New York Shitty: Survival Tips

Scores of kind readers are offering advice:

NYC is, in fact, the easiest place to live once you're settled. Cabs are plentiful (except between 4-7pm), the subway never closes, and there's a bodega or Duane Reade within a two-block radius wherever you are.  You simply don't have to move around much to survive.  And have you seen the variety of food delivery options on SeamlessWeb? The last time I was in DC, the website offered me maybe 20 options, but almost anywhere in NYC seamless will offer 50-60!

I love that cabs are plentiful – except when you most need them. I've spent up to half an hour finding a cab with its light on as available – as opposed to off-duty – between 4 pm and 7 pm. Even as a visitor, I simply walk. I cycle everywhere in DC but the traffic aggression in NYC would keep me on the river cycle paths. Using one to get around would be more scary than I'm used to. Another:

Cost can be mitigated if you don't have a car.  Zipcar can be very useful for weekend shopping runs. Don't shop at the local bodega unless you must, avoid the local supermarket if you can.  Trader Joe's or Fairway are the places to go – and you should to avoid the very tempting option of ordering amazing delivery every night.  Try to avoid cabs if you can.  Get a good pair of shoes and a metrocard.

We don't have a car. God knows what people do who have one. The kitchen is so tiny there's also a limit on food storage. Another:

Stay away from Times Square. Just. Stay. Away. Watching tourists eat at Olive Garden or Sbarros is flat out depressing.

No worries in that department. Trust me. That "intricate rented world" does not excite. It bores and depresses. So much light for so much getting. Another:

It sounds like you have AT&T on your cellphone. My advice is drop them. Pay whatever it takes to get out of your contract. AT&T does not work in NYC. I had them for four years and I swear every other call would get dropped and my data service would randomly cut out for hours at a time. Go to Verizon. It's the most reliable service in NYC.

Working on it. Again, more money. To do even the slightest thing, you get fleeced. More technical advice:

Some flavors of WiFi share spectrum with other devices and appliances. Older versions would see temporary dropouts or slow-downs whenever someone microwaved popcorn because the frequencies were similar. Even with the newer models, you can see interference with other devices in the area. Also, of someone is BitTorrenting in your area, they may be sucking up all the bandwidth for everyone in your area. Another possibility is that someone has jumped on your WiFi and is piggybacking on your account. You do have a good password set up, don't you? Here's an article that might can help: "Six Wi-Fi problems and how to fix them"


Time Warner is the devil. If you can get Verizon FiOS where you live, go with that. It's apparently a million times better. If you're stuck with Time Warner then you just have to deal. If you're having some technical problems with their service (and who isn't; I currently am) then try tweeting at them. You have enough followers that they'll get back to you pretty quick. Their Twitter customer service can be pretty decent and if you're persistent, you'll get through to their T3 support. The T3 support guys are actually super helpful and competent and should be able to resolve your problems as well as they possibly can.


Forget Best Buy. Instead, go to J&R Music, B&H Photo, Adorama, Tekserve, or your closest Apple Store. Also, if you have a doorman or package service, definitely buy an Amazon Prime membership and use it as much as possible.  You'll get much better prices and better service on almost anything.

Also, FreshDirect is mighty convenient – but Trader Joe's and Fairway Uptown and Costco (115th and FDR) are cheaper.


If you're trying to navigate NYC and your Google Maps (or, heaven forbid, Apple Maps) aren't working, try picking up the Not For Tourist guide to NYC. It's great. Detailed maps, restaurant and bar listings, and a bunch other stuff. Pardon the cliche, but i never leave home without it. You can find it here.


Never do laundry again. Someone will do it for you, fold it and bring it back to your apt. Dress shirts get dropped off and unlike DC, someone brings them back to your apt.

Yet another:

Don't be in a rush. Stuck on the train? There's nothing you can do about it, so why feel guilty or responsible for it? Think about how lucky you are to be reading a book on the train rather than stuck in traffic in a car, where you can't read while waiting to start moving again.


Mooch or splurge, but find a place to go on the weekends. The Catskills, the Berkshires, Bucks County, there are plenty of low-fi options. A couple of quiet days away (i.e. NOT the Hamptons, Fire Island, or the Jersey Shore) are a necessary yin to the constant yang.

Experience something that is "the best" in NYC. Subscribe to the Met Opera, join MoMA, become a foodie or a theater queen. Do something that makes being in NYC a demonstrable advantage to the rest of the world.

Finally, and simply, walk. Walk everywhere. Walk all the time. Walk it off.

One more reader:

My advice to you?  The best part of living in the city is how easy it is to leave it.  Take weekend trips via MTA North and visit Tarrytown, Ossining, and Dobbs Ferry.  The Fall also happens to be the nicest time of year to soak in the foliage of the Hudson Valley.  I trust it will also provide some relief from the stress of election season …