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I’ve never been to the Big Apple. Well, that’s not entirely true. I went once when I was in 7th grade, but it was cold the whole time and frankly I wasn’t old enough to fully appreciate it. The city has always been fascinating to me. It’s big, it’s old, it’s gone through so many changes that it seems like different neighborhood stereotypes change every five years. You know, at one point, I actually considered moving there.
But I didn’t, and for a lot of reasons. The biggest one being that I was 22 and didn’t have a job, and it’s hard to live anywhere when you don’t have a reliable source of income. There were other reasons too, like how I didn’t want to live somewhere I hadn’t been before because what if I hated it? What if I lose touch with my friends? What if the city changes me?
It’s been a few years since I’ve decided to root myself in Chicago, and now that my 25th birthday is rapidly approaching, I’m starting to worry that if I don’t move away soon, I’ll be in the Midwest forever. Not necessarily a bad thing, but, y’know, it gets cold in the winter and I would like to escape that at some point. And so with that, I have some very legitimate questions for New Yorkers, because you never know where you might end up.
Why is it the greatest city in the world?
Yeah, it’s a cool city. We can all tell that from miles away. But, like… greatest city in the world? I don’t know about that. Now, to be fair, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a New Yorker ever explicitly say that it’s the greatest city in the world, but doesn’t that kind of seem like something they would say? What am I missing here?
How are you able to afford to live there?
When I was looking to move to New York, I did a quick search to see what the average cost of living was in each of the boroughs, and then got sucked down a rabbit hole to try to find if there was literally anywhere that I would be able to afford to stay on an entry-level salary. I understand that there are different kinds of people who live in New York, and some really are able to afford it. But I’m talking about literally anyone who doesn’t have a job on Wall Street. It almost seems like there’s this mentality of, “Yeah, it’s super expensive to live here and my apartment is a glorified dorm room, but damn it, this is New York City, and I’m going to make it,” which takes me back to my first question.
How far from NYC can you live and still be a New Yorker?
There’s a funny phenomenon in Chicago that I am fully guilty of. When kids grow up in the suburbs and meet up with people from out of town, they say that they live in Chicago even though they don’t. My excuse was that if I told people the name of my suburb, they wouldn’t have any idea where that was.
Is that a thing that happens in New York? If you live in Long Island and say you’re from New York, are you shamed for it? What about if you’re from the far reaches of Queens? Still one of the boroughs, but, like, is it really New York?
How do you get home from a night out?
Uber is pretty big here because, ultimately, if you’re going out, you probably won’t be going out too far away from your apartment and the fare won’t be too high. But in New York? Damn, y’all are spread the fuck out. Is it the same? Do you take a taxi over the Brooklyn Bridge and subway home? What’s that look like? My issue here is that there’s just so much to see and do in New York that I feel like you would spend so much time in transit that it would almost feel like it’s not worth it.
How does dating work there?
Similar to the last question, I feel like dating someone in a different borough than you would feel like a long distance relationship. I imagine that you’d almost have to switch boroughs every weekend. “Okay, the last two weekends we were in Brooklyn, can we please spend the night on the Upper West Side? There’s stuff to do here too, you know.”
Also, is that a question that comes up when you meet a new person that you might date? I’m intentionally not trying to compare Chicago to New York because they’re two different beasts, but I know out here we have different stereotypes for different neighborhoods, and I would be shocked if it’s not the same in New York. So if you meet someone, do you ask where they live to get a better idea of who they are, and not because of the inevitable travel logistics?
Where does the hate towards New Jersey come from?
Honestly, they’re doing their best out there. I’ve never understood this vibe from New Yorkers. Do they do something different? Something weird? Or is it more just that they call themselves New Yorkers when they literally live in a different state? If someone could clarify that for me, it would be a huge help. .