What can I expect when moving to NYC?

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Answered by: Alec, An Expert in the Living in NYC Category
Many people feel that moving to NYC can be a daunting experience. Even if you've lived your entire life in another one of the USA's big cities - Chicago, L.A., Boston, San Fransisco - it can still be hard to break the mythology of New York. This is not a town that cares about people, that mythology goes, it's not a place that will pick you back up when you fall. It's tough and mean, and will take all you have while still demanding more.

Luckily, that mythology is simply that - a myth. New York City is not as cold or unfeeling as New Yorkers like to pretend it is. You won't find the simple pleasantries of small town life here, the friendly smilies to strangers passed on the street or the easy conversations had with others waiting on line in the grocery store, but just because someone is wearing a cold mask doesn't mean the face underneath isn't warm. Too many people confuse New York's pace for rudeness. In a city with its own idiom for quickness (it's called a "New York minute" for a reason), there's very little time to focus on what isn't directly in front of you. Even still, catch a New Yorker during one of those rarest of rare occasions - a free moment - and more often than not you'll find someone who's just as warm and open as anyone from a city 1/10th the size.

What New Yorkers don't care for is wasting time. Commit that cardinal sin within city limits and you can be forgiven for beleiving the myth of cold hearted New Yorkers to be true. In that vein, here are some tips for the would-be New Yorker to keep on the locals' good sides:

- Never feel shy about asking someone for directions on the street, but do look before approaching someone. The man with seven dogs on leashes in one hand and her lunch in the other? He's working, and has more to think about than getting you where you need to go. The woman power-walking down 6th Ave in a pinstriped pants-suit screaming on the phone? Interrupting her is a good way to focus her ire on you. But the lady strolling down the street, not a care in the world or a place she needs to be? She'll help you, easy, and with a smile to boot.

- The subways aren't nearly as intimidating as the MTA's hodgepodge of a map makes them seem. Just remember that uptown is North, downtown is South, and you never call the trains by their colors, only their letters / numbers. It's a good idea to try and memorize which trains run express and which run local, too, even if you need to look at a map to remember the actual stops. It's a lot easier to leisurely check a map inside the train after you've boarded than to run frantically around the platform asking people which side is express as the doors close in your face.

- Befriend your local deli. Delis are the lifeblood of NYC. They are everything: grocery stores, sandwich shops, liquor stores (for beer, at least!), bakeries, butcheries. Where else can you buy milk, Italian bread, an ice cream sandwich, three cans of beans, and a turkey club sandwich at three in the morning? Deli workers always have the best gossip of the neighborhood too, as everyone will pass through their vaunted doors at sometime. Find a local deli that doesn't close by you and make friends with the guys behind the counter. It's a relationship you'll cherish for as long as you live around there.

Of course there are more insider tips to moving to NYC, but these three will get you on your feet when you first move in. Don't worry too much about the little things, like getting lost or not knowing how to properly order pizza at first (pro tip: it's "slice" or "regular", never "cheese pizza"). All those things will come in time. Just enjoy yourself and everything this city has to offer. You'll be a New Yorker in no time.

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