7 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Moved to New York

It’s been a little over four years since I made the move from Atlanta to New York, and I still sometimes feel amazed that I’ve lasted this long.  When I first decided to take the plunge and move to the city of dreams I was warned of all the stereotypical dangers of New York.  That people weren’t friendly and I shouldn’t smile and speak (as is customary for Southerners), that rent was sky high, that I should stop obsessively watching Law and Order SVU, etc., but there were some things no one prepared me for that I had to learn the hard way.  

Read along for the seven things I wish someone had told me about before I moved.

Bodega cats.  I LOATHE cats.  I mean they really freak me out.  I don’t even think they should be domesticated, so you could imagine my surprise when I walked into a bodega to see one chilling on the ramen noodles.  I froze with horror and disgust, assuming it was a mistake, but nope.  That cat lives there, comes and goes as it pleases, and everyone is fine with this except for me.

Snow is actually disgusting.  Cartoons and classic movies really romanticized snow for us.  It glitters and shimmers as it falls and collects nicely in sheets of pristine white.  Oh but the next day when it starts to melt, it is nothing short of disgusting.  The snow gets shoveled into huge mounds on the sidewalks where it turns grey and black and becomes littered with trash.  As this dirty snow melts, it forms ankle and possibly waist deep puddles of slush excrement on almost every curb.  I ruined one good pair of suede booties before I peeped tea.

An empty train car is NOT a blessing.  If you are waiting for the subway, and you see that every car is full with the exception of one, this isn't your lucky day.  There is a homeless person somewhere on that subway car who has smelled up that entire car, and if you step on there you will possibly throw up and/or faint.

Rats and mice are “no big deal.”  We have all heard the stereotypes about New York rodents.  They are basically the size of tea-cup Yorkies, and they have no fear of man or beast.  What I didn’t know is that seasoned New Yorkers are not moved by these large creatures.  So if a rat runs across your foot on a hot Summer night, and you take off running and screaming down the street, then you are the one who looks crazy.

Red lights are merely a strong suggestion.  There is an art to crossing the street here.  You may see the light telling you to walk.  You may see that the light is red, but you must also note that drivers here have no concern for any of that, so think twice before you step off the curb.

New York winters are pretty brutal, but few people will tell you how devilish the summers are.  New York is an island, and is therefore surrounded by water, so the humidity is suffocating.  Don’t even try to be natural during this time, because even the strongest of gels and edge control are no match for the heat and humidity.  Your edges will stand up like they’re at a Future concert.

The most expensive thing here is not the rent, it’s the food.  While rent in New York is a crime against humanity, the food prices here are so offensive.  Even if you think you’re going to be frugal and go for fast food, by the time you pay for a regular meal, you could’ve just gone to an actual sit down restaurant.  When I visit Atlanta I almost feel like a Millionaire, because the food is so cheap by comparison.  I’m all up in Chipotle like, “Extra guac for everybody on me!”


Written by Jessica

Jessica hails from Atlanta, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn where she writes about fashion, feminism, and pop culture.  Check out more of her writing on her website www.notcarriebradshaw.com and follow her on Instagram @notcarriebradshaw