New York City is one of the most exciting, entertaining and bustling cities in the United States. From the Bronx to Manhattan, there is always something to see and do. Before moving to NYC, I spent hours researching and trying to prepare myself for what lay ahead. However, there are several things I wish I’d known before moving to New York City. For example, sometimes the subways skip a few stops. Who knew? The following is a list of observations I’ve made during my first few months in the Big City.
1. New York City public transportation routes vary based on the time of day. Many bus routes change during rush hour.
2. Either bring a water filter or plan on drinking nothing but bottled water. While the city water is notoriously clean, it doesn’t necessarily stay clean as it travels through your building and out your faucet, especially if you have old pipes.
3. Your mailbox number and your apartment number may be different. You may have to call the post office to figure out where your mail is going.
4. Express buses aren’t always faster, especially if you have to stand at the bus stop for half an hour.
5. Pepper spray is not allowed in New York City unless it is purchased from a licensed dealer. It cannot be purchased online or brought in from another state.
6. New Yorkers aren’t all rude. They just come across that way because they don’t say hello or make eye contact on the sidewalk. Most of the New Yorkers I’ve encountered are courteous and helpful.
7. You get money back when you take your old cans and bottles to a recycling depository.
8. Bedbugs aren’t limited to dirty houses. They’re just as comfortable in buses, in the subway, at movie theaters and even in finer establishments like Victoria’s Secret and Juicy Couture.
9. Expect public transportation delays and always know an alternative route to your destination or back to your house.
10. No matter what time it is, no matter where you are in New York City, there is always something to do and a lot of these things are free. Plan ahead so you don’t miss out.
11. It’s not uncommon for a random stranger to burst out into song anywhere, at any time. Always expect the unexpected.
12. Don’t assume that the people around you in New York City speak English.
13. That puddle on the subway isn’t spilled water.
14. Staten Island really isn’t that bad. Parts of Manhattan really aren’t all that nice.
15. There are many branches of the New York Public Library. If you want specific books, figure out which branch has those books ahead of time so you don’t waste time at the wrong branch.
16. If you bring your car, pay close attention to the alternate side parking laws. Watch the news regularly, because sometimes these laws are suspended, especially during snow storms.
17. In addition to rent, expect to pay more for groceries and electricity. Taxes are higher here than in most other parts of the country.
18. Avoid the tourist areas unless you plan on enjoying those areas like a tourist. If you need to walk through Times Square, walk up 8th Avenue instead of Broadway or 7th Avenue.
19. New York is actually one of the safest cities in the country in terms of size and population density. Don’t let fear keep you from going out late at night. On the other hand, use common sense, especially if you are by yourself.
20. Be nice to homeless people and count your blessings. They’re not all crazies or druggies. Many are just regular, hardworking people who are down on their luck.