Enjoy the infamous $1 pizzas.
If you’re on as tight of a budget as me, fear no more, for every block is blessed with a pizza joint dishing out slices for a buck. Be wary, just because they all charge the same, does not mean all pizzas are created equal. The SoHo $1 slice on MacDougal is to die for, just buy your drink elsewhere.
Google Maps and HopStop are your new best friends.
If you are ailed with wanderlust, but happen to be navigationally challenged, immediately download the free app HopStop. It helps with buses, trains, and bike routes. Also, don’t ever be afraid to use Google Maps walking directions when you’re lost. It has saved me more times than I can count.
Walk whenever you can.
The city is a beautiful place (Warning: I didn’t say it smells good) and most everything is within a thirty minute walking radius. You don’t even notice time passes and your calves will look phenomenal.
Avoid walking directly next to buildings.
I still don’t know what it is, (air conditioning, maybe?) but they drip. Constantly. It’s unnerving and who wants mystery liquid falling onto their perfectly coiffed hair?
Carry minimal cash, but always have it on hand.
Food trucks and flea markets are typically cash only, and going to these are both a must. However, in the case of a mugging or lost wallet, a debit card can always be canceled, but any cash is gone for good.
Stay away from chains.
There are more family-run shops and restaurants than chains in the city anyway. Skip Starbucks and enjoy Joe Coffee. Skip Chipotle and eat Loving Hut. Skip Perkins and choose Orion’s. Skip McDonald’s and go ANYWHERE else.
Find the right neighborhood for you.
I live in Community Board, or CB, 6 (Gramercy Park), but I have class in CB 4 (Chelsea) and enjoy hanging out in CB 3 (The East Village). Although they are all in a very close proximity, they all have completely different vibrations.
Last of all, be a tourist.
Be a tourist, at first. Pass through Times Square, take the Staten Island ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, visit any filming locations for your favorite shows. Do all of it, but do it first, and then allow yourself time to enjoy the true New York.