5 Things You Should Do While Living In New York City In Your Twenties

1. Have a nervous breakdown in public

It’s no secret that walking around New York can be a total nightmare. People shove, they scream, they yell, they barf. Whenever I have to navigate downtown Manhattan on a day I feel stressed/ depressed/ exhausted, I’m pretty sure I walk around with the most petrified look on my face. It’s an expression that lets people know that I’m very fragile right now and to please send for help. If used in any other city, you would have a swarm of people surrounding you, asking if you’re okay. But in New York, it doesn’t merit a second glance. This all might sound bleak but it’s actually why I love living in this city. I can walk down 14th street looking like a total freak on the verge of a nervous breakdown, mouthing “PLEASE HELP ME!” to strangers, and that’s okay. I don’t have to pretend. I don’t have to smile for NO ONE. You know why? Because living here is expensive and hard. I’ve earned the right to lose my mind and make strangers uncomfortable by my violent sobs. Don’t like it? Move to LA where people only cry in their car or a hotel restroom.

2. Be awake for 36 hours

New Yorkers specialize in getting stuff done on little to no sleep. We also specialize in getting wasted. You haven’t really lived in New York until you’ve gone on a bender and woken up in MTV VJ John Norris’ apartment, getting spoon fed coke and listening to Bauhaus. (I’ve actually never done that before but you know…) When you live here, cray nights just happen to you on accident. You could be in bed watching TV when a friend texts you asking if you want to get drinks. So you do and four hours later, you’re at a rave making out with a boy named Skye and the sun is coming up. You just never know where you’re going to end up! It’s just like that show Sex and the City! It’s true!

3. Puke in a cab

Wait, you’re telling me you haven’t vomited in a cab while crossing the Williamsburg bridge at 4am and gotten yelled at by the cab driver? Amateur.

4. Bail on brunch plans

Brunch is like an Olympic sport around here. People DO NOT screw around. They brunch and they brunch hard. They see an opportunity for a four-hour meal with friends on a Sunday afternoon and they practically have sex with it. That being said, you wouldn’t be a true New Yorker if you just didn’t show up for brunch one day. Bailing on brunch plans is a favorite pastime of New Yorkers. I might be telling you “Yes, brunch FOR SURE tomorrow!” as I’m leaving the bar but you and I both know there’s a 12% chance (42% if there’s nothing good on TV) of that happening.

5. Contemplate moving back to wherever you came from

“Mom, Dad… New York has just been like really stressful lately. No, it’s been like really hard. I just don’t know how much longer I can live here realistically. I’m losing sight of what’s real and burning the candle at both ends. Carrie Bradshaw wasn’t kidding about this place! I don’t know if I can be a survivor like she was…” TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


More From Thought Catalog

  • http://twitter.com/herenotlost Lola Li

    Oh hey it’s a Ryan O’Connell article on Thought Catalogue involving list-form, New York and being in your twenties. JACKPOT.

    • http://twitter.com/herenotlost Lola Li

      But no seriously though, still heart you Ry-ry.

  • boherubi

    Done 4.75 out of 5 AND VERY VERY PROUD. 

  • http://twitter.com/immin Lisa Harrison

    Oh Ryan. As usual I’m equal parts bored, jealous and aroused.

  • Anonymous

    As if you can only do that in New York. This article should be called: 5 Things You Should Do While Living in a Big City In Your Twenties.

    • Will

      But didn’t you hear? New York is the only big city that matters anywhere ever!

    • Guest

      “5 things that are pretty generic and not worth doing in a generic city”

  • JessSaysHi

    I’ve done far crazier things in cabs (and didn’t get caught) Just saying, maybe it’s time to up the ante Ryan.

  • Ckrupin

    I did # 1 yesterday. I feel so un-alone. 

  • http://newhandsweepstakes.com/contributors/brian-mcelmurry/ Brian M

    That shit cray / ain’t it Ry?
    what she eat? / fish filet?


      that shit cray/ aint it JAY (like jay z)



      • http://newhandsweepstakes.com/contributors/brian-mcelmurry/ Brian M

        that’s what I was parodying
        “gotta crawl before you ball” I guess

  • Masha

    hahaha I am pretty sure I uttered almost the same thing as #5 quite recently 

  • LazyReader

    You also have to be thrown out of a cab for making out with someone.
    When the cabbie tells you they’re going to pull up to the nearest cop car because of your (realtively) tame behavior you demeand to be let out.  Try to pay what you owe, but because the cabbie is crazy you wind up paying nothing.

  • DearMummy

    as much as i found this fairly entertaining, its not the best work  i’ve seen on the site. u can walk down any city and feel depressed and nobody cares. New york is great but this doesn’t do it justice. 

  • steph

    I only got this far before being compelled to comment:  “Don’t like it? Move to LA where people only cry in their car or a hotel restroom.”  Omg.  That was what I was thinking, ‘When I lived in LA [the closest I have come to living in a city even remotely like NYC– being that it has a large population, lots going on, etc.], I tried to conceal my public breakdown moments… probably in my car, feeling like a freak’  lol.  Nice.

  • http://jcpart.co.uk/ Jordan

    i did all this in London last year. worked just as well.

    • Nika


    • hrfe

      *The suburbs of Miami.

    • http://twitter.com/BigOldStone João Felipe.

      São Paulo

    • m.

       Mexico City.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EUL6B7WZUNAHGMO5KRCKZTGP54 Damen Handle

      *Waukesha, Wisconsin

  • http://twitter.com/geology_rocks Haley F

    Besides stay awake for 36 hours the rest of these are pretty passe. Here’s an equally contrived but far more fun list:

    1. Do coke with a famous rapper after sneaking into one of those clubs that charge a $800 bottle service admission.
    2. Touch an original piece of modern art in someones Soho apartment.
    3. Spend your entire pay check on designer clothes and eat nothing but Vanessas Dumplings for one month.
    4. Obtain a benefit/gala/launch ticket and hob knob with the creme de la creme of your field. Pretend you’re much more successful than you are.
    5. Zip car weekends to Vermont, Boston, Montauk and CT.

  • Valerie K

    Oh. My. I vommed out of a cab window crossing the Williamsburg and the cabbie didn’t even NOTICE. Who’s the amateur now?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1051560087 Geoffrey Abram

    #6:  Move to California before you’re stuck.

  • hrfe

    I have done all of those things during one weekend visiting New York.

  • Mimi

    You kinda look like Ginsberg.Might be the glasses things, the folie. 
    And I’m hangover. 

  • Dan

    That being said, you wouldn’t be a true New Yorker if you *didn’t just not* show up for brunch one day.
    Who edits the editor? No-one, I guess.

  • Turd Ferguson

    This actually works quite well as a piece of the increasingly robust evidence that NY is just as lame as anywhere else in the US…though I’m sure it wasn’t his intention, Ryan O’Connell serves up yet another masterpiece of his douche-chill inducing “writing” that one would desperately like to assume is parody. Alas, dear reader, this isn’t the case.

  • So I Dream

    Sounds just like HIMYM. Love it!

    • Unless this is sarcastic...

      wow.  you’re not a new yorker.

      • nvjksnshd

        Wow. You’re a jackass. 

        Considering that only 8 million of the world’s 6.9 trillion are new yorkers, the odds that anyone commenting on here is actually a new yorker is pretty slim.  

        Oh, also–did I mention that you’re a jackass?

      • KC

        eww. your lame and nyc is the center of the universe, DUH.

  • lilmamma

    my favorite past time is vomiting in my purse in the back of cabs 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WFETHV5KETU2PW6T5PJBIHA34A Foyodor Kruntch

    Ryan, the voice of this piece is more honest than your other work. I think you should read Joan Didion’s “Goodbye to All That” if you haven’t already because you’d probably agree with all of it and be able to see the city from another perspective and maybe find more to write about that’s more than surface level.

    Follow this path and don’t put any more fluff out like you did on the “2012 ApOcAlYpSe” article.

  • Hochiminhsrevenge

    Do us all a favor and skip ahead to number 5

  • SBG

    bwahaha this took me back to New Years Eve 2009 – boyfriend got sick out the window of our cab on the BQE. Oh memories.

  • Gustavo Rivera

    shoot up heroin and cocaine inside the bathroom of gotham city night club under a dim red light and the noise of a crowd playing pool and listening to rock n roll.

    i’ve yet to even read the bougyass bullshit that was actually posted. 

    i can assume it’s boring as hell.

    • A-W

      Actually, what bores is this comment, the cliches within it, and your completely undeserved (and unwanted) pretension. 

      P.S Your first sentence isn’t as beatnik as you most likely intended it to be, and “bougyass” killed whatever you had left.

    • Leigh

      haha you think doing drugs at gotham city lounge is special 

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