Moving to NY... tips? tricks? suggestions?

So I just graduated from college and I’m off to make my mark in NYC. I’m originally from upstate, near the Canadian border, and I went to school in a generally rural area as well, so I’m very inexperienced in terms of city life. I just got a job (yay!) so the move is pretty imminent.

So I’m hoping some Dopers will be able to give me some good general advice about what it takes to live comfortably in the big city, as well as any little tidbits you may know like good bookstores or restaurants, or maybe how to save money as I’m not making a hell of a lot and NY seems like an expensive place to live.

So far my best advice is “don’t talk to strangers”. Every time I do, I wind up getting blatantly solicited or hit on, and then I feel dumb. Also, I can’t get used to all the minorities in service positions. Where I’m from, it’s mostly white, and I can’t help but feel uncomfortable with the more obvious socioeconomic lines across race. Do you get used to it?

I have a suggestion:
Take me with you. :wink:

Where in the city do you expect to be living?

First off, you won’t have a lot of space in your apartment, you have to learn how to live in a tight space. Having a car is difficult in the city, you either have to be home to move it on street cleaning days (called Alternate Side Parking rules) or pay for a parking spot ($100-400/mo). Luckily, you don’t really need a car except to leave the city.

Yes, don’t generally talk to strangers, there are WAY too many out there to just strike up meaningful conversations at random. You can talk to your neighbors, depending on the circumstance and your neighborhood. Small local stores are good places to chat people up as well, if you’re the chatty type.

You will have to get used to minorities in service positions. They’re not any worse off than service workers where you are. They may not be a high priced Wall Street analyst, but these folks are out there in the workforce contributing something important.

You may want to join us reviled Bridge & Tunnel People and live in New Jersey, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Westchester, Long Island . . . All easily accessible to Midtown and much, much cheaper, rent-wise. I’ve been commuting from NJ to NYC for 25 years (I can see the Empire State Building from my living-room window). People laugh when I sit down to play, till I tell them how big my apartment is, how low my rent and how short my commute.

The Cranky Look Rule.

You might have noticed, if you’ve visited NYC, that New Yorkers have a habit of looking cranky. A good Cranky Look – pretend you’re about to explode into a murderous rage at any second and kill the whole town, like some kind of ninja – deflects the more easily-diverted predators and annoying people. It’s kind of like a bike lock… won’t stop everyone, but will stop many. I imagine that currently, your sunny expression marks you as Not One of Us.

Hold yourself with confident body language and walk purposefully as if you Have Somewhere to Be (even if you don’t). Shambling along and looking up at tall buildings are big no-no’s

If you need to talk to strangers (lost, confused about the subway) there are certain kinds of people it’s better to talk with to avoid getting scammed or hit on. Women with children, for instance. High school or college students also spring to mind.

Pretend?” Ooooh . . .

Coming from upstate near the Canadian border? That’s where I live! Tajke me with you, damn it!

BTW, what part of upstate? Are you clsoe to the VT border as well, or more westerly towards Rochester or Buffalo?

I was in a rush when I wrote my other post. I have a few more things.

Never appear surprised or shocked by anything you see (even if you are). As a corollary, Don’t stare at people on the subway or anywhere else, no matter how freaky they are. Read a book or space out into the middle distance. (Long subway trips are good for achieving a Zen state of No Thinking)

The unwritten rules of subway riding indicate that you should never sit directly next to anyone when you have the option of sitting one seat away. Obviously if you do not have this option you should sit in any available seats. For example, in a “3-seat” configuration, O representing an empty seat, if you see someone sitting XOO, you want to sit XOX, never XXO (unless you know each other, and even then). the next person to come along would be justified in sitting in the middle, if no other non-adjacent seats are available.

On a more serious note, if you are on a crowded subway and someone is trying to touch you inappropriately (it happens) say in a LOUD voice, something like “Some Fucking Loser is Trying to Grope Me.” The groper will usually be intimidated by your outspokenness, and very often other passengers will come to your aid. Marines on shore leave and large Jamaican ladies are good for putting a beat down on pervs. :slight_smile:

Don’t make eye contact with anyone you don’t want to speak with. Simply ignore anyone skeevy trying to get your attention. Just because someone talks to you, doesn’t mean you’re required to talk to them.

Help people who seem more confused than you. Especialy tourists on the subway. If you realize some tourist is blatantly making some huge error (going uptown when they want downtown, using an old subway map that isn’t accurate, etc.), just butt right in and tell them. Being right and butting in are New Yorker attributes.

Subway maps are free at any kiosk. Get one and take it home. Study it there. Do NOT, EVER open up a subway map or map of any kind in front of other New Yorkers… have you no pride!? If you need to double check yourself, casually check out the large map posted on every platform and in every car near the door. Every station has local neighborhood maps near the exits as well.

You’ll be bombarded with morons and hobos trying to hit you up for a quarter or dollar. Just keep walking because as soon as you talk to them, they’ll won’t leave you alone. It sounds cruel, but it’s the best way to handle no being harrassed.

-Bring CASH - it’s expensive
-New Yorkers generally have appartments too small for entertaining. Most of our social activities revolve hanging out in restaurants, bars, lounges and coffee shops.
-Try to live as close as you can to a park and a subway station
-New Yorkers aren’t as unfriendly as people make out (since most of us come from somewhere else). Don’t be afraid to get to know your dry cleaner, the servers at your favorite deli, etc.
-Don’t live in a street level or basement appartment - they suck
-Try to live in an elevator building as opposed to a walk-up
-Citysearch and a recent Zagats guides are your friend
-Look up “thrift store” on Citysearch.
-Get rid of your car…you won’t need it

The Barnes & Nobels at Astor Place and Union Square (you’ll figure out what that means) are huge. Strand (East Village somewhere) is supposed to be good for people looking for old stuff or cheap books. The Virgin Megastores in Times Square and Union Square are also pretty cool for books, DVDs, etc.

Really too many restaurants to mention.

Don’t worry. Single straight men with good jobs are a minority in New York. Before you know it, you’ll be all like “why can’t I find a good man?” Kind of like every other Manhattan woman.

Yeah…uh…good luck with that. New York is actually pretty diverse so the socioeconomic lines might not be so obvious. Depends where you live. Pretty much you just get used to having people, including freaks and oddballs, all over the place. It takes a special kind of weirdo for me to stop and take notice.

Uh no…don’t do that!! Just…uh…relax. Yes yes…mmmmmm…that’s nice…

The Strand isn’t in the East Village actually. It’s on Broadway a few blocks south of Union Square. And it is very, very cool.

Speaking of Union Square, it has an excellent and moderately vast Farmer’s Market each Wednesday and Saturday. There are smaller versions throughout the city.

I believe Broadway is the divider between East and West Village and it is on the East side of the street…technically making it East Village.

Your friends at work will probably be the people you hang out with most of the time. This isn’t so true as you get older, but that’s the way it worked for me. So hopefully you’ll be working with a lot of people around your age and temperament. If so, you’re certain to have a blast. If you keep saying “no” they’ll stop asking. Which may or may not be what you want.

Hopefully you can go apartment hunting with someone that can give it the seal of approval. Yes, it’s going be small - that’s a given. But some older buildings are in better shape than others so you want to look for exterior walls pulling away from floors, rotting window sills, crappy plumbing, and so on. A well-designed NY apartment will have a generous amount of closet space.

When you go out, travel light. I can’t believe the amount of crap people haul around.

And get some sturdy, comfortable shoes because you’re going to be walking.

Develop a “Cranky Look”? Well as a native (and current) New Yorker, let me tell
you, I am some kind of ninja, and I just can’t live without rage-ahol! :smiley:

Seriously though, this is good advice. Most “newcomer” advice to NY centers on watching out for scams and avoiding dangerous situations, but this kind of lower-level “avoid annoying situations” advice often gets left out.

As for not talking to strangers – well, yes and no. Part of the fun of living in a large city is the freedom of anonymity. Witty repartee and one-liners exchanged with strangers on the subway, discussions on books or CDs while browsing at a street fair, that sort of thing.

Of course if you’re an attractive 21-year-old female on your own, you will get
flirted with, and I think that would be true anywhere.

Another piece of advice: money drives this city, and time = money. The reputation New Yorkers have for “being rude” usually boils down to impatience rather than callousness. The worst thing you can do to a New Yorker is to waste his/her time.
People will get mad at you for, say, being on a line to order food for 10 minutes then not knowing what you want when you get there, or stopping to look for something in your bag on the subway stairs when a train is pulling in.

I don’t think that area is part of the Village at all. It’s in “Union Square” or “14th Street” if you wanted to say it had to have a neighborhood name.

Also, I’d say the divide is Lexington/4th ave/Astor place. Broadway hangs west at that church a few blocks south of The Strand. So IF you wanted to say it was in the village (which I wouldn’t) it would not be in the East Village. It would be in “Greenwich village” – the central part. The West Village usually refers to the (predominantly) Gay part, 7thAve and points west.

JMHO. Despite by current location, I grew up in NYC and went to HS on 15th street.

We are?!

I knew there was a reason i moved here from London. :smiley:

. . . I got momentarily interested before I remembered you’re young enough to be my great-grandson . . .

Thanks for all the advice, guys!

For the record, bouv, I currently live in Plattsburgh, NY, right smack dab next to the VT border. Whoever wants to come with, can fit in a moderately-sized suitcase, and just happens to be a good cook, is infinitely welcome ;j

Times have changed, my friend. The Strand Bookstore is indeed technically in the East Village. Broadway is the divider between East and Greenwich Village. Obviously you’re going to have some spillover with the “feel” of certain neighborhoods, but if you’re talking technicalities, it’s in the East Village according to every map I’ve ever seen.

You can check out and keep track of your iPod… sign up for transit advisories from the MTA website… and learn to pack like a minimalist.

The city has many different neighbourhoods with many different atmospheres… and many greenmarkets (Union Square is Monday Wednesday Friday Saturday, actually). But count yourself lucky if you live in Manhattan and have a kitchen large enough to cook in.