What I Learned About New York Values From My Recent Trip

What I Learned About New York Values From My Recent Trip

I spent this past month of July with family in New York City, and while I have been a Houstonian for the last six years, I was quickly reminded what I miss the most about this city.
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I spent this past month of July with family in New York City, and while I have been a Houstonian for the last six years, I was quickly reminded what I miss the most about this city.

I think what connects New Yorkers with each other is the sheer knowledge of knowing the struggle associated with the transportation system. Taking a cab to explore Manhattan doesn’t exactly convey what the City is about. To truly understand the so-called “New York values,” it is necessary to explore the city in its native form: through the MTA. Only through that medium can one meet New Yorkers in their natural habitat.

In the four weeks I have spent there, the buses and subways became a usual place of seeing acts of kindness by strangers for people they have never met. The second someone elderly or a parent with young kids came on, people would immediately leave their seats. While this is nothing but common courtesy, New Yorkers are notorious for their rudeness, and these actions clearly contradict that notion. In order to go anywhere from where I was staying, I had to take the Q9 bus and the E train. And since the E train stops by the JFK airport, there are plenty of travelers and tourists aboard it.

One of the days I was on E, I saw a family of four rush onto my cart right before it closed. They each carried a suitcase and appeared quite exhausted. Immediately, a woman got up and gave the youngest daughter her seat. The family quietly conversed in what appeared to be a European language I did not recognize, and the mom pulled out one of those foldable maps of the city.

Hesitantly, she got up and asked the very same woman who gave up her seat something about how to reach her destination. The woman, who had been listening to music, took out her earphones and gave her undivided attention to the mom who was very much confused. They both talked for a bit as the mom asked her about the different routes in her broken English while the woman calmly answered all her questions. The mom then gladly thanked her and shared whatever she had just learned with the others.

This small incident warmed my heart because of how genuine it was. And just when I thought it was over, the woman approached the mom and told her, “Ma’am, I get off on this next stop, so let me explain it to you one more time. In case you need any more help, I have already told this gentleman right here to assist you guys with any directions.” I couldn’t stop myself from smiling at this small yet beautiful interaction. The woman had no obligation to do this and neither did the man who agreed to further aid the family, but they did, because they were true New Yorkers. They understood that New York is a harsh city, and how lending this family a hand would be a small but important contribution to ensure that this family reaches their destination easily.

I know that this was just one situation, and that there must be rude New Yorkers for this stereotype to exist. However, for every rude one, there are ten like that woman who is helpful and ready to help a fellow citizen out.

Cover Image Credit: Brute Reason

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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9 Things To Do In Nashville If You Have No Idea What To Do

Trust me, I was just as lost as you are.

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Nashville is a great place packed full of lots of really cool smaller great places that all offer their own unique take on the city. If you're like me, though, and have a hard time ~planning ahead~, then this list is exactly what you need. I went around and got lost and tried all the coolest hidden gems in Nashville so you don't have to. Here are some of my faves.

1. Milk & Honey Nashville

Located in the Gulch, Milk & Honey is the coffee shop/cafe from my dreams. It's decorated perfectly for any cute insta story and y'all when I say their coffee is amazing I mean it. Try it. It's so worth it, and pretty easy to find, too! You can browse their menus here.

2. Frothy Monkey Coffee Shop

While we're on the topic of coffee shops, Frothy Monkey is a MUST try. Trust me, I've drunk A LOT of coffee in my lifetime, and theirs is up in the top 10 of the best. They have other good things too, but if you're a coffee person like me, this place is heaven, I promise. It's right off 12th Avenue and within walking distance of lots of other funky little shops.

3. Two Old Hippies

This is the coolest little shop you will ever go into. Tucked away in the Gulch, it's within walking distance of Milk & Honey, so stop by after you grab a coffee and browse. They have everything from handmade clothes to cool books to refrigerator magnets. This is one of my all time favorites and I know you'll love it too.

4. Baked on 8th

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I fell in love the second I saw the cute sign. Baked on 8th has a great atmosphere and even better little pastries, cookies, and cakes. Their cookies were so good it took every ounce of self-control I had to not go back and order 2 dozen. 12/10 would recommend if you're into Instagrammable locations and bomb sugar-filled desserts.

5. Burger Republic

I get it, you've gotta eat more than just cookies and coffee. As far as restaurants go, this place is home to the best burger I've ever eaten, plus the atmosphere is pretty laid back and great, and it's an awesome place to go and watch pretty much any sporting event happening anywhere relatively close to Nashville. Browse the menu so you can know exactly what to order before you even get there here.

6. Fido

In case you haven't noticed yet, I'm a HUGE fan of coffee shops and cafes. Fido was the most perfect little spot. It boasts about its gourmet coffee and great food, and rightfully so. It's also got the coolest funky vibe that makes you just want to sit and stay all day, and it's in a great location and decently close to Vanderbilt.

7. Go see some murals

Nashville is FULL of these bad boys. I know y'all have all seen the countless pictures of those people with big butterfly wings. Well, there's more and they're all around the city and on the side of pretty much every building. It's cliche, but tbh it's also kind of a must do while you're there.

8. Walk around Centennial Park and the Parthenon

This is a really nice place to visit if you're looking to spend a couple of hours away from the concrete of the city, and the Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the one in Greece.

9. Ride one of those little scooters around and explore

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I'm not gonna lie to y'all. I did not ride the scooters. They seem kind of dangerous and I know without a doubt that if I tried to get on one it would not end well for me, the scooter, or anyone within a 3-mile radius. With that being said, though, I did see a lot of people riding them and it looked pretty fun, plus it's a great way to see the city without walking too much. So if you just want to explore, hop on one of these bad boys and pray.

Nashville is a great city full of tons of tourist attractions and amazing musical history, but if you find yourself stuck with nothing to do for a couple of hours before your next walking tour, you're sure to find something on this list that you'll love. So, you're welcome.

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