1. If you say “please” and look pathetic enough, you can persuade anyone into letting you use their bathroom.
While walking home from a friend’s 21st birthday outing, I ran into a just-about-to-close Food Emporium and asked a janitor if I could use their private restroom (there wasn’t one for customers at this particular establishment). On most occasions, you couldn’t pay me to go in a grocery store bathroom, but this was an emergency. The gentleman looked at me inquisitively then asked his boss for permission. The manager turned to me and warned, “You know, we’re not allowed to do this.” I promised I would go quickly, after which I was led through the storage room to a freight elevator and down to the staff locker room. I was 99 percent positive that had the man chosen to murder me down there, no one would ever know. Thankfully, he did not. A week earlier, I found myself asking for a similar favor from a Walgreen’s employee, and he too took pity on poor ol’ me. Moral of the story: Utilize that Midwestern niceness, and you’ll be one less New Yorker peeing on the sidewalk.
2. New Yorkers water their cement.
The lack of green space was, for me, one of the biggest drawbacks of NYC, only made more obvious when shop owners and landlords rinsed the cement outside their respective establishments every morning. It was like a scene out of a 1950s Utopian novel: Instead of neighbors greeting each other as they water their lawns, they say “hello” (or, more likely, they say nothing) as they water their concrete. Putting aside the notion that cleaning a New York City sidewalk is as fruitful an activity as teaching a dog to speak Mandarin, this is a handy practice to be aware of when it comes to choosing footwear. My morning jaunt to work was made unsettling when the puddled water (which likely contained more urine than I’m willing to grapple with) from the morning’s rinses splashed up onto my calves with each slapping of my flip flops. My advice to you is simple: flats. Or rainboots. Or the bus.
3. You can get everywhere on foot.
I suppose this depends on your willingness to walk, but if you are as eager to do so as I was, don’t bother with the monthly Metro pass. Each morning, I walked two miles down Third Avenue to work, then went the opposite direction on my way home. My friend lived in the Village, so when I had the time I would walk downtown from my Upper East Side apartment to meet up with her. My evenings also consisted of a lot of late-night walks because looking at buildings is a lot cheaper than going inside them. Besides, the views are pretty spectacular (see pictures below). Sure, to some this may seem crazy, but when you hate exercising and are looking to explore a city, walking everywhere is an easy (and affordable) way to satisfy your needs.
4. Every New Yorker stereotype comes true in Whole Foods.
People know the stereotypes without ever interacting with New Yorkers. They’re rude. They’re loud. They’re arrogant. They’re impatient. Blah, blah, blah… For the most part, these stereotypes are false. Sucky people are everywhere. Awesome people are everywhere. The same goes for New York City. Having said that, the above stereotypes hold true in one very specific location: Whole Foods. No, it’s not on the Subway one finds multitudes of cranky, swearing New Yorkers: It’s in the vitamins and probiotics aisle.
Having received multiple gift cards to the store upon moving to the Big Apple, it was my go-to for all things healthy and over priced. While navigating through the self-important patrons was difficult, waiting in line is when the crowd turned most volatile. Impatience at its finest, I had to bite my tongue to avoid shouting, “Life is too short! This is Whole Foods, not the Pentagon. On your death bed, you will realize all you accomplished in life was purchasing your quinoa a little faster!” That I have not, in fact, screamed this at Sperry-wearing yuppies proves I have developed into the mature, restrained person my mother always hoped I would be.
5. New Yorkers dress well, but most of the time they’re just in fancy athletic gear.
New York is a beautiful city filled with beautiful people. Come nightfall, the dresses of my dreams are seen on scores of women off to tiny portioned, inevitably expensive meals. Still, more often than not, the brands you’ll find them wearing are LuLu Lemon and Nike. While style choices of the evening make me jealous, the latter just make me inadequate: I don’t know how many lunges one must do to make their butt look like that in yoga pants, but I’m clearly not doing enough.