As summer approaches, college students from all over the country are faced with the daunting task of finding a summer job or internship. For a lot of students this means relocating to a new city. While most Boston College students choose to take internships in Boston, many want a change of scenery and move to America’s most famous metropolis, just four hours south. Although New York City may be intimidating, it is my belief that every American should live in the city for some portion of his or her life. I understand that New York is not for everyone. It is loud, dirty, and crammed with tourists. The streets of midtown at lunchtime are about as congested as Mary Ann’s on a Friday night. Rent is astronomical and, if you’re lucky, your apartment will be the size of your dorm room on Newton. However, the fastpaced atmosphere, diverse neighborhoods, and stunning architecture make it one the most exciting places in the world.
In order to live in New York, you have to sacrifice the small town charm of Boston for the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps. You can find almost anything you would ever need in a 24-hour bodega. Eating dinner at 10 p.m. will become commonplace. You will never have to worry about getting into a car to drive to the grocery store if you want a midnight snack. All you could ever need is within walking distance. Your pizza place, Chinese take out joint, nail salon, and favorite diner can be found within a three-block radius from your house. Shopping doesn’t require a drive to the mall and can be done at any time of the day. In fact, you cannot be dependent on a car. Walking and public transportation are a necessity when you are living in New York. Driving on the BQE during rush hour is what I imagine purgatory is like. The time pressure of making a dinner reservation and bumper-to-bumper traffic combined with a constant drone of honking and shouting are enough to drive a person crazy. Street parking is impossible. Garage parking will cost more than it does to raise your first child. Get used to riding subway cars that are packed to capacity and reek of body odor. And when you find yourself complaining, remember that you could be stuck riding the Green Line.
The city is made up of myriad self-sufficient neighborhoods representing a diversity of culture, language, and traditions. You can find the finest Greek food in Astoria and go to the best Jewish deli in Borough Park. Never be fooled into eating the Italian food in Little Italy. Everyone knows you can get authentic Italian dishes in Bensonhurst. You can get the best Middle Eastern food on 5th Avenue and the best egg rolls on Canal Street. In the 30-minute subway ride it takes for me to get from my house in Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan, I will overhear conversations in Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Greek, and Chinese. It is truly unique to have such extreme ethnic diversity existing side by side. The different neighborhoods collaborate to create one of the most diverse cities in the world. As BC is often criticized for lacking diversity, I encourage students to take the opportunity to spend some time in New York and embrace the rich variety of lifestyles the city has to offer.
Having grown up in Brooklyn, I am lucky to call myself a New Yorker. Every time I see the skyline dissolve into view as my Greyhound approaches the city, I am comforted by its enormity. There are aspects of New York that are always changing, but some things that will always be the same. My favorite ice cream shop may not always be there, but I will always feel the rattle of the R train as it pulls into the 77th Street Station. I cherish the days I spend walking around Union Square or exploring SoHo. I love trying new restaurants on the Upper East Side, jogging along the Shore Road Promenade, and hitting the beach in Rockaway. Every time I see the Freedom Tower illuminated, I realize I want to share my city with my BC family. So, it is my advice for everyone to spend a summer, a year, or longer in New York. Hopefully, you will all enjoy it as much as I do.
Editor’s Note: The views presented in this column are those of the author alone and do not represent the views of The Heights.