Behind The Scenes Of Living In NYC

I was born and raised in New York City. I never understood everyone’s fascination with wanting to come to the big apple. Maybe if you grew up in a small rural town in the middle of nowhere, then I could understand why. I went to college here. As badly as I wanted to go away, I stood behind as most of my friends left for schools out of state. You fall into the same routines daily and everything becomes mundane. Taking the train into the city, dealing with the crowds, the taxis zooming through each street, cars honking, people shoving you, garbage everywhere, the mixed aroma of peanuts and urine on the streets. Almost every street corner has someone selling tickets to what they consider to be, “the best comedy show in the city.” Tourists get sucked in every time. If you were born in this city, 9 times out of 10 you know how to navigate these kinds of situations. It is difficult to cross streets sometimes when you have tourists taking photos in the most inconvenient spots. You also have models being photographed in the middle of traffic which is quite dangerous.

You pay ridiculously expensive prices for food you can make at home. One thing I can say is this, you will not find pizza like ours. We also have really good Italian food and BAGELS. Now that I moved out of state, these are the things I miss most, FOOD. People will wait hours on line to get kale smoothies that cost about $12.50 for a small bottle. Never understood why people insist on paying $15 for a salad you can make yourself. You can never find a Starbucks that is empty. You almost always have to make a reservation if you want to have a fancy dinner downtown or else you will wait hours. Food carts on the street are popular with tourists, but little do they know that some of these vendors do not wash their hands, then they touch your food. Be mindful of this. Madison Avenue is known for having the high end stores like Gucci and Prada. Door men stand by the door ready to escort customers inside, who are willing to pay 5k on a purse that is made out of vinyl, just to say its Prada. People are not well mannered and do not know how to say, excuse me, or thank you, or sorry. It is like $5 for one minute if you choose to ride in those carts tourists always manage to get persuaded into. Traffic is ridiculous. If you are a pure bred New Yorker, you are smart enough to not drive into the city. During Christmas time, people spend loads of money to say they ice skated in Rockefeller Center, where they are wearing disgusting and unsanitary ice skates on their feet, that thousands of people have worn before them.

If you are an animal lover and do not like to see homeless animals, do not go to Times Square. You see many dogs living on the streets with their owners. I have lived in NY my whole life and this makes me so emotional every time I see it. Times Square is the heart of the city I would say. Upcoming dancers put on a show for tourists where they do jumps and flips and much more. You see many Nannies strolling through the streets with the 5 kids they get paid to babysit. Middle aged mothers on their morning or afternoon jogs. Men in suits rushing to catch the train. You have upcoming musicians on different street corners playing their instruments with their equipment bag or a cup by their side where people can throw money.

I can understand wanting to be a part of a big city, where no one knows your name, and you rarely see the same person twice. Making a name for yourself here is extremely nerve wracking and anxiety filled. Countless people come here to pursue their careers as musicians, actors/actresses, writers, and much more. This way of life is not for everyone. People are aggressive, it is fast paced, and often overwhelming. You cannot be naive and you have to always have your guard up. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

I grew up here so it’s different for someone who has never experienced NYC. Although it is not my cup of tea, I am grateful for what I have learned while living here and for the friends I have made. I have had the opportunity to travel and with that said, I have experienced other areas and ways of living. Being that I come from a fast paced, always-on-the-go mentality, it is difficult for me to adjust to a lifestyle where everything is slower paced. I have a love-hate relationship with the city, but I do not regret where I came from.

this photo is my own.
Lexington Avenue, Hunter College, NYC.

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Ms. Dakota, is a current graduate student and soon to be elementary education teacher. She is a multi-genre writer who explores the world of creative non-fiction, poetry, and fiction. You can find her on twitter: @msdakotawrites.

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