When you uproot yourself and start fresh in a new place there are a lot of things you need to learn or relearn. Along with that you need to have the right tools to get you in the position you want to be in.
Here are some things every 20-something in the City needs:
A Smart Phone: You probably have one but if you don’t then you need to get one. My iPhone has helped me out so much since I’ve moved here. Your freshman year of college you didn’t want to carry around a map of campus on the first day, and believe me, you don’t want to do that here – you’ll likely look like a tourist (gross).
A back bone: I have trouble with this. You don’t need to be rude, but you often need to be assertive to get what you want, or even what you need. People in New York have heard every excuse, every reason, and every one from the book as to why you need to do this or get that right now. Most times, they just don’t give a sh*t. You still need to stand up straight and hold your ground (within reason).
The Ability to Laugh at Yourself: You didn’t lift up your briefcase when you went through the turnstile at the subway station and tripped in front of everyone? Laugh at yourself. Your heel got stuck in the sidewalk and you feel on your face in front of everyone? Laugh at yourself. You spilt a piping hot coffee all over the counter at Starbucks? Laugh at yourself (but only after you make sure no one got burnt).
More Than One ‘Look’: Not that you or I are shallow and care about what others think of us based on our outward appearance, but if we did…
… Then we’d need to be able to dress to impress. Style is a way for us to express ourselves and still look exactly like everybody else. You need different looks for different ‘scenes.’ Going to Brooklyn for the day you’ll want to look Crunchy Granola or some variety of Hipster. Going to hang out on the Upper East Side? Try a little Upper Middle Class on for size. Going down to SoHo you’ll want to look well put together, but like you didn’t try. You’ll want everyone to know that you know that you look really well put together, but you don’t want them to know that you thought a lot about your outfit.
I know, I know – we could argue that having to change your look goes against everything you believe in about being yourself and all those encouraging words they pumped into you in elementary school (which are important). BUT I doubt that you fit into one very narrow style/ fashion genre anyway. I think we’re all a mix of a lot of things. And if you aren’t then have fun trying to find the other .005% of the population that has the exact same style as you.
A Go-With-The-Flow Attitude: Crap happens. Sh*t is gonna go down. Plans will change. Just take life as it comes and role with the bunches (yes, the brunches – because New York City brunches are now the measure of our lives). It can be hard but try not to get to frustrated in the moment. Let things pass and just move on.
An Opinion: You need to have an opinion on pretty much everything. People know current events here and want to know what you think. You can agree to disagree but please try to have some idea of what people are talking about.
Five Places That Make You Sound Like You Know What’s Up: I don’t have time. I don’t have money. When people say that they want to come visit and experience the real New York I think, “Yeah, Me too!” In order for me to sound a lot cooler than I am I have about five places in mind to take people to make it sound like I’ve been about town. In reality I’ve been to each place only once (except this Mac n’ Cheese place – let’s be honest I’ve been there five times).
“Oh I know this really great place that has baked Mac n’ Cheese on the Lower East Side.”
“We have to go to the Standard Hotel down in the Meatpacking district to get drinks this weekend.”
“Oh, you mean the cafe from You’ve Got Mail? Yeah of course I know where that is. I’ve been there. Or we could go to the diner from Seinfeld because I know where that is too.”
“I know this great coffee place by Washington Square Park we could go to.”
“Where are we going?” “You’ve never heard of it – it’s a New York thing.”