The 20 most stressful things about living in New York

It’s official: New York is the second most stressful city in America. What stresses you out?

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A new study has confirmed that, outside of D.C., this is the most high-strung place you could live in the United States. Anyone who lives here will find that easy to believe, but what exactly is stressing you out? Here, Time Out New York's editors list the things that drive them up the wall. Let us know yours in the comments!

"The worn-out MetroCard scanners that repeatedly tell you to 'swipe card again at this turnstile.' You're the one that's broken, machine, don't tell me what to do."
Andrew Frisicano, Associate Music editor

"Piles of trash everywhere stress me out. It's just unpleasant (and not to mention super smelly) to walk along a trash-bag–lined street. Before moving to NYC, I lived in cities with alleys where you can hide the trash and didn't have to encounter a huge leaky garbage bag on every street corner. Of course, if New York City had alleys, we'd probably have a lot more murders, too."
Kevin Aeh, Shopping & Style editor

"When clerks at Starbucks remember my order. I moved to New York because I'd like to be able to order trashy coffee drinks anonymously, thankyouverymuch."
Ethan LaCroix, managing editor

"Rush-hour subway crowding. It's a cliché at this point, but it really is as bad as everyone says it is. I'm often in the Times Square station around 6pm, and it's human-sardine hell. Parking is another one: I can't tell you how many times I've overslept, only to realize I've left my car in a meter spot. Frantic dressing and sprinting to car ensues, and there's always a ticket, even if I'm five minutes late. To have a car in NYC is to live with constant ticket-fear stress."
Hank Shteamer, Music editor

"Fancy restaurants with NO SUBSTITUTIONS on the menus. I have legit food allergies; I'm not a dietary-needs trend-whore. Then there's brunch stress: sweet or savory? SWEET. OR. SAVORY. No one wins this game."
Sarah Mulligan, Associate Art director

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"Cabdrivers who mishear where you want to go, take you 20 blocks in the wrong direction and then shout at you for not 'speaking properly—Australians talk funny.'"
Terri White, editor-in-chief

"When you take New Jersey Transit from Penn Station, outside of one garbled announcement mere seconds before the doors close, it never tells you exactly where the train is stopping. There are no route maps on the train, there are no signs on the platforms, and just because you know the train's eventual destination, it doesn't guarantee the train will stop where you need it to on the way. I was trying to get to Newark Airport recently, and both the trains I'd been told went there changed to express trains with no warning. The third train got me there, but only after 20 minutes of sweaty panic because there were no announcements whatsoever. How hard would it be to tell me if I'm likely to end up in fucking Manasquan instead of the United Airlines departure lounge?"
Nick Leftley, content director

"When you need to sign for a package, and the mail guy only comes to deliver it while you're at work and at odd hours when you're never at the apartment. On the last try, they even ignore your desperate plea left on a sticky note saying 'PLEASE LEAVE MY PACKAGE…PLEASE…' and bounce the package back. This is the only place on earth where they won't just leave the stupid box!"
Alexandra Early, Time Out Kids editor

"Ridiculous lines at events that should be, you know, fun. The ones at Smorgasburg, with people waiting 30 minutes for a Popsicle, send me into a panic. And trying to navigate through that is…rough."
Tim Lowery, content editor

"People in elevators, subways, lobbies, on sidewalks, sneezing and coughing openly like two-year-olds, doing the one-nostril peasant noseblow, spitting and otherwise spreading their disease. Fuck those germ-sacks."
David Cote, Theater editor

Photograph Courtesy of Creative Commons/ Flickr user Yourdon


"People who just stop on the sidewalk, interrupting traffic flow and causing a human pileup. It's even worse when they're in a big, clueless group. Also, when you just physically cannot get somewhere in time—the subway is down, you can't find a cab, and basically all forces conspire to make you late."
Marley Lynch, blog editor

"When cabdrivers seem to be going a particularly dumb way to my destination. I don't want to seem bossy or paranoid that they're taking me for a (figurative) ride, but I also don't want them to think I'm a rube, so I end up in a never-ending spiral of, 'Should I say something???' (Nine times out of 10, their way was better.)"
Carla Sosenko, deputy editor

"Sidewalk cellar/basement doors where people's heads and/or cats suddenly pop out…not to mention the fact that I never really trust them to hold my weight. Puddles of undeterminable depth after it rains: Many a pair of flats have died this way. Broken laundry machines that without warning will leave your clothes sopping wet, or lock your clothes in and continue to run 10 to 20 minutes after the timer says 'one minute.' And any pizza slice costing more than $1."
Hannah Doolin, Time Out Kids associate editor

"The ongoing disappearance of my favorite stores and restaurants, and their inevitable replacement with ATM caves." 
Adam Feldman, Associate Theater editor

"People dawdling on the stairs in the subway when I'm trying to go from one line to another."
Howard Halle, editor-at-large

Photograph: Shutterstock


"Spring, because it brings the constant threat of a mouse-sized cockroach suddenly appearing in my apartment. The first time I encountered a three-inch-long water bug flapping around in the hall I almost had a heart attack. When I saw one creeping in through the kitchen window I realized they were coming in through the air shaft. I didn't know the monsters could FLY."
Lisa Ritchie, Travel & Guides editor

"I'm stressed out right before leaving my home for the day. There are a cool five minutes where I'm frantically running around trying to make sure I have everything I could ever possibly need for the next 14 hours. The idea of returning to my outer-borough apartment before turning in for the night is stressful. Do I have everything for work, Bikram yoga and dinner with friends? Is my bag large enough to fit all of that shit ('No, this doesn't weigh 40 pounds…'), yet still stylish for social gatherings? What if I'm inclined to buy groceries while holding all of this? Will I ever have time to actually buy groceries?"
Jessica Lundgren, Freelance Shopping & Style assistant

"The insane weekend lines at Ess-a-Bagel, Murray's and now Black Seed. I usually know what I want to order by the time I finally get up to the counter, but the impatient stares of my fellow bagel-line dwellers, coupled with the overwhelming amount of possible cream-cheese-and-smoked-fish combos, always manage to give me such agita that I end up ordering the exact opposite of what I really wanted. Bagel tragedy."
Christina Izzo, Food & Drink editor

"Making eye contact in the subway with somebody I know but don't want to have a conversation with. Am I supposed to walk over and say hello? Pretend I don't recognize them? Should I go over anyway and ask what's up, even though I already know from LinkedIn and Facebook that they just started a cookie business and are stoked to go to Paris in two weeks?"
Anny Kim, copy editor

"Rats, noise, tourists, rent-all stressful. But only four years ago, Forbes ranked NYC at a distant No. 8. We're more stressful now than ever! And that's stressful."
Joshua Rothkopf, Film editor


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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

marley.lynch@timeout.com

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