Day Eighty Eight

Kellogg's Diner in Williamsburg

Yesterday, I received my very first question through the site! After doing a rather lengthy victory dance, I finally calmed down enough to answer the submitted inquiry. It's perfect timing too, as this is my last blog from the Big Apple. 

“Hi Steve, I’m having a great time following along on your journey. I see that you’re currently in NYC and it just so happens I’ll be moving there with a few friends after I graduate this semester. I’ve only been to the city once before and I was wondering if you could offer up some of your favorite joints. I’d love to know some cool places to visit!”

First off, I have to thank the reader for their question. I’d do it by name, but it was submitted anonymously, so our shadowy inquisitor must remain a mystery for now. However, I’m more than happy to tell everyone about some of my favorite places in the city. I’m no expert by any means, but having lived here for 4 years, I’d like to think I know a thing or two. Here are some of my favs:

Bar: Barcade—this Williamsburg establishment offers up a great selection of beers and more classic arcade games than you can shake a joystick at. I recommend battling it out in 1942 or testing your grit with Smash TV. Other goodies: Woodwork, Pinebox Rock Shop, Tandem, The Dead Rabbit

Store: Forbidden Planet—hands down one of my favorite comic book stores, you’ll find new releases, back issues and a whole lot of figures, cards and collectables. I dare you to enter and not spend money. Other goodies: Kidrobot, Duane Reade, Original Penguin, Trash & Vaudeville

Neighborhood: Lower East Side—it took a lot to narrow down my favorite, but the LES is filled to the brim with delicious eateries, small shops and great clubs. From Pianos to The Delancey, this neighborhood is a must for your weekend partying needs. Other goodies: Meatpacking District, Bushwick, Williamsburg

Concert Venue: Gramercy Theatre—this concert venue doesn’t deserve to be pigeon-holed with such a title. They offer up a unique blend of comedy, movies, parties and concerts in an intimate atmosphere with some pretty good drink deals. Other goodies: Santos Party House, Irving Plaza, Webster Hall

Restaurant: Kelloggs Diner—sure there are a million places I could pick, but Kellogg’s is sure to always hit the spot, especially at 3am. Their open 24/7 and offer a massive menu that could take weeks to dig through. From Sunday brunch to drunken snacks, they never disappoint. Other goodies: Pie Face, Two Boots, Crif Dogs, Scarpetta, Chop't, Veselka 

Others: Brooklyn Bowl—this is once place that offers just about everything under one roof. It’s a concert venue, a bar, a (delicious) restaurant and a bowling alley. It’s a tad pricey, but if you have the money it makes for an amazing night. I’d recommend going at least once in your life. Other goodies: Brooklyn Wreck Room, Eataly, Union Pool, Museum of the Moving Image

There are hundreds of places I could’ve included on my list, but these are some of my all time favorites. I hope you all have a chance to visit some of these places, because they’re all one-of-a-kind.

See you in Philly!


Day Seventy Four

As promised, here is the epic conclusion to my last post:

The snow is back!

One undeniable fact about NYC is that it changes you. I, for one, am no exception to the rule. Yet, for every bad habit I picked up, I can say that my time here made me a better, more well rounded person overall. I might have a less patience for commutes, long lines and slow walkers, but I’m also more outgoing, personable and eager to improve my skills. I am more willing to pay $5 for a can of PBR, but I’ve also opened myself up to a countless number of experiences, cultures and cuisines. I have a lower tolerance for BS, but… well, I consider that a positive.

When I moved here, it was the scariest time of my life. Prior to NYC, the largest city I had ever been to was Cleveland (huge difference). I also moved here without a job. In fact, the only reason I was able to survive for the first few months was because I sold my car beforehand and dumped the money into my savings account. Yet that risk turned itself into a priceless reward. I think that’s the right attitude to have if you ever plan on moving here. You can’t wait for right moment or meticulously plan things out. Everything here moves at such a rapid pace, it will pass you by if you do. Heck, I was gone for 9 months and I’ve already seen a staggering number of changes. Compare that to a shopping mall near my hometown in Ohio that’s been under construction for nearly 4 years. New York City waits for no one. 

One last shot of Times Square from Super Bowl weekend.

Now, it may seem like I’m down on NYC but that isn’t the case at all—for every good there’s a bad and vice versa, but that’s true for any city. Honestly, this place can be absolutely incredible. It’s full of interesting characters, inspiring art installations, amazing eateries and more opportunities than you can shake a stick at. You just have to commit to being a part of it and always be thinking of your next step. So to anyone considering NYC as a future destination, let me sum up this post with these quick tips:

  • Have a good budget plan in place
  • Be comfortable living with at least one other person, even if they’re a stranger
  • Never let yourself get frustrated by the little things
  • Do your best to make meals, rather than buy them
  • Memorize the subway system as quickly as possible
  • Always know the cross streets of anywhere you’re going
  • Make friends with your local merchants
  • Keep your apartment clean at all times
  • Attend as many networking events as you can
  • Learn to walk at a brisk pace
  • Let go of your non-essential things before moving

I hope you enjoyed my personal take on this place we call The Big Apple. That was a lot of fun to write. As for the rest of my week, I saw Crosses perform at the Santos Party House last night. Luckily, I made it back just in time to beat the horrible snowstorm that’s currently blanketing the city.