Everyone Should Live In New York City, Even For A Minute

Why I want to live in NYC.

It was a magic moment when I visited six months after 9/11. I was 22 and in New York City to see ground zero with my own eyes. I wanted to walk every city block. I wanted to talk to everyone about the experience. I wanted to live there and be a real New Yorker. I think everyone should live in New York City, even for just a minute. But for now, let’s focus on why I think New York City is the world’s best place to learn a few of life’s lessons.

You never feel alone.

In NYC, there are people everywhere. Millions of people walking and talking and laughing and doing things you have no clue about. If you ever feel lonely, just take a walk in Manhattan. Pick a block, any block, and for whatever reason, you feel better. The people you will never know make you feel like you belong. And don’t we all want to belong to something?

Walking is the secret ingredient.

You walk a lot in NYC. Science proves that the brain lights up after 10 minutes of walking. The neurotransmitters fire more rapidly which equals creativity. Even if you live in a central location, you are probably walking 10 minutes to get to the subway station and then another 5 minutes to get to the platform. Walking is the secret ingredient. More walking, better mood, plus creative output, equals happier life.

You learn to adapt.

When you walk into a train, you find a spot. No matter how crowded it is, people move and mold and hold on a little tighter to get where they want to go. If you wear high heels to work, you pack them in your purse and put them on last minute so you can walk to work a little faster in your flats. You adapt. In New York City, it is critical that you adapt.

You learn to appreciate conveniences.

In NYC, you do not have to do your own laundry, or go to the supermarket, or own a car. You can drop your clothes off, have food delivered, and call an Uber with a click of a button. The subway runs all night and goes everywhere. You begin to focus your time on the most important things in your life, and outsource convenience for everything else.

Keep moving forward, always.

Once a lady tripped outside of the A train on 60th street. She got run over by a group of people on foot. They did not do it maliciously, but if they stopped, they would have been run over too. I am not saying you should run over anyone, but I think there is something valuable about continuing momentum. The lady was fine, people helped her up, and then do you know what she did? She kept moving forward and got on the train. It’s easy to move forward when you are ready for what is next.

No one looks the same.

I went to college where everyone looked like me. The same was true for my high school. The opposite is true in NYC. No one looks the same. It makes you curious. It makes you wonder, where are these people coming from and where are they going? What do they care about?

Life is better without barriers.

No matter how many times you are bumped or nudged on a train, you just know it will happen. Yesterday, I was sitting next to a real estate developer. I don’t know his name and he does not know mine. But there was a small space on a metal bar on the A train, so for a number of stops, our hands touched. Neither of us cared. We probably could have talked more and become friends, but it was early and I was hungry so we kept the conversation short. There was no barrier. They were gone.

It’s hard to find balance.

Restaurants, parks, museums, bars, clubs, friends, dates, who has time to relax in NYC? Every time I go, I tell myself this is going to be a more balanced trip, but NYC is the single hardest place to find balance. The level of stimulation is out of control. You have to work even harder to find balance, but if you can find it there, you will find it anywhere. I get a little better every time, but it is difficult. Although, most things that are worthwhile take some dedication and practice.

Everyone ‘knows someone.’

If you are starting a business or looking for a job, tell the people you meet about it. Everyone knows someone in NYC, and they are happy to connect you. You could probably build an entire business telling people what you do in the train, and then ask them to connect you to someone they know. Maybe I will do that as an experiment, “How to build a 6 figure business by riding the subway all day.” Or you can do it, but someone should.

People are nice, resilient, and creative.

Anyone who tells you, I hate New Yorkers, or New Yorkers are so mean have likely never been to New York, but certainly have never lived there. If you look at 9/11, you realize that New Yorkers love their city and the people that live there. People from all over the world find a home in New York City. There is a fierce loyalty that is unlike anything I have ever felt. People are proud of their city. They are helpful and kind. They may be abrasive, but so is the real world.

People always ask me …

“Why do you want to move to New York City?” Because sometimes you want to feel what NYC is really all about. When you walk through Times Square at 5 am to find it jam packed with people who have traveled thousands of miles to see the place you get to call home. You want to jog in Central Park or watch the fountain change colors at Columbus Circle. You want to go ice skating in Rockefeller Center or eat at the Shake Shack.

More than anything, you want to know it. To feel it. To believe it. With all your heart, you hope that maybe for you, in this moment, anything is possible. Anything can happen. You want to wake up in a city that never sleeps and say, I can make it here. I am ready for the magic. And when that moment happens, when you know you are ready for the magic, that’s when you should move to New York City.

By Ashley Stanley, A Graduate Student On The Hunt For A Great Studio

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