Don’t Move to New York City!

If those words can persuade you to not move to the city, then you are not supposed to be here.

I once had an art professor who used the same logic on me and his other students; “Don’t become an artist!” he said. I remember hearing him and being confused and put off. Later I dismissed him - I became an artist away. Years later I spoke to someone who knew him for decades and complained about that statement. Her response was “Oh, he said that every year to every class. It was his way of separating the uncommitted from those who really had the drive to become an artist.”

If you want to move to New York City, you need that same drive. Any hesitation will result in someone else moving into your spot, the same way traffic in this city operates. Think water. Traffic, and people flow here just like water down a stream, no empty spaces, no hesitation.

So if you are prepared to jump in, be ready to swim. I find the pace refreshing. Ignore the horns once you get here too; the car type and the people type. My first free lance customer here liked boasting that she could get anything done by free interns, so didn’t need to pay a living wage. I quickly learned to ignore her, just like the web designers that never called back after she had me call them and low ball them for their services.

New Yorkers are good at ignoring things. The unpleasant and the dangerous mostly. They also respond to beauty, talent, and kindness. I was walking my dog the other morning when a tall, tattered clothed, fully-tattooed, man approached me on the side walk. He was headed to an AA meeting in the church across from my apartment. I looked at him and said “Good Morning” my voice free of fear or irony. He stopped in his tracks and said “Ya, thanks.” Then added “What a nice thing to say.” 

The reputation among outsiders of New Yorkers is that they are rude. I have found them generous and direct. Don’t waste time with pleasantries; drop the “Hello! Beautiful day isn’t it?” introductions, just ask a question and they will, 99% of the time, answer and have a mature, thoughtful conversation. Think of it as one ongoing conversation with the whole city. 

Remember the water thing. Keep calm, keep swimming, and you won’t drown here.  

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