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Hope this helps: The NewNewYorkers keyword digest

5 Dec

I get a kick out of looking at the terms people search before landing on this blog. Some make all the sense in the world, and others…there’s just no telling how they landed on our most-searched list. Here are the most popular ones of late, and the posts y’all might be looking for in your searches:

• sarah protzman howlett: Yep, that’s me. I got hitched in October, hence the revamped professional name.

• is it possible to move to nyc with no money: You’re probably looking for this post, which just took over as the all-time most read on this blog. (Oh, and no, it’s probably not.)

• how to move to nyc without a job: I’ve written lots on this topic because I did move to NYC without a job — granted, it was pre-recession and post having saved up a few thousand dollars (which, believe it or not, took me almost 18 months to do on a journalists’ salary).

• why should i move to brooklyn: You might be looking for this somewhat infamous post, which caused a stir with folks who live and die by the BK. This phrasing makes it seem like maybe people who already did the Manhattan thing are looking to relocate, which I would support over moving from far away to Brooklyn straight out of the gate for the reasons outlined in said post.

• where can i skimp on wardrobe: If you’re asking me, I am a huge fan of Old Navy and Gap for knockaround clothes, and the Banana Republic sale rack for work stuff [yes, I know these guys are all the same company!]. Be choosy at factory/outlet stores: They often make clothes with cheaper materials and pass it off as if it would’ve been $75 in stores…when the truth is, it never was in stores. Flip tags over and you might see an “FS”…a dead giveaway that it was the made-for-TV-movie of name-brand garments.

• brian i carr dating: All I can make of this is a combination of the interview I once did with well-known NYC film scout Nick Carr, and that the worst date I’ve ever been on was with a Brian, which I’ve written about in my book.

• how long to allow a friend to sleep on your couch? This is a tricky one. In a place like New York, I’d say three or four nights, tops. If guests, like fish, start to smell in three days, then in a Manhattan studio, the stench probably surfaces after just 24 hours.

• craigslist still available: Good on you guys for being wary of too-good-to-be-true responses to the stuff you’re selling on Craigslist, i.e. “I’ll offer you $20 more than your asking price just to seal the deal.” In the words of Liz Lemon, “S. That. D. Shut it down.”


How to get the NYC apartment you want

26 Sep

You’ve been uptown, downtown, and uptown once more, getting off trains and on buses at stops you’ll never use again. You’ve ducked out of work early, taken wrong turns and obsessively refreshed Craigslist (at work, natch) for postings in your price range — shuddering at ones that include the phrase “the living room is occupied” — all on account of finding the perfect NYC apartment share. Le sigh.

And that’s all BEFORE you to show up to an open house and find you’re ONE OF TWENTY-EIGHT PEOPLE vying for the same. Tiny. Space.

Today I’m sharing one little tip with one big purpose: how to get an edge over all those losers!

Sources say this is the exact sheet I distributed while apartment hunting in Manhattan in 2008.

Win apartments and influence people with some great PR (read: shameless self-promotion) in the form of a onesheet — a single-page document that summarizes what you’re selling: YOU. Don’t forget a “headshot”!

The impetus for my patented Shameless Onesheet strategy was this: Once upon a time, I was one of 40-some-odd applicants for an illegal* 10-bedroom converted loft on Canal Street. I was put up against a wall like one of “The Usual Suspects,” holding a wipe-off board with my name on it. And while I didn’t have to intersperse the phrase “give me the keys” with beaucoup de profanity, I did narrowly lose out to a Spanish woman suffering from a massive sanity fail.

Anyway, after you’ve seen the place — which, assuming you’re looking in Manhattan, takes about six-and-a-half seconds — and feel it’s right for you, hand the sheet to your prospective roommate(s), but also make your enthusiasm known right then and there. Follow up the next day via e-mail and make sure to attach it — who knows if it’s already lost among takeout menus and last week’s  Onion.

Make it pithy and unique: share your favorite movie quote, the link to your blog or an easy  recipe. Stand out, and you just might get in.

*Do not attempt.

Where’s that accent from, son?

11 Jul

One of my favorite subway games is Name That Accent. Often, I’m way off — I’ve asked many Kiwis if they’re from Australia, not to mention nearly failed linguistics in college — but it’s a joy to hear as many accents as people in a single subway car.

(Hear the accents of the five boroughs here. Brooklyn, “Chew on ya vowels!”)

As I reflect on my circle of friends in New York, I delight in how even those transplanted to the city from inside the country speak so differently.

Here, my short rundown of the ones I’ve come to find most fascinating, and associated memories:

• Boston: I never heard him say wicked pissah (is that a thing?), but I worked with a guy whose Boston accent was so pure, it should be put in a petri dish and studied. It was the first time I’d ever heard an actual person say “pahk the cah” who wasn’t an actor in “Good Will Hunting.”

• Dutch: This was a hard one for me to pinpoint until I could differentiate it from…whatever I used to confuse it for. It’s easy on the ears and fun to listen to, whether they’re speaking Dutch or English.

• Italian: I feel guilty about this one — but sometimes I can’t understand their English! Groups of guys in Central Park always seem to be speaking Italian. If one were to ask me something in English, however, I’d likely respond with, “What? What?…Sorry, what?” Yeah, sorry about that.

• Texan: Ah, my home state. “But you don’t have an accent,” they say. (True, but I’ve maintained “y’all” and the occasional “fixin’.”) I’ve always liked how Georgia people talk, too. JAW-juh…sounds sweet as a peach.

• French: I once asked a French person where they were from. “Vhere do you sink I’m fhrom?” he said, scorning me for not knowing. Annnnnd the Frenchmen reinforces a stereotype. Sometimes I wish I were a French girl, though, if only for the sexy voice and the clothes.

• Long Island: I’ve had a lot of fun with this one over the years, as one of my best friends carries this tongue. I’m Sah-rah instead of Sarah. A large concentration of Lon-Gilanders at work call our daily paper the “dahhly PAY-pah.” Hee.

• Irish: I have a special bias — I’m marrying this accent! Selected favorites are the way he says “must” instead of “have to,” and calls certain food and kitchen tools by different names. And the word “but” comes out more like “bot.” Sarah likes this.

Now for your stories! Do you have an accent? Which accents do you most enjoy hearing on the streets of New York, and among your friends and coworkers? Any embarrasing stories of misidentifying an accent at a party?