I am a recent transplant from Long Island where everything is three times slower than the fast-paced life in New York City. From not knowing the subway system to becoming a pro walker, I learned how to adapt to this Empire State of Mind with the following survival skills.
1. Eating at home. New York City has the best restaurants, I won’t argue with you on that statement. However, the consequence of eating out is spending money. I am not telling you to stop sponsoring your local deli, but to start eating at home more often in order to save some money. Think about that new bag you’ve been eyeing at Macy’s. “I am a horrible cook” should never be an excuse for you to eat out. Buy a cook book, learn recipes from your mom (or dad), or take a cooking class in New York City. Do anything and everything you can to prevent yourself from eating out. Unless money is not your concern then you are free to do whatever.
Survival Suggestion: Check out Pizza a Casa to learn how to make restaurant worthy pizzas at home!
2. Profiling for a seat on the subway. I observe passengers to see who will get up on the next stop so I can have his or her seat. How do you know which passenger to target? Look at their facial expression. If the passenger is staring at the subway stops every ten seconds, you more or less can assume that the passenger is getting off soon (or simply lost). Also look at the way he or she sits. If the passenger is getting comfortable and reading a novel, target another passenger. The strategy of course is to stand close to your target and wait. Sometimes I am correct and therefore rewarded with a seat. Other times not so much, I stand from bloody Westchester Square to 33rd on the 6 train! If you are ready to level up with profiling, learn how to judge by clothing and ethnicity.
3. Making good judgments. Should I cross the street or should I wait for the walk signal? I feel like a complete outsider standing next to a 60 year old grandma waiting for the walk signal when everyone else is crossing the street regardless. I am not against either one even though crossing when it’s not your turn is extremely dangerous considering the crazy drivers in the city. I always, always look both ways to see if there are cars heading towards my direction before I go ahead and jeopardize my life. You should too. Drivers are in a hurry too. Let them go when it’s their turn.
What are some other survival skills you need in NYC?