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You found us! How to use this blog

28 Feb

Updates, May 2012:
Welcome, new readers! We are growing daily and so happy to have you here. 
Have you found our Facebook and Twitter yet? Join the conversation, meet other newcomers, ask us anything!

This is NewNYers.com, the definitive guide to moving to New York City as a young professional. We give a running start to the thousands of twentysomethings who move to the city each month, many of whom are unsure how this whole thing is gonna turn out. We’re here to tell you the truth about NYC: It’s not impenetrable, impossible, prohibitively expensive, or too much of a pipe dream to really do it.

Yes, life in NYC is challenging, but if you hold tight to the gratitude and allure you felt in those first few months, it will stay with you for years. There’s too much to appreciate to be jaded.

Sarah Protzman Howlett, founder of NewNYers.com.

In these pages, you’ll find nearly everything you need to get started on your new life in NYC, including how to prepare before you even land. Via the search and categories at right, you can read about how to apartment hunt, how to navigate public transit, and how to spend wisely while you’re having funfun, fun! Most of our readers spend a lot of time on this site, devouring the posts and bookmarking them for future reference. We hope you’ll do the same! Now, for the FAQ:

I’m trying to get a job in NYC before I move. Why isn’t anyone hiring me?
Usually because of the sheer number of capable people already living here. It’s hard, but not impossible, to get the attention of a company from, say, Georgia, when there’s an equally qualified person, resume-wise, two subway stops away. Having said that, don’t give up contacting companies in the city, and remember that your network is always bigger than you think. Better yet, fly out for a week of informational interviews and networking events. If you take the leap and move without a job, consider temping — maybe working in the afternoons or evenings while you go on interviews in the mornings would work for you.

How much money should I save before I move?
As you can imagine, there’s no definitive number — but I usually ballpark it at around $3,000. If you have a roommate or two or three, there’s no reason this amount shouldn’t last you at least a couple months, food and PBR included. Even if the New York dream is just a glimmer in your eye at this point, start socking away $20 a week; it’ll buy you precious flexibility and peaceful sleep once you’re here.

Can I afford to live alone? Roommates are soooooo freshman year. 
Not if rent would have you treading at or near the 45%-of-your-income mark. A cool life is way more satisfying than a cool apartment, I promise. Part of the New York adventure is meeting new folks. Move in with someone you don’t know — tiny apartments and bff’s don’t mix — via rooms/shares on Craigslist. Open houses will make your head spin, but you’ll find something right for you. Not to mention they’ll give you great stories to tell.

I have expensive taste and a huge sense of entitlement. Will I survive in this booming metropolis of temptation?
No.

What’s it like to date in Manhattan?
Educational. Bottom line is, you’ll have good dates and bad, but there are great people out there, and it’s important to meet a wide swath of people. You’ll see new places and experience haunts you never would’ve found on your own. And remember, almost everything is funny in hindsight.

Should I send you my own experiences, thoughts or tips?
Yes! Join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter, and email me at sarah.protzman@gmail.com.

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Is the touristy stuff really worth doing?

30 Mar

I’ve advised before that everyone fortunate enough to live in New York City should never stop playing tourist. And everywhere you turn, there are people telling you what’s worth doing and what’s not. The ultrajaded types will tell you to skip almost everything considered “touristy,” but if you think about it—why do visitors ALWAYS go to the top of the Empire State? Because it’s worth it. Even better, YOU, dear reader, happen to live here! You’re not trying to cram everything into two days. Here are 10 popular stops and my take on them:

1. Pedi cabs: I agree this is a DON’T. Same goes for those black town cars who honk at you when it’s raining and you’re desperate for a cab. Rip-off city, folks.

2. Hot dog carts: I haven’t died yet. That said, the last pretzel and churro I had were cold and stale —and the pretzel guy was out of salt, wtf. Stick to the hot dogs these days!

3. Top of the Empire State: When I last went, the guy at the kiosk was like, “Where are you from?” From here, I said. “Then why are you here?” And I was all, “Wait, what?” Why would I not want to see this view just because I live here? Be prepared to wait in lines no matter when you go, but it’s all part of the fun. Embrace the tourists…breathe…embrace the tourists.

4. Cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery: The quintessential do! They are fantastic. Go when it’s nice out so you can sit across the street on the little park benches. Bring a bottle of water, because you’ll be dying of thirst after all that sugar.

5. Carriage ride in Central Park: Up to you. If you want to spend the money, go for it! This is your life, right? Not a dress rehearsal. And hey, you can always try to bargain with the guy — you never know.

6. Restaurants in Times Square: A probable don’t, with the possible exception of the on-the-rocks margarita from the bar at Applebees. Good view and a good value — you can fill the martini glass like four times (they give you the extra from the shaker). And I’ve always heard that it’s legit fun to hit up the Olive Garden. Aren’t we all a sucker for those breadsticks?

7. Comedy shows: A do if you’re a fan of jokes about grandmas having sex, and poop. Tends to be lowest-common-denominator, overpriced stuff. (Call ahead to find out the minimum food/drink purchase at ANY comedy show. Two $20 tickets can become a $100 evening quickly.)

8. Century 21: Tons of people swear by it. I hated it. Don’t! TJ Maxx and Filene’s are way better, less crowded and in a more convenient location. If you’re in Queens, the Ross out there is good too! Recently scored a $20 J.Crew-inspired dress.

9. The Meatpacking District: Do! It’s gorgeous down there with just the right touch of glamour. Dinner at Paradou followed by drinks and dancing at Gaslight is a perfect evening.

…Wait, a list of nine? What’s that about?

Fill in 10 for me in the comments. GO!

Lies about NYC: Any day now, you will become a huge prick

18 Sep

A wise person once said, “Fortune does not change men — it unmasks them.”

The same can be said about moving to New York. This city does not alter a person’s character; it reveals its true nature.

Don’t let anyone convince you that you have to be a demanding prick to be respected or successful. It’s a lie 20-somethings often fall victim to as we’re somewhere between faking it and making it.

It’s my opinion that, upon arrival, people who aren’t from around here are even more wary of the deterioration of their (insert region you’re from here) charm by the fast-paced, short-fused NYC culture. I was/am that person. New York won’t change me, I thought. You’ll see. New York will not change me.

But I was incorrect — mostly in assuming NYC was only interested in changing me only in detrimental ways. (Where I got this idea, I’ll never know. Probably from TV.) But New York has changed me, and as it happens, the good far outweighs the less-good:

The Good

• Am funnier. Way, way funnier.
• Walk lots more (but am not thinner).
• Am infinitely more comfortable around people who don’t look/talk/dress/act at all like me.
• Am more grateful for fewer possessions. Having less makes me appreciate more.
• Am not nearly as prone to thinking waaaaaay too highly of most famous people.
• Don’t want to own a car ever again (though I surely will).

The A Little Less Good: Swear more and can hold my liquor. My career as a lightweight is officially over. Hey, I didn’t say there aren’t tradeoffs.

NYC will change you, hopefully for the better. But if you’re a snob/asshole/total ingrate, you’ll probably always be that way — the city just allows you to feel somehow justified in this. Sorry for the language. See above paragraph.

You heard it here first: Gracious is the new bratty; petulance is now officially cliché. Ask questions, don’t be afraid of not knowing everything, and use any chance you get to learn from others.