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26 signs you’re not gonna make it in New York

26 signs you’re not gonna make it in New York
Photograph: Shutterstock

By Time Out contributors. Edited by Sophie Harris

New York is the greatest city in the world, but is it the ideal place to live for everybody? With a slightly awkward grin, we're gonna say not necessarily. There are some aspects of everyday life here in Gotham that can be a little, uh, challenging if you're not cut out for the city, from the subway trains to its unique aromas. Here are the telltale signs that maybe you're not gonna make it in NYC.

1. You complain about the smell every summer. Go move near an open meadow or a forest if you can’t take it, weak-nose!

2. You think your art is so important that you shouldn’t have to have a day job, and yet you can’t support yourself with your art revenue. Portland, Oregon, awaits you!

3. You’re afraid to go outside looking less than great. If you can’t go to Key Food or Duane Reade without makeup and cute shoes, you need to move somewhere with giant air-conditioned malls.

4. You think you have a right to privacy. There's a shack in the woods with your name on it.

5. You haven’t learned how to use the subway within 30 days of moving here. If you don’t by then, you likely won’t. This is trial by fire, people!

6. You're not a natural adventurer (see above). There are five boroughs filled with amazing stuff that you’ll never find unless you’re prepared to get out there and explore.

7. You have severe claustrophobia. Why torture yourself in a crowded city, in crowded subway cars, on crowded streets, on crowded elevators?

8. You're sidewalk-shy. Not a walker? Not a New Yorker.

9. You can't handle living with a roommate. Sorry pal, but you're going to have one (or, like, three) until you get married, win the lottery or move away.

10. You actually let someone push past you and steal your cab—you're never going to make it here if you can’t fight for what’s rightfully yours. (Unless you’re upstreaming. In that case, release the dogs!)

11. You raise your voice when speaking to people who don’t speak English well, as if that will help them understand you and not just make everyone think you’re a crazy yelling person.

12. You actually take flyers and CDs from the guys on the street. Lugging around a bag full of trash is no way to live, metropolitan aspirant.

13. You regularly succumb to sales pressure and upsells. You have to be (mostly) immune to that shit here.

14. You're not into the arts. Besides the bazillion amazing events happening 24-7, there are beautiful murals on the streets and buskers on every corner.

15. You get outraged every single time you go grocery shopping. Either learn to deal with the ludicrous prices here or move on, good sir/madam!

16. You don't drink coffee. Sure we'll stray to macha or hot chocolate from time to time, but there's only one brew that truly makes us tick.

17. You think “real New Yorkers” don’t shop or eat at chains. Yes, they do. And if you don’t, you’re going to run out of money really fast. And Five Guys is really good!

18. You regularly shush people in any context. We’ve all wanted to do it (and occasionally do), but if you can’t put up with a little extra chatter at a concert/reading/movie/comedy show/whatever, you probably don’t have the focus required to live here.

19. You’re scared of screaming people on a crowded street instead of just irked by them.

20. You lose your place in the book you're reading on a crowded subway platform.

21. You can't eat and walk at the same time.

22. You complain about the weather. Yes, we have snowstorms, and yes, we have the worst humidity known to man. But it’s worth it for those blissful four days of spring and two days of fall we get every year. If you don’t like seasons, move to L.A.

23. You think it’s dirty. And crowded. It is, but the sky is also blue! People who love it here don’t mind those things.

24. You still haven't learned how to fold your pizza slice.

25. You're not a romantic at heart. That springtime blossom! Those snowy brownstones! The sight of either of our two beautiful rivers. If these things don't make your heart soar in the midst of the chaos, we suggest you move to the 'burbs.

26. You're not prepared to help out your fellow Gothamite. We may be a surly bunch, but when the chips are down, we are so there.




re: #24     I advise to stick with the folded..(or not folded) pizza slice. If you're eating often at the chain with the big yellow arch or the Colonel might just find yourself biting into a rat's ass.

Kiko J

Maybe the native NYers would have more of a sense of humor if the clueless transplants didn't make it more expensive for everyone else, by not doing their homework and paying any old crazy expensive rent, patronizing the chain stores that pop up on every other corner and put the local shops out of business, and ultimately, when they make enough money and are ready to do some serious gentrifying, wanting to recreate their hometown in their new concrete suburbia. And since Sept. 11th didn't scare 'em away, we'll be dealing with 'em for a while.

Denise G

I just don't get the snark here. Too many mice in the maze cause this? Intolerance is not necessary with all the "diversity " in nyc.

Gary Seven

While some of the edicts are a little tired and "trope-y", If you're not a trust fund baby or a hedge fund manager, you better enjoy roommates with bad music taste and poor communication skills, your service industry job with a supervisor who is an undiagnosed bipolar @-hole, and bad $1 pizza.  Oh, and make sure your default expression is "resting bitch face".  This is your life-if you've had enough, there's always the bucolic midwest by comparison.  

Kevin M

This was funny and true to the core.  I would just like to change the title to 26 insider tips for becoming a more understanding New Yorker.

Ebo T

Dear Sophie your attitude is stank. The end.

Nitzalie M

LMAO Loving the NY Resident police who are monitoring this article's comment section. SHEESH. Didn't know true NYers were so adamant about satirical lists. Maybe #27 should be that you can't move here if you have a sense of humor (based on the lack of humor from the commenters on here who claim to be REAL NYers). 

Luisana S

This list is next to horrendous and don't mind Pismo Sophie. The complainers are right. This list is intended for the really new New Yorker and misguides the whole situation. These lists should be take  seriously because we are done with clueless people wanting to live in NY and calling themselves "New Yorkers" when they don't have a clue about grit and the nitty gritty. NYC is becoming unpleasant to live in as is losing its essence. What NY's essence? THE PEOPLE. The REAL people. 

Pismo D

#999 - You have to deal with obnoxious NYers who comment on these simple, funny articles like they are actually serious and important.. Hang in there Sophie..

Neil K

lol this is absolute nonsense rofl. 

NYC has a high standard of living. If you want to live there, work your way up to a good position and apply to jobs there where you can support yourself. And be smart with your money. Maybe then you can keep up with its standard of living. If you can do that you can live there. If you're not willing to, then it's not the place for you, period. 

Steve S

Please stop...for the love of all things New York...STOP! Stop copying Buzzfeed's already horrendous lists and thinking you know New York.

17. You think “real New Yorkers” don’t shop or eat at chains. Yes, they do. And if you don’t, you’re going to run out of money really fast. And Five Guys is really good!

A Cheeseburger by itself is $8 at Five Guys - eat there and you'll run out of money really fast.

I can't even with all the other ones...just stop...please...New York begs of you!

Mary F

@Steve S I agree,.  Most of these chains are quite costly.  Frankly, unless you are really well-off, you will either learn to cook or eat in neighborhood joints located in cheap neighborhoods.  A few dumplings in a hole-in-the-wall place in Chinatown or the lunch special in an Webster Avenue Coffee shop is cheaper than chains any day.

jks. J

Awe, who wants to bet Sophie moved here from Ohio to pursue her writing career.

Reason 27 you won't make it in New York- real New Yorkers will laugh about your shitty written articles. Poor baby.

Kyle J

Reason 27 jks. J is a dick.

Josh O

You clicked on it, read it and commented on it.

Linda L

@SophieMeve "Worst humidity known to man"?? Hardly. There's a plane ticket to Houston in August with YOUR name on it if you want to fact-check that assertion. Damn Yankees. :-)

Ramon G

@Linda L Right on, Linda! I mean, I know NYC has less AC-space than we do, but more humidity?? That young lady needs to travel more--even if NYC is on the water: that's the North Atlantic, and not the largest concentration of steamy bathwater on the planet, aka the Gulf of Mexico. Happy New Year to ya, btw! #HTown #FirstWard.

Peter L

#1 You listen to what's written in Time Out New York. 

Jason S

Anyone can move here and declare themselves a New Yorker just like anyone can move to  West Virginia and call themselves a West Virginian.  People do that.   They may think nobody will know the difference, but natives always know. 

It IS the greatest City in the world, and I am proud to be born and raised here, just like my parents and grandparents were born and raised here, and there is no place on earth I would rather raise my own kids than right here. OUR TOWN.   I've traveled around and lived in other Cities for a spell, Portland Oregon I lived there for 3 years, it's beautiful, but I   couldn't wait to come home.   Florida is warmer in the winter,  nice for a winter vacation, but I also lived there for a spell, missed the snow which I love, and couldn't wait to come home to my Apple. 

Being a Noo Yawker  is not a residency, it is a blood type.  Nuff said. 

Imeh S

LOL‼️ 😂😂 I know that's right‼️

Sash B

#18...I will shush anyone who talks during my $27 3D/Imax movie. If I pay that much money in order to get an assigned seat, you'd better be on your best behavior or be prepared to box! Hope your $50 co-pay is worth chatting through Terminator:Genisys.

Steve G

+ "Can't deal with ghettoness."  I was shocked/disgusted went I went away for 3 years and came back and had to get used to kids cursing, guys with pants below their butts, and people spitting phlegm and blowing their nose into the streets right in front of people....there are a lot of trashy people here,

Lisa P

My life's dream, is to get my kids out of the house and semi-move to NYC. I've been raised as a country kid with a city heart!! As a joy filled visitor, #26 is exactly right!! As I in total frustration, send my family of 5 back to the condo rental..... I ask 3 lovely ladies for directions, and end up going for wine and snacks!! Instant friends for 4 hours!! Everything about NYC is truly fantastic!!!

Jason K

This article seems like it was written by someone who wasn't born here but thinks they were.

Steve G

@Jason K  And not being born here is a problem because...............why?

Sean J

@Jason K Born lol. I was born here and left when I was 2 years old. I would never call myself a New Yorker

Kiko J

@Steve G

It's only a problem in that she wants to come across as this arbiter of "New Yorkness" and falls into traps that native NYers wouldn't. Like the whole chain store thing, for instance.

Peter C

I was born and lived here all my life (75yrs) and have traveled all over the world. When I am out of the city for more that 3 weeks, I am bored. The only city I could live in would be London.

Mary F

@Peter C My dad lived in London during the war and then immigrated to this country in '47 and lived his life here in NYC.  He would have agreed with you. He left his heart in London.

Billy C

Can't wait to see what kind of music she likes….

Henry S

Most people handing out fliers on the street can't go home until they hand them all out. Take one, read it, and bring it home and recycle it.

Also, "real New Yorkers" often care about their communities: you know, they know people who live in them, the people who own small businesses in them, etc., which is why they might be more likely to support the local diner than the local Five Guys.

Mary F

@Henry S So true.  In fact all these chains is how the city is being ruined.  Anything unique or different is being ground away.  When was the last time you had an eggcream or a real full-sour dill?  Do you ever miss the automat?Even my old haunt of Astoria, Queens is slowly having all the good Greek and Italian places wiped out by chains. No more "King Pennys," "Gus Trimmings" or "Broadway Vacuums" anymore.  They are all dead or barely hanging on.