Expectations vs Reality: New York City

By: Linnette Cruz 10-I

The large variety of movies, TV shows, songs, and stereotypes have shaped New York to be seen as this magical metropolis full of opportunities and dreams for public perspective. Thousands of Americans and foreigners move to New York each year, many of them seeking a fresh start and an inside look at the American Dream. What the grand majority of these newcomers don’t know is that many of the expectations seen on the media of what New York is like are false portrayals of the greatly glorified Empire State. 

The truth in the matter is that the Big Apple isn’t as perfect as it is made out to be in tourists’ eyes. New York is more of a bigger deal than Times Squares and any other frequently visited place that native New Yorkers have vowed to never set foot in. For starters, the streets are always depicted as either squeaky clean or filthy depending on where the take is being shot, but in reality, even the most expensive neighborhoods – such as SoHo and Tribeca – are prone to have some garbage and rats here and there. Also, if you decided to stay in one of these luxury neighborhoods without going out and exploring the city a bit more, then how are you going to try the best $1 pizza and hot chocolate that can be found in Harlem and Brooklyn. 

To further crush your dreams about moving here, when someone thinks of New York they may imagine living in a modish Midtown Manhattan apartment with rug covered hallways and a luxury view that you couldn’t get anywhere else. Well, sorry to break it to you buddy but if I were you I’d lower my expectations a bit. It might be the city of dreams, but Manhattan is also notorious for its very, very expensive rents. For a one-bedroom apartment alone would be about $3,380, if you’re lucky that is. I’m sure you can find an apartment with a rent that goes a little under that price, but it would take a tremendous amount of research, and you’ll probably end up in a bad neighborhood. 

Now I may sound biased here but New Yorkers like myself aren’t that bad. I mean, sure, if someone pushes our buttons to a certain degree we will ultimately explode into a rage of fire, but I’d say that for the most part, we are pretty sane, maybe. People in New York City tend to be portrayed as mean and cold, either always in a rush to their next destination without batting an eye at you or letting out a few curse words when someone is walking really slow in the streets. The question is, can you really blame us with all of the hustling and bustling of the city? It is deemed as the ‘the city that never sleeps’, so for the good of all things, wake up! Also, we cannot forget about the fact that New York City has always had high rates of depression and mental illness, but now due to the pandemic and the stresses of some people at the brink of losing their jobs, levels of anxiety and depression has gone up to the point that crisis workers in the state will respond to emergency mental health calls as opposed to police. From my perspective, maintaining boundaries in a tight environment is simply a flight or fight response that New Yorkers have evolved to have. Additionally, are you really telling me that people who stop in the middle of the street are not annoying at all? 

  On the contrary of what the hit Disney Channel show ‘Jessie’ says, New York doesn’t “feel like a party every day”, let me elaborate. Unless you are working a slow nine to five job, most of a New Yorker’s day consists of the following: wake up, eat, work, sleep. You might be able to squeeze in a party or two during the weekend, but most just use that time to unwind and prepare for the upcoming week. 

It is widely known that New York City is a diverse city, full of rich culture at every corner and crevice. People of all cultures decide to reside in New York and start their lives anew. Whether it’s the chicken curry across the street that is pulling you by the nose or the ambulance that wakes you up at dawn, there is always something that you’ll miss from the Big Apple when it is your time to go. To walk the streets of New York might bring about an expensive, fast-paced life, you can rest assured that it is never a dull moment in the city. 


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