How to Live [Happily] in New York

We are more than two years into living in New York, currently on our third summer here, and I finally (FINALLY!) am really, genuinely enjoying living here. It took me a good long while to adjust and find my stride, but it has happened.

There are a few [practical] things that I wish I would have known right off the bat when we moved here, so that’s the purpose of this post: five recommendations for making living in New York much more enjoyable!

1) Amazon Prime

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Now, if only Amazon Prime had people who helped lift things up four flights of stairs.

This is worth EVERY PENNY and I didn’t discover it until a few months into living here. I was so accustomed to the suburban way of going to Target, loading up your trunk, and coming home. For the first few months I was here, I continued to shop this way and even transported 40 lbs of cat litter home over a mile distance. WHAT what I thinking?

Amazon Prime (or any online ordering/delivery service) is the way to go. Not only is stuff cheaper on Amazon but they DELIVER. Free 2-day delivery!!!! We order toilet paper, paper towels, cat litter, toiletries, everything we possible can think of!

Our first year here, I did my Christmas shopping the old-fashioned way… shopped in person, wrapped everything, boxed it, made a few trips to the post office. Last year, I did ALL online shopping and shipped direct. It made my life so much simpler! GET AMAZON PRIME!!!!!

2) Shoes for all weather

This is really important. I’ve learned that you need 1) snow boots, 2) rain boots (for cold-weather rain), and 3) rain shoes (for warm-weather rain). It can really ruin your day if you have to schlep to work wearing soaked shoes. And it’s terrible wearing hot, heavy rain boots on a 90-degree day when it’s pouring rain.

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As long as your feet are dry, you’re good.

I’ve also discovered a brand of shoes that I love! I’ve never cared too much about shoes, but here it’s more about function than anything. This spring I found Rockport shoes. They aren’t cheap by any means, but a great investment (think, investing in tires).

3) Bike

My husband is going to judge me for this one, because I was adamantly against getting a bike until last spring, but: IT. IS. AWESOME.

IMG_3528I’m not athletically gifted or particularly blessed with balance, but having a bike has opened up a whole new world! We were pretty much limited to where we could walk or where the subways go. Since I got a bike, we can get to some areas we wouldn’t typically go to in a fraction of the time. We live on 8th Avenue and there are lots of gems around 3rd Avenue that we can get to now in less than 10 minutes.

Bottom line: you can get places SO MUCH FASTER! I don’t even care that it involves carrying said bike up and down 4 flights of stairs.

4) Seek out what you love

I was a big, huge beach snob when we moved here. I was used to visiting the quiet NC beaches and had a very narrow view of what enjoying the beach looked like. Our first summer, we went to Coney Island on 4th of July and I was very turned off from the beaches here.

IMG_2863I made it my goal this summer to embrace the New York City beaches and have been genuinely delighted. I’ve discovered a less-crowded beach, Brighton Beach, that I can get to on the subway in about 30 minutes. There is a boardwalk, wide beach, pretty view, and best of all… it’s 30 minutes away. When I think about it, that’s actually much closer than I’ve ever lived to the beach before!

Anyway, I’d just recommend pushing past your preconceived notions and expectations and finding ways to experience what you love in your new place. I feel much more myself this summer than in past summers because I’ve been able to reclaim my beach roots.

5) GET OUT! 

Vegging in the apartment

No, not “get out” of NYC, but get out of your apartment. We are guilty of being so worn out from the work week that we just want to veg at home on the nights and weekends when we can. But then it’s pretty depressing when you think of the rent you pay to live in a city where you could really just be sitting on your couch in any city/town.

I’ve enjoyed it so much more here the more we make a point to get out and explore. Even if it just means walking around a new neighborhood or going on the roof. We’ve actually started referring to our couch as “the evil couch” because one night I was like “I just need to NOT SIT ON THE COUCH!!!”

I think it’s also important to STAY IN TOWN! We’ve had a lot of travel during past summers, and it’s been so nice to stay put and create the time and space to enjoy where we live.

That’s it for now. I hope you are all having wonderful summers!

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