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How Do People Adjust to New York Lifestyle?

The City That Never Sleeps has always been a magnet for migrants and immigrants alike. What started out as a Dutch settlement called New Amsterdam, New York has become home to millions of people from all over the country and the world. Its five boroughs – Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island – are a melting pot of languages, cuisines, and cultures. 

There are various things that draw people to the city. This inclusive environment is one of them. New York also boasts tons of attractions, entertainment options and other cultural offerings, plus amenities like restaurants and bars that are open 24/7. 

Those who choose to move here and stay typically do so for the many job opportunities available in the city and the chance to build a career. With New York being a top financial center and the many other industries that are located here, there’s no shortage of employment opportunities and professionals to connect with. While competition is tough, many arrive with the purpose of triumphing over the challenge of making it here. 

Whatever your reason for moving to New York, there’s always that period of adjustment, as it usually is with moving to someplace new. Here are some of the ways you can adapt your daily routine and lifestyle to your new home.

  • Adjusting to the New York Cold Weather
  • Dealing with Crowds and People
  • Frequent Your Neighborhood Bodegas 
  • Getting Around New York City
  • Enjoy the City Life

Keep reading and we’ll go into more detail below on how to adjust to New York lifestyle…

Adjusting to the New York Cold Weather

1. Adjusting to the New York Cold Weather

There’s a reason why New York mandates indoor temperatures in buildings. The cold can be brutal here, turning the Big Apple into the Big Freeze. If you’re not used to the frost, be warned. You’ll be dealing with it from October to May. 

There’s a real chance of getting hypothermia and frostbite here if you’re not careful. According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, approximately 70% of cold-related deaths from 2009 to 2012 were due to exposure to cold outdoors, including on subway stations and platforms. Brrr…

How do you adjust? Obviously, wear layers, especially when going outdoors. Keep your head covered with a hat, hood, or scarf. Wear gloves and earmuffs, and don’t forget to cover your nose. If you can help it, stay indoors during the coldest part of the day which is early morning. 

While indoors, remember that the temperature in your apartment should never be below 68 ℉ (20 ℃) during the day or 62 ℉ (about 17 ℃) at night from October 1 to May 31. Buy a cheap thermometer and record a few readings during the day and at night. 

“A lot of people don’t do that and they wait until there’s a big problem, or they haven’t had heat for a long time,” Andrea Shapiro, director of programs at the tenant advocacy group Met Council on Housing, told The City. “The first day you don’t have heat, or the first time you notice there’s a problem with the heating system, tell someone — even if you know they’re not going to do anything.” 

She outlines step by step what you should do in the event that you’re experiencing any issues or problems with heat or hot water in your apartment. 

You can also keep your apartment warm by closing your windows and doors, lowering blinds or drawing curtains at night, and moving furniture away from radiators or baseboards. 

Don’t forget to make it a routine to check the forecast and weather updates. There’s the New York City Severe Weather website and the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) KWO35 station on 162.550 MHz. You can also stay informed through the Notify NYC app. Or, enroll online so you can receive updates via emails or text. Then there’s 311, which you can reach via call, text (311-692), or online.

Dealing with Crowds and People

2. Dealing with Crowds and People

New York has about 8.5 million people going about their business within its 4,555 square miles (141,297 square kilometers). It is the most populous city in the U.S. As a result, New York is undoubtedly a crowded place. 

As a newcomer, the least you can do is be mindful of the space you occupy in public. With people typically always in a hurry walking along the small streets, avoid blocking their way or risk getting yelled at. And, if you’re in a hurry yourself, develop the ability to navigate through the crowd. Also, avoid Times Square as much as you can … unless you love to be in the middle of a great throng of people.

Lines will also soon become a reality for you at many places. You’ll find queues for pizza, croissants, eggs, theater tickets and many other things. Some get in line for FOMO and others find the wait worth it for something they love. It’s also a good opportunity to strike up a conversation with a fellow New Yorker. 

Frequent Your Neighborhood Bodegas 

3. Frequent Your Neighborhood Bodegas 

Bodegas are your small neighborhood grocery. You’ve probably discovered that there’s one every two blocks or so, and many are open 24/7. They offer convenience minus the long lines.

“[New Yorkers] don’t want to go to the supermarket because they have to stand in a long line to pay for a gallon of milk, so they go to a bodega because it’s faster,” Yovanna Melo, owner of the El Vacilón (The Shindig) bodega, told the BBC

In time, you’ll be able to get to know them intimately as they are stapes in your new life as a New Yorker. These small neighborhood stores sell food and drinks, household products, and many more. Plus, each bodega has its own quirkiness, whether that’s the bodega cat, a deli counter, etc. 

But, a bodega is more than just a store. This is where you can build new friendships and a community too. 

“When you go to a bodega, they greet you, ask how are you doing, how is your family doing. I already know how my customers like their coffee and their sandwiches. There is a very close integration with people,” Radhames Rodriguez, owner of the Pamela Green bodega, told the BBC. 

Getting Around New York City

4. Getting Around New York City

No. 1: Don’t drive a car. Use the subway instead. It can take you anywhere in the city, except Staten Island. Get a 30-day unlimited metrocard so you can save some money. Download a map or some apps, such as Citymapper and Transit, to help you navigate the MTA network. 

When riding the subway, be considerate of others and learn the unwritten code of conduct. This includes moving to the middle when you enter instead of blocking the doors and in general being a good passenger/person.

But, if you prefer to get your steps in, that’s not a problem at all as New York is a walkable city. Because you’ll most probably be walking a lot, buy a sturdy pair of waterproof boots for yourself. They should look good with many of your outfits. You’ll thank yourself later.

Enjoy the City Life

5. Enjoy the City Life

If you don’t discover that big city living isn’t for you, then you might want to give yourself one to two years to totally adjust to living in New York. In the meantime, learn a lot, let go of frustrations and take time to enjoy the city and all that it has to offer. 

New York offers many attractions and activities that won’t break the bank. Bars have happy hours and museums have discounted fees on certain days. Food can be had at an affordable price, and food trucks are worth checking out. Tons of free events, such as summer concerts, happen all the time.  Plus, there are many green spaces too, like Central Park, where you can relax and unwind.

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