Oh, New Yorkers, aren’t we all transplants? Many of us for sure! We frequently land in Bushwick in hopes of starting our après college lives on the cheap yet glamorously (after hiring moving companies like Mayflower). We’re not always welcome, sometimes it takes a hot second to hone our city manners, but bear with us, New York, we’re learning and doing our best to live the best lives we can!
As a (relatively) exotic transplant from the picturesque mountainous town of Poprad, Slovakia who has transplanted herself several times internationally and has been called “transplant” in as many languages, I was interested in the Bushwick Daily team’s collective experience. Some transplants, some New Yorkers by birth, some hard-to-define-maybe-transplants – we all shared a piece of advice on how to survive this city! Enjoy!
#1 DON’T try to be a New Yorker (Maria Gotay, Hometown: Kailua, Hawai’i)
Everyone here painstakingly wants to earn the title of “New Yorker” – whatever that means. But, being a transplant is what makes you interesting! Everyone in NY has a story and you should be proud of yours. You’ll eventually fit into whatever your definition of a real “New Yorker” is, but that shouldn’t replace the personality of your past!
source: Jelly Beans Blog
#2 Walk an area and take notes of interesting places (Brittany Natale, Hometown: Queens, NY)
Be curious and don’t be afraid to search for information in unlikely places. When I moved to Brooklyn, I would pick an area I walk around, for the entire day if needed! Whenever I passed something of interest, such as a shop or gallery, I would jot it down and Google it later. Finding one interesting place usually leads another, which just keeps expanding your neighborhood knowledge. Also, frequenting the same coffee shops, etc. allows you to create some familiar faces.
#3 Don’t let the garbage get you down! (Allison Galgiani, Hometown: Tucson, AZ)
When I first moved to Bushwick, to my first apartment in NYC, I could not believe how much debris and trash the wind would pick up! I found that it really effected my perception on an area. But as I have become more accustomed to the neighborhood, this has become a metaphor for my experience in Bushwick and the city in general. While everything seems rough, uncomfortable or ugly initially, and it might take a hot minute to find the beauty through the surface, what is uncovered through this process is totally worth the initial struggle!
#4 Don’t bitch! (Loren DiBlasi, Hometown: Manhattan, NY)
Born in Manhattan, but spent my formative years being raised in Brewster, NY, by parents originally from Bushwick, Brooklyn and later Ridgewood, Queens; who were an immigrant and a first-generation American from Europe. I moved to Manhattan for college when I was 18, and will soon be living back in Ridgewood. Phew!
I always wonder what draws people to New York. For those of us with family history here, or for whom it’s not “a” city, but “the” city, it feels like a natural step. I would imagine that if you come from far away, moving here is a pretty brave endeavor!
But please, curb the complaints when you move New York. Obviously, we all get fed up with things like the cost of living, or trains not running, or never getting a cab when you need one most. But I remember when I was in college, I would hear my classmates from the Midwest and other places lament CONSTANTLY about the garbage, sweaty buses, the noise, etc. New Yorkers have an extreme amount of pride in their city, and when young people move here, immediately update their Facebook to read “Brooklyn, New York,” and then engage in nonstop bitch-fests, it’s really irritating! New York isn’t perfect, but neither is anywhere else. Living here requires a lot of patience and acceptance. I’d say just remember the fact that you’re living in one of the greatest cities in the world, so take a step back every once in a while and appreciate that.
#5 Are you really a transplant? Do your family history research! (Jen Hitchings, Hometown: Lincoln Park, NJ)
My own tale is that I was raised in North Jersey about an hour from Brooklyn, my grandparents were born and raised in Brooklyn and Queens, then moved to Long Island, then Jersey, so it’s all a little circle around here, but they really got their start in the boroughs like many did in the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s then raised a family in the suburbs. I think that if you have relatives from the city, it’s wise to be aware of their history and why they came here, why they left (if they did), etc. For people like me, the obvious choice is to move to the city (NYC is out of the affordable question now, duh!) but I am always curious why people from the Midwest or West Coast come all the way out here since it’s so far from my own experience and I feel like there are so many negative aspects about living in this overcrowded, unkempt, often pretentious, underpaid and overpriced city…
#6 Find your local go-to spots and be safe! (Wesley Salazar, Hometown: Hollister, CA)
First off, find a bar and a coffee shop you like within walking distance of your apartment. They will become “your” go-to spots – once you have that, you’ll feel at home. Spend time in the neighborhood! It’s nice that Manhattan is so close, but the happiest Bushwick residents are people who actually spend time in Bushwick.
I’ve lived here for several years and have never been robbed but, like everywhere else in the city, it happens. Be smart, especially at night – don’t wear headphones, carry your purse tucked tightly under your arm, keep your phone out of sight.
#7 Get to know your neighbors! (Eric Nelson, Hometown: Hawthorne, NJ)
Get to know your neighbors and be friendly with them, especially ones that have been here for a long time. By doing so you become active in the community and are perceived as being less of an outsider by folks who have roots on that block. You also gain the comfort and security of knowing that you can rely on each other for help should it be needed.
#8 New York life isn’t like in the movies! (Ileana Little, Hometown: Chicago, IL)
After graduating high school in Albany, NY, I was set on going back to my hometown, Chicago. When that didn’t work out, I figured NYC was the next best option. The first year was really difficult. I was dorming in Harlem and my only friend from high school lived in Jamaica, Queens. I was really lonely and didn’t feel like myself around my new friends. Having never really visited the city, I had this ridiculously exaggerated idea of what the city was like. I thought everything in the movies was how it was here. It wasn’t. After moving to Brooklyn the following year and residing here for the past four years, NYC has become my other home. I found myself becoming a “New Yorker” by simply immersing myself in everyday life. I constantly find myself talking about subway etiquette, pedestrian rights, garbage, the best breakfast sandwiches, roof top hangs, walking across the Williamsburg bridge, shows, and living the frugal (broke) life. I don’t think thing there is such thing as a “New Yorker.” What makes us special is that we are all transplants in our own ways.
#9 Explore other parts if the city too! (Asha Chagoyen, Hometown: Brooklyn, NY)
I grew up in baby stroller land, Park Snob, I mean, Park Slope (it was very different in the ’90s!)
My advice for transplants is don’t be afraid to explore the entire city of NY. It’s an amazing place and everything about the city is beautiful. Go to the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Uptown Manhattan, and other areas in Brooklyn. There are great parks and restaurants in each neighborhood. If you venture out to Inwood you can go to Indian Caves and find Revolutionary War relics. In the Bronx you can go to the house where Edgar Allen Poe used to live. Research and explore the city and don’t be trapped in LES, Williamsburg, and other hip areas. Also, don’t say bad or insulting things about other areas in NY because New Yorkers take pride in the city no matter what area you’re talking about.
#10 Don’t sign a lease right away! (Polly Brewster, Hometown: Vero Beach, FL)
Take your time finding the right place for you. Do sublets or shares, until you know what block or area is ideal for your budget and lifestyle. Don’t rush into signing a lease. (It’s a lot cheaper to get a storage space then it is to give up a security deposit!) And once you do find a good space, forego the IKEA furniture run and slowly pick up pieces that really reflect your style; go to the Flea, check Craigslist and hit up some of the used furniture spots around Williamsburg and Atlantic Ave. Better to live out of boxes than feel like you live in one. Personal space is a precious thing in this city – treat is as such.
#11 Turn your pace to 11! (Graham Friedman, Hometown: Pittsburgh)
I came here 8 years ago from Pittsburgh – not too far, but in NYC it’s easy to get lonely around so many people. Ultimately this city has a magic pulse. It is that magic and sense of wonder that has kept me here and made it so that I don’t want to leave. As many of you have said, the key is to plug in and turn it up to 11. If you run at New York pace, you won’t have time to get lonely. Friends can seem hard to make when you don’t know where to turn, but people collect themselves so frequently around here doing everything from knitting clubs to kickball – just get in a crowd and your NY network will blossom. If you find Bushwick scary at night, try one of the numerous martial arts that this city has to offer, it is literally one of the best places in the world to find traditional styles as well as very practical forms (I teach one myself). Aside from that, eat, drink, be merry! That is what New York is all about – work hard/play hard. It may take a while to stick, but remember – if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere (and everyone everywhere else is a chump!).
#12 Never stop being a tourist! (Kat Lees, Hometown: East Meadow, NY)
I was born in East Meadow, NY, but I consider a lot of Long Island towns my hometown. My family is all from Brooklyn but moved to the ‘burbs in the 1960s to raise children. The hometown is inside of us. We carry home with us, meaning home are our experiences and that’s what makes our city and neighborhood so unique, our personal culture and history make an impression on our environment, which creates the neighborhood, which builds a new home. Beautiful. After years of living here my advice is to never stop being a tourist. I recently decided to do the same myself for a current project I am working on. It’s important to always look at the world through fresh eyes.
#13 You will never be able to entirely leave… (Yamil A. Saade, Hometown: Queens, NY)
I was born in Queens, but my parents, who immigrated from Colombia and Lebanon (by way of the Dominican Republic), and met here in NYC. It felt unsafe to raise children, so they moved to Miami because it was much MUCH safer there. 26 years later I moved back to NYC, because I felt magnetism to the city, and in many ways, 9 years later, I still do. It’s mainly the history, and the music, art, and writers who have come and gone, leaving us with pieces of the city in their work; their blood and sweat on the sidewalks.
The city has turned me into an impatient, neurotic, short-tempered person, but perhaps those are part of the cost of living here, along with inflated rent and taxes, as well as the vermin, sweaty claustrophobic commutes, and other odd ball inhabitants.
Although, I have to admit, of all the places and neighborhoods I’ve lived in, Bushwick truly is my home. Ever speedily, the day on which I will say goodbye to the city steadily, and certainly, approaches. Goodbye, but definitely not farewell.
#14 Say yes to everything! (Laure Nouraout, Hometown: Paris, France)
Say YES to pretty much everything, push boundaries, try things you would never have done in your hometown. Talk to people you would never have talked before, do new things and let yourself be surprised. Reinvent yourself, constantly. Don’t put off things: you never know how long you’re going to stay here, so don’t tell yourself you’ll do it later! Don’t sweat the small stuff: you’re here, it is awesome, so enjoy it! Another thing, find a good gym. You’ll need it!