(Closed) Why is New York so DIFFICULT?!!!

posted 10 years ago in Emotional
Post # 62
977 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

If it makes you feel any better, I had the exact same culture shock when I visted LA!  My FI’s office is based in Long Beach and he got an offer for a promotion so we are considering moving there.

I only lived in NYC briefly, but have been on the East Coast my entire life.  The fact that people in California smiled at me all the time made me uncomfortable!  Haha.  I like to enter a store, walk down the street, ride a cab, etc. without being bothered.  I felt like such a snob!  I am really friendly, I am just not used to making small talk with strangers.  It just isn’t something we typically do here.

Also, I thought everything in California was so slow! People just stroll in California…so frustrating!  And what is up with police officers enforcing jay walking?!?!  Lol. That is unheard of here!

I think that there are just two totally different cultures on the east and west coasts.  Neither is particularly “bad,” they just take a bit to get used to if you are new πŸ™‚

Post # 63
601 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

There is a reason that the West Coast is the BEST Coast!  West Coasters are so friendly and laid back and East Coasters are SO the opposite!  I’ve lived in both and I prefer it where I am! (WEST!)  New Yorkers are notorious for that sort of behavior, I don’t blame you for being a little homesick!

Post # 64
620 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

LOL don’t take it personally…it’s just NY.  And LA is the polar opposite.  When I went to LA, I kept being weirded out by all the people making direct eye contact and smiling at me, no joke!  People in NY just don’t walk around making unnecessary eye contact, most are in a rush and focused inward, not on who is around them.  So it was definitely a surprise to have people looking at me like that, at first I was thinking, “what are they looking at???” but then realized that I’m just used to NY and they were probably being friendly. πŸ™‚

So don’t take it personally, just chalk it up to people being in a rush and don’t stress over it.  Many store employees are under pressure to get everyone in and out, when people here have to wait long on lines they get cranky, so having someone strike up a conversation will probably make them seem abrupt and like they are rushing you along.  If you want to chit chat, your best bet is in the park, at a museum, somewhere where people are not rushing to make the subway or get to a meeting or hail a cab (which you’ll see, people will fight over and be really pushy so stand your ground and don’t let them steal your cab).  Good luck πŸ™‚ 

Post # 65
620 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@RahlyRah:  Funny!  I must have been writing mine the same time you wrote yours…at least I wasn’t alone in that!

Post # 66
7321 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I live in Boston and people think I’m rude too. I don’t notice or care what people are wearing, nothing surprises me anymore. I walk briskly down the sidewalk, don’t make eye contact, la dee da. My husband (NOT from the north) will stop and talk to everyone. If you’re in NYC unless you’re dressed like Batman, people aren’t staring, trust me.

Post # 67
977 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@sehrler:  Me too!  So funny.  My Fiance made fun of me because I was so “suspicious” of all of these people smiling and chatting with me.  I remember walking around thinking, “What are your intentions for sparking up this conversation with me?”  Turns out, they were just being friendly.  Lol.  Who knew?  

Post # 68
620 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@RahlyRah:  And yes, that jaywalking thing with the cops, I couldn’t get over it…also I liked how in LA they would wash down the sidewalks in front of the shops every morning, very nice.  But the cab drivers there are terrible, driving in them I almost got killed ten times!

Another thing that surprised me:  selling full on liquor, Grey Goose, in CVS.  

Post # 69
2961 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@KatyElle:  Haha…This made me laugh out loud because I live in Hoboken (one subway stop from Manhattan in NJ if you’re not familiar) and we have a guy here who dresses up as Batman and rides his bike around.  He also has a friend who dresses up like Robin.  It is so normal to see them out and about that nobody even notices.  So, sometimes even dressing up like Batman here won’t draw stares. πŸ˜‰

Post # 70
86 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I really hope you get some great advice on this post and try to enjoy all that is NYC! It is an amazingly endless place full of history! Don’t forget fantastic food usually in larger then necessary quantities! If you haven’t gone yet…do make your way to Central Park its a fabulous get-away from the fast-paced NYC streets…you can take your time and walk at your own pace there! Honestly don’t worry about what your wearing no one really cares…try to focus less on the people around you and more on the city your in! Hope you can enjoy the rest of your stay! Welcome to NY!!!!

Post # 71
2360 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Food Emporium is super expensive! Where in NYC are you? Is there a Gristedes near by? Personally, I like the MYOB (mind your own business) attitude of NYC. I just don’t like the crowds. How long will you be in NYC?

Post # 72
110 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

We visit NYC frequently but we live upstate and I can tell you right now that in either place it’s a matter of perspective.

2 weeks ago I was in NYC with my two dogs and this other couple was avoiding like the plague; it was really funny to see them scotch away from my very friendly little bichon and see mothers constantly slathering their youngsters with anti-bacterial.

Today, at home upstate, a little girl and her mom stopped to pet my dogs while we chatted about the new businesses opening downtown – we’ve never even met each other before that moment.

Give it time and know the expectations – first off, do not talk to strangers in NYC, hun. Stereotype or not it really can be dangerous.

Second, explore more tourist friendly areas and you may find some very friendly New Yorkers (or at least very nice tourists).

Lastly, don’t expect alot from a city of constant bustle – people in NYC really have alot of crazy to contend with and don’t really take kindly to approaching, smiling strangers.

Post # 73
1929 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2008

I have lived here for 11 years, grew up in Florida, and i LOVE NYC! I love the hustle and bustle and how much there is to do.  But I agree that people are less likely to engage with people they don’t know, which can be hard to adjust to.  I can also assure you no one gives a hoot what you are wearing – people wear all sorts of things here, it is a very accepting city πŸ™‚

@MelnChris:  It is not dangerous to talk to strangers in NYC (unless you are 5 :)! I wouldn’t go into someone’s car or apartment, but you can surely talk to people you don’t know.  I also would stay away from the tourist areas. I think they are the least interesting – and I think New Yorkers are actually much friendlier outside of these areas – the tourists really irritate a lot of New Yorkers!

Go walk around Soho, the Upper West Side, Chelsea.  There are playgrounds everywhere, its easier to talk to other moms if you have your kid with you.  You can find classes you can drop in on (NY Kids Club, Gymboree, etc) and try to meet people.  Or go to a public library, Central Park (we have a toddler and spend a LOT of time in Central Park. Super safe during the day)….The Children’s Musuem (if your child is walking especially) is so great.  so many things, have fun!

Post # 74
895 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

Hmmm…I had the opposite experience when I went to NY a few months ago. The cabbie talked our ear off the entire time and was even pointing out sites and telling us good places to eat. (And no he was not just taking up time to get more $$ out of us lol). We got another cab when we were leaving NY and that cabbie was nice as well. He even asked if we needed the AC on and if we were comfortable.

We did have an incident in a store where a lady was a little rude but we just brushed it off. It’s the big city, people don’t have to or care to be overly friendly.

Post # 75
4831 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’m originally from Southern CA, very near where you are from OP, and I lived in NYC for 5 years. 

I LOVED it. It is very different, but none of it is personal.

If you need help/ask for directions you will find that most people will be more than happy to help you out, it’s just not a town for small talk.

Also, different neighborhoods have different vibes. There are some great parks/dog parks in the east village and people are more relaxed and chatty there. Midtown East and the Upper East Side tend to be stuffier as there is a lot of old NY families there and they tend to be more insular. 

As far as meeting people, I met most of my friends in NYC through work and then through friends of friends. I belonged to a women’s networking group and we had dinners once a month so I met a lot of people through that as well.

Look for free events to attend. Things like art openings in Chelsea, concerts in Central Park (not sure if they’ve started yet), etc.

People are unlikely to chat much in coffee shops or other shops because those working there are very busy and those shopping there are either in a rush or will assume you are talking to them because you want something.

There are so many people on the streets on NYC begging for money, handing out flyers, trying to get you to go to a comedy show, etc that New Yorkers have been a bit conditioned to have tunnel vision when walking the streets/doing their errands. This is actually how I learned not to smile at people in NYC. The people who are trying to get you to go to a comedy show (or sign a petition, etc) will smile at you, if you smile back they launch into their spiel and will sometimes harass you for a block or two. 

Going out to bars can be a good place to meet people as well. Once people are out for a night of drinking they tend to be more open to talking to new people.

Finally, since your SO is working, see if he can organize a dinner outing with some of his coworkers and their partners. That way you can maybe meet a few other people in the area so you don’t feel so isolated while you are there.

For what you are wearing, people really don’t care. You will most likely get cat calls/lewd comments from men from time to time, but just ignore them. 

Central park during the day is totally safe and a really nice place to be. There’s also the central park zoo which can be a lot of fun. The zoo and some of the museums will have children’s programs during the day and that could help you meet people as well. Although you may be meeting more nannies than moms.

Post # 76
1250 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

There are certain things you just adjust to when living in Manhattan…I NEVER look someone in the eye when I am walking on the street…its true usually I am walking because I am trying to get from point A to point B, THATS IT! The only time someone has really tried to startup a friendly conversation with me was if they wanted money or was trying to pick me up. If you think Food Emporium is expensive, DON’T GO TO GRISTEDES! You could try Fairway or Trader Joes for food shopping! In the meantime….we do have some pretty amazing food places! Here are some of the best of THE BEST food places to try (they take people on food tours to these places!) YOU MUST try the white cheese artichoke slice of pizza from “Artichoke”, the slices are a bit on the more expensive side but arE HUGE!!

Artichoke PIZZA:


AND the famous Halal cart–this is cheap food but simply amazing (tHE ONE AT NIGHT ONLY; there is a different guy there during the day that pretends to be these guys)”




The most amazing DELI!! (as featured on drivers, dine-ins and dives):








middle eastern food/falafel- they take people on food tours here, so good!!!





*SO, if you can’t make friends, atleast you can still sleep, drink, eat and be merry! πŸ˜€




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