Getting your adult life started post-college is a struggle no matter where you live, but if you decide to move to New York City, expect the city to come with its own particular set of challenges and pitfalls. Besides the notoriously tricky rental market, ask almost anyone about their first few years living in the city and they'll regale you with horror stories, cautionary tales, and "don't do what I did!" caveats. Daunting, sure, but also, a teachable moment.
Besides tips on the best apps to use, how to scrape by on an entry-level salary, avoiding common scams, and navigating roommmate life, we canvassed New Yorkers for stories about their biggest blunders they made when they first moved, and how you can avoid them:
Being too trusting of strangers on the street
"I actually lost $20 in a shell game on the subway. I think that wins the rube award." —Christopher C.
"I'm going to speak on behalf of the people I see getting stuck talking to Hasidic proselytizers during High Holidays. If they ask 'are you Jewish?' just keep walking." —Sylvia M.
"Following the friendly young people who come up to you when you're waiting in the lottery for Broadway tickets and convince you them to follow them around the corner but turn out to be Scientologists." —Ben R.
"The people who stop you to ask where you get your haircut. I once spoke to them and purchased their haircut and manicure. Needless to say, I've had better haircuts." —Rachel B.
"Making eye contact with Jehovah's Witnesses. Before you know it you've missed three trains [because they won't stop talking]." —Brittany T.
"Stopping to talk to literally anyone who is trying to get your attention on the street." —Tim D.
Putting up with a bad cab driver
"I wish I could tell my younger self that she doesn't have to get out of the cab just because the driver doesn't feel like bringing her to Brooklyn. Oh, and that she should always get inside the cab before saying where she's going." —Marjorie D.
"Letting the cab driver drive you somewhere without the meter on—they'll then try to rip you off [and charge a higher amount] because you didn't know the meter was supposed to be running." —Tim D.
"This may not apply now with Uber and Lyft, but I once got into a black Town Car thinking it was a gypsy cab (in the Bronx after mistakenly getting on the D train instead of the A), and it was just some dude's car. He drove me where I wanted to go, but he tried to ask me out." —Emma G.
Miscalculating the subway
"I also wish I could tell my younger self not to get into the mysteriously empty subway car." —Marjorie D.
"Never get into the empty subway car." —Austin M.
"Accidentally taking the express all the way to 125th." —Allison M.
"I once waited for the G train with headphones on at the front of the platform and totally missed that motherfucker." —Madelyn O.
"I would strongly encourage my younger self to take two seconds to check subway service status on the MTA website before she sets forth. SUCH A DIFFERENCE." —Marjorie D.
Trusting a sketchy roommate setup
"My first apartment was a 'Yeah dude, just move in and you can take over the lease when it's done in a month.' An easy, turnkey operation. The guy hadn't paid rent for like eight months and skipped town as soon as we moved in." —Jesse S.
"I moved in in with a stranger I never met in real life, who would later end up mysteriously wearing my clothes, attempting to arrange a threesome with me, himself, and his girlfriend of three months, and then attempted to steal about $2,000 from my checking account by making fraudulent checks with his new doc scanner." —Joe C.
Not knowing when it's worth it to spend the extra money
"Don't be a hero and waste several hours each week doing your laundry. Everyone pays for wash and fold and it's okay! It just makes sense!" —Nickie K.
"I once moved by subway because I thought it was the smart/thrifty thing to do—I ended up taking like five cabs." —Emma B.
Taking your safety for granted
"There was one time I fell asleep on the subway. I was woken up by a drunk homeless man. Never did that again." —Beatrice R.
"Walking through Central Park and Morningside Park by myself at night with headphones in (obviously also drunk) #happytobealive." —Emma G.
... and other assorted missteps
"Buying Chateau Diana 'wine' at the deli, and not realizing it's wine product, which is not the same thing." —Liz K.
"Picking up some Chateau Diana at the grocery store and taking it to a party only to be rightfully called out on my blunder." —Joe C.
"Thinking Little Italy is a place to eat Italian food." —Ben R.
"Wearing heels." —Meghan S.
"I mispronounced Houston." —Cassie M.
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