This week I’ve been spending some serious time exploring New York City. Halfway through, I’m falling in love with this city, and simultaneously realizing that this place might not be for me on any long-term capacity.
There’s a romanticism and history to this city that stirs an inner reflection about where I come from. My great-grandparents came through Ellis Island with droves of others to seek a better future and life for themselves and their children. They came with next to nothing, and New York City was their first open hand for assistance. One of my grandfathers grew up in the city – he still talks about his days playing with friends and going to Columbia University.
Sitting in my travel workstation at the nearest Starbucks, I imagine all those that are joining me here in the city; clicking and clacking away to write a masterpiece, or just a mere blog post. I imagine the start for my grandparents and great-grandparents that often began here in this city of everything.
New York City seems to be a place for connection, and I’m feeling it to my core. The hoards of people aren’t overwhelming and tumultuous; rather, they’re a cacophony of sounds that connect us all. This is what humanity looks like in large numbers, and it’s a beautiful sight. Surprisingly, I’ve loved being surrounded by so many people. Walk down any sidewalk at any point in the day, and you shouldn’t be surprised to find others.
As I drink up all of these wonders and explore the never-ending Central Park, I’m bothered by the city’s powerful emphasis on consumerism. Shiny, glossy, well-lit store fronts are pervasive. They make spending seem appealing, easy. All I want to do is walk around and explore, but in the process, the exposure to advertising and opportunities for purchase are enthralling. Frankly, I’m impressed by the merchandise I see. That spells trouble for my budget.
This city really does have the best of everything. Want to have some of the best French food in America? Go to NYC. How about Thai? Again, try NYC. Want to find a unique, impassioned piece of artwork? You’ll find more than you know what to do with here. Looking for a job in business? This is clearly – still – the epicenter of finance. But it’s not just a home for market makers. Fashion, acting, artists, and writers all can call New York City their home.
As a future psychologist, it’s easy to fall in love with New York City. There are people here that flock to the city and need basic mental and medical care. On any street corner you can see the people of the neighborhoods smiling and chatting each other up. No matter how casual this may be, the community feeling is amazing. You’d think that in this massive populace, something would be lost in connection, but it’s the exact opposite.
I’ve been amazed at the friendliness of New Yorkers. I can walk up to anybody on the street and chat them up. I can ask for directions and great spots, and they’ll all have different suggestions and ideas. People are willing and desiring of connection here. The important difference between New York City and my oh-so-rural place I call home is that people here really make an effort to connect everywhere they go. The local hangouts all seem to be occupied by people that know each other’s names and groups seem to form easily.
The Starbucks I am in is now full. But instead of people standing alone, waiting for tables, they join two-tops and long tables for a congregation of social time, shared. People that have never met before are know conversing and sharing moments – together and in person. It’s easy to love this, and I’ll miss it dearly as I pack up to leave. But, I’ll be happy to be back on my normal budget, too.
You can live in NYC on a budget. I and plenty of other NYers do. It’s easy to get lost in the glitz and gloss but once you’re here you realize that there are four economies here – from the uber rich to the homeless. Plenty of us survive well in the middle two.
there’s a big difference between living here and visiting. The latter definitely is expensive! New Yorkers on a budget try to avoid to glam and glitter 🙂 I manage to live here on a budget – and I know I’m not the only one. It’s not always easy, but we all have the same excuse: we live in one of the greatest cities of the world.
Michelle @fitisthenewpoor says
NYC is on my list of places to see and experience. I would be ok with moving there too as I am a big city girl at my core.
Have you been to Chicago? I think you’d love it! We have all of NYC but a more “neighborhood” vibe. And us midwesterners are the friendliest!
Dave @ The New York Budget says
It’s true that NYC has a whole bunch of consumerism. But the city is big. REALLY big. Even after living there for the past 5 years, I am still realizing how big it truly is. And for every Times Square, there is a Brooklyn Bridge that you can enjoy for free or a Staten Island Ferry that doesn’t cost you a dime. There are cheap eats and cheap supermarkets for you to make your own food as well. I think one of the great things NYC has done for me is challenge me to find ways to be frugal while still enjoying the wonder of this great city!
In fact, that’s why I started my blog!
my first visitt nyc was lovely.. people were nice,and there were LOTS of people.lol.. i found cheap eats visiting but the hotel prices were a bit above what i am use to.. it is great to see that people live and thrive and live on a budget here.. congrats to you all and love the blog..