I've been in New York for three weeks now, which is a pretty good amount of time to grasp what the city is about. Some parts of living in New York are not at all what I expected, but I think this is my favorite part about moving to a new place. Being surprised on a daily basis and finding out things you never would if you only stayed for a short time. I'm nowhere close to being a New Yorker, but I've made some observations as an outsider the last couple of weeks...
– New Yorkers order everything and anything: food, cars, books, drinks, midnight snack cookies, weed, coffee etc. You could basically stay inside your apartment and never have to leave because everything you need can be delivered right to your doorstep.
– The Subway system sucks. And I'm not saying this because I already got lost numerous times. I'm saying it because in the London Underground you're basically spoonfed with accurate timings, information and instructions. In the NY Subway, you're left on your own. Nothing makes sense, it stinks everywhere and it's generally confusing. Dear NY Subway, it's not me, it's you.
– You can wear yoga pants at whatever time of the day, no one will judge you.
– New Yorkers love their dogs. It seems like literally everyone has a dog here, which is kind of cute. But there's also a lot of poop everywhere, so watch your step.
– New York has better food than London. I never thought I'd say this because London was my food mecca, but it's true. From cheap to expensive, healthy to extremely fatty... it's all delicious. And New Yorkers love to talk about food, so at least I have one main interest in common with them!
– Talking about food, everything goes so damn fast. Although everyone is obsessed with food, you hardly get to enjoy your meal European style (sit and chat for hours) because your plate is taken away before you've even taken the last bite and the bill is presented when you haven't even asked for it.
– Although I use the subway, not a single day has gone by when I walked less than 9 kilometers. I now understand why New Yorkers sometimes have two pairs of shoes with them to go to work. One "work" pair and a pair of walking shoes.
– The winter isn't as bad as I anticipated. Everyone warned me for the freezing -25 winter in NY, but so far it hasn't been so bad. It can be freezing one day and kind of okay the next, it's very unpredictable.
– A lot of people wear caps here, which is why it seems acceptable to wear one too. In Belgium, hardly anyone wears caps, especially women. But here it seems to be a very normal thing. I like it!
– People who live in Manhattan rarely go to Brooklyn because they think it's too far, even if it's only a 20-30 minute trip. I thought this was just a stereotype from Sex & The City, but New Yorkers in Manhattan really think this way.
– People spend a crazy amount on gym memberships, Barre workouts, and spinning classes. Being fit comes with a cost. I'm not sure how so many people could afford a $500 joining fee (!!) and a $200 dollar/month membership cost, but somehow everyone does it (I'm still trying to find out where those cheap but decent gyms are).
– It's very easy to meet new people here. Although I heard that everyone lives in their own little bubble here, I don't think I agree with that. It's super easy to start a conversation and people seem genuinely interested.
– New York seemed a bit daunting at first, but like every other city I know, it's a big village. You run into people you know all the time, which reminds you that it's not so daunting after all.
I'm there are lots more things that will surprise me, so part two is coming up in a few weeks. Stay tuned for more New York posts!