Category:Living in NYC

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The City that Never Sleeps

Times Square NYC HDR.jpg

New York City is unlike any place else in the US and in the world. With so much diversity and culture, it’s like a microcosm of all humanity packed within just over 300 square miles. It’s known as the City that Never Sleeps because with all those people from all those walks of life living within it, there’s never a solitary moment. Because of this diversity in lifestyle, the experience of living in the city is rarely the same for two different people. In fact it’s utterly mind boggling how two people living within a few meters of each other could have such different lives. You might be a successful stock broker with the world at your feet living the high life and not more than a few feet from you a bum could be laying over a subway grating to keep warm as the exhaust rises from the depths of Manhattan.

However, these are two extremes; the majority of New Yorkers fall somewhere in the middle. So let’s go over some middle ground and give you a picture of what living in New York City means to your character. For the most part what we will be describing here is an overview of what New York life is like in the inner boroughs – mostly Manhattan, but Brooklyn as well.

American players who have never been to New York City will find it hard to relate to even if they have seen it thousands of times in movies and on television. It’s like no place on earth. The energy and pace is simply exhilarating. Depending on the personality type, it can be either overwhelming or refreshing.

New York is a place where people connect with one another constantly. They are used to having to deal with one another. They aren’t regulated to sleepy suburbs with automatic garage door openers. They actually have to get out and walk. Getting out of the car and being on foot means that New Yorkers talk to one another. Perhaps that is the root of the legendary rudeness New Yorkers are so famous for. This is really an unfair assessment as it’s more a form of blasé with a dash of common sense and a bit of streetwise with a sprinkle of “I don’t give a fuck” and a drizzle of “forgetaboutit” – let’s face it most New Yorkers have seen some crazy shit.

Even the wealthiest people living in the city aren’t entirely insulated from the Masses. With a population so connected and filled with all manner of characters like the "Naked Cowboy", you’re bound to have unpredictable adventures and fascinating conversations with anything from the classic native New Yorker complete with accent and attitude, to a crazy immigrant just off the boat and marching to the beat of his own drum - literally. So it’s a fallacy that New Yorkers are rude and won’t talk to you, it’s just the opposite. They will talk, yell, scream, make obscene hand gestures, and insult you if you get in their way when they are on the go, but if they are hanging out and relaxing, they are just about the most open and welcoming bunch of crazies you’ve ever imagined. It’s a wild place.

This connective lifestyle is probably more familiar to Europeans than to other Americans. Space is at a premium in New York City as it is in most of Europe. Flats are expensive and small – almost shoe box size. It forces people to go out and entertain in restaurants and pubs as well as use public places like they do in Europe. For this reason, New York City is generously dotted with public squares and parks. Some are small some are large, but they serve as focal points for the more than 400 neighborhoods in the greater metropolitan area.

Each of these neighborhoods has its own personality and New Yorkers are very proud of them. They love to represent and usually try to form some sort of bond with their neighbors because they do have to interact daily. They see each other in the same markets, at the same street vendors, in the same parks and squares, on their stoops, in their stairwells, on the sidewalks, etc. Indeed in some of the neighborhoods dominated by certain sub-cultures or ethnic groups, the neighborhoods can be downright tribal and even resemble the sort of cultures that dominates really small villages. Even specific apartment buildings (particularly walk-ups) can take on the role of a small village complete with character stereotypes. For instance, your character’s building might have the bad neglected kids, the shy nerds, the old lady busy body, the gossiping hens, the kindly doctor, the handyman, the shopkeeper, and the neighborhood sheriff.

Manhattan residents view those who don’t actually live in Manhattan with a bit of disdain. Those who live in Manhattan are somehow on the right side of the velvet rope. They’ve made it into the VIP area. They are at the right party. It’s practically better to be a bum in Manhattan than a millionaire in Westchester County, New Jersey, or even Brooklyn. They snidely refer to these people as the “Bridge and Tunnel” crowd as the commuters must make the journey onto the island by either bridge or tunnel usually (although there are ferries). They are bourgeois suburbanites that have traded the excitement, sophistication, and culture of the city to live in some middle class torpor featuring crappy style sense, 2.2 kids, a white picket fence, a dog, a cat, a mini-van, and soccer practice.

Seriously…Manhattanites have a point. The further that one goes out from the epicenter of Manhattan, the more recognizable life is to the rest of America. In areas like Staten Island, Long Island, and New Jersey, you’ll find the same depressing collections of shopping centers and malls that one might see in a suburb of Dallas, Texas.

Cost Of Living

Some Average New York City Prices
Category Item Cost
Food: Lunch at a restaurant: $23.00
Cocktail: $13.00
Pack of Cigarettes: $15.00
Can of beer from grocer: $2.31
Hot dog from a cart: $3.50
One kg of rice: $4.79
One dozen eggs: $3.96
Entertainment: Movie ticket: $18.00
Appliances: Washing machine: $837.00

The weakened U.S. dollar caused New York to fall from the 8th most expensive city in the world to live in to 27th. To compare: Tokyo is ranked 2nd, Hong Kong 8th, Oslo 11th, Beijing 16th, Paris and London 17th, Sydney 24th, Brussels 53rd, Los Angeles 55th, Berlin 61st. It is still the most expensive city to live in in the US. The prices above reflect average costs of some common consumer commodities in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.

The New Yorker’s Survival Kit

One thing that strikes newcomers and tourists in the city is the amount of New Yorkers reading and carrying bags or backpacks. Waiting for busses and subways and not wanting to get stuck in their shoebox apartments for too long, New Yorkers have become quintessential mobile and well-informed multi-taskers and are well-equipped. None of them want to be left behind and so they usually carry a bag with them of some type. In this bag are usually the essentials for keeping informed, personal growth, meeting opportunities head-on, and sanity: Mobile phone (the smarter the better), iPod (if your mobile is not smart), a paperback or Kindle, a daily newspaper (usually the NY Times), a magazine like the New Yorker, a tablet or netbook or laptop, a pic-nic blanket (because they like to lay on the grass during their downtime, but don’t want to actually touch it – spring and summer only), water bottle, and condoms and toiletries (just in case).

Pages in category "Living in NYC"

The following 7 pages are in this category, out of 7 total.

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