Living in NYC, from a Californian’s Perspective

Next week will be my five-month mark of living in New York City, and although I’ve already been here this long, there are some things I just still can’t get used to:

  • This city is obsessed with plastic bags.  Coming from Los Angeles, where plastic shopping bags have been outlawed, it is still a strange feeling for me to be offered plastic bags.  The phrase “paper or plastic” has been removed from my vocabulary.  The weirdest part, though, is when I go to buy something small like a soda.  I still get asked if I want a bag to carry my 20 oz bottle of soda!  It’s also weird when you get food delivered, and your food comes in a bag that is inside of another bag.
  • The trusty Trader Joes Wine Shop on 14th Street.

    You can’t buy liquor or wine at a grocery store.  As I’ve learned, this is very common in New England and along the East Coast.  If you ask any native Californian where is the best place to buy a bottle of Chardonnay or a handle of vodka, they will send you to the grocery store, most likely Pavilions or Ralphs.  Fortunately, Trader Joes, which serves as a mecca of cheap wine in California, has their very own wine shop in Manhattan.  Just imagine walking into a store that looks like Trader Joes, has all the cute chalk drawings and Hawaiian-themed decore, but the shelves are stocked from wall to wall with wine, wine, and more wine.  The best part is that two doors down, there is a real life, honest to goodness Trader Joes.

  • Times Square really is hell on Earth.  Most people think of the cute and bustling

    The 2009 Broadway production of Guys and Dolls.

    depictions from Guys and Dolls or the Rhapsody in Blue segment in Fantasia 2000: a diverse group of people dressed in a coordinated color scheme, moving in a well-choreographed hurry.  This is not the case.  Trying to walk down 7th Avenue is like trying to drive on the 405 Freeway during rush hour traffic–except worse because you have to contend with people hawking bus tours and tickets to Broadway shows, being groped by a man in an Elmo costume, and lost tourists who just stop walking.  I usually end up making a detour around Times Square if I have to get anywhere in midtown, just to cut that stress out of my life.

Despite all of these strange occurrences, there is so much I love about New York City.  I love the subway system (as long as it doesn’t suddenly stop running from Manhattan to Queens, where I live, as it is sometimes prone to do).  I always tell people that there is something for everyone in New York.  It’s like that line from the musical Company, “If you don’t like it there, they got every subway you can name to take ya where ya like it better.”