From romance to royalty and every genre in between, some of your favorite movies and TV shows get creative in the way they depict The Big Apple. People who've never visited before may not realize that a lot of New York City experiences are exaggerated a tad in the name of entertainment purposes. And while this bustling destination is certainly a unique one, it's also pretty normal once you've lived here for a while. That's why I'm here to debunk these 10 myths about living in New York City.
Coming here for the first time can be such an exciting experience. If your only frame of reference is what you've seen in the movies, your expectations will likely be pretty high. You might be dreaming of some handsome stranger coming to your rescue to push you out of the way of an oncoming taxi, or that you'll go to a secret underground party in the Lower East Side that'll change your life. Truth is, living in New York is a lot like living in any other major city (with a few tweaks, of course).
Whether you absolutely love it, or the city life isn't your cup of tea, these are the top 10 things myths about The City That Never Sleeps.
1. It's Completely Unaffordable To Live Here
Anytime someone from back home finds out that I live in NYC, their first questions is always, "Isn't it expensive?!" The answer? Yes, of course it is, but it's not unmanageable. Granted, I have to cancel brunch plans every once in a while and brew my own tea at home, but with a little planning and careful budgeting, it all works out.
2. It's Extremely Crowded Everywhere
Fact: Most people who complain about New York being crowded spend all of their time in midtown. It does get crowded in the more touristy spots — and in popular neighborhoods like SoHo and Williamsburg — but actually, in most places, you'll have plenty of room to walk around and pose for pics on the sidewalk.
3. People Are Constantly Hailing Cabs
Some movies only show people hailing shiny yellow cabs. After living in NYC for over two years, I actually just hailed my first cab about three months ago. For the most part, people opt for public transportation (and often pick apartments based on what subway stops are near them), and if they need a car, they might split an Uber or Lyft with their friends.
4. New Yorkers Like Doing Things From NYC-Based Movies And TV Shows
I'll admit to enjoying a trendy snack and coffee perched on the steps of The Met, à la Blair and Serena from Gossip Girl. But honestly, many New Yorkers don't have time to explore the spots that have become popular in beloved movies and TV shows. I will say that, if I happen to find myself walking by a popular spot, I'll most definitely go check it out.
5. New York Is Only Manhattan
There are five total boroughs in NYC — Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island — but movies and TV shows really like to shine a spotlight on Manhattan (unless, of course, there's a romantic scene happening on the Brooklyn Bridge). While Manhattan might be the most recognizable borough, each of the others has its own personality and hotspots to explore.
6. New Yorkers Hang Out In Times Square
This one is just plain false. If a New Yorker has to go to Times Square for a meeting, it's likely an extremely stressful day dealing with the hectic herds of people.
7. You Never Run Into People You Know
You'd be amazed how many people I run into on the subway. Not on the platform, but in the same exact car as me. (If you live in NYC, you know how wild it is to not only end up on the same train at the same time, but to also pick the same car.) As big and populated as New York City is, it's weirdly common to run into people you know (including celebs).
8. You Can See A Famous NYC Landmark From Anywhere In The City
Many movies about NYC seem to feature an apartment with a view of the Empire State Building, or characters taking a walk next to the Washington Square Arch. Believe it or not, most spots in Manhattan don't have a view of an iconic landmark.
9. All New Yorkers Are Rude
In a city full of transplants and native New Yorkers, it's pretty easy to find friendly faces and even strike up a convo with the person sitting next to you at the coffee shop. However, don't get in the way, because if you mess with a New Yorker's pace, that may be another story.
10. It's Easy To Get Lost
The nice thing about numbered streets is that it's easy to tell if you're going in the wrong direction. The subway also follows that logic, distinguishing trains as going "uptown" or "downtown." NYC's (mostly) symmetrical grid makes it relatively easy to navigate, but admittedly, it gets a little harder when the numbers run out downtown.
Whether you're visiting NYC for the first time or the hundredth, keep these myths in mind — and have an awesome time.