which is pretty rare still around the globe. Even at very late night times it still runs every 20 minutes and with all lines operating and stopping at every stop. (No express trains). 

When it comes to food, it is also super convenient. All you need is and Opentable. Seamless is the place to go to get food delivered to your door! No matter rain or snow they will deliver, and all you need to do is click buttons online. There are hundreds if not thousands of restaurants to choose from every cuisine you can think of. As for Opentable, it is the ultimate table booking tool/app. This is very useful for those popular and more expensive restaurants that are hard to get seats in if you walk in.

3. A melting pot of interesting people, and the best of the best are there

I've seen and met so many interesting people I don't even know where to start. But the thing about New York City is that the best of the best is there. Just like the lyrics to Sinatra's song "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere" the best from each industry and talent sector are gathered in that city. I've met an aspiring shoe designer who has an entire wall of shoe collection and sketches of shoes designs hung up all over their apartment wall. I've met a doctor that has an entire professional DJ station set up and making mixes on the side. I've also met someone with 2 PHDs and speaks 4 languages but works at Wall Street. It fascinates me of all the stories and backgrounds of the people of New York. It just makes you humble, and make you want to work extra hard to be able compete on that level.

I've also wrote a LinkedIn article similar to this topic "What New York City Taught Me" (click to read)


1. It is mentally wearing

We can break that down to financial and relationship pressure. It's a tough place to be in if you're still in the early stages of your career. Rent is rocket high and living expenses shoot right through the roof if you're not watching your bank account carefully. To live in a decent area in Manhattan, just a studio would cost you $3,000 US per month. I was living in Brooklyn, 45 minutes away from Midtown and that was still $700 US a month. A cab ride starts at $7 but can quickly jump to $25. Even groceries are surprisingly expensive. But once you settle in, you'll find tricks on saving money here and there in order to have more budget allocated in entertainment. But it is not fun being scare of getting the bill and it's way over what you expect. 

Second, the relationship world is just 2 words in New York: Fucked Up. The standards are fucked up, the way people think is fucked up, and it all just fucks with your mind. Generally you meet people at the bar or online (which is really the norm in New York). A lot of people have multiple online dating profiles. Just because you've gone out for 10 dates and stay over at his place 3 days a week, doesn't mean he's yours. They can be sleeping around and talking with other girls and it's perfectly normal. The rule is, you need to pop the questions "So... are we exclusive?". Which is the most ridiculous thing I've heard. It's not so much of can you spend time with me, but more of can you stop fucking other people so I can give my mind some peace? Even putting this one-night-stand or open relationship phenomenon aside, a lot of people are just mentally unstable. Meaning they don't know what they want, they don't know what point in life they're at, or they don't know the values they live by. Or they just don't know how to treat girls right. And silly enough, there will be girls that don't care or keep letting these horrible people step all over them. Anyway, stepping away from New York's relationship lifestyle is a breath of fresh air.

2. It stinks, literally

The New York City subway (MTA) has been running for 110 years and it has 468 stations. Maintaining this subway system becomes impossible, and it sticks like a donkey's ass. There's no cooling system in the subways and it gets pretty hot in summer. Imagine clearing trash from 468 stations, how long that would take and how many people it would require. That's why it smells horrible and there's rats running everywhere on the tracks. You also regularly see homeless people in the subway, and they smell like you peed your pants for 1 year straight without taking a shower or changing. The subways are usually really crowded, and it's funny when there's a relatively empty subway car and tourists rush to it. It's a trap, a homeless man has been in it or is in it and the moment you walk in, the pungent smell of ammonia will hit your face and make you faint.

3. It's dangerous

People in New York are aggressive, not only when they run for subway trains, but also when they're trying to hit on you. All of those YouTube experiment videos out there with girls being harassed verbally hits home for me. There's endless catcalling, whistling, and honking, especially if you're around the upper 150 street+ areas or in Brooklyn. And this is all during the day time. Just imagine what night time is like. 

I was once followed home by someone. From the subway exit to my apartment is literally half a block, and that's one of the reasons I choose it. Still he followed me all the way up my doorstep and I was pinned against the door because I couldn't find my keys in time and the door was locked. Stupidly enough, I told him I have AIDS and he believed me and ran off. I actually reported this to the police, and the detector said I was lying and would threaten to throw me in jail. She couldn't believe that I didn't panic and scream for my life. In my mind, what if he had a weapon and stabbed me or hit me in reaction to my scream? Other than my own experience, I've also saw 3 guys beating 1 man with a baseball bat. Of course I called 911 and they arrived on time. But I've never seen anything like that.

I know this is getting depressing, but regardless of the horrible things that happened to me, I survived, and I've become stronger. People also need to know what really lies underneath the flash and glamor. It's a whole package, both the good and bad. And if you've survived the city, congratulations. You're officially now bullet proof.


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