44 things that will happen to you when you move to NYC

Lisa Olson
4 min readJun 1, 2019
Photo by Trent Szmolnik on Unsplash
  1. Someone will probably yell at you to go if you’re waiting for the pedestrian green light to turn on
  2. Someone will probably yell at you. In general. Weekly or more.
  3. If your bag is open, headphones dangling out, no one will tell you. If they tell you, they’re probably not from New York.
  4. Someone will tell you you haven’t fully experienced New York until _____ blank. And they will all disagree on what that blank is.
  5. You’ll end up in Queens on accident.
  6. You’ll get in many people’s way and eventually nail the ‘oops, got in your way’ and ‘get out of my @!&$ing way’ looks.
  7. You’ll try and fail to find meetup groups based on the sheer amount of people.
  8. You’ll be totally down to meeting up with someone until you find out they live in Brooklyn. (or vice versa with manhattan)
  9. You’ll think Times Square is cool for about 10 minutes your first time and then never think that again and avoid it like the plague at all costs.
  10. You’ll learn the difference between 14th station and 14th station. (Finding out that lines run east to west.)
  11. You’ll end up on the east side of Harlem on accident and realize two blocks away is vastly different.
  12. You’ll find out why New Yorkers like Central Park so much. (Escape the incessant commuter chaos)
  13. You’ll drop your wallet in the subway during rush hour and miss your next 4 stops trying to collect your items. (or was that just me…)
  14. You’ll have someone be really nice to you and it will catch you so off guard, you’ll remember it the rest of the week. (And possibly year)
  15. You’ll never take for granted having the $3 pizza slices that taste like heaven.
  16. You’ll learn who the Brooklyn people are and the manhattan people are and tread carefully around both. (Same with Mets and Yankees)
  17. You’ll try to squeeze through the doors of the subway as it’s closing and have a parade of people come to your rescue trying to pry the doors open. (It’s a bonding experience)
  18. You’ll accidentally get on express and be 50 streets away from your intended destination.
  19. You’ll try to attend festivals and things at first until you realize the sheer vastness and amount of people make every event a 5–6 hour, waiting in line, overly unnecessary extravaganza and avoid them altogether.
  20. You’ll complain about your job and the weather a lot. But also proclaim proudly there’s no where else you’d rather be.
  21. You’ll become extremely good at ignoring people and nailing the, ‘don’t talk to me’ look.
  22. You’ll have a bad experience with a place/person and be elated to realize you’ll literally never see those people/places probably ever again.
  23. You may experience wanting to become a new person every day for the sole reason that you could. And meet thousands of people. For a year. And probably never have it come back to bite you.
  24. You may make a spontaneous musical purchase because there’s so much incessant art and you want to be a part of it. (Even if you can’t play)
  25. You’ll realize you can say literally almost anything and most New Yorkers will simply shrug and say, ‘okay’.
  26. You’ll see photo shoots, music videos being shot, famous people, and you will care less. In fact, your highest priority will be exiting the scene ASAP to avoid the onslaught of Non-New Yorkers that will begin freaking out.
  27. You’ll see so many confident people that own their style and personality that insecurity and sensitivity will majorly stick out.
  28. You will not say ‘I hate new york’ or ‘I love my job’ if you want to have friends.
  29. You’ll be offended. And then slowly have that whittled away until you, too, will simply shrug at anything and say, ‘okay’.
  30. You’ll fall in the subway. Because you thought you got cool/confident enough to not hold onto the bar. Someone will be there to catch you, holding on like a steel pillar. You’ll share a knowing smile or an angry glance.
  31. People will have opinions about where you live. What health insurance you have. What you do. Who you date. You’ll learn to genuinely not care and defend yourself.
  32. You’ll find a confidence and aggressiveness you didn’t know you had.
  33. You’ll become extremely good at blocking everyone and everything out
  34. You’ll probably end up purchasing air pods or noise cancelling over ear headphones. Or both.
  35. You’ll figure out what you want and who you are because you have to. You have to know what you’re about here or you’ll change every day.
  36. You’ll be angry and irritated at the chaos some days and enamored and overjoyed about it the next. Just go with it.
  37. You’ll learn positivity is a rare breed here. And something people appreciate and are surprised by when presented with it.
  38. You’ll hear most people say they ended up here for work and not because they sought it out.
  39. You’ll learn to understand, New Yorkers aren’t rude. People are just generally in the way.
  40. You’ll be asked for directions to a specific street or landmark. And no matter what excuses you give, tourists can and will hold it 100% against you if you can’t give them specific directions to that thing and are nothing but courteous and patient while doing it.
  41. You’ll try, at first, to ‘get around the people’. Get over this as soon as possible. You cannot and never will ‘get around the people’. This is an impossible task. Give it up.
  42. You’ll learn, after a while, to exist in stampedes without freaking out.
  43. You probably won’t talk about or go to the famous landmarks unless someone’s visiting. And if you do, you most definitely will keep that to yourself.
  44. You’ll have a great time. But not in the way you expect.

What’d I miss?



Lisa Olson

Front End Developer. Passionate about everything I do. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.