It’s not that I’m under-traveled or anything, the once place I’ve just never been (I’m 31) is New York City, NY. It’s something I’ve always been embarrassed to admit. Born and raised in Oklahoma, then Vail, CO for three years, and Dallas since. So Midwest. However, now I had no choice. I had meetings set up and a lot of people to catch up with, so luckily, I was forced to go to my dream city for a few days. Here are 10 things I learned, experienced and soaked up in my empire state of mind.
1. People are nice
I was a little surprised, as New Yorkers get a bad rap for attitude. People look you in the eye, give you a head nod and smile. I’m sure there’s a lot of New Yorkers who live up to the stereotype, but I never came across any of them.
2. Whatever you do, do not order a shot of SoCo and lime
Being a Midwest kid: Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas, Southern Comfort is Bud Light…it’s everywhere. This happened my first night at The W Hotel, where our waiter was in his late sixties, couldn’t hear very well, but was sweet and made me wonder what he initially came out to do in this city of dreams. But someone at our table said, out loud, “I have so many connections, like my financials aren’t even a problem, I’m like really a big deal.” That was her introduction. My buddy and I sat back cracking up. We quickly bailed and went to Pete’s Tavern which is much more my scene, and closed the bar down, with my buddy and I writing ideas for a meeting I had that day on napkins, the old school journalism way.
3. Everybody talks all the time
You would think Adderall was in the water. But no, people just constantly want to talk about themselves and what they’re doing, which is ALWAYS the next big thing. You never have a conversation that goes something like this: “So what do you do?” “I’m a teacher”. What you get though is this: “So what do you do?” “Well I’m a photographer but also directing a short and um, like the most go-to guy for real estate in Brooklyn.” I think it’s because everyone is constantly networking, but in a sense no one is listening to what that person is saying, they are just waiting their turn to talk. It was all highly entertaining and annoying at the same time.
4. Real estate real estate real estate
Everyone is into real estate. Not just NYC real estate. Like the full-blown-savvy-dressed-guy whose phone is always ringing and says things like “Ibiza? Oh yeah I know people over there.” So if you’re in a conversation with someone who says, “Yeah I also do real estate,” run, run fast.
5. You forget to eat
People are going nonstop all the time and moving and shaking, like the place they are going is the place that will give you all the answers in life. People are constantly on their phone, running around, talking loud, and nobody stops to think, “Maybe I should take a 20 and get an organic flaxseed bagel.”
6. Everybody’s somebody, but saying you’re nobody works as well
I wanted some good pics, so I go up to the bouncer for the backstage area, and no one can hear anything. A 6’6″ shaved headed monster of a man told me “No, can’t let you in.” I replied explaining I’m supposed to cover the show, he said, “You’re at least the tenth person who’s come up to me with same request.” I then told him I was a nobody, my iPhone was my camera, and who really gives a shit. He laughed and let me right in. See, NYC people are nice, or, total douchebags, nicebags.
7. Going out is different than anywhere else
This is one of my favorite things. You have a few friends over, a few glasses of wine, a few one-hits, and then you’re out. For example, you go see a Slick Rick concert at Brooklyn Bowl, and it’s awesome, and you’re feeling great. So then you head to a bar/restaurant around 12:30 or 1am, and eat dinner and get more drinks. This is where everything is perfect. You just saw a super fun concert from a rapper of your younger days, you walk around as it’s misting, and find a spot to post up and keep it going. It’s not a 2am Taco Bell call to eat and pass out. It’s a tasty restaurant and the night is really just starting.
8. Cocaine customer service is top notch
As we’re sitting around the table at All’s Well, which I highly recommend, we are all a little drunk and order beautiful food and cheering out glasses to everything, when someone in our group asked “Does anyone feel like doing a little coke?” I think it had been a while since any of us had dabbled in the white, but for some reason we all agreed…YES was the answer. I then jumped in and said maybe this isn’t a good idea, it’s always such a hassle, you have to drive and meet someone, then they have to get in, etc. Everyone looked at me, and just kind of laughed at my clueless cuteness. Before our food arrived, truly within 20 minutes, a totally rad-looking dude, super nice, popped in, said hello, introduced himself, handed the girl I was with three beautiful red-capped small glass cylinders and was on his way.
9. Bars close at four, after parties start at four
This is something else I loved. In cities like Dallas, Chicago, Denver and on an on, people are just trying to get fucked up. It’s not like that in NYC, or maybe I just know great people who aren’t like that. We had a little pot, a little cocaine, some wine, and went back with a few other people, turned on some music and just talked, not cocaine talk, just really interesting talk. NYC is half bullshit talk, half really interesting talk. Around 4am a 40-something neighbor came by for a noise complaint. So we turned it down. Then ten minutes later he came with a beer, and said if a little get-together is going to keep him up anyways, he might as well join in. Super nice guy. He also happened to be gay, and we had another gay friend there, somewhat similar in ages I think. In was fun to watch two guys flirt, nothing happened, but it was cute all around.
10. Hit repeat
Everybody gets maybe three hours sleep, quick shower, and off to the train or eight bocks to where you work. It’s constant on-the-go, non-stop hustle, and the true meaning of you work just as hard as you plan.