10 Things You Learn First Year in New York

Your first year living in New York is one that you will always remember. Somewhere between your first time getting toppled by an angry homeless man and your first time being mentioned in a newspaper gossip column, you find a sincere love and appreciation of our nation’s biggest city.

Here are some things a person learns their first year in New York.

1. Always Carry an Umbrella. While Mother Nature can give you a beautiful day in New York, sometimes it doesn’t last long. It depends on when Gia last took her Xanax. The weather always changes on a dime around here, so sometimes the sun is shining and it will rain out of nowhere, or just get cold. Always carry an umbrella and layers, layers, layers.

2. Bring Your Walking Shoes. New Yorkers are sharply dressed people. We pride ourselves on not looking like mallrats. So make an effort if you want to look good. We are also a city where we walk, and I mean w-a-l-k. Rather than get blisters, destroy your designer heels, or make your podiatrist too rich, wear sneakers on the streets and killer heels when you hit the event.

3. It Should Be Re-Named Neverland. The taxpayers of this town, while they might file every April 15, are determined never to grow up or grow old. Many of the Peter and Princess Pans are chasing artistic ambitions, married to their careers, or just want to pAArty like they are 20 even into their 40s. While the rest of the world has a house, kids, a spouse, we hold off on thinking of those things until maybe we are 35… and even still that’s a little too young.

4. Casual Sex is A-OK. Because we don’t grow up and get married until we are older, many of us don’t frown upon casual sex. And your friends won’t judge you if you decide to sleep around every once in a while. Your sexual habits are your business and that’s cool. What isn’t cool are STDs and unplanned pregnancy, so wrap it before you tap it.

5. We Are Many Different People on A Very Small Island. New Yorkers are incredibly varied and out in the open about who they are no matter their nationality, race, sexual orientation, religion or whatever else. Gay couples are affectionate out in the open, and interracial dating is seen as completely normal (so leave your Kentucky mindset behind, OK?). So have an open mind and an open heart.

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6. New Yorkers Are Helpful.  There is this nasty rumor that New Yorkers are unfriendly. NOT TRUE! We are all just in a hurry. However, if you stop to ask someone for directions, you’ll get them. If you fall down, people will help you up. If you get hurt, 6 strangers will call 9-1-1 and make sure you aren’t alone until an ambulance gets there.

7. New Yorkers Stay in Their Neighborhoods. Yes this is a big city. However, most of the time, except for work, people don’t leave their hood unless they have to. Everyone has their coffee shop, dry cleaner, gym, and go-to food delivery option. Most of the time, their friends are in their hood too. Your first year in New York will teach you the fine art of sourcing everything you could possibly need within 10 blocks of your home. Secret: We are a city of home bodies….shhhhh!!!

8. A Bad Day Really Sucks. When it rains it pours, especially in New York. The hurry, the stress, the small spaces… well, they tend to weigh on people when they’re already having a bad day. Don’t worry. Tomorrow is always better.

9. You’ll Get A Crash Course in Friendship. During your first year in NYC, you’ll make friends. However, very quickly, you will find out which ones are “friends” and which ones are actual, real friends. This city attracts some of the most brilliant, loyal, and dedicated hearts in the world, but it’s also ripe for all the social climbers you never imagined.

10. New Yorkers Band Together in a Crisis-.  New Yorkers unite and show the world how tough we are when a crisis happens. We band together and make the best of a tough scenario, no matter how recently we got here. This is why Godzilla, King Kong, and the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man, although they have tried, have never been able to take us down.

Welcome, and enjoy paying inflated rent.

April Brucker is an actress, comedian, writer, and New York veteran. Check out her book, I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl. For more on her please go to aprilbrucker.com.