I’ve hit my 4th month mark of living in Brooklyn, and close to five years since I first hopped on the Metro North train from Connecticut to explore New York City on my own.
I remember the anxiety taking my seat each time regardless if it was for a job interview or concert, the knots in my stomach impossible to untangle by the time we arrived at Grand Central. Terrified I’d take the wrong subway to my internship, I would walk the 25 blocks each day (though this was also partly from knowing I’d be stuck in a windowless building all day) until it got too cold. I was always self-conscious walking around the city, worried I’d be judged by the, “real New Yorker’s” for my beat-up shoes, or sorry excuse for a backpack.
Now, I’m typing this from the same Metro North train on my way in for a job, not bothering to look out the window at every pause to “make sure” I didn’t miss the Grand Central station (it’s also the last stop on my line, so why I was ever nervous is beyond me.) I’m wearing a faded green velvet blazer, worn black jeans, and the saddest excuse for flats I’ve ever seen. As we arrive and I head towards the 7 train, I see a woman nervously looking at her map. I’m able to give her directions without thinking twice and don’t miss a beat swiping my Metro card in the process (a true feat for lefties apparently.)
But I’m still learning. Each time I think I have a decent grasp on this beast of a city, I’m flipped upside down. Despite this, I’ve compiled a list of small, yet useful things I’ve discovered during my adventures in the city. Some which I hope anyone visiting New York City will find helpful, whether you’re visiting for the first time, or returning for the two hundredth time. Out of all the things I’ve learned along the way, here are some the things I wished someone had sat me down to explain.