I think it’s safe to say that with New York being as expensive as it is we have a whole different idea of what’s ‘normal’ to pay for certain things. $6 for cereal – fine. $4 for coffee – that’s standard. $18 for a fancy cocktail – average. It’s not shocking that rent in New York is high – it’s the best city in the world to live in – but I find it funny what we consider good value. Anything between $1000 – $1500 in Manhattan can be considered a great deal… anywhere else in the world this would be madness – and you would certainly be getting more than a shoebox apartment.
The sad but true thing about living in New York is that seeing Rats has become a normal thing. I had never even seen one before moving here – and the idea of even seeing one would have scared the life out of me. It was in Central Park, one of the most magical places in NY, that I had my first encounter with them. Sitting on a bench overlooking the pond, I was on the phone when I heard the rustling of leaves behind me – yep, three rats. Since then have seen them run across the road in the West Village, playing in rubbish together in Astor place, splashing around on the subway tracks and one even crossed the footpath right in front of me in the East Village. Not to mention all the stories I’ve heard about people living with them – as one of my friends told me yesterday “We call them the lads upstairs, we’ve named them after our ex-boyfriends” – haha!
3. Happy Hour Any Day of the Week
Work hard, play hard – pretty sure this is the motto most people in the city live by. Every day of the week come 5pm bars will be packed with people looking to grab a happy hour deal. There is always something happening in New York, so it is normal here to find yourself with a cocktail in hand on a Monday night – definitely not normal in most cities.
4. Eating a Pizza Slice for Dinner
Another sad but true fact about living in New York – a $1 pizza slice can often substitute a normal dinner. Cooking is so timing consuming in a city that is so busy – and the pizza is just so good!
5. Carrying a Charger At All Times
I don’t know what it is in New York but your phone battery will never been charged enough. You will never have enough battery to listen to the music you want to listen to, take the photos you want to take, Google map where you need to go and keep in contact with those at home and here. Portable chargers are your friend & your phone charger is your sidekick – going everywhere you go. Don’t worry if you forget yours – you can be sure someone nearby will have one on hand, it’s normal.
6. Living in fear of mysterious drips from Air Conditioning units
This has really only become an issue since the beginning of summer, and the introduction of air conditioning units to most NYC apartments. It has become a normal thing to walk a certain distance away from the side of buildings in order to avoid the mysterious drip that falls from these units in the summer. Catching you when you least expect it, it is a scary thing: ‘Is it raining? Did a bird get me? Was it the AC? What if it wasn’t?’ = the usual thought process that happens after these drips but just another thing that is normal in this city.
7. Walking… A lot
Walking in New York is a major form of transportation. I have especially learnt this since living in Manhattan where most days I walk up to 10km. I walk 12 blocks to do groceries, 25 blocks to and from work every day – it’s just normal here. So if you plan on visiting NY I would recommend bringing a comfy pair of shoes.
8. Crying in public
As much as NYC is a great city, it’s a tough one and sometimes it takes it toll. I think anyone who has lived here a couple of months knows that once you open the floodgates there’s no stopping them… I’ve seen my fair share of public criers, and I’ve been one.
9. Never having cash
Nothing slows a day down more in NY than a place that takes cash only. There is definitely an over-reliance on bank cards over here. Often at dinner, my friends and I could be splitting a bill on 6 different cards – waitresses are used to it. And now with app’s that allow you to pay people from your mobile phone (Vemno, Chase Quickpay, Ulsterbank, etc) why would you need to carry cash at all?
10. Well dressed dogs
Normal? Yes. Does it get old? No. New York is definitely home to some of the best dressed dogs in the world. I don’t think I realised how much I love dogs until I moved here. There are so many cute dogs here and so many different breeds than we have at home. If you follow my Snapchat (lou1409), you may have seen quite a few over the last few months.
11. Drinking 3+ coffees a day
As I’ve said a million times, New York is a busy place – we need to do all we can to keep our energy levels up in order to make the most out of every day. If you follow me on Instagram (lou1409), you probably already know I am partial to a good cup of coffee. I think it’s safe to say that it’s normal to love coffee anywhere in the world. What’s not normal is the amount of it we drink in New York to keep going – on average 2/3 a day? There are worse things to be addicted to…
12. Avoiding eye-contact (especially on the subway)
Coming from Ireland, the nation of a thousand welcomes, not looking out for people you know and saying hi – it takes getting used to. Between subway performers and outrageous people in general that you meet in New York on a daily basis I quickly learnt the art of avoiding eye contact.
13. Ignoring your sense of smell.. because the city has so much more to offer
With the winter gone, so are our stuffy noses, meaning we are able to bask in the delightful scent of New York again. Not. New York is great, but those who live here know that it doesn’t always smell as good as it is. Between trash bags waiting to be picked up, smoke from buses & cars and the smell of burning hotdogs & nuts – sometimes you’re better off closing your nose and using your other four senses to enjoy the city.
14. Walking on the right
It’s funny how you adapt to the different settings you are in. In New York, the footpaths are so busy it’s walking etiquette to walk on the right hand side. Also when on an escalator, you understand the slow lane is on the right, and the fast lane is on the left. If in New York, I dare you to stand on the left and see how long it takes for someone to tell you to move. It’s a funny system but it’s an unwritten rule. It keeps people traffic flowing and New York’s pedestrians happy.
15. This View
Need I say more?