What Living In New York City Is Really Like

I'm sorry to break it to you, but it is far from what you see on the TV show Friends (I know, I know - it's utterly heartbreaking).

New York City: an embodiment of the American Dream, and a place where people go to do big things. New York is undoubtedly an incredible place full of a variety of people, places, and things to do. Millions of tourists flock to the city every year in search of inspiration, those *movie-magic* moments, and the perfect shot for their Instagram feeds. Although New York will never be my most favourite city in the world, I still possess a very special and personal relationship with it. Here is my interpretation of what living in New York City is really like based on my own personal experiences.

My time to come and live and study here in New York began in August of 2016. It was humid and busy and I was so excited to be here. I attend Parsons School of Design, which I discussed in my last post, an art and design school located in the heart of Manhattan's vibrant Greenwich Village. I must admit, coming to live in New York has been so difficult for me at times, and sometimes it still is. There were so many times when I thought I just couldn't do it, but you just have to call your mum while bawling your eyes out in a Starbucks (yep, that happened), and keep going. It was definitely overwhelming at times, but I've learned that New York is not meant to be nice. It will never be easy, but rather a test of your perseverance, dexterity, and attitude.

The Cons

Coming back home to New York never feels quite as relaxing as it should. Every time I fly into LaGuardia (the world's worst airport, might I add) after visiting my hometown in Canada, I instantly feel my stress levels begin to rise. When I'm in the city, I always feel as if there is no room to screw up or fail or to have a bad day. I feel this constant pressure to be persistently proving myself while here, and that in itself can be exhausting.

New York is dense, there is very little grass, and you are always surrounded by people, noise, and questionable smells. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but you get there eventually. Police sirens, car horns, and the hum of the city have all become white noise to me. The smells I'm still working on.

It's expensive. Groceries are oftentimes close to double the price due to the transportation costs of getting them into the city. Avocados cost $3 (tragic, I know). One fare on the subway is $2.75, which doesn't seem like a lot, but it does start to add up. Rent is notoriously expensive. My shared dorm for the school year alone was $20,000 (yikes).

Sometimes you feel so alone. Even in a city of almost 8.5 million, loneliness can hit you at the worst of times. 


It can all become a little much. It comes to no surprise that the wealthy here have homes out in the Hamptons because man, oh man, sometimes you just need to get the heck out. The busyness can get to you, so it's important to do something that relaxes you and shuts your brain off for a while, whether that be watching a few episodes of your favourite television show, reading, or scrolling around right here on the internet. 

It can be a real hit to your confidence. When you're in a city that is so large and so packed with other individuals in your profession, it can feel as if you're not good enough - especially if you were once a big fish in a small pond. Everyone here seems to be incredibly talented and more successful than you. My advice for this? You need to stop comparing yourself. It is one of the worst things you can do, as it diverts your attention away from what you're working on, and focuses it on someone else. I know how difficult is it to not feel envious or disheartened at times, but you can learn from all of the talented people in this city to better your own work and to feel more confident. Most people, at the end of the day, are good people and will appreciate you seeking their advice. Others will not, but that's their problem - just keep moving!

The Pros

That skyline and those lights never fail to dazzle me. New York possesses one of the most incredible skylines, and it certainly does not disappoint. For a great view to feast your eyes upon, go over to Brooklyn and view lower Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge Park.

I don't know about you guys, but I am a pizza lover...no, I am a pizza fanatic. I love the stuff! Pizza in New York is available hot and ready 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, and often for only $1. Or, if you're in the mood for splurging, you can go to Joe's for $2.75. I feel like I don't take advantgae of this luxury nearly enough, but when I do it's the best.

You can walk everywhere. I feel like some people may see this as a con, but to me it is most definitely a big plus! I love to walk, and with everything in New York being within arm's reach, I do a lot of it. Long walks are great for collecting thoughts and taking a breather from the busy lifestyle New York caters to.

That *magical* feeling that anything is possible. Although I don't feel this every day, there are these rare moments when you feel like the luckiest son of a gun out there. There is some beauty in the chaos of New York, after all.

Moments when you realise you live in New York are exciting and humbling. They go a little something like this: *walking along minding your own business, perhaps you're jamming out to whatever music you're listening to and then BAM! SUDDENLY THE FLIPPING FLATIRON BUILDING APPEARS IN FRONT OF YOU* Me to me: Oh yeah! Holy $h*t! I Iive in New York!

New York feels so safe. I have never felt at risk in the city, even when the sun goes down. Though, this does not mean you should ever let your guard down. There are always people around and police are constantly patrolling the streets making sure everything is as it should be.

Last, but certainly not least, New York on Sunday morning. It's a bloody ghost town, baby. Yee haw. Also, amazing for street photos with no people. Plus, brunch. Sunday's here are the greatest. 

Final Thoughts

I hope you've enjoyed this post, and have had a bit of a laugh along the way. Do any of you live/or have lived in New York? Please share your stories in the comment section below! I would also love to answer any of your NY related questions to the best of my ability.