1. Paying more than $1 for a slice of pizza.
2. Entering the subway station going downtown when you need to go uptown.
3. Riding that wrong direction train for a handful of stops before finalizing realizing you’re approaching Pelham Bay Park when you were trying to get to Houston Street.
4. Pronouncing Houston like the city in Texas. Around here, they say hows-ten.
5. Paying an astronomical broker’s fee for an apartment you could have probably found on your own.
6. Thinking you can negotiate: with your broker, your landlord, the lady on the other end of your Time Warner phone call. You’ll come at them with your best A-game. Sometimes you think you could have made a really great lawyer. But they’ll put you in your place. They’ll bring you right back down to earth when they gently laugh in your face and say in such a blasé way, I’m sorry, that’s the price and there’s nothing more I can do.
7. Shopping for groceries anywhere other than Trader Joes or Fairway.
8. Not having a Seamless app on your phone during the winter when your options are either to throw on every item of clothing you have and brace the frigid outdoors to get some grub or starve.
9. Making eye contact with strangers on the subway. Locking eyes with someone, here, is ground for them to invade your personal space.
10. Thinking you have impeccable balance and not holding on while riding the subway. This is how you’ll invade someone else’s personal space.
11. Telling yourself that this city has way too many people and tourists that you’ll never rub elbows with someone you know. Just wait. You’ll run out for a quick bottle of $3 Trader Joe’s wine in your fuzzy Old Navy sweat pants and stained sleep T-Shirt, with your hair half-up half-whatever, and there they will be. You’re childhood neighbor. A guy you kind-of dated for 6 weeks. The girl who used to always try to copy off you in your high school Trig. class.
12. Becoming a floozy with your standards when it comes to how close you hold on to your wallet and your phone. Opening those up on the street or the subway make you a prime target.
13. Underestimating your commute. Though your Hop Stop App tells you it’ll only take 15 minutes to get to Jessica’s apartment on the Upper East Side, you’ll find yourself waiting around for the 6 train that like an ex-boyfriend, comes around whenever it feels like it.
14. Wearing heels—or uncomfortable shoes—to go out. Whoever said beauty is pain never lived in New York City and couldn’t find a cab at 3am and had to walk 27 blocks in knock-off Louboutin shoes from Traffic.
15. Going to Times Square for New Year’s Eve. Or, ever.
16. Giving all your money away to anyone who asks. This would never fly anywhere else but if you walk a few minutes on the Time Square subway platform, you’ll be asked upwards of 7 times if you could spare some change.
17. Believing in something called a savings account. All nouns, here, will beg for your money. And you’ll give it up more than you’ll save it.
18. Not asking for directions.
19. Thinking you’ll never adapt to the noise. Soon you won’t need to chug Nyquil or cram in a pair of earplugs or stay up all night trying to make the sheep dance to the sounds outside your window. The honking and the sirens and the full-on conversations you can hear from the bar you live 26 floors above, will become the sweet lullabies that become the soundtrack to your frantic dreams.
20. That you’ll be in this I LOVE NYC honeymoon phase forever. Why do you think they make T-Shirts that say this and hang them up all over the city? For tourist to buy? Well, yes. But also so that you’ll constantly be reminded of this dysfunctional relationship you entered with this ruthless, gorgeous, smelly, precious, overcrowded, city. (New York, I love you, please don’t change a thing).