10 Ways To Enjoy Living in NYC—Especially if You’re Young & Fire-Hearted

From my New York heart to yours:
A quick and dirty guide to enjoying NYC-especially if you’re just starting out.

Where You Live:

If you’re an introvert:

1a. Find a place to live that you love.
It’s possible. I promise.  It might take a while, but it will happen. Word of mouth is best. Tell EVERYONE you meet you’re looking for a place. It will feel awkward but it’s worth it. People love to help others, this is what I’ve found. Elizabeth Gilbert once said:

“Becoming a published writer is sort of like trying to find a cheap apartment in New York City: it’s impossible. And yet…every single day, somebody manages to find a cheap apartment in New York City. I can’t tell you how to do it. I’m still not even entirely sure how I did it. I can only tell you – through my own example – that it can be done. I once found a cheap apartment in Manhattan. And I also became a writer.”

You can do it.

If you’re an extrovert, a deep sleeper, a low-maintenance rough and tumble type of bloke:

1b. Find a decent place and nourish yourself with lots of other cool places outside of your apartment. Utilize your apartment only to sleep.  

If you’re an artist:

1c. Find a low-maintenance (not-shared) studio space. If your work doesn’t involve fumes, set up a pull-out couch. Get a gym membership and a hot plate. You’ll be golden. Just be discreet.


2. Location

Don’t discount the out-of-the-way boroughs, the ones just outside of gentrification, the ones Girls hasn’t shot in yet. Go there; if you’re in it for the long haul get a place with rent control and create your own community. In 5-10 years when it gets popular, you’ll have a fixed rate and sweat equity. It pays off. Even better? Buy real estate there.

3. Stuff

Get rid of excess shit.  You don’t need it. Make your space Zen. Try owning 100 things for a year. Let go. Fill up your life with experiences, not stuff. Who are we kidding, anyway? You don’t have the space for stuff…you live in New York.

4. Roommates

Be really up-front with your soon to be roommates. If you’re sensitive to noise, just say so. If you want to play drums every Saturday morning, say so. Know yourself. It’s worth it. Also, living alone is fantastic.

Where You Work:

5. Your commute.

Travel by bike whenever possible, if it doesn’t smack of a hellish experience for you. Bikes are best; plus, if you have an office job, it fends off the ever-looming office butt.

Take the ferry. Seriously: If I were me (and I am), I would choose where to live based on ferry access. The East River Ferry or the Staten Island Ferry or any number of other ferries out there . I go to work by boat; it simply rules. Many evenings have been marked by the sight of the Statue of Liberty at sunset… pretty priceless.

Walk. If you’re that type. Also, kick-scooters aren’t just for kids. I see plenty of suits commuting on them.

6. Your job.

It either: pays you a lot (responsibility! career path!) and you get to enjoy the cash (lots of vacation time!) OR you love it, it doesn’t pay a lot (or you only do it part time), but you have enough to throw into your 401K here and there, and ample time to do what the fuck you really want to do.

Or, you can always join the service-oriented fleet: bartending, waitressing, dog-walking. These jobs afford you lots of cash in little pockets of time with room for your real job: being you, practicing your juggling, writing the next Great American Novel, whatever.

Or, you can work for yourself with any other combination of the above. My point? You don’t need to do it the way everyone tells you to. There is freedom here. There is choice. You don’t need to be in a yucky rat-race to enjoy this city. You also don’t need to be a trust-fund kid.

How You Do It:

7. Get outta here once and a while.
A few nights away under the stars or at the beach does wonders for your city-beaten heart. This place will suck everything out of you and then try to feed it back to you…it’s disgusting. Leaving once a month is an imperative for highly-sensitive types, creatives and nature lovers.

8. Make as many friends, love as many people, see as many shows, ride as many difficult waves (there will be at least a few) as you can. Because most people don’t live here forever. Make it count. And if it doesn’t work out, it’s ok. It’s not the BEST place for everyone, or the best place in general, despite what most New Yorkers like to think of it, and of themselves.

You got this.