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New York City, New York

General Information

America's largest city, population-wise, and possibly the most diverse in the world. We've had around 8 million residents for nearly the past century, with people constantly flowing in and out.

Weather can be fairly cold in the winter, fairly hot and humid in the summer, rainy and windy in the spring and fall, but occasionally, there are fair days!

People in New York like to move fast, figuratively and literally. We are constantly about productivity and are generally in competition with each other. This produces some of the best talent world-over - you don't get by being mediocre. The impression of New Yorkers as rude mostly applies to transplants/yuppies who are trying to be "New York blase". The rest of us are not mean, just skeptical. Most people who talk to us want something from us, so our natural reaction is to be on guard. But if you can befriend someone from here, you've made a friend for life.

Unfortunately, because of all the competition and expensive rent, it is easy to fall on hard times here.

New York City is many things, but it is never boring.

Food & Shelter

Garbage, garbage everywhere! Once it hits the curb, it's public property, and people sometimes throw out entire untouched meals. It's a toss-up asking places for food they're about to throw out - more often than not, they won't give it away. Learn where the dollar pizza spots are: this is your new religion. Food for All is an app that connects you to restaurants that want to give away their excess food - I haven't tried it yet so I can't speak for its success. There is a Coalition for the Homeless in downtown Manhattan that may help you with resources, and several Food Not Bombs locations citywide. Chinatown street vendors hawk some pretty affordable food (fruits and veggies too!).

The "big parks" and beaches in the city are fairly well-patrolled, and bandos may be hard to come by considering we put up razor wire fences around vacant lots. Your best bet is to find a wooded area, some of which still exist in Staten Island, northern Manhattan, or around the waterway near the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn and Queens (I highly recommend the latter, maybe under one of the bridges) and set up a tarp and pad there.

Making Money

Manhattan is the spot to be for making money (and losing it!). Washington Square Park and Union Square are prime spots to busk in, but someone may be there before you. Subway trains can be good too if your timing is good - it's only a few minutes between stations, so play your best song, and then came around to people with a hat/bucket. Put on a good show! Get the attention of those who have seen it all.

Simply asking for spare change is likely not gonna work well. The last person had a story way sadder than yours 5 seconds again. I recommend performing so that people feel like they're getting something.

Jobs are abundant here, but it may not be what you want in terms of description, hours, pay, or management. Still, with $15/hr minimum wage, you should do pretty well if you can avoid paying too much in rent! Retail/food industry is always hiring because the turnover rate is high. The farther you are from tourist-Manhattan, the less expensive goods will be.

Things to see and do

Just go out and walk! Seriously! You will see a ton of amazing (or weird!) things no matter where you are.

Some of my favorite things to do
Walk the Manhattan Bridge: Why walk across the crowded Brooklyn Bridge when there's another river crossing that lets you see the city with none of the annoying tourists in the way?

Bike around: Lots of bike infrastructure, especially along the West Side Highway, if you need to cut across Manhattan all the way north-south real fast.

Eat pizza: New York pizza is truly unlike any other. There are many great spots and very few bad ones.

Bar-hop: There are THOUSANDS of bars in the city, and if you don't like the vibe in one, it's a short walk to the next! Be careful of cover charges during weekends and expensive drinks in many spots, though. Most places will card you, so have ID ready. There's everything from $15 cocktails on rooftop lounges to $1 beer nights at some pubs and dives, so do your research on where you're going if price is a factor.

Rock climb at Dumbo Boulders: $12 for a pass to rock climb on all kinds of walls all day! Seasonal.

Spot graffiti: The best will be seen from the windows of elevated train lines, while walking across bridges, and around the north Brooklyn neighborhoods.

If you want to get involved with the punk community, check out the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, or hang out on St. Marks Place. I think ABC No Rio has reopened as well, so give them a look-through.

As far as places to avoid, I stay far away from midtown Manhattan (between 30th and 59th steets) and the financial district. Times Square is overrated and garish. The "beautiful people" (as I call them) living in Williamsburg and parts of Bushwick are mostly trust-fund babies and are not worth your time. Deep Queens and Staten Island are a bit too conservative and suburban for my taste.


Train yards in this city are a bust, unfortunately. Most freight is west of the Hudson River. You want to take a Port Authority bus or PATH train to/from spots in New Jersey, such as Newark or North Bergen, and catch out there. I'm not sure how possible it is to successfully hitchhike here - I would try a ride share board first.

Public transit is abundant, and while I think the weekly unlimited card of about $31-ish dollars is a good deal, you came looking for free stuff, didn't you? Ask people leaving if they "have a swipe" (or make a swiping motion with your hands) - they can let you in at no cost to them if they have an unlimited card, and most people are happy to pay it forward. If you choose to hop a turnstile or go through an emergency door, be careful - the fine is $100 is you get caught, so don't do it at a busy express station.

Trains will take you from the northern edge of the Bronx to the faraway islands of Queens. The ferry to/from Staten Island is free.

Technically, you can enter a local bus and tell the driver you don't have fare and legally, there's nothing they can do about it, I believe. For express buses, ask people getting off if you can have their tickets.

Latest reviews

Liked: Social services, lots of dive spots to the point you can live off trash, legal panhandling, decriminalized weed, easy to get around, lots of stuff to do, things are almost always open
Disliked: NOISE to the point it drives you batshit (horns, ambulances and police sirens) , dirty as fuck (when I was on the street, I would wash my hair 2 days in a row and the water would be black both times), huge tourist swarm, lots of closet republicans, lots of pigs, mostly uniform streets with no alleys, hipsters, bourgeoisie gentrification, almost all punk historical sites have been destroyed, cold dry winters and wet hot summers, nearly no green outside of parks
Good to visit, sucks to live here for an extended time. I may be really jaded because of how restless this city has made me. Living on a main road next to a hospital has really worn me down.
Good point on cops that I forgot to mention. They're everywhere here. And it's super noisy as well but is nice and quiet post-covid
Living next to a hospital is annoying, all I hear is sirens, regardless of covid. Everywhere else is nice though, I've been able to jaywalk a street I've NEVER been able to jaywalk before
Liked: Infinite activities, fast pace, good infrastructure, no need for a car ever, relatively safe, photogenic
Disliked: Loud, brusque, expensive, dirty, tourists and transplants, not always progressive
I'm very biased, having lived here for over two decades. I'm under no delusion that this place is magical, but I think there is a lot more good than bad here. New York has outgrown its reputation as the bankrupt burning city in the 70s and has become the safest big city in the U.S. The trade-off is that a lot of grit that was originally here has disappeared, but it still exists if you know where to look.


I wanted to do a write up on this place but then I realized I couldn't really put enough info justifying my post. Thanks for this, it covers most of the things I would have put and way more.

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