We arrived in New York just two weeks ago and already I've learned a wealth of information about living here. It's funny how different every city can be. I grew up in Louisiana, moved to Ohio for college and then returned to the south to live in Raleigh, so clearly I can't make up my mind about whether I like the North or the South.
Every place we've lived has been drastically different and NYC is no exception. Just the way that everyday life works here poses new challenges and experiences. We have spent the last 2 weeks blundering around trying to figure out how life works here. Here are some of the things I've learned in my first two weeks in NYC:
1. Don't bother driving here. Seriously - its not worth it. It will take just as long and cost more to park than riding the subway. I can drive in Brooklyn, but I don't want to. I drove Tommy's car to return our rental truck, across Brooklyn and although I survived, I'd prefer not to deal with the aggressive drivers, the horn honking, and the searching for parking. This is NOT the South - people will not let you into their traffic lane.
2. It's pretty easy to accidentally end up in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in NYC. The location the return the moving truck rental was in Brownsville and while I sat in the car with Louis, parked on a street corner, I started researching the neighborhood we were in and discovered that it wasn't the type of neighborhood to bring your kids and wife. That was our 2nd day in Brooklyn.
3. Parking rules - that no one follows. For some reason it's okay to double park here. At least, I assume it's okay, because so many people do it.
4. Since New York apartments don't come with washer/dryers, people here use laundry service. Someone will come to your home, pick up your laundry, wash, dry, and fold it (including folding your underwear). Pretty awesome trade off for not having a washing machine.
5. Apartment searching is INSANE! So we learned this before we arrived here, but I'll include it anyway. I saw a lot of terrifying apartments in our search - places that I would never live in with a 3 month old. Once you do find a place to live - expect to shell out enough money in deposits and fees to basically put a down payment on a house.
6. My wardrobe has way too much color in it. I wore a red blazer out on Sunday our first weekend and I was one of the only people not wearing all black. I really felt like I stuck out. But, I do love black, so I think I can get on this bandwagon.
7. You cannot turn right on a red light. I know there are a lot of traffic lessons I've learned, but driving is crazy here. Learning this explained why we got so many looks from people as we turned right at red lights. I promise not to bore you with the other traffic related things I learned (how close to park to a fire hydrant, rules on street cleaning day, etc). Long story short - I do not want to drive a car anytime soon.
8. Dishwashers are an enviable luxury. In North Carolina not having a dishwasher would be considered insane, but here it's the exact opposite. We were lucky enough to find an apartment with a dishwasher (and central air/heat - GASP!). The looks of surprise and secret jealousy on people's faces are new to me, but I am pretty happy that we've been able to keep some of the creature comforts we had in Raleigh.
9.There is an amazing view of Manhattan or the State of Liberty from almost everywhere in Brooklyn. Even from the cafe at Ikea. It never gets old to me and I have a feeling that's the same for many people that live here.
10. New Yorkers are way nicer than they are stereotyped to be. They may not be the nicest drivers, but they are pretty friendly on the street and even on the subway. It probably doesn't hurt that I'm toting an adorable baby around with me.
Along with everything we learned, we also managed to do a lot of touristy things, including a visit to Bryant Park and Grand Central Station in Manhattan, Coney Island, and the Brooklyn Bridge Park. So far, New York, you've been one surprise after another.