20 THINGS NOBODY TELLS YOU ABOUT LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

 
20 things about living in NYC

After living in New York City for 4.5 years now, I  have learned a thing or two when it comes to everyday life in the big Apple. Overall, I’ve had pretty good luck here. But that’s not to say that there hasn’t been hard days in between. Living in New York City requires you to accept the good with the bad.  And honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Prior to moving to New York City, I read countless articles and blogs about what to expect when living in the city. And even got some of the best advice from my best friend. Although I did find some helpful reads, it’s one of those things where some people will ONLY tell you the negative things about living in New York and some will ONLY boast about the amazing things. But reality is, nothing can prepare you more than experiencing it for yourself.

 So, if you’re considering making the move to NYC, or maybe just curious about what it’s REALLY like to call this city home. Here is some insight on living in New York City. 

Photography by:  Lauren Lucile Creative

Photography by: Lauren Lucile Creative

  1. Your apartment will NOT be like the ones you’ve seen on tv shows. It will be small, very small. Think full size bed up against a wall, small. 

  2. You will always be running 15 mins late. Train traffic is a real thing.

  3. During your commute, you’ll learn how to master walking, texting & eating a meal all at the same time. Embrace it.

  4. Everyday is an adventure on the Subway. Whether it’s a homeless man begging for money, Showtime performers or drunk people yelling at you. Honestly, some days you don’t even notice it as much.

  5. Summer in the city feels like having an adult playground at your disposal.

  6. Even in a city of 8.6 million people, there will often be times you feel extremely lonely and isolated. Everyone experiences this at some point and time.

  7. You will fall in love with the city over and over again when you least expect it.

  8. Doing your laundry is no longer a luxury, but a chore. And requires lots of quarters. 

  9. Living in a walk-up apartment is fine until you have to go grocery shopping or carry your laundry, or move In/Out. Actually it’s not fine, it’s a lot of stairs and heavy breathing. 

  10. You will cry on the Subway at least once. Some people will even say that you’re NOT a real New Yorker until this happens.

  11. You’ll know you’ve made it when you have an elevator, doorman and laundry in your building.

  12. Dating in New York is like playing the lottery. But hey, just think of all the fun stories you can tell your friends and FREE drinks you can consume.

  13. Nothing will get you more excited than finding out the NEW Trader Joe’s is opening up near where you live.

  14. Friendships are harder to maintain in the city and often revolve around meeting up for brunch or cocktails. Everyone is constantly busy, therefore it takes a little more effort to hang out in person regularly. 

  15. You will jump at the opportunity to escape the city at any given chance. However, you will be even more excited to return.

  16. Friends and family will frequently give their unsolicited opinion on how they could NEVER live in New York City. But you better believe they will want to stay with you when they come to visit.

  17. The Subway is the best way to get around New York. Unless it’s late night, spend the extra money on the cab or Uber.

  18. In New York, it’s all about WHO you know. Never turn down an opportunity to network or meet new people. You never know when you might need to utilize that contact.

  19. Only in New York, can you feel like you’ve traveled the world by just visiting new neighborhoods or a different borough.

  20. NYC will constantly remind you just how expensive it is to live here. (Hello ridiculous rent, overpriced cocktails and expensive groceries) But you’ll do it all anyway. Why?! Because you live in the greatest city of all, that’s why.

Photography by:  Lauren Lucile Creative

Photography by: Lauren Lucile Creative

Photography by:  Lauren Lucile Creative

Photography by: Lauren Lucile Creative

I hope this helps gives a little more insight on everyday life in the city. Living in New York really is an experience like non other. Even on the hard days, you’ll look up at the skyline and immediately feel like it’s all worth it, just to call this place home. 

 "Once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough." — John Steinbeck

XO, Rae

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12 RULES OF LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

YEAR 1 OF LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

YEAR 2 OF LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

YEAR 4 OF LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

YEAR 4 OF LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

 
YEAR 4 OF LIVING IN NYC

October 10th, 2014 at 3AM was the start of a new chapter for me as I became a resident of New York City. Living here the past 4 years has brought me so much happiness, forced me out of my comfort zone and has given me experiences to last a lifetime. It still feels surreal to call this city home. And it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my adult life. My love for New York City has only grown with each year of being here. So, in honor of celebrating 4 years in New York City, I’m sharing a round up of all my favorite places in the city. Whether you live here, visit often or are planning to travel to New York for the first time, there is something for everyone! I hope you will enjoy these places as much I do.

You can take a look back at YEAR 1 and YEAR 2 here.


BRYANT PARK 2018

Favorite Park:

Bryant Park is an oasis to New Yorkers placed smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest intersections of the city. It's a great place to eat lunch, work remotely or grab coffee with a friend. And Bryant Park hosts a ton of FREE events in the park throughout the year including yoga, movies in the park, Broadway shows and a Winter village during the holidays.

 
Jacob's Pickles

Favorite Bar:

Jacob’s Pickles located on the Upper West Side, known for it's comfort food and craft cocktails. With it's cool industrial vibe and their killer playlist of r&b and throwback jams, it's a great bar to grab drinks after work or on the weekend. And also makes for a great first date spot. It’s also one of my favorite places to bring friends when they visit. It reminds me of home with it’s southern comfort food and ambience.

 
brunch maison pickle

Favorite Brunch Spots:

Brunch is pretty much a requirement of living in the city. And with so many restaurants around, it's hard to narrow down to just ONE. So here are a few of my go-to brunch spots.

Maison Pickle-The sister restaurant to Jacob's Pickles serves up the best French toast amongst other brunch favorites. Located on the Upper West Side.

Foragers Tabe- This farm to table restaurant serves up a rotating menu per season. My go-to is their smoked salmon tartine. Also, make sure to check out the market attached to the restaurant. Located in Chelsea.

Clinton Street Bakery- This brunch spot always has a line out the door and for good reason. They are known for their pancakes, which are AMAZING! Make sure to go early especially on the weekends and bring cash, as they do not take credit cards. Located in the East Village.

 
BLUESTONE LANE coffee

Favorite Coffee Shop:

Bluestone Lane is an Australian-style coffee shop & cafe. Outside of my usual Starbucks runs, this is my go-to coffee place. They have a wide range menu of both hot & iced coffee options. And there are several locations throughout the city.

 
book culture

Favorite Book Store:

Book Culture is a quaint neighborhood bookstore located on the Upper West Side. Along with books, they also have an assortment of stationary and unique gifts. I always love to stop by here when I'm in the neighborhood.

 
gapstow bridge

Favorite Spot in Central Park:

Central Park has so many scenic views and iconic spots. My favorite is the Gapstow Bridge near 62nd street. This picturesque spot includes views of The Plaza Hotel and surrounding buildings that align 5th Ave. It's always one of the first spots I walk through as the seasons change.

 
Upper West Side

Favorite Neighborhoods:

Upper Westside is where you can find me on most days running errands or grabbing groceries. I love that Central Park is nearby and there are so many shops and restaurants in the area. And it’s home to some of the city’s most popular places i.e.; Natural History Museum, The Bow Bridge in Central Park, Tavern on the Green and so many more.

West Village is also a favorite of mine. With it’s charming streets, unique shops, hidden gems and iconic streets. It never gets old exploring this popular neighborhood in the city.

 
Grimaldi's pizza

Favorite Pizza Places:

Grimaldi's in Brooklyn is a must. Italian style pizza in an authentic environment. Usually there’s a line out the door to get inside, but it’s definitely worth the wait. And the Brooklyn Bridge is within walking distance.

Artichoke Pizza in Chelsea is a great local pizza spot. Very casual dining. And their Margherita pizza is delicious.

Two Boots Pizza or Bleeker Street Pizza for those late nights out when you just want a slice before the cab ride home.

 
Dumbo Brooklyn

Favorite Tourist Attraction:

Dumbo, Brooklyn is my favorite place to explore and bring friends when they visit from out of town. Although it’s known for being an iconic spot, it never feels too touristy. This part of Brooklyn is still up and coming and has so many local shops, restaurants and some of the best waterfront views of the city. A few places to stop at: Jane’s Carousel, Brooklyn Roasting Coffee Shop, Grimaldi’s Pizza, Atrium Dumbo (for oysters & cocktails) and Cecconi’s for dinner.

 

I would love to hear about your favorite places, restaurants and things to do in the city! Tell me in the comments below.

XO, Rae

SUMMER IN THE CITY: NYC EVENTS NOT TO BE MISSED

 

Summer is underway and with July half way over, I'm reminded of all the things I still have left to do on my Summer bucket list. One of the things I love about living in a big city like New York, is that there is always so much to do. And whether you live here or planning to visit this Summer, there is something for everyone. Here's a list of events that are NOT to be missed. 

Bryant Park 2018

 

1. Bryant Park Summer Film Festival 

Every Monday June 18th-Aug. 20th

2. Restaurant Week

July 23rd-Aug. 17th 

Atrium Dumbo

3. Summer Music Festivals 

Concerts happening all over the city and in each borough. 

4. Rooftop Cinema Club

August dates are NOW on SALE, but hurry this weekly event sells out quickly!

5. FREE Yoga at Bryant Park

Bryant Park hosts free yoga in the park every Tuesday morning at 10am & Thursday evenings at 6pm. RSVP by clicking the link above. 

Bryant Park

6. Rosé Mansion

This interactive and educational pop-up will be available July- October. Get tickets by clicking the link above. 

7. Bubbles, Beats & Brunch Cruise 

This is basically a day party aboard a boat that cruises around Manhattan. Brunch served with unlimited mimosas and Bloody Mary bar. Grab your friends & book a date!

8. FREE Fridays at MoMA

Free admission to MoMA every Friday 4-8pm

9. Pier 17 

Newly re-opened Pier 17 has everything from outdoor concerts, a food market hall and a pop-up bar with waterfront views. 

10. Summer Streets 

An outdoor block party, free from vehicles that takes place the first three Saturday's in August.  

Pier 17

 

Feel free to share this list with friends visiting NYC this Summer or save it to your phone as a reminder of things to do around city. 

 

Xo, Rae 

5 OUTDOOR THINGS TO DO IN NYC THIS SUMMER

 
5 OUTDOOR THINGS TO DO IN NYC THIS SUMMER

Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, it's the unofficial start to Summer. And that means it's time to soak up some SUN and take advantage of these long Summer days. Although New York City is known for being a concrete jungle, the city has a lot to offer when it comes to life outdoors. So, I'm sharing five things to do outdoors this Summer in NYC.

Bryant Park 2018

1. Bryant Park

There are an array of parks all over Manhattan, but this one is worth braving the crowds for. Bryant Park hosts a ton of events during the Summer months. You can take a FREE Yoga class in the park, watch a movie on the lawn, preview a Broadway Show & even attend an all you can eat ice cream festival. This is the perfect place to gather with friends and enjoy all that Summer has to offer.

Located: between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth Avenues., New York, NY 10018

Grand Bazaar Market 2018

2. Grand Bazaar Market

This outdoor market is located on the Upper Westside and is OPEN every Sunday from 10am-5:30pm. Being NYC's largest curated flea market with 100+ vendors, you can expect to find everything from clothing, jewelry, antiques to local food vendors. It’s a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and support local artists. 

Located: 100 West 77th St., NY, NY 10024 (at Columbus Avenue)

Loopy Doopy Rooftop Cocktails

3. Rooftop Bars

Summer wouldn't be complete without a visit to a rooftop bar. Whether you're going for the breathtaking skyline views, the Instagramable cocktails or just to cool off from the heat, there is something for everyone. Click here for a list of some of the best rooftops in the city. Cheers to Summer!

Pictured: Loopy Doopy Rooftop / Prosecco & Ice Pop Cocktails

Located: 102 North End Avenue, New York, NY 10282

IMG_9296.jpg

4. Boat Basin Cafe

This is one of the best kept secrets (in my opinion) on the Upper Westside. In a somewhat hidden location, Boat Basin Cafe sits right on the edge of Riverside Park overlooking the Hudson River. It's laid back atmosphere is accompanied by casual dining, frozen drinks, beer on tap and waterfront views. This is one of my favorite places to bring my Georgia friends when they come to visit, because they never expect to see a place like this in the middle of the city.

Located: W 79th St, New York, NY 10024 

Madison Square Eats 2018

5. Madison Square Eats

One of the best parts of Summer is dining al fresco. And Urbanspace has several pop-up food markets all around the city including Madison Square Eats that hosts 20+ vendors of local NYC restaurants. It's the perfect place to grab lunch on the go or meet friends after work. Seasonal ONLY May/JUNE. Open Daily 11am-9pm

Located: Worth Square, Flatiron District New York, NY 10010

 

ALSO RECOMMENDED:  THINGS TO DO IN THE SUMMER IN NEW YORK 

 

XO, Rae 

YEAR 2 OF LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

 
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On October 10th, 2014 at 3 A.M., I crossed over the George Washington Bridge and into Manhattan. Moving to New York was never something I saw myself doing, but when life brings you opportunities, sometimes you have to take it and RUN! It's hard to even believe that it's been 2 years already. I still feel like I just moved here but also strangely feel like I've been here forever. That's the thing about New York, once you live here you instantly become attached. My first year living in New York was one to remember. It was full of amazing experiences and growth. And year two has been just as memorable. Here are some of my favorite memories over the past year. 

 

STANDING ATOP THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

Seeing all of New York City from 86 floors up above, gives you all the feels. It also, gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “Empire State of Mind”. It reminded me how lucky I am to be able to call this concrete jungle, home. 

SUNDAY FUNDAY IN BROOKLYN

This Summer, my brother visited NYC for the very first time. I was excited to get to show him around the city. But I also wanted to show him life outside of Manhattan. And Brooklyn is the next best borough. We first walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, then grabbed pizza at Grimaldi's (best pizza in Brooklyn) and finished the day drinking beers at the Brooklyn Brewery. By far, one of my most favorite days.

TAKING MY MOM TO SEE 'THE COLOR PURPLE' ON BROADWAY

The moment I learned that Heather Headley would be taking on the role of Shug, I knew I had to see this show. And what better show to take your Mom to during a girls weekend?! It was one of the best shows I have seen thus far. After the show, I pulled my Mom quickly aside and stood to wait for the cast outside. We got to have our playbills signed by all of the main cast including Heather Headley and Cynthia Erivo. I was freaking out (on the inside of course). Sharing that moment with my Mom was amazing. 

SEEING ALICIA KEYS PERFORM IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER

I may have had to wake up at 4:30 A.M. to only stand in the back of the crowd behind a street light pole. But to hear Alicia Keys sing LIVE made all of it worth it. Not to mention, I got to share the moment with my best friend. We bonded over Alicia Keys music over a decade ago, when we first met and I'm pretty sure we will dance to 'No One' one day at my wedding. 

WITNESSING MY BEST FRIEND PROPOSE TO HIS BOYFRIEND

That dinner, those words and the tears shed will always be a night to remember. I can't wait to help plan their wedding and stand next to my best friend as he says 'I Do'.  Love is Love. 

FINDING NEW FRIENDSHIPS

Moving to a new city means meeting new friends. And although there are millions of people here, it almost makes it harder. Everyone is busy with work and the city hustle, so it's not often you find long lasting friendships. But I have been lucky to meet some amazing people and I am so glad I get to call them friends.

I never could have imagined all the things that would come with living in New York City. Every day still feels as exciting as the next. I can't wait to see what the next 365 days bring!

 

XO, Rae

NYC LIVING: COLUMBUS CIRCLE NEW UNDERGROUND SHOPS & EATS

 

If there is one thing I have learned while living in New York City, it's that convenience is EVERYTHING. The days are longer and you're constantly on the go here. Especially when it comes to meals. Hence, why there are so many food trucks in the city. My favorite is the coffee and bagel carts. Perfect for the days when you're literally running across the street to get to the office on time. So it's fitting that there is now something even more convenient that has recently opened up at Columbus Circle.

Turnstyle is an underground dinning and shopping experience. Located under Columbus Circle at the corner of 57th/58th Street & 8th Avenue. 

 

I recently visited the new underground shops & eats and was impressed with all it has to offer. Imagine a row of pop-up style restaurants and retail spaces with easy access for on the go shopping and dinning. I was immediately drawn to the vibrant and colorful atmosphere. It was also very clean and more spacious than I anticipated it to be. I recognized a few places right away but was also excited to see some unfamiliar ones.

Everything from:  

DOUGHNUTTERY

BYSUZETTE

GASTRONOMIE 49

PRESSED JUICERY

Just to name a few. 

And for the days you are in need of a gift for that special someone or on your way to a friend's dinner party. Don't show up empty handed! There are several great shops to pick up a great gift. I especially love PAPYRUS and LUSH.  If you need a sugar fix, there is even a DYLAN'S CANDY BAR. And if you've had a long day and not sure if your roommate drank the last of the wine at home. Luckily, there is also a wine shop that you can stop at to grab a bottle before getting on the subway home.  

For a full list of shops and eats go to turn-style.com.

 

XO, Rae

5 REASONS WHY LIVING IN NEW YORK IS AMAZING

 
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It's no secret that New York City is the one of the greatest cities in the world. Many consider it a right of passage to live here. Besides walking among the bright lights and concrete jungle. Here are some more reasons why living in New York City is AMAZING. 

 

ACTIVE LIFESTYLE

Even if you're like me and don't really love to work out. You really won't have a choice living in New York. Chances are high that you will live in a walk up building. Meaning, you could climb five to six flights of stairs every day. Thank you pre-war buildings. I've been doing this for over a year now and I have to say my legs and butt have never looked better. And if you do love working out well, your in luck. Stairs are everywhere, restaurants, subway stations, grocery stores etc... 

Plus, Walking everywhere does keep you active and encourages you to be more fit. And it's a great excuse to wear yoga pants out in public. 

 

DELIVERY

drinking tv scandal abc olivia pope

When you're at home sick and can barely get out of bed or there is 3ft. of snow on the ground and you have to put on six layers of clothes just to go outside. Delivery comes to the rescue. Of course with Seamless you can order great food. There is also delivery for groceries. Have you ever had to carry groceries up 5 flights of stairs?! Yeah, this is why New Yorkers love delivery. And when you've had a bad day at work and only want to come home to a glass of wine and Scandal. But then discover your roommate drank the last of the bottle. You phone your favorite liquor store to order a bottle of wine STAT. YES! Wine delivers to your doorstep. 

I bet Olivia Pope couldn't make that happen. Okay, so she probably could. But you get my point. 

 

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Nothing is more exhausting and aggravating than spending hours in the car sitting in traffic. Trust me I know. I lived in Atlanta for 11 years, one of the worst cities to commute in. So living in New York now and having a Subway station every few blocks is amazing. Sure there is such a thing as "train traffic". No, seriously. And yes there are occasional train delays and trains re-routed. But after a long day all I have to do is grab a seat and enjoy the ride. You honestly have more down time in your day to read a book, catch up with a friend, prep for that upcoming interview or listen to music. It's nice to not have to worry about parking or which hwy to avoid during rush hour. Best of all, you never have to be the designated driver in your group of friends. So ultimately, you can have that last cocktail and no one will judge you. 

 

ENDLESS ENTERTAINMENT

There is endless amounts of things to do from Central Park, Concerts, Movies in the park, Festivals, Broadway shows, Rooftop happy hours, Art exhibits, Museums and tons more. And not to mention you have 5 boroughs you can visit and explore. Also, each new season brings a new agenda of events throughout the city/state. Boredom is not an option here. 

 

THE PEOPLE

Everyday you get to be surrounded by millions of people in the city. Some may think that this just sounds crowded. But you never know who you may come in contact with on a daily basis. Whether it be a random stranger giving up their seat for you on the subway or an encounter with a celebrity. New Yorkers are known for being loyal to each other and to the city itself. And I have witnessed that first hand. It's always inspiring to see how people in the city never seem to meet a stranger and hustle harder than anyone. 

New York City is no doubt one of the toughest places to live, however there are so many amazing reasons why it is one of the best places to live. So, if you ever have the urge to move to New York City, DO IT! I promise you won't regret it. 

 

XO, Rae

THINGS TO DO IN THE SUMMER IN NEW YORK

 

 

Summertime sadness is quickly approaching. We will soon have to say goodbye to those tan lines. But before you pack up your swimsuits and replace them with sweaters, there is still time to enjoy some amazing things in the city. Being that this is my first Summer in New York City, I wanted to take advantage of everything that the city has to offer. The good thing is that there is a ton to do. But it often makes it hard to choose, so I compiled a list of my most favorite. 

 

THE HIGH LINE

The High Line is an elevated public park that is actually built on an old freight rail line located in the Meat Packing district. It's kinda of like an adult playground with lots seating and luscious landscape. There is even a splash pad to cool off your feet that you can walk through along a section of the park. Great for reading a book or just relaxing and bathing in the sun. Often you can find events, public art and food and drink vendors along the High Line. Also, a plus is that Chelsea Market is near by. Chelsea Market is an indoor food hall including a mix of different restaurants, pop up shops and local artists. Perfect way to spend a Summer afternoon and cool off indoors.

 

JONES BEACH

Summer would not be complete without a trip to the beach. Jones Beach is located on the south shore of Long Island. The beach includes a boardwalk where you can grab a bite or shop at one of the local vendors.  Click here for more details on fees and access to the beach as well as beach rentals. 

 

THE MET ROOFTOP BAR

On Friday and Saturday's from 5pm-8pm  The Met Museum rooftop turns into a social hour with signature cocktails, martinis and light snacks. Access is granted with a purchased Museum ticket. Luckily, The Met is pay as you wish. So you can get in for the less expensive ticket price which is $12.95. There is no other rooftop bar that will give you access to such breathtaking panoramic views of the NYC skyline. Great for meeting up with friends and enjoying a few drinks to start off the weekend. You have never seen Central Park or the city quite like this!

 

BROADWAY IN THE PARK

Every Thursday from 12:30pm-1:30pm July-August you have a chance to see a sneak peak of on and off Broadway shows courtesy of Broadway In Bryant Park. There is often FREE Giveaways and if you arrive early you can catch the warm up performances. Seats fill up quickly and are first come first serve. 

 

ICE CREAM SPOTS

These are not your ordinary Ice Cream shops. A favorite of mine is BIG GAY ICE CREAM. this place is all about unicorns and funky ice cream combinations. And Mister Softee is a local favorite, you can find this gem of an ice cream truck driving around all over Manhattan. Nothing is better than delicious cold ice cream when your trying to beat the Summer heat. For more local ice cream spots, click here

 

MoMA

Thanks to UNIQLO every FRIDAY, MoMA is FREE from 4pm-8pm. 

Free admission includes special exhibits also. Get there early because the line tends to wrap around the building. And be prepared to be in a crowd of art lovers. Great way to spend an evening with a friend or a date while you gaze away at art. 

 

What are your favorite things to do in the city during the Summer?

 

XO, Rae

BRYANT PARK: ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES IN THE CITY

 

On Sunday, I met up with my friend Sarah for lunch who happened to be in the city for the weekend. Sarah and I met while working in Atlanta together and she now lives in upstate New York. So, when she mentioned she would be coming into the city, we immediately made plans to meet up. Always great to see an old friend and catch up! 

After lunch I did some shopping and took a walk through Bryant Park, which is easily becoming one of my favorite places in the city. Bryant park is iconic for so many reasons. Mostly for hosting Fashion Week in the past years. But one thing I love about the park, is that it always takes on a new feel according to the season. And now that it's SUMMER time, it's the perfect place to hang out. Along with tables and chairs that border the lawn to sit and have lunch or just take in the sites, there is also food trucks and outdoor games available. Not to mention, the park also has some amazing views of nearby skyscrapers. I can't wait to hang out in the park more and take advantage of all things to do nearby.

What is your FAVORITE place in the city?

 

XO, Rae