New York City the greatest city in the world has been my home for the past month and a half, and it was taught me 21 important things.
1. Don't let strangers swipe your MetroCard-- because they will most likely steal it.
We learned this the hard way. We were at the Times Square subway station when all of a sudden this random man offered to swipe my friend's unlimited MetroCard and next thing we know she got her MetroCard stolen, and didn't have money to get a new one right away.
2. Check the subway map before you get on the wrong subway track.
When people say there's no service on the subway: It is real. I highly suggest you know your stop before you get on the subway or even before entering the station at all. If you don't know the closest stop to your destination you will most likely end up getting lost and have to walk your way back. Another useful tip is to know if you are going UpTown or DownTown.
3. Brooklyn is not as close as it seems.
Everyone says Brooklyn is just a subway ride away, but let me tell you that is both true and false. If you think a train ride away is close, it is not. It takes approximately 45 minutes to get to Brooklyn, or at least Williamsburg, which is one of my favorite places in Brooklyn. Be prepared to be in a crowded subway ride and be standing for at least half of the ride.
4. Timing is everything when needing to get somewhere.
I go to church in the city on Sundays and if I leave Staten Island even 10 minutes after the time I am supposed to leave, I know I will be late for church. Subways are fast but do not underestimate the chances of them being delayed or you getting on the wrong one by accident.
5. $1 pizza is the best (specially on a college budget).
I didn't know why college students posted so many pictures of pizza until I became a college student myself. Pizza is life, most of the time, but do not let yourself get fooled by expensive pizza. There are a couple of places where it is worth it to spend more than $1 but those are rare.
6. Don't blow your money the first weekend in Manhattan.
This happened to me and let me tell you it is not fun when you have to survive the rest of the month with only $50.
7. Save some money in case your MetroCard is empty.
Frustration. The only word I can use to describe when this happens, specially if you have to get somewhere fast.
8. Make sure you have cash.
Cash. Nothing more important that this new friend of yours: Cash. Specially if you are going to buy food and also if you want to refill your MetroCard.
9. Riding the subway alone isn't as creepy as it seems.
When I first stepped foot on a subway I thought it was the creepiest thing on earth; but, after being on it alone a couple of times it became a good place to meditate on my day and reflect a little about random things.
10. Everything is much more expensive in Manhattan.
This is a fact. Not gonna lie but even water is much more expensive in Manhattan. So make sure you bring your water bottle.
11. Tourists will eventually annoy you, specially if you want to get somewhere.
Tourists will get on your nerves, especially when you need to get somewhere and they are taking their time walking down the sidewalk with a map in their hands, not knowing how to get to the Empire State Building from the Village.
12. Bring a portable charger everywhere!
I cannot emphasize this enough, you will need your phone to go places and come back to campus.
13. If you ask someone to take a picture of you make sure they look trustworthy.
I have never gotten my phone stolen but I have heard of some people getting their phone stolen by strangers and the worse part is that the pictures of your trip go with your phone ,so be careful!
14. Don't spend all your time in tourist areas.
New York City is so big and full of so much culture that spending your time in touristic areas is honestly a waste of your time, specially because you can do this any day at any time.
15. The Staten Island Ferry is not as bad as it seems. (It has free Wifi)
The Staten Island Ferry has become my best friend and it is not as terrible as some of my friends made it look like. You can appreciate the view from different angles. You have the view of the city and even the Statue of Liberty for free, so enjoy those little things.
16. Have your headphones with you at all times, specially if you are going in the subway.
The subway ride can be quite boring and tedious if you have to hear a child crying the entire ride. Trust me, even just one stop becomes a complete nightmare if someone either yelling or a child is crying.
17. There's more to Manhattan than just MidTown.
Manhattan is a lot more than just Times Square. Times Square gets boring after you visit it more than three times. Go to Queens, Harlem, or Brooklyn. There is a lot more to explore.
18. Be careful which food-carts you eat from.
You can literally walk one more block and get the same kebab for $4 instead of $9. They are all the same.
19. Starbucks is not life, it gets expensive after a month. Go to Dunkin Donuts.
You get almost the same quality and for less than half the price. I know you like Starbucks but it will get expensive.
20. Not all of Manhattan is scary at night.
Manhattan is the city that never sleeps. There are some restaurants that just open at night so there is a whole new side to the city to explore at night, just make sure you don't get into sketchy places and you'll be fine.
21. Lastly, there is not better place to spend a day with your friends than New York City.