Living in the Big Apple isn't always as glamorous as it looks, and hey, Instagram can be quite misleading at times. Do the streets actually make you feel brand new? Maybe, but if you get caught up on that feeling, you'll probably lose focus just long enough to step in a pile of dog shit on the sidewalk. Seriously, though.
We've all heard the common stereotypes about what New Yorkers are like, many of them often unfavorable to the city and those who live in it. New Yorkers aren't all actually mean, so you can stop saying it. Everyone has an agenda, sure. They're shuffling past you, rushing to a meeting because their train was late, and haven't even had the chance to have their first cup of coffee because they were up at 5:30 to get a spin class in before starting their 10-hour day at the office.
New Yorkers may be a bit salty at times, as can people anywhere else in the world (even in Australia, and everyone loves those damn koalas.) Everyone has had a bad day at one point or another, and I'm pretty sure most of us can admit that they've been unkind to a complete stranger at least once before. I'm witnessing a young woman shout at the attendant on my flight to Austin as I write this. Maybe she's a New Yorker, or maybe not. (Chill lady, stop complaining and eat your salty blue chips.)
My point is, I don't always agree with the reputation that we as New Yorkers are often associated with. So here you have it, my rebuttal.
The stereotypes of life in New York City, from the eyes of a New Yorker.
It's a concrete jungle - If you're visiting Times Square, sure, I can understand your impression on the lack of nature. Central Park is 843 acres, the East River Park is absolutely stunning, and the LES gardens are to die for. Nature is there; you just have to know where to find it. Then again, you don't usually visit NYC to be surrounded by trees, you go expecting to breathe in the stench of hot asphalt and high energy.
Everyone works nonstop - At times, a healthy work-life balance may be lacking in the lives of New Yorkers, as well as across the globe. I've spent many late nights myself at the office, and I actually slept on the couch there, just once. The idea truly is to place yourself in a career that rewards you, grows you, and empowers you, and you won't work a day in your life.
New Yorkers are mean - People can be mean, yes. But I've seen countless times where New Yorkers are willing to help out those in need, may it be helping a mother carry her stroller up the stairs in the subway station, offering a free meal to the homeless guy on their block, or volunteering the last swipe on their MetroCard to someone looking to escape the cold temperatures in the middle of a storm.
It's not a place to raise a family - You might not be able to host birthday parties at your home or let the kids run around outside in the yard, but parks are readily accessible. Life is what you make it, so if it's the right fit for you to raise your family right in the heart of Alphabet City, no one is stopping you. Plus, hipster kids are super adorable.
Everyone is always in a hurry - This is relative. I'm sure everyone is in a hurry to make it to the office in the morning, or rushing to escape the city 4th of July weekend, but I bet if you'd pop into Central Park's Sheep Meadow on a Tuesday afternoon, very few park goers would be rushing around.
It's highly impersonal - Everyone has somewhere to be, always. But ask us for directions and we'll definitely help you out. And if we aren't actually from the neighborhood but know the right answer, we might even be a little bit flattered that we look like we belong.
Rent is insanely expensive - True. But you're not just paying for the tiny apartment with a 6th-floor walkup. You're paying for exposure to a cultural melting pot housing some of the best restaurants, museums, galleries, and parks in the world. Each time I write that rent check, I know I'm paying for the experience.
And so is everything else - Not 100 percent true. NYC is known to have some bangin' deals on manis and pedis, and if you're really tight on a budget (or have had a few drinks), dollar pizza is a real thing. Many museums are actually by donation, so its okay (every here and there) to go visit the Met at the price of your choosing. And of course, we don't need cars. No gas, no new tires, no car insurance or payments. Booya.
To be fair, I'm not completely opposed to many of the stereotypes that so many have said, time and time again. At times, I agree with quite a few of them. Complete strangers have been aggressively rude to me on the street. My rent is absurdly high, and I'm pretty sure a high majority of us can relate to that feeling of writing your rent check thinking of the property you could own out in the suburbs for the same price. Not to mention the extra closet space you'd have, ugh.
There's no doubt it's a busy, chaotic life. I've missed important meetings because of delays on the 6 train, and I tend to find myself shin-deep in a hidden NYC puddle here and there. Dating can be pretty terrifying. And yes, I probably work more hours in a week than I spend at the gym, sleeping, and socializing -- combined. But New Yorkers, just like any other big city, is filled with a variety of people, with different cultures, languages, skills, and traditions. And on those days that it really is as glamorous as it seems, it's a magical place to be.