Open Phones: Being Honest About Life In New York

Friday, December 14, 2012

If you moved to NY from somewhere else in the US, what peculiarities about NY life would seem preposterous to your family and friends back home? Are you honest when you tell them about how much you eat out, how much you walk, or the size of your apartment?  Post here or call 212-433-9692.

Comments [20]

Cynthia from Upper West Side

When my sister visited about 12 years ago we had dinner reservations downtown and it was raining so I handed her an umbrella to use when we got out of the subway. As we were walking to the restaurant with our umbrellas she said "I love this! I never walk in the rain at home!" At first I thought she was being silly but then I realized it was probably true - -she goes from garage to car to garage all day long. I think of the last scene at Breakfast and Tiffanys and think - - what a waste to never have to "deal" with the rain.

Dec. 14 2012 04:35 PM
Charlene Jaszewski from Brooklyn, NY

I have lived in NYC for four years, originally from Wisconsin, have lived in Minneapolis, San Francisco and Arizona before this. My parents have not come to visit me but their idea of NYC is that from movies of the 70s and 80s, where the subways are full of graffiti and everyone gets mugged. My parents and friends are shocked when tell them how much I pay for rent and how little I get, I could be paying the mortgage on a 3000sq foot mansion back in Wisconsin for what I pay to share a house here.
I asked my dad once what he imagines New York to be like, and he said something cute: "Does everyone wear a hat while they're walking down the street like in the movies?"

Dec. 14 2012 01:39 PM
larachick from boston

I lived in NYC for 12 years, from Boston, and was struck by several things that surprise people who don't live there: it's almost impossible to get an impromptu reservation for 12+ people for lunch or dinner. New Yorkers are the NICEST people in the world. it is much harder to visit than to actually live there. I NEVER disclosed how much i paid in rent. And (this always surprises people) very few locals actually go to the museums or broadway shows the way visitors do.

Dec. 14 2012 12:48 PM
J from NYC

Moved here after grad school (at Big Midwestern University) for a job. There are some amazing things about the city and I've benefited from being here in various ways. It's certainly broadened my perspective and knocked me out of my comfort zone. In some respects it might well have saved my life due to having faced a very serious health condition when here and being able to get really expert treatment that would likely have been unavailable elsewhere.

But the cost of living is brutal and the difficulty of getting around is frustrating. There are parts of the city I find very difficult to tolerate, such as Midtown. Many of the things that natives take for granted are downright odd to me and the degree to which it's a massive agglomeration of small towns is notable. Now that I'm doing a job search I'm definitely considering other places. There are reasons to go and reasons to stay, so I have to weigh my options. In short, I tolerate NYC but I do not love it and I don't sugar coat things to my friends.

Dec. 14 2012 12:08 PM
The Truth from Becky

I don't know what Southern transplants want from New Yorkers..a kiss on each cheek and an invite to dinner???!! If you're that needy, stay SOUTH with the other hypocrites that smile in your face and talk behind your back!

Dec. 14 2012 12:03 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

Allison from Brooklyn--and then you have to add,"And the public transportation happens to work and is enjoyed by all!"

Dec. 14 2012 11:53 AM

I have a friend visiting soon and the one thing I loath telling him is how broke i am all the time. It's sort of embarrassing to be in my late 30's and working all the time with nothing to show for it. But this is such a great city to hone my craft. I do dream of moving to a small town someday, to be a big fish ion a small pond, but I am not sure how long that would last. NYC is perfect, aside from becoming more and more of a city for the rich.

Dec. 14 2012 11:52 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

People who moved here and hate it: leave, please. There are plenty of others who would gladly occupy your place.

Just as nature allows the appearance of an organism to be its protection, so goes New York. Getting your impression from Sex and the City and Friends does not an informed impression make.

It's costly, crowded, noisy and brash. Many come knowing that, and stay for the sense of community, access to culture and overall sense of possibility--and the fact that Mr. Jagger was right on when he said, "You must be tough tough tough tough tough tough tough!"


Dec. 14 2012 11:50 AM
margaret from Brooklyn

Cold....?!? New Yorkers cold?!? I am NOT being facetious. (responding to the caller who is a southerner living in Belmore.) As a southerner who moved to NYC 2 decades ago, I would say that New Yorkers are very warm - and even better - they are honest. The warmth is REAL, not phony or surface. : )

Dec. 14 2012 11:43 AM
Betsy from Brooklyn, NY

I disagree with the caller who said that people are unfriendly in NYC. I'm from rural NC and I felt very welcome when I moved here. People seemed to want to be very helpful and everyone was giving me advice about places to go and where I can get a job. I feel like people in the town where I'm from could be nice to your face but it was very fake.

Also, since I lived near the beach in NC, we had a lot of Northern transplants moving down there to retire and the locals were downright rude to them.

Dec. 14 2012 11:42 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Rick from downtown-

Perfect, LOL !!

Dec. 14 2012 11:40 AM

So true Brian! The "grittiness" of NYC is something we've acclaimated to as friends who visit or come to live in, notice immediately.

Dec. 14 2012 11:40 AM

I used to lie about my rent---it was more than a monthly mortgage payment would have been back in my hometown in southwestern PA, and my family would have been horrified.

Dec. 14 2012 11:39 AM

I think the only thing we're not totally up-front about is how much we pay in rent. HEY-OH!

Dec. 14 2012 11:38 AM
Aubrey Hardwick from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

In 1992 I moved to New York from my hometown, New Orleans to got to NYU. On the night of my high school graduation, my teachers looked at me and said, "We don't think we'll be seeing you here again." and they were right. I've been in New York ever since and feel like moving anywhere else would be a step down for me. Life here is harder than in other cities but it is 100% worth it for the constant inspiration it offers.

Dec. 14 2012 11:38 AM
Allison from Brooklyn

I like to horrify my friends in suburban Chicago by letting slip my rent. Their jaws drop. I respond with...well I don't own a car...

Dec. 14 2012 11:37 AM

I moved here from Berkeley in 2009 and I absolutely HATE IT here! New York is the biggest lie ever sold. There are some highlights but I totally feel like the bad outweigh the good. I didnt visit before I moved here so I guess the joke is on me. I will say that I do love the independence the city offers and the opportunities for people that are smart which in NYC is few and far between.

Dec. 14 2012 11:36 AM

You can't tell people how much you pay in rent!

Dec. 14 2012 11:35 AM
Rick from downtown

sister-in-law's cousin once asked, "So, what's your life it like in NY?"

i said, "Did you ever see that show 'Friends'?"

she said, "yeah, i love it; it's my favorite show."

i said, "my life is just like that."

Dec. 14 2012 11:35 AM
francyne from Pelham Bay Park

I ran away from home at age 16.5 to live in a walk-up in the EV, bathtub in kitchen. Because I was family-free, despite the poverty and some discomfort, it was wonderful. I didn't tell anyone anything till I was 21, officially an adult. By then I had gotten myself into Columbia and a scholarship and a work-study job.

Dec. 14 2012 11:32 AM

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