Congrats! For whatever reason and for however long, you're making the move to the big city. New York really is a concrete jungle and it really is where dreams are made. It's full of character and life, adventure and experience.
However, there is a lot going on and it can be hard to adjust for some people. Luckily for you I've been there, done that, and am more than happy to share a little Big Apple wisdom with you. Because I promise you the city does not disappoint, as long as you keep a few things in mind.
1. Eating alone is totally OK and sometimes totally necessary.
If you eat alone in any average midwestern town, or any place similar, it's mostly a sad affair and a little against the social norm. In a big city like New York, it's nothing but normal. In a place where everyone is constantly so busy, sometimes a lunch alone is a break from the chaos.
There are rules, however. Never eat alone on the weekend--you should be able to find at least someone to eat with you then. Thursday nights are also a no. And never get a table for one at an overly nice restaurant.
2. The Metro is your friend. Use it.
Trust me, I get it, the Metro can be totally intimidating to those who haven't used it before. Typically I would suggest an App called HopStop, but it unfortunately no longer is with us. Really all you need to do is look at a map of NYC and go from there.
As long as you know the difference between the Uptown and Downtown trains you should have no issue. In just a matter of time you'll be hopping on trains like an old pro, knowing exactly where you're going and how to get there. Plus the train is way cheaper than taking a cab or Ubering everywhere.
3. Going to happy hour every night will not make your wallet happy.
Yes, half-priced drinks is a great deal, but even the little things add up. If you're a college student in the city for the summer, please do me a favor and keep in mind you're a college student. No need to spend money like you're Beyonce. Budget your money and figure out a Happy Hour allowance. I promise it will save you in the long run.
4. Make a point to try new things.
You're in one of the most diverse and lively cities in the world, appreciate that. Try foods from new countries and restaurants that aren't on top five lists (although you obviously should try those too). Make a point to go off the beaten path a little bit and learn more about the world you're living in.
5. Sitting and reading in the park is so underrated.
So so so underrated. I don't think a sunny day went by that I didn't spend at least 30 minutes in Washington Square with a book in my hand. It's a chance to sit down and relax in beautiful place. You'll see so many other people enjoying the day in the park and you really should take the hint. It's a true New Yorker thing to do.
6. Times Square is hell.
Just take a walk through if you haven't already. You'll never go back.
7. 5th Avenue shopping is a tourist trap.
I mean sure, it has good stores but they all have a million other locations throughout the city. Anything you can get on 5th ave you can get downtown. If you're a serious shopper you'll stick around Chelsea, Meatpacking, and SOHO areas. Broadway near the intersection of Broome is a good place to start.
8. You have no business between 35th and 49th st.
You'll pretty much only be here possibly for work or to meet friends who do work in midtown for after work drinks. Of course there are always exceptions, but for the most part Midtown is the ass of the city and not a great representation of the place.