So I’ve officially been an NYC resident for nineteen days. And most of them have been glorious; I truly picked the best time of the year to come here, especially to fill the seasonless gap that was six years in San Francisco. New York has an autumn, people, and no, I’m not talking about that four-day stretch of Indian Summer that San Francisco receives in late-September or early-October that puts everyone in a good mood except when they feel obligated to complain about the evenings being too hot to sleep. Look at that…just three weeks out of the city and already I’m bitching about my former habits. But anyway, back to East Coast, seasonal Autumn.
There are leaves on the trees! That turn COLORS! And fall breezes…hearty ones, at that. Yes, there have been the occasional rainstorm (how ever do you New York ladies retain cute hair and look darling on dates when walking in windy, rainy weather?) but hey, Lauren Conrad created the braid trend for a reason, and that reason is most surely salvaging my hotness in inclement weather. (God Bless You, LC.)
That’s not to say that the move has gone flawlessly, though – knock on wood – I’m pleased that a lot of the possible snafus have largely remained hypothetical: Lila Belle (all 34 lbs. of her) was an angel on the flight here, TSA officers didn’t notice that she was 20 lbs. more than the maximum size of an in-cabin animal, my luggage arrived relatively unscathed (minus a broken $30 suitcase that I had forced my ex to buy the day before the move to transport a huge bag of shoes I had forgotten I owned), we’ve settled into a lovely sublet and are preparing for a move to a permanent (HUGE! GIGANTIC! UNHEARD OF!) apartment at the beginning of next month, and save for a night full o’ Margaritas (I’m looking at you, BC) I’ve remained relatively tame here in the city that doesn’t sleep.
But there’s some things I hadn’t anticipated about the city, even after practically living here for the better part of 18 months. Those things that you only realize once you’re truly a resident, not a ‘mooching off a boyfriend so you have a place to leave your running shoes and extra coat’ quasi-denizen. These are the things that once you get settled in, you forget that you were cursing every single locksmith in the city. Your hatred towards the taxi drivers that refuse to take you to Brooklyn (even though that’s illegal?) It wanes. You get used to it. Your frustration with tourists in Times Square? No, that remains. SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE. DO NOT STOP WALKING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIDEWALK TO TAKE A PICTURE OF A BILLBOARD. (Phew. Ok. I feel better.) But yes, there’s some things I wished I had known, some large, some small, before I moved here, not because it would have changed my mind (nothing would have), but instead because I feel I would be less frustrated had I just known about these idosyncracies. And so I present:
The New York Newbie’s Guide to the Big Apple: An Incomplete List of Random Shit I Learn on a Daily Basis (presented in no particular order)
1. Getting a dog walker is harder than you expected. Not because they don’t have them in NYC (there are plenty), but because most of the buildings have front door locks that come with fancy “Do Not Duplicate” keys. And most landlords/building maintenance companies issue approximately two. Which doesn’t work well if: You live with someone AND You need a spare set for guests. You have a dogwalker. [Insert sundry need for an additional key here.] And locksmiths, don’t get me started. While some are pleasant, simply telling you they aren’t allowed to duplicate these keys, others look at you like you’re a creature from another planet when you ask how to get another key if they won’t do it. There’s notes on Yelp and other sites that list companies that illegally copy these keys, and there are underground rumblings amongst friends on who does it, but the long and the short of it is: Do not expect to get a key duplicated easily. (But if you slip me $5, I’ll tell you who did mine.)
2. Speaking of dogs, even girl dogs lift their legs here. It’s because other dogs (looking at you, male pups) pee on the sides of buildings. And trees. And fire hydrants. At brunch on Saturday, I saw a dog aim & pee on his owner’s leg the other morning: hand to God. And so girl dogs (well, at least MY girl dog) has decided SHE needs to follow suit. WEIRD. So I now have a girl dog that not just looks, but also acts, like a boy dog. Awesome.
3. People brunch LATE. Like, 2pm late. I know I’m an early riser and all, but I’m used to rockin’ 11:30 or even noon brunches. 2pm? Y’all, I should be three mimosas in and contemplating karaoke at that point.
4. People stay out LATE. 4am. On a weeknight. And while we’re on that point, weekends are relatively tame. But Monday-Thursday? My friends are out nearly every night, boozin’ it up, and still somehow making it to work on time. Of anything, this has been my hardest adjustment, since 10pm traditionally serves as my bedtime, not my dinner reservation.
5. People ARE late. Perpetually. And I think it’s contagious. I mean, I’m one of those people who is ON TIME. Painfully. And my pet peeve is people being late, assuming that if they text me that they’re running late, it absolves them of their crime of tardiness. And yet, there must be something in this widely-touted-as-tasty-though-I-don’t-get-it tapwater that screws with my Type-A, timely self. Because save for one minor, magical occasion, I’ve been 5-10 (ok, Will, 20) minutes late to every. single. meeting. Brunch, dinner, lunch, etc. I blame it on miscalculating public transportation, or that for a while I was assuming that blocks and avenues contain the same distance in between (false: apparently an avenue spans approx. 4 street blocks!) but that doesn’t make up for the fact that I AM ALWAYS LATE. (But, then again, so are they.) SEE? The excuses have begun already!
And yet I love it. I really do. I’m getting settled into a new schedule, having to actually walk my dog in the mornings & evenings vs. just opening the door and having her go in the back yard. But I like it; I get to spend a lot more time with her, and I do like having habits. (My newfound morning walk to the coffee truck, however, is still under fiscal responsibility and health review.) I am still meeting people, but have enjoyed seeing my friends here and walking home – to my house! – vs. cabbing it to a hotel. I’m still awaiting my beloved Tempurpedic to arrive, but furnishing a new apartment is fun…I’m building out a closet today! And I get to buy a new couch! Who cares if I’m broke: I’m buying a new COUCH! I’m trying to remember if I felt this way when I had just moved to SF (I’m sure I could re-read my website to find out, since I actually posted on it back then) but I’m enjoying the little things. Except for the annoying people in Times Square. LEARN HOW TO WALK!