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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YEAR 1 OF LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

YEAR 2 OF LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

YEAR 4 OF LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

GEORGIA ON MY MIND

 

HAPPY SUNDAY, Y'all!

I admit, I have not been watching much football this season. Typically, I catch most of the games, but for whatever reason, it just hasn't happened. I've only seen a few games here and there. But I feel like today TOTALLY made up for it. I watched the ATLANTA FALCONS game and witnessed them not only score a WIN, but a ticket to the Super Bowl!! And I could not be more excited for my old hometown.

As most of you know, I lived in Atlanta for 11 years prior to moving to New York City. I have lived in a lot of places in my short thirty-four years, but nothing felt more like home than Georgia. I owe a lot of who I am to the years spent there. I became an adult. I fell in love, real love, for the first time and also experienced heartbreak. I had a successful career which taught me that I was capable of much more than I ever thought possible. And now, that experience has lead me to starting my own business. I found life long friendships with some of my closest girlfriends, in which I credit Atlanta for having us cross paths.

Friendships that have endured the highs and lows of life, marriages, babies and moving out of state. I also, welcomed my thirties with a new lease on life after throwing out my life timeline in effort to live more in the moment. But what I most cherish from my time living in Atlanta, is meeting my best friend, Will. We have been friends for over twelve years now and currently live together in the city. So, I guess I kinda get to have a piece of ATL with me everyday in NYC.

Atlanta was 'home' in so many ways and although I love living in New York City, there are things that I miss about the South. Football Sunday's, Sweetwater beer, Waffle House after a night out, sweet tea and southern hospitality. I have no doubt that one day I will move back for good, but until then, Georgia is always on my mind.

 

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

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

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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

I ❤️ NY: YEAR 1 OF LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

 
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I recently celebrated my 1 year anniversary of living in New York City. October 10th, 2014 at 3 am is when I officially became a resident of New York. As I drove over the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan, there were so many emotions. Mostly I remember feeling excited for what was to come with living in New York. There I was in a packed SUV with my best friend & my Mom. After 16+ hours of driving up the east coast, I was anxious to get to my new apartment. We pulled up shortly after 3 am and made the decision to go ahead and unload the SUV. 

My first dose of NYC apartment living was carrying boxes up five flights of stairs. I think I cursed most of the way up and down.

 After about an hour we finally had everything unloaded and into the apartment. I had seen the apartment in photos prior to moving but seeing my bedroom in person, it was even smaller than I remembered. I was unsure if any of my things would fit and wondered how could I live in such a small space. I mean here I was literally downsizing to a small bedroom barely big enough for a full size bed from my spacious 900+ sq. ft apartment in Atlanta. I started to break down. There it was, all the months of preparation of moving, leaving my job, leaving all of my friends & my life behind in Atlanta along with being cooped up in a car for 16+ hours all hit me at that exact moment. I remember I just slid down the wall as the tears ran down my face and I began to question everything. This went on for about an hour. Everyone was nice or maybe smart enough to just let me be alone for awhile. I finally pulled myself together and came out of my room, walked into my best friends bedroom where he, his boyfriend and my mom were all siting there drinking wine. My eyes all swollen from crying, I smiled and asked for a glass for myself. 

So there we sat until after 6 am drinking wine and laughing at my meltdown. I knew then that everything would be okay.

I look back on that day now and I think how happy I am that I took this journey of moving to New York. 

Living in New York has been exhilarating. It hasn't been perfect by any means but pretty darn close. The energy you feel here never wears off. That's what I love most about this city. You always feel inspired here. Each day is something different and to be in awe of. I can't describe it in words, you have to feel it for yourself. I hope that feeling never goes away. This past year has also had many

unexpected moments. I landed an amazing job when I first got here and then quit after 6 months, I started a blog about my life and have taken the time to rediscover myself. The Subway once terrified me, now I'm the one getting asked for directions. I can hail a cab even in the rain. And I have even learned how to dress like a New Yorker. So many changes have happened in just a year but in a strange way, I feel it was all meant to be. 

I could not have made it through the past year without the support of my amazing friends and family. 

To my Grandfather, who without him I would not have been strong enough to make the decision to move to NYC and make this life change. He inspired me to have no regrets in life and to him I will always be grateful for instilling that in me. I miss you everyday Granddaddy and I hope I am making you proud. 

To my Mother, who is always by biggest supporter in life. She never tells me my dreams are too big or too crazy. I owe her everything for always being there for me. I love you MOM!

To my brother and my Dad, Thank you for believing in me and telling me how proud you are. It means more than you will ever know. I love you both!

To my best friend Lindsey, thank you for taking my calls on good days and bad days. Most of all, thank you for not letting distance change our friendship! I am so lucky to have you as my friend. 

To Danny, Thank you for taking a chance on living with your boyfriend's best friend after have only meeting me once in person. Thank you for being there on days I needed it most. I am so glad we have become friends over the past year.

To my best friend Will, it was YOU who convinced me over the course of 5 years to move to New York. You knew way before I did that I would love it here. Thank you for always pushing me in life and always being there. I can't imagine my life without you. In the end, its always you & I.

To all of my friends and family who have encouraged me on this journey, who have called, sent cards, letters or just been there for me. Thank you!! Nothing in life is worth having if you can't share it with the people you love most.  

I knew moving to New York would change my life. I just didn't know how. And I'm so glad it did. I am not the same person I was 12 months ago. I feel more confident, more open to change and more willing to let life take me where I am meant to be. My friends tell me how happy I sound on the phone so I guess it shows. Anything is possible if you let it be. Don't be afraid to make a life change. It could just be exactly what you need. Thank you New York for an incredible first year. I can't wait to see what this next year has in store for me. 

 

XO, Rae

THE BEST ADVICE I RECEIVED BEFORE MOVING TO NYC

 
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Before I moved to New York, I read countless websites, blogs, and Buzzfeed articles. I did a lot of research in the months leading up to my move. Mostly articles on "What to expect when moving to New York", "Things to know before moving to New York" and "Things you need when living in New York." You get the idea.

I was determined to prepare myself the best way possible. I wanted to come here and succeed but also be realistic. I knew New York was not going to be an easy move so I wanted to read up on everything that  I could find before the big day.

Now that I live here, I feel like I know a lot more of what the reality IS. I did find that I learned some useful tips in my online research, however the advice I received from my best friend, Will, was probably the most honest and helpful to me. He told me that I could plan all I wanted, but that it really comes down to this, "YOU HAVE TO WANT TO BE HERE". Those 7 words have stuck with me EVER SINCE. And it's the truest of anything I read or was told about living in New York. Here's the thing, there are tons of people who move to New York every day. And there are tons of reasons why they move to New York. But if you truly want to be here, you've already separated yourself from those who just move here on hopes and dreams. New York is tough. So, the key is asking yourself, "Why do I want to be here?"

 

What's the best advice you've received before making a big move?  

 

XO, Rae

MOVING TO NEW YORK

 
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Moving to New York has been by far the best decision I have ever made. Well...I say that NOW, maybe I should wait til I have lived here for at least a year, LOL. Moving here was not always part of my plan but life changes sometimes and here I am.

Up until 7 months ago, I was living in Atlanta, Ga. I had a great job, amazing friends and a gorgeous apartment right outside of the city. So what changed?! Well...I changed. Two and half years ago, before turning 30, I began to see my life differently unlike before. I was a few years out of a long term relationship that was on again off again for longer than I like to admit to.

When I was with my ex, I was so sure of my life, my career and wanting to be married and have kids. I had always thought that I would be married and have kids before 30. I think most women feel the pressure of this for all sorts of reasons. But turning 30 was a game changer for me. I stopped worrying about where I was in life and started to focus on where I was going in life. For me, I was so worried about trying to have this list of accomplishments by the time I turned 30 and then realized that my life was just starting. I let go of my preconceived ideas and I let myself be. I actually came to New York to visit my best friend Will (who I live with now) and celebrate my 30th Birthday.

I had no idea that almost 2 years later I would be moving to New York. Will had been trying to get me to move to New York for a few years. I would nicely say to him "maybe" but really knowing in the back of my mind that I had no intentions of moving. (He knew that as well but he still tried to convince me). At that time I was still content with my life in Atlanta and was ready to see what 30 had to offer. I would visit New York a few more times after my 30th Birthday, falling more in love with the city more each time. And then after a major loss in my life, I soon realized that maybe New York wasn't a bad idea after all.

My Grandfather passed away last year May 24th, 2014. A day that I will never forget. He was an amazing man. He traveled the world, had a very successful career and made a name for himself. He was known by a rare nickname and was the life of the party. Shortly before his passing, I had told him about the possibility of me moving to NY. He was surprisingly very excited for me. He traveled to NY often throughout his life and had nothing but great things to say and stories to tell about his trips here. I was still unsure myself if I would actually go through with it but when he passed, I knew I had to do it. Not just for him, but for me. His passing changed my life in more ways than one. But mostly he had always instilled in me to never have regrets in life. He lived life so passionately and I wanted to do the same. So, fast forward to October 2014, I packed up an SUV full of clothes and boxes with my Mom and my best friend. After 16 hours traveled up the east coast, on 3AM October 10th, 2014, I officially became a New Yorker. 

Can't wait to share this journey with you. 

 

XO, Rae