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New York Myths: Fact or Fiction?

By February 27, 2012 , , , , , , , , , , ,

What springs to mind when you think of Manhattan? The frenzied pace of life? The busy streets that lend an undeniable vigor to your step? The unyielding skyscrapers that rise up high into the sky? All of that and more, I’ll bet.

When I first moved to the Big Apple not too long ago, I arrived with some expectations and preconceived notions. It wasn’t until I had spent some time living in the city did I realize that there’s a fair amount of fiction infused with reality about this place. It got me thinking – what would I tell someone if they were going to live in New York City? What misconceptions would I set straight or perhaps, reaffirm? Here’s what I came up with:

  • New Yorkers are busy, rude, and unhelpful:  Not true. You won’t find Southern hospitality here but ask for help and you shall receive. On several occasions, I have been pleasantly surprised by the kindness of strangers who have offered to help lift a heavy bag in the subway or stopped to give directions on the streets.
  • Manhattan is like one big set of Gossip Girl: Not true. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve had to clarify to visiting friends that the Upper East Side is just a regular neighborhood within Manhattan and not as posh as they think it to be. And no, it is not the place to spend a happening Friday night nor is it actually filled with fancily-dressed people driven around in limos!
  • It’s impossible to get a cab in the rain: This is true. And really, what is up with that? 
  • The city is replete with well-dressed men and fashionable women tottering around in high heels: Um, no. While NYC does live up to its reputation of having incredibly well-dressed and fashionable citizens, you do see both ends of the spectrum. It just depends on which part of town you’re in. For a trendy vibe, visit SoHo or the Meatpacking District. For a chilled out, casual scene, hit the East Village or LES. For a smart, corporate scene, mid-town Manhattan or Wall Street. For a hipster street code, Brooklyn. (These are, of course, broad generalizations.)
  • The city will rob of your life savings: No denying that it’s expensive but I like to think of NYC as the cheapest world-class city to live in. Certain amenities like cab rides and apartment rents are significantly cheaper compared to other big cities like London, Paris, and Tokyo. You can also easily find places to eat that fit your budget (see post on Favorite New York Street Eats). What’s more, I am convinced that you cannot beat the shopping here (whether it’s luxury goods or otherwise). Overall, you’re paying for the experience of living in a city like New York.
  • You never see your next door neighbor: Sad but true. I barely ever see the neighbors on my floor. And if we do cross paths, there’s usually a quick nod or a brief hello as we fumble with the keys to get into our apartments as quickly as possible. Oh well…
  • New Yorkers think they’re better than people from New Jersey: Can you blame them? I mean c’mon, it’s got the Jersey Shore!
  • Manhattan and New York City is the same thing and Brooklyn and Harlem are just suburbs: Cute, but no. I guess it takes living here or being familiar with the city to get acquainted with the word “borough” and the different areas within Manhattan!
On the same line, I saw this video of “Sh#t New Yorkers Say” a while ago, portraying the love/hate relationship that people have with this city. It cracked me up and I could totally relate to a lot of things said. What are your NYC myths that you’d like to bust or back up?

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  1. Absolutely love the 'Shit New Yorkers Say' video it sums it all up pretty well. You're a good writer btw.

  2. This was my first time seeing that video - so funny! I loved it. It was wonderful meeting you at the StitchFix lunch the other day. I had to check out the blog. :)

  3. I know, the video is so funny! It was really nice meeting you too Michelle! I just put up a short blogpost on Stitch Fix, btw! :)

  4. I really loved reading your post:)
    All the more because I visited NYC last summer! I stayed in Queens at my sister's place, but this year, she has shifted to
    Manhattan, and I shall be going there soon!

    I could relate to most of the things, though I have never been out in the rain looking for a cab yet, lets see;)

    Following you on twitter too, stay in touch!

    Shubhi's Revels!

    Shubhi'sRevels! on Facebook


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