NAVIGATING NYC AS A NEWCOMER: FIVE TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR WAY AROUND THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS

Two months ago, I hopped on a one-way flight to JFK to pursue a dream I’ve had since I was 16: moving to New York City.

 

Aside from my two suitcases and computer, I was relatively left to my own devices when I first arrived in New York, a city I had only briefly visited twice before. I didn’t have an apartment, a solid understanding of the beloved Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and I certainly didn’t have knowledge of how truly exhausting the city can be. But just like any seemingly foreign experience, I soon got used to a fast-paced lifestyle and have come to find this loud, in-your-face, gritty place endearing and am proud to call it my new home.

I’ve learned quite a few lessons since my time in the city, and being the friendly (newborn) New Yorker that I am, I thought I’d share my top 5 tips for making your Big Apple experience one to remember. Here’s what I have learned so far:

 

The city life can get overwhelming— make time for self care

I fell into the trap of trying to squeeze too much in to my schedule upon arrival, which eventually led to me feeling burnt out. Of course there are countless activities and attractions to see in New York, but you can easily become wrapped up in the allure of it all. Make sure to take a few hours a week to relax and relieve stress.

 Shot of my rooftop view in Brooklyn— one of my favorite spots to relax after a long day.

Shot of my rooftop view in Brooklyn— one of my favorite spots to relax after a long day.

 

If I’m not breaking a sweat when walking, I’m not walking fast enough

It’s no secret New York is a bustling city, which means if I don’t walk with the crowd I will literally get run over. I either walk fast, or extra-fast: there’s no such concept as “slow” here. In two short months, I’ve already noticed myself speed walking everywhere, regardless if I’m running late. Needless to say, I reach my 10,000 steps much quicker than when I was living in Missouri.

 

Give that hole-in-the-wall a chance

The best restaurants and bars I’ve been to are those that don’t look too promising on the outside, but end up offering killer food, drinks, atmosphere, or all of the above. Last week I stumbled across The 13th Step, a spot in NoHo that had sticky floors, a decor reminiscent of a tried and true college bar, and an unbeatable happy hour. It’s safe to say I will be returning quite frequently.

 

Dollar slices are always a good idea

As a Chicagoan, it pains me to admit, but you can’t come to New York and not try the pizza. Regardless of whether you’re team deep dish or team thin crust, you can’t beat a dollar slice from shops that are commonplace on the Big Apple’s street corners (my favorite being 2 Bros Pizza). And hey, any type of food that’s easy on the wallet is smart decision in my book.

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Leave yourself plenty of time to get from place to place… and then some

The subway system in New York is known to be moderately unreliable. If you’re a newcomer to using the subway, or even a native New Yorker, you will without a doubt want to leave a bit of cushion in your schedule for those inevitable train delays. Go ahead and chuck on an extra 15 minutes to that ride from Brooklyn to the Manhattan, you’re going to need it.

 

The above tips are just a fraction of all that I've learned since moving, but they sure are bits of knowledge I wish I had known beforehand to make me feel a little more at home.

My friend told me not long ago, "You're not a true New Yorker until you get pooped on by a bird and splashed by a taxi." So far, one of those two incidents has happened to me. Stay tuned— maybe by the end of the summer I'll earn my true New Yorker stripes. 

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Written by Marin Meiners

Typically with an americano in hand, I play a role in all things operations and recruiting for Kolu. As I like to say, I’m "nothing if not thorough." Originally from Chicago, Illinois, I graduated from the University of Missouri in May with a degree in Business Administration and emphasis in Marketing. Beyond studying abroad in London, I found a passion for travel in Iceland, South Africa, and Spain, which are my favorite among the 24 countries I have visited.

My travel interests include food and dining, music and entertainment, and sports

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