Real talk, making it in NYC is hard. It is even difficult to define what “making it” even means here. The average New Yorker would likely say that, to them, “making it” means that they were able to consistently pay their bills on time, maintain a sense of self and safety, and enjoy a social life in-between work commitments. Others would say that “making it” means that they thrived in their pursuit of world domination.

Regardless of your definition of the phrase, nobody lives here without accumulating some “scars.” In an effort to minimize the aforementioned – and mostly invisible – “scars,” we asked NYC locals to give us one tip for someone first moving into the city.

For newcomers to this city that never sleeps (but somehow still manages to dream), here are 21 Must-Read NYC Survival Tips:

1. Once you start loving NYC, NYC will eventually start loving you back – by being thoughtful and compassionate towards the other 10 million people here, there is no way this city can eat you alive. – Maggie R.

2. Download Hopstop. – Stephanie H.

3. Make friends ASAP.  Phones and computers are great when you are away from your support system, but sometimes you need someone physically there to help you take apart the puzzle, throw the darn thing, and then pick up the pieces. – Austin B.

4. Start fresh when you arrive and don’t bring any furniture with you. You’re going to have to find a place to live and you will already be worrying about location, proximity to transportation, and monthly rent. Don’t add the “Will my furniture fit?” stress to the equation. – Tyler W.

5. Keep organized and on a schedule. There is so much going on in NYC that it can be hard to keep track of your life! Between work, events, friends and daily tasks, like going to the gym, it’s important to keep organized. – Phil L.

6. Have a job. NYC is one of the most expensive cities in the world and the cost of living is difficult enough to manage with a job, and nearly impossible without one. It’s also a very competitive job market so there are no guarantees on finding a job at all! – David W.

7. Don’t make eye contact. – Jana P.

8. Make sure you get out of town one day a month to take a mental break from the hustle and bustle and to smell the roses.  It is important to decompress and understand that being part of the rat race is not the end-all and be-all. – Chris D.

9. Learn the subway lines as quickly as possible. It is the most cost effective way to travel throughout the city in the shortest amount of time. – Taylor T.

10. Get an unlimited metro card. – Ana I.

11. Look at the street lights instead of the walk/stop sign. When the street light starts to turn, you can start walking. It always amazes me how slow people are to cross the street. – Chris D. 

12. Stay central. At first, the city can seem very isolating, so keeping with the action is important. Once you get in the groove, it’s full of never-ending possibilities and new areas to explore. – Jen F.

13. Pee before you leave the house. – Sarah J.

14. Find a sanctuary and spend some time by yourself. This city is a rat race and it’s easy to get caught up in everything and get stressed out. Sometimes you need to take a deep breath and a step back and realize that a lot of that stress is not important and that life isn’t bad. – Chris L.

15. NYC is a financial meat grinder.  If you don’t work hard and focus you will end up just treading water.  Here, you pay the premium to have access to the best the world has to offer in terms of lifestyle. – Hugo M.

16. Come here expecting to work, not to party. If you can’t generate an income, you’ll never make it. – Devin K.

17. Remove your olfactory nerves. – Jeff Y.

18. Move to Brooklyn to learn the city before you move into Manhattan.  When you’re in BK, it’s a lot cheaper and easier to move around.  When you get into Manhattan, you want to minimize moving (it’s physically harder and more expensive). – Jeff K.

19. Don’t wait until you get here to start preparing. Save up and look for jobs as much as you can BEFORE you get here. – Nathan R.

20. Learn how to downsize everything. – Ernie L.

21. Stay in line. When you’re in line for taxis at the airport, the guys that proposition you to hop out of line for a set amount are up-charging you and doing so illegally. – Andrew B.

There you have it, from the mouths of locals. I am sure you can draw your own conclusions from these suggestions, but I think we can all agree that step one is to get a job. TTFN!

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