@thatgirllval – "One day in Bryant Park I was talking to my son I noticed a sense of fear with uncertainty in his eyes. At the time I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter, my relationship with my partner ended and I was working a minimum wage job that had no room for growth. With everything against me I felt like a failure. That day I ordered my son a hot chocolate and we sat outside to take in the ambiance. At that moment I asked if I could take a picture of him. He hesitated and asked why. I told him that this moment would be the last time last time he will ever feel that way and to please never forget what I just said. I apologized for all the mistakes I have made in our lives. I promised him that we will never be homeless or broke again. I looked into his eyes and swore to him that he will always be able to lean on me and that I will do everything in my power to improve our situation now as well as the future. After my promise I decided to take charge of my life, put my family on my shoulders and push forward. I did not want my children to experience life the way I did. So I went back to school, worked part time and networked with people in the career I wanted to pursue. Over the next few years with hard work and dedication, I would eventually have an amazing and rewarding career. A career that also allowed me the time to pursue my passions on the side. Which is fashion blogging, directing editorial shoots and working as a freelance makeup artist . Today I have my own place, my own car and debt issues are a thing of the past. Till this day, my sons photo in Bryant park sits on the fridge in our kitchen. As a constant reminder to me. I will never let those experiences happen to us again. If I learned anything from living in a New York my whole life, is that ANYTHING is possible. You just have to put your heart and soul into it. There are so many inspiring individuals around you that it would be insane for you to say you can't become a better person here in New York City. All you have to do is look around for inspiration. We as New Yorkers have that extra drive and dedication in our pursuit to happiness that we will always have a story to share."
@alexa_messer – "My twin sister and I moved to New York City the summer after our senior year of Highschool. We were so eager we skipped our graduation ceremony and hopped on a plane instead. I remember that day we arrived. We were both so excited, hopeful, yet still nervous. After months of trying we finally signed our first lease to a studio apartment on the Upper East Side. We barely had any money between the both of us so we decided to always walk everywhere. There was an especially hot day during the end of that summer and we had walked through the park to the West Side. On our journey back the sweltering heat was too much to bear. A man named Sonny on a pedicab stopped us and offered us a ride. After expressing to him that we had just moved here and didn't have any money he got a huge smile on his face and said he would bike us to the East side of the park at no charge. The three of us exchanged small talk and that small talk led to us telling tales and stories of our journey moving to New York and why we decided to move to this magnificent metropolis over anywhere else in the world. When we asked him why he moved to New York City he gave us the best answer I have ever received on the topic. Sonny said "I moved here because life is about dreaming". It's kind of a cool notion, that we are all here because our hearts and minds desire something so bad and that wherever we came from was just too small or mundane for our imagination. It's like we are all connected in that way. I've learned in New York that we all have had a struggle to move and survive here and I believe that makes us want to reach out and help each other." Pic taken by @W57th in the #UpperEastSide, make sure to follow @HowToSurviveNewYorkCity!
@DiklaGoren – “My first trip to NY was 10 years ago, and when I got back to Israel to my boring 9-6 job and monotonous relationship I kept remembering how unfrogettable the city was. Life back home was so predictable and it all felt like one big compromise, like that’s the best that can be. Six years ago I received a phone call from a guy I dated in high school. He was my high school sweetheart, you can say. He told me that he lives in NY and is about to get divorced and that he is coming to visit me in #Israel. Two weeks together were enough for us to join hands and fly to NYC together. Three months after I arrived, I was walking in Midtown, getting to know the city. When I took the subway home to #Dumbo I started feeling sick. I went in to get a snack at the Deli and all of a sudden I got so lightheaded and nauseous. I immediately went in to #Walgreens to get a pregnancy test. It wasn’t the first one I’ve done in my life, but nothing really prepares you for a positive result! I almost choked from that amazing surprise and happiness. I was supposed to meet up with Noam shortly after, so I bought a little gift box and put the stick in it. As I was walking I couldn’t help my grin. It felt like everyone on the street knew my wonderful secret and were smiling back at me. We went food shopping at #WholeFoods on Houston street, and that’s where I presented the box to him and we ended up kissing and making out like crazy. In a month, I’ll be bringing our third child to the world. NY is my life, my home, and it’s proof that dreams do come true and you should never compromise your #happiness.” Pic taken by @w57th in #SoHo. Go follow @howtosurvivenewyorkcity if you haven't yet!
@RiceJenna – “I still remember the day I knew I was falling for New York. It was the last morning of my seasonal visit, and I decided to get up early to take a solo trip to the top of Rockefeller center before my flight. As I looked out over the most breathtaking view of the city, I contemplated what I wanted out of my life. At the time, I was in a serious relationship with someone who wasn’t keen on moving to New York. Instead of going after what I really wanted, I suppressed it. The view of fast-paced streets saturated with yellow cabs and countless strangers teased me that day. It offered up the elusive idea of being exactly who I wanted to be even if it meant disappointing others— a concept that scared the hell out of me. It was the city’s way of pleading “don’t go.” And the truth is, I didn’t want to. In the months that followed, I graduated college and started planning my life with my boyfriend at the time. I kept suppressing it, but I just couldn’t get New York out of my head. My unwillingness to stay in Florida or settle for moving to another state really took a toll on our relationship, and we started disconnecting. In the end, I think we both knew that if I didn’t take this leap of faith, I would regret it my entire life. I’ve never been a true believer in fate, but when I found myself single, all of that changed. Rather than sulking, I found myself excited and more motivated than ever. My future had completely opened up, and I could finally focus on what I really wanted. Within a few short weeks, I secured a job and apartment in Manhattan. Moving to New York is like falling in love all over again. The city pretty much took every idea I had about myself, crumbled it up, and spit back out at me in the most beautiful way possible. Like a relationship, there are days that are tough. But there are also days that give me butterflies. New York has taught me that it’s okay to be selfish, and as cliche as it sounds, that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.” Pic taken by @w57th in #Midtown. (Make sure you visit my new page, @HowToSurviveNewYorkCity)
@Babaganoushed – “New York is always full of surprises. No matter how routine a day can get, it always has a trick up its sleeve – you never know what’s right around the corner. I was speed walking from the yellow line (NQR Train) to the red line (123 Train) in Times Square trying to get home when out of the blue – on a blue piece of paper stuck to the side of the subway map read ‘Post-it note reminder to be brave.’ I couldn’t help but think who it was that put it there, what inspired them to do so and who else was reading the kind message who really needed to hear those words. I’ve come to find lots of little notes of encouragement around the city in the most random places – written in chalk on a sidewalk, a poster with tear away inspirational quotes, in sharpie on the subway stairs, or murals hidden around the city. Being a New Yorker can be a grand life but it’s not an easy one and we all know it takes a little something extra to make it here in New York. In a city where everyone is competing to be the best I am constantly surprised at the kindness and encouragement of strangers.” Pic taken by @w57th in #timessquare
@Wonder_Tripper – “Coming from a country in Asia, there’s this common knowledge that New Yorkers are cold, they are mean, and they are brutal. My parents, friends and other family members have tried to persuade me to not move to New York, and as young as I was then, I felt like I had an obligation to really listen. They would always question how I can manage to make new friends in a new city, telling me that I won’t be able to survive, that it’s expensive and I won’t be able to afford anything, and that I’m going to get killed. Their comments got the best of me and it delayed me from coming to the city for quite a while. However, I did realize that if I did stay home just to make them happy, living in my comfortable life, it would have given them that satisfaction of them getting the best of me. Life wouldn’t have change on their end, but for me, I would have gone back to being restless like I always was. I didn’t want that. Arriving here in New York, all those words that I’ve listened to all my life completely vanished. Like any new transplant in the city, I needed help getting around the subway system. A random stranger helped me, even accompanying me to my destination. People actually held doors for me too! I also saw 3 random people helping an old lady get into a bus. This all happened in a short amount of time. There were nice people everywhere and it gave me complete satisfaction that my family and friends didn’t know what they were talking about. New Yorkers aren’t cold-hearted at all. They’re just really busy people. That’s my true honest opinion. They are friendly people with lots of respect for each other, in a strange way. I wanted to come to the city not to prove my family wrong, but just to simply see it for myself. Even though they had a huge impact of where I am today, the move really was for school and for me. I know how much a helping hand matters here in New York and I saw it all in that one day I needed it, but if my family and friends were supportive of me coming to New York from the start, I would never have seen how great New Yorkers really were.” Pic taken by @w57th in #MidtownWest
@GregoryBehrens – “I remember a day a few years ago when I got a call from home telling me that my uncle had died unexpectedly. After I hung up, I put on my shoes and just started walking. I walked everywhere – Riverside Park, Central Park, all over and eventually ended up on the steps of the Museum of Natural History right before closing and decided to go in. The first place I walked to was the entrance of the African Hall and I looked up and on the ceiling was this quote, “One is Born, One Dies, The Land Increases”. I must have walked right under that quote countless times before but that day was the first time I looked up and actually saw it. If I’ve learned anything during my time here is that this city – like life -can be incredibly tough and will knock you down when you least expect it. New York has that ability to show you just what you need, exactly when you need to see it. I don’t know if seeing that quote that day was a coincidence or a sign. I like to think it was the latter because it has had a huge impact on my life since and helps give me perspective when things go wrong and reminds me that life is a cycle and everything is all part of the process. The things that make us happy, the things that hurt – they’re all part of the same whole. I walked out of the museum feeling more connected to that place — knowing that even if millions of people walk under there every year, it still, in some small way belonged only to me.” Pic taken by @w57th in the #UpperWestSide
@SymaSpeaks – “Walking into this huge industrial space, I stared at rows and rows of open seats. I could feel my heart quicken as I realized in just a couple of hours I would be surrounded by chaos and impatient guests demanding to be seated. A voice to the right of me shook me from my thoughts as I watched a tall slender woman hurriedly run towards the catwalk, “but I have no make up!” She exclaimed in a curiously familiar accent. Before she turned I instantly knew who it was…. Gisele. There I was, Syma, from Fort Wayne, Indiana just a few feet away from her as she did a rehearsal walk down the runway. She didn’t need any make-up, she was absolutely flawless. It was insane to be around one of the worlds most famous supermodels at the Alexander Wang show. As the lights came down and I went quickly into fashion show mode doing my best intern duties to seat guests, the song “Regulate” by Warren G came on and I thought to myself, “this is the coolest thing I have ever done.” I was fortunate enough to work 12 shows including Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, Victoria Beckham and Alexander Wang. It was unreal to actually have contact with some of my favorite fashion influencers like Nina Garcia and to see dynamic duo Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington in action. I was also star struck during the Marc Jacobs show seeing Marc Jacobs himself and Francois Nars. Being a bit beauty obsessed, seeing the creator of Nars cosmetics kind of made my life. And talk about #relationshipgoals when you spot David Beckham seated front row with the kids lit up with pride as he watched his wife’s work come down the runway. I like to always think back at that time in my life when I start questioning New York. Some days I want to stay in bed and hide from the crowds but then I remember that NYC was the best thing that ever happened to me. Thank you, New York for making me grow up and learn what I can accomplish on my own. It’s true, there’s nothin’ you can’t do when you’re in this city — and I hope I always have that mentality wherever the road takes me.” Pic taken by @w57th in the #meatpackingdistrict.
Quote by Jay, pic taken at #GantryStatePark in #LongIslandCity by @w57th. "Inspired by the sea, Designed in the city", Find the first ever Nautica Flagship store in SoHo, at 101 Prince Street (Prince St. X Greene St.) to celebrate their grand opening and be a part of this special milestone. It was such an honor being able to do the #NauticaLovesNewYork campaign with @Nautica and @StyleSocietyGuy and hope to do some more in the near future.
@TheHungryGentleman – When I tell people that I’m from New York they often think I grew up living a very glamorous life. I mean, I get it- it’s New York! I guess people think growing up here is like an episode of gossip girl or something. NYC IS an amazing place- everything you’ve heard about New York is absolutely true! But what you don’t know is that this city can also be one of the toughest places to grow up. My upbringing in New York with a dad in prison, and a single mother doing everything she could to support three children on minimum wage, was anything but glamorous. From Food stamps to Medicaid, to an EBT card, I was there for it all. Yeah, again, not particularly glamorous. However, things changed completely for my family. Life got a lot better when my mother remarried and my brothers and I got to experience going from one end of the financial spectrum to the other. That perspective truly allowed us to appreciate where we’ve come from. A few years ago my brothers and I were driving through the city with my mom and, overwhelmed with its energy and beauty, she said “Wow, NYC is incredible isn’t it? It’s so unbelievable how beautiful this place is!” She then told us that in the past, there were countless days when she didn’t know how we were going to survive. One month she was so strapped for cash that she couldn’t afford our rent or our babysitter – an incredible Chinese woman who cared for my brothers and I while mom was out working full time as a hairdresser. Side note: My spicy palate and high tolerance for incredibly spicy food is probably owed to this woman and her Szechuan cooking! As my mother told this story she got choked up and we told her it was fine. “Mom, it was so long ago.. let’s not look back! We’re okay!” She replied, “No. I want you guys to hear this!” “At that moment I felt like giving up. I didn’t know what to do. That day I went to visit your dad in jail and on my way I saw something on the ground. It was money, all rolled up $120- I couldn’t believe it! At that time it was a lot of money, especially for us. I started to cry, because… (Continue this on WILNYC.com) pic taken by @w57th in the #UpperWestSide #shakeshack #shackfan
@VeraWangXNYC – I came here to New York to study business, leaving my friends and family back home in Beijing. I wasn’t even interested in Business. As time went by, I found that this city was so cold, brutal, was so competitive, and found that it was extremely difficult to get a job. I was harder for me because I was a foreigner. I felt alone. I had to intern at this company in Wall street just to get my foot in the door. It was tough. Long hours here and there and I had to be smart with money. I don’t remember exactly when but it was this one day, one late working day, actually a late work night when I completely realized that I wasn’t happy. Even though I had this intern position in Wall Street, and I’m sure a lot of people would die to be an intern anywhere here in the city working hard for what they want, but I just wasn’t happy. It was that night, I got onto “WeChat” (Chinese Facebook) and started to work on something I love most, Fashion. I created a Fashion Blog (VERAWANGxNYC.com). To most Chinese, Fashion blogs were new so It just got crazy popular after months of working hard on it. Honestly, I really enjoy my life now and I do get to see why I do love this city more each day. Even though I hear all the time how the city is full of magic and possibilities, I just had to see it for myself. I now work for a social media company doing PR, event planning now, which I really love. @WhyILoveNewYorkCity has been my inspiration to do what I want to do. The stories got me through a lot of tough times and they really stuck with me through this whole journey from being this unhappy girl from Beijing to this growing success I never saw coming when I started as an Intern. I realized that if I hadn’t realized I was unhappy then, I wouldn’t have found myself this successful now. Now, I don’t feel so alone anymore. Pic taken by @w57th in #financialdistrict
@Nikki_Takes_NewYork, contributor for @ThirstyNYC and @UrbanBuddy – “I recently took a new path as I ventured out one Saturday morning. Except, I got really lost. I remember feeling extremely frustrated. I kept taking the bus/subway in the wrong direction or getting off at the wrong stop. But, then something popped into my head and reminded about this guy I met one random day… I boarded the M15 bus heading downtown from the 23rd street stop on my way to run errands. As I sat in my seat and began to fumble with my headphones (like every New Yorker does) to try and unravel them, an elderly man, possibly in his late 70s/early 80s, looked at me and urged, “Don’t do that”. I replied, “What do you mean?” He proceeded to tell me I should “listen to the music of the streets” and spoke to me about the decades of life he’s spent observing the world around him in this great big city, the joy its brought him, and lessons it’s taught him. During our conversation, he told me the best way to discover the city, is to get lost at least once a day. He suggested taking a new route home, setting out on a weekend morning without any itinerary, and that I’d discover things I would’ve never found out about. I took his advice and have practiced it almost every day since. This insight has made me see New York from a whole new perspective and I wouldn’t have it any other way. These few words, and short encounter with a complete stranger, reconfirmed my decision to pursue my life long dream to move to this city – one where I had no job and knew no one. Today, I have a job. Finding that job wasn’t a direct result of that day, but more indirect. That day taught me to never be afraid of strangers, especially here in New York, to be bold, be brave, talk to people, network, and ask people questions. It taught me how rich this city is with resources and how to embrace them and use them to my advantage.” (You can also find Nikki here: www.nikkitakesnewyork.wordpress.com), pic taken by @w57th in #BatteryPark
@YonitL – "It was this one moment in time I cared for a young man (hospital near Union Square). His well maintained dreadlocks nearly touched the floor and his pure smile could light up the world. This man touched my heart. After a traumatic spinal cord injury as a child and a car accident that brought him here with me, he remained optimistic. I recall being in his room like it was yesterday. He recited his original rap music to me and I cheered him on like his cheerleader/groupie! Unable to write legibly, he recorded himself rapping on his iPhone. These weren't just any lyrics, they were a reflection of his journey as a handicap man. Interestingly enough, they were all positive and up-lifting. This last accident exacerbated the contracture's of his upper extremities to the extent where he was unable to complete basic activities of daily living. After some time spent under our care and his drive to be functionally independent, he made tremendous progress. I remember when he was able to change the channel of his bedside remote. Or the moment he could spoon feed himself. We laughed and shouted in his room! I jumped and pranced around with joy! He told me that despite his daily struggles, he wouldn't change his life for anything. Puzzled, I was taken aback. He said "I love my life, it may be different but I embrace it." This NYC man changed my outlook on life and it will never be the same. He allowed me to look at the good in every situation and It's here in New York where I realized that we are in control of our own happiness. I endured a breakup with my fiancé of 10 years and was looking for my own happiness. By seeing the positivity displayed by this man and his choice to be happy gave me hope. So yeah I guess you can say, I celebrate the good in my life and am in turn a happier person. Every morning I take a moment to count my blessings. Everyone in NYC has a story to tell, all it takes is a moment to unravel them. A moment in time that will change your perspective of life forever, as it did for me." Pic taken by @w57th.
@HelgaNahofti – "Imagine this; a place that is beautiful, peaceful, and beyond your wildest imaginations. It's a place where you see yourself feeling completely free and untouchable. A place where you can be yourself, feel the most confident and happy. A place that is as perfect as it is imperfect. A place that gives you butterflies, and this recurring tingling sensation every time someone mentions its name. A place where all your dreams are a possibility, and in fact everything you ever wanted seemed within reach as long as you hustle and make it your mission to achieve your goals. To me that place, is New York City. It resembles everything that is beautiful in this world. It is the beating heart of many, including my own. I can easily say I’ve been to almost every part of this city, but there is just one place I refuse to go to because it is so special to me that I want to share it with only one person, that is Central Park. I’ve never been to the park, obviously, but the funny thing is that I know it on a map inside out and I always imagine myself going there for the first time with my future husband. It may sound silly, but there is just something so magical about not just Central Park but NYC as a whole that makes me want to only share it with someone I love. I always say, if I can find a man to love as much as I love New York, then that’s the man I will marry." Pic taken by @w57th in the #UpperEastSide