New York. The Big Apple. One of the most whimsical places to live in the United States…according to movies and people that don’t actually live here.
I don’t want to start off by bashing the very state I’ve wanted to live in since high school so here are a few things that I truly admire about living here:
- It NEVER sleeps. This is so cliche but it’s very true and not only for Manhattan. I live in Brooklyn where the late-night hunger gets very real. Especially after working a late shift and you haven’t got time to eat dinner. You go down the street to your nearest deli and get whatever you want. It’s not always the best depending on where you go but for the most part you’re left satisfied and grateful that someone out there needed to stay open 24 hrs to make sure there’s food on the table. (We’ll circle back to this later).
- You will never be without a job. Unless you have a very special case where you absolutely cannot find anyone that will hire you. This is usually a reality for felons or people with a bad employment history. I lost my first job out here but literally not even a week later, I had started a new one. But it’s New York. There are endless ways to make money. Even if it’s not completely legal. *shrugs shoulders*
- Networking is almost too easy. At least it was for me. I came to NY a billion times before actually deciding to move here to pursue my dreams as a multimedia journalist. And I can honestly say that I never made so many connections here until I actually moved into my first apartment in Brooklyn. No matter where I go, which route I take, I am constantly meeting people that actually want to help me out. We walk and talk and before you know it, I’m signing up for an opportunity to either further my career or make some extra dough.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I can give “the real” on my move to “Great New York”.
While in college, I was applying for opportunities for after graduation. I didn’t know if I was going to have a job so I decided to apply for graduate school and obtain my master’s degree in journalism. A colleague of mine told me about how when he graduated, he spent the whole summer in NY for a journalism program at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. After a restless summer of late nights and early mornings, he became top 5 of the program which granted him a full-ride into their graduate program. I tried following his lead and before you know it, I was being accepted into graduate school as well…but not on a full-ride. And I surely didn’t make it into the summer program like I had planned. So I decided maybe that wasn’t my fait and moved to NY anyways (and not by choice).
So I contacted a distant cousin who not only lived here but owned a few properties in the Brooklyn area. I was beyond excited when he told me that he had a place for me and for the low-LOW price of $800/month. Now in NY that is nothing! People live in shoeboxes for $1500 so I knew I had a steal..a family discounted steal at that.
It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
Upon moving, I had already looked this place up online and had a vision of how I was going to decorate and how I was going to invite family and friends to come visit. My dreams were crushed when I got here and found out that I was actually moving into the basement of that place. LOL right? But I took it with a grain of salt and put my best foot forward. CRUNCH. Oh, sorry. That’s the sound of my best foot stepping on a life-size NY cockroach. The stories are true people, every thing is huge in NY except where you live.
The series of unfortunate events doesn’t stop there. Not only did I deal with insects; I had no stove, no cell reception, and my apartment has flooded over 10x. Then came the mold. That’s the last straw. Some one couldn’t possibly think that I was going to pay them $800 for a swamp.
When I tell you God looks at our plans and laughs, that’s no joke. Our plans are the jokes, and we are the comedians. My original plan:
- Move to NY
- Work at a “regular job” to pay rent
- Network and get a summer gig/gigs that correlate with my degree
- Start grad school in the Fall
What really happened:
- Moved to NY w/ little to no money
- Started “regular job”…got fired a week & a half later
- Saw someone get shot same day ^
- Started a new job
- Networked & applied for over 50 jobs in m field…not a single call or email
- Deferred grad school
Yes. I am deferring my graduate education due to financial reasons. I wasn’t and I am still not financially or mentally ready to go back to school. I know myself more than anyone else and I would only be pleasing those around me if I were to get myself into $50,000+ of debt (on top of my undergrad loans) just to get a degree I didn’t particularly need at the moment. I got approved for admission next year so that would give me time to apply for scholarships and grants; a less stressful route.
So the very reason I moved to NY is no longer a factor in my present life and my focus has shifted from preparing for school to preparing for…life? The adult things, like bills maybe.
“Rent” was, and still is, based on the true experiences of New Yorkers and now it is a reality for people that drop everything to move here. If you haven’t watched the movie I suggest you do so before making your big move. Although the movie was released in 2005, most of the issues the characters went through are still aspects of our daily lives in 2018. In fact, they may be worse.
According to www1.nyc.gov, over 3 million of NYC’s residents are foreign-born; over one-quarter arrived in 2000 or later. The state is overly populated. So you see houses but inside of those houses are 5 mini apartments. This means more money for property owners and less money in the pockets of dream-chasers like myself. You pay so much for rent that you can barely keep up your other monthly expenses like a phone bill or paying back student loans. You pay so much for rent that you sometimes cannot afford to invest in future the way you’d like. You pay so much for rent that food isn’t an option somedays.
Everyone here is about their hustle and if you are not going hustle like them, then you had better move on back to Fresno. Remember the delis I had mentioned earlier? They stay open for 24 hours because no one has time to sleep when your monthly expenses are more than your monthly income.
NY is also known for scamming. The Financial Review names seven scams all tourists should watch out for. They range from pedicabs to fake metro cards and subway swipes. Although the hustle is real, people are findings other ways to get ahead or “work the system.” I haven’t experienced this side of things with just regular people I’ve met on the street. If anything, it’s the people that I have worked for or have done business with that really put me in a bind.
After leaving my first job, I had to come back for my first but also my last check. I calculated my hours and kept track of my clock-in and clock out time so it was to my surprise when I opened my check and found that I came up short. I played it professional and spoke with my former managers about the issue and I was right; the check was missing a few $$$. The issue was resolved, however, that was my second taste of the NY scam. (The first was housing.)
You might be asking yourself, “Well, how did she lose a job in less than two months?” I can honestly answer by saying, DO NOT BE LATE. I, for one, am not a late person. But I do know that I was not as knowledgeable about the NYC transit as I thought I was. You may map out your route but you should always add at least 20 mins on to your travel, at most an hr, considering that the transit is not very reliable but cheaper in a way than driving or getting a cab.
Three strikes; you’re out. I was out of a job like that and you would think they’d be a bit sympathetic for the simple fact that I had just moved there a few days before starting. Nope. No business has time for tardiness no matter the circumstance. So I made it my business to ALWAYS be at least a half hour early to my next job. This is all about learning and growing as I had never been fired from any job EVER.
My second job gave me a check that actually bounced. Crazy, right? How is it that the people I wake up every day for can’t even take the time to make sure they compensate their workers efficiently? Because if you’re not willing to put up with their crap, someone else definitely will.
As much as I moan and groan on a daily basis, I see every situation as an opportunity to learn from. And boy, am I learning!
NY isn’t about just making it or getting every thing that your heart desires. It teaches you to enjoy the journey. It teaches you to grow up fast and figure things out. It teaches you to never give up but to keep pressing on because you know what you are striving for!
I can go on and on about what makes me upset about being here but the truth of the matter is…I still LOVE being in New York.