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Lessons I've Learned While Living In New York City

I have been living in New York City for 364 days. Tomorrow is technically my one year anniversary of moving to the city, but for continuity's sake, I'm posting a day early to stick with my schedule, mostly because I don't feel like posting on a Saturday and I'm too excited to wait a day. I've been annoyingly telling everyone lately that my one year is coming up because, well, I'm excited! Can you blame a girl? I used to come to New York City as a baby, then as a child running ahead of my mom in Central Park wearing what she described as a plaid skort, I believe, then as a kid, and a teen, and now as a full-fledged fauxdult who isn't here on a time limit anymore. I don't have to count down the days until I leave and try desperately to makes plans to come back as soon as possible for anything I could think of as my excuse.

I don't know exactly what age I was when I decided I wanted to live here. I always go with the age of ten, though I'm not sure it bears any actual significance. In reality, I'm sure it was embedded in me at birth or whatever that I wanted to live here. That pull to the city has always existed, beyond the Hollywood glitz and glamour that shows the city through rose-colored lenses. I didn't want to move here to be anything or anyone besides myself. I didn't want to be an actress or a singer or a designer or anything, really. I just wanted to be Francesca Pauline Gariano, a little Italian girl with a big nose who didn't really know (and still doesn't) want she wanted from life.

This year has genuinely flown by. So much has happened that I can't even keep track of it all. I started a job, I moved into my first apartment, I made new friends, I saw concerts, I celebrated rooftop season accordingly, I had many o' trips to Veselka, saw family, had friends from out the state and out of the country visit, my couch has become the crash pad for whoever needed it in that moment. I had aimless walks around Central Park, fought with my umbrella during a windstorm in public, cried on the subway, got motionsick in the back of Ubers without having a sip of alcohol, got equally as sick in the back of Ubers with having many sips of alcohol, sang and danced my heart out and too many karaoke nights to count. I could have an entire highlight reel of my life from this year alone, despite the incredible highs and lows. 

There are parts of this year that I don't like to talk about or even want to get into, but I'm here and I'm alive and I'm happy and I'm just so fucking stoked that I get to continue to figure things out in the city that I was destined to live in.

And don't worry, I just vomited at that line too.

You don't stop learning things when you're out of school. I might have learned about the inverted pyramid throughout college, but only New York City could teach me the tiny things about life that you just don't think about on a daily basis.

Never underestimate the power of a quarter. I hate change. I really, really hate it. But I've also been incredible spoiled and have never had to pay for laundry up until I moved to the city and realized that my luxury of having an in unit washer and dryer and free laundry in the dorms no longer existed. My aunt gave me a huge container of quarters as a gift over the summer and I honest to god almost cried at the sight. As someone who never has change to even use the change machine at my laundromat, not having to worry about whether or not I have enough quarters to wash my laundry is a beautiful luxury that I will never take for granted. Gone are my days of saying "keep the change" or tossing it into the tip jar automatically. The second I see a quarter, I pounce and immediately put it in a safe place so it can be tenderly delivered into my quarter jar at home.

Speaking of money, I swear, nothing has ever tested my financial patience more than this city. I didn't move here naively thinking that things were cheap. I've visited and stayed here for long enough periods to know there's a different between expensive and New York expensive. My money problems didn't stem from being stupid with my money, they mostly stemmed from the fact that out of desperation I took a job with a stipend that never translated into a full-time position when it was supposed to. I never formally budgeted, but this city truly had me rethinking my financial priorities and reminded me that sometimes you just have to say you don't have enough money for something and move on. If I couldn't afford dinner with friends, then I wouldn't go. My credit card was for emergencies, not for me to enjoy eating dinner out four times a week and pretend that it didn't exist until it came time to pay the minimum amount per month.

This doesn't mean I starved myself or deprived myself from experiences. I just picked and chose what was prioritized for the time being while I didn't have the most reliable income. I've since found side-gigs and a really fun weekend freelance gig (if you didn't know, I contriute to on the weekends so if you want to read my articles, just search my name on the site!) that give me some extra money here and there when I'm not trying to pay off my existing credit card debt. Now I know how to live with less as I finally start to make an adult salary!

Not that this was anything new to me totally, but things move fast in the city. I'm not even just talking physical speed which I luckily already knew and tend to lap people on the sidewalk in 95% of the shoes that I own. I mean, I literally just said it only a few paragraphs ago. Time fucking flies here, guys, and if you don't take the time to slow down you're going to miss a hell of a lot.

One thing that doesn't always fly by though would be the mass transit option that we all know, love, and loathe: the subway system. We've all shaken our fists and no doubt muttered "motherfucker" at the MTA at some point within the last 24 hours and honestly, you gotta get your frustrations out somewhere. My theory about the subway is that you are either seven minutes early or fifteen minutes late and there really is no in-between. If you think it's going to take you a half an hour to get there, give yourself forty-five minutes, especially on the weekends or when taking the G train. To any and all of my fellow Greenpoint/Williamsburg/where the fuck do the neighborhoods split? residents and pals who live off of the G Line, I feel you. I so feel you.

But really, there is just one thing that stands out more than anything else and that is DOLLAR SLICES OR BUST, DAMMIT! The only slices over a dollar that are worth my time are from Joe's or Artichoke! Catch me using my only dollar bill lingering in my wallet on a slice of Two Bros Pizza. Chances are I'm not even drunk, I'm just broke and hungry.

If I truly tried to sum up everything I've learned both about myself and life in a year, I wouldn't even be able to. Some things you just can't explain, you just know, and I'm content with this. I couldn't have asked for a better first and and hope that the rest bring me as many pierogis, drunken nights, bad Tinder dates, and friends as this year has. But I could really do without anymore money problems. That would be ideal...

Sweatshirt: Zara
Shirt: J.Crew
Skirt: ASOS
Boots: Urban Outfitters
Bag: Rebecca Minkoff

Photos by Gabby Whiten


  1. Omg I love your raw honesty on your transition to NYC. Also, congrats on the side gig! That sounds like such a fun opportunity.

    Hoping to move to the big bad city one of these days and your blog always gives me that motivation ��

    Xo Logan


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