Happy anniversary Lovah!

23 Jan

This past week marked my seven year anniversary of moving to New York.  I remember, way back when, wandering around between classes and on the weekends both overwhelmed and excited that I actually live in this fabulous city.

Back in those early years, my brother and I had a weekend tradition of bagels and coffee at Nussbaum and Wu.  Much to our mother’s dismay, we’d roll out of bed, usually hungover, and – gasp! – throw on whatever before heading out the door (As she’ll still say to this day: “Without showering?!  That’s disgusting!”) The same woman, originally referred to as the “bagel nazi” was behind the counter every Saturday and Sunday morning.  We quickly learned the rules: 1) have your order ready, 2) don’t fumble over your words as you place it, 3) order your coffee with your bagel or else you’re not getting any, 4) have your money ready to pay before she hits “total” on her cash register, and finally 5) don’t make small talk as you pay…she’s not here to be your friend, she’s here to get you out of her line.  Both being relatively intelligent people, it didn’t take long for my brother and I to understand and play by the bagel nazi’s rules.  I’ll never forget the first time someone screwed up with the most unholy of unholy sins…they didn’t have their money ready for her.  She knowingly rolled her eyes at us as if to say “Do you believe this sh*t?”  Oh, we could not believe that sh*t.  She even cracked a smile as her finger pressed “total” and we handed over the money for our perfectly placed order.

This city is full of secret, insider tricks that distinguish New Yorkers from the rest of the planet.  Here are six more that I wish someone would have shared with me seven years ago:

  • You will spend more on alcohol than groceries.  Budget your grocery funds, not your drinking money.  Accept this now.
  • Learn the bus system.  It is far more pleasant than the subway.  Buses don’t tip the thermometer at 100 degrees during the summer.  Buses don’t flood during winter storms.  Crazy people don’t ask for money (as often) on the bus.  If you choose to ignore this advice and find yourself on the subway, that weirdo with the guitar walking from train car to train car is not trying to serenade you.  Avoid direct eye contact.
  • Always rock the Melanie Griffith, a la Working Girl, look and wear sneakers or slip-ons when walking to and from work.  You will look like an amateur if you actually attempt to wear heels between the office and your happy hour location.
  • For some reason, milk in the city has a regular expiration date and a NYC expiration date.  Don’t learn this one the hard way.
  • Understand that there are certain areas of the city that should be avoided at all costs during various times of the year: Rockefeller Center at the holidays; the Statue of Liberty during February school break; Macy’s at Thanksgiving; Times Square on New Year’s Eve.  Wait.  Times Square all the time.
  • Leave your change purse at home.  The deli clerk, the person behind the counter at the bagel shop, the guy at the register at Duane Reade.  No one will appreciate your counting .82 cents out of your wallet or pocket.  The people behind you in line will roll their eyes and knowingly snicker at you.  Newbie.

Okay former upstaters and suburbanites, what do you wish someone would have told you when you first moved to the city?

In the meantime, here’s to my next seven years!

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