NEW YORK CITY
The city that works hard and plays hard
Whether you're watching a bodega owner strum a danyen in Astoria or wandering the Egyptian wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), New York City has the culture and bustle of worldwide travel under a canopy of boroughs.
Don't listen to the Manhattan snobs: the outer boroughs are "the city." And, as a young professional, you're probably going to be living in one of them.
First the good news: the city is a stomping ground for a diverse group of industry professionals. Take advantage of Happy Hour and chances are you'll meet a fashion designer, a med student, a lawyer, and an editorial assistant by the time you finish your first drink.
For the financially minded there's no better place to be than Wall Street; for aspiring performers the thousands of auditions and 100-plus theaters are a draw; be sure to check Idealist for current openings in lower paying but (often) more interesting non-profits. And with New York Sports Club as standard as Starbucks, getting in shape is convenient and reasonably priced. Schools like NYU, Fordham, Brooklyn College, and Columbia are top notch.
I've lived in DC, Boston, and Chicago, and New York's public transportation is by far the speediest and most convenient - once you figure it out. The subway (and many buses) run 24 hours. Service slows down late at night and on the weekends, so check around train stations for signs and be sure to get a subway map.
I don't recommend taking the bus unless you're injured or carrying five suitcases; with NYC traffic, you'll get where you're going faster if you walk. That said: a car is not necessary here. Do you want to spend $100 a month (or a week, or a day) on parking?
New Yawkers are definitely known to have their own way of talking. You'll find that, by and large, folks that have been there for a while have their own distinct dialect and vocabulary that isn't like anything else in the United States. While no one expects (or advises) that you try to study up on tawkin' like a native overnight, it wouldn't hurt to know some of the slang before you arrive.
Want to grab a slice? The city is famous for its pizza, and if someone asks you this, they want to know if you want to go get some. By the way, the proper NYC etiquette for pizza consumption is to fold the slice in half before you take a big bite.
Moving to The Island? This term is used to refer to Long Island. Careful, if you use this term to reference Manhattan specifically, you'll look like an idiot. Manhattan is simply The City.
If you're brave enough to drive, you might want to be ready for gridlock. Natives will tell you not to block the box, which is to say, don't drive into an intersection unless you have room to cross it. Should you be unwise enough to attempt this, gridlock is the resulting traffic jam.
Bridge-and-Tunnel people are the ones commuting in from New Jersey or Long Island into Manhattan, via one of the city's bridges or tunnels. This is a somewhat disparaging term used by those who live in the city, who you may also hear refer to metropolitan suburbs as "over there."
A native of Park Slope, Brooklyn, Jenny Halper is an MFA student at Emerson College in Boston. Her writing has appeared in the Boston Phoenix, amNewYork, 24/7, Clubplanet, and elsewhere. She is the film editor for Spare Change News.
Finance and Banking
• Goldman Sachs
• JPMorgan Chase
• Merrill Lynch
• Morgan Stanley
• Deloitte and Touche
• Pricewaterhouse Coopers
• TV: Fox News, MTV, Comedy Central, Food Network, many others
• Time Warner: Sports Illustrated, People, Time, etc
• Conde-Nast: New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, etc
• The New York Times
What do you love about working here?
I love the randomness of my jobs. I get to do everything from being a teletubby at a birthday party, to being Mr. Peanut, to performing, to catering, to working in an office. It's temporary, I don't get sick of it, and I don't have too much responsibility unless it's a performing job. Everything's at your fingertips, all you have to do is walk a block to find a new bar or restaurant.
Northwestern University, Actor