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Yellow taxis in NYC
Photograph: Shutterstock

20 small things that bring New Yorkers immense joy

3. Realizing you don't have to transfer to another subway line

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Written by
Shaye Weaver
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New Yorkers have a lot to love about living in the best city in the world. There's so much to enjoy—the unmatched food scene with constant new restaurants to try, its world-renowned museums with the best exhibits and incredible parks with gorgeous gardens—but these don't always hit the same way when we get used to living in the crossroads of the world.

Sometimes the smaller things we encounter while out in the city bring more joy than what you'd expect. Besides, living in a bustling-hustling city can be quite hard so when we have a moment that shows us otherwise, it makes us wildly happy.

Below are some small things that fill New Yorkers with immense joy: 

RECOMMENDED: 16 small things that fill every New Yorker with irrational rage

1. Catching the train right before the doors close

Nothing is better than dashing right onto a subway train before it leaves the station. When we don't have to wait and don't have to watch the doors close in front of our sad faces before it pulls out of the station, it almost feels like we beat the system or like we should win an award.

2. Finding a Goldilocks subway car that’s not too hot/not overly air-conditioned

It doesn't happen often, but when we sit down and realize the train car we're in is the perfect temperature, it almost makes the commute...comfortable?

3. Realizing we're going somewhere in the city that doesn’t require a train transfer

Huzzah! No-transfer trips are the best. One train only is the best way to travel.

4. Successfully hailing the first cab we see/not having to wait for an Uber

Getting a cab at all these days is more difficult so when we hail one right away, it's such a sweet feeling. Not only are we escaping the sidewalk swiftly, but we feel like a Grade A, 100% New Yorker at that moment.

5. Getting to an intersection right when the walk light comes on and hitting all green lights on the West Side Highway

We just hate waiting.

6. Petting a cute dog on the street

Some of the best neighbors are dogs and those without furry friends at home are more than happy to say "hi" to our four-legged New Yorkers. Sometimes there's no better remedy to a bad day than a smiling face on a leash.

7. Meeting a friendly bodega cat

Likewise, those mysterious bodega cats who like to sleep on top of bags of rice and between boxes on shelves give us a moment of zen and joy — after all, if they're happy living in a corner bodega feasting on mice, we can be happy in our little apartments, right?

8. Enjoy an excellent happy hour special

When we can score a good drink for $5-$8, it's a good day. Cocktails can do some hefty damage to our wallets so we're happy we can get buzzed for mere bucks after work.

9. Getting a seat at a restaurant without a reservation

Making reservations is always a good practice, but sometimes we fly by the seat of our pants and need to get into a restaurant quickly without them. It's such a good feeling when the host/hostess squeezes you in, especially at a busier eatery. And we are so thankful. 

10. Bottomless brunches with friends

Brunch is a ritual in NYC and we do it religiously. The best ones are when the mimosas and Bloody Mary's flow freely as we gab away with our friends. Give us a good brunch on a sunny day in the city and it's truly euphoric.

11. Missing a freak rainstorm

We've all been caught in one of those freak rainstorms that seemingly come out of nowhere and open up on poor unprepared pedestrians. It happens. What gives us so much relief and joy is when we realize we were inside for one of these downpours and now the sun is peeking out behind those clouds.

12. Finding the perfect picnic spot in the park

We don't go out into nature often, but when we do, we want a prime spot with soft grass and sweeping views. When we find it, it's pure bliss.

13. Running into friends and merging parties

New York City can be a small world and we love rare moments when we happen to see a friend sitting on the same subway train, walking out of a store we're passing by or drinking at the same bar. It's a weird coincidence but a happy one — and it's even made better when the two parties merge into one and hang out together.

14. Finding our people in this gigantic city

When we realize we're surrounded by people who get us and that we have our group of forever friends here in NYC, the biggest city, it's a special moment

15. Stoop drinks

Sometimes the best drinks are knocked back on our stoops with our neighbors and friends. A glass of red right outside the door is just what we need sometimes — no frills, just friends.

16. A good street fair or block party

Hanging out in the street, whether feasting on our neighbor's barbecue or grabbing food on a stick from a street vendor, is a New Yorker's favorite pastime. These events are where we spend time with our community and feel like we're part of it.

17. Finding a tiny library in your neighborhood

Stumbling upon a tiny library, that is, a small house-like structure with books inside for the taking is a little moment of joy because it's a sign that someone on our block wants to enrich their neighbors' lives in a small but thoughtful way.

18. Seeing a brand new exhibit

New York City is a cultural capital and sometimes it feels great to participate in that. When we get to see a big exhibit right after it opens, it feels like we've witnessed a little bit of history and that we're in on what's big in the city.

19. Stumbling on amazing live music on the sidewalk/street/subway

An impromptu concert from one of NYC's most talented is always a pleasure and sometimes we may even stop and listen.

20. Seeing a show on Broadway

Just because we're New Yorkers and can access NYC any time doesn't mean we don't get completely giddy when it comes to Broadway shows. The feeling when the music swells and the curtains lift makes our hearts race and our faces beam with joy. We know when Broadway officially opens in September, we'll be there with bells on.

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