by Suzie Dundas
|Photo by SouthernAnts via Flickr|
When I announced to my friends several months ago that I was making the leap and moving to New York, they had their opinions about it, and there were several comments I heard quite often, which included:
“You're going to meet so many famous people!”
"Just coffee and cigarettes from now on, eh?”
and (possibly most often)...
“Do you want me to hang on to your flatscreen TV for you?”
After moving myself during Hurricane Sandy, I was wishing that I'd hired those movers and left that flatscreen behind after all.
To an outsider, New York is a place of movie stars, limos on every street, swanky million-dollar apartments, and women who consider coffee to be the most essential (and sometimes only) food group. It's romanticized to death in the media, with pop culture telling the rest of America that all you have to do is walk down the street, and modeling agents will be chasing you down to make you into the next big thing. Or, that it's possible to be most anywhere in Manhattan and have a chance encounter with an ex (boss or beau).
If there's one thing I want everyone to know, it's this: The rumors are all true --- every last one of them.
But living here is different than I'd imagined --- I thought I had a realistic handle on what my life would be like in NYC. Once I moved and settled in, I thought that I'd fight my way into a crowded subway to get to work, be run down by tourists to get taxis, never get into the star-studded late-night clubs, and otherwise act like a mostly nobody in a city of other mostly nobodys. But I'm happy to say, I stand corrected. And so I thought I'd clear up some of the myths about New York that have proved to be anything but.
You can wander onto fashion shoots and television sets as well. Here's a tip though: If you walk into a coffee shop full of cameras, and the director stops filming to ask, “Who are you?” The proper answer is not, “Who are you?” You should especially not follow it up with a lecture about how they shouldn't leave the "Open" sign on the door when they are not, in fact, open. This will endear you to just about no one, and you'll probably be asked to leave rather hastily, and not be asked to stay on as an extra.
2. There are underground clubs which you do not, and will never, know about. Probably TRUE.
In all fairness, I didn't know they existed either – I was with a friend whose name carries enough cache to get us in. Like a true city outsider, I thought the metal basement doors on sidewalks lead to, strangely, basements. Most do, however, at least one leads to an underground bar. Don't bother knocking and don't bother trying to call ahead. If you aren't someone they like, you aren't coming in. Needless to say, I've been here only once.
3. Wall Street sharks went out with the Reagan era. FALSE.
They've just switched industries. This not-so-elusive New York stereotype probably works in film and/or music, can be found at social clubs a la SoHo House, and always has the perfect cocktail to keep you partying until 5am and awake 'til noon. Perks include traveling by limo and being welcomed into the NYC social circle for whom pesky things like “lines” and “cover charges” do not apply. But proceed with caution: when you associate the sun coming out with you turning in, you might be overdoing it.
4. The movies paint an inaccurate portrait of New York. FALSE.
Remember the scene in When Harry Met Sally where they're walking through Central Park with brightly colored leaves falling in the brisk autumn wind? You know what's just as great as it appears to be? Walking around Central Park with brightly colored leaves falling in the brisk autumn wind. In a nutshell ---it's just as romantic in person as it is on screen.
|Fall color in Central Park|
I have to walk almost two blocks to get to the pizza place.
In my time thus far in New York, I've realized why pop culture and society have romanticized the city so much --- because it is a city of romance. Not in the Romeo and Juliet sense, but in the sense that everyone is passionate about this town. Whether it's interns riding the subway to Midtown, a banker dreaming of moving into the corner office one day, or artists or musicians painting or playing on a crowded street, there's endless potential, and nothing to stop someone from throwing themselves head first into what they love (except, of course, for the millions of people, sky-high rent for those spacious apartments, and other aspects they don't play up in the movies.) Then again --- nothing's perfect.
|The New Yorker in Midtown--photo by Metro Centric via Flickr|
|Times Square photo by Greg Knapp via Flickr|