Expat Guide: How to Live in New York Like a Local

Throughout history, New York City has been the place where everybody dreams of belonging. From Wall Street to Broadway, New York City is where dreams are made every day. If you have recently secured an expatriate position in a Manhattan firm, you may be wondering how to land in this vast and intimidating city, and settle in like a local.

New York Times Square

Whilst life-long New York City locals will tell you that living like a true local as an expatriate is impossible, there are a few key tips to help you blend in and get a sense of the city beyond the tourist traps.

1. Don’t look up:

The best way to pick out a NYC visitor from the crowd is to watch their eyes. Landing in an immense city packed with skyscrapers on every block, visitors tend to be overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, and spend their first few weeks gazing upwards at the spectacular buildings. Whilst the city well and truly is a spectacle to behold, walking into strangers (or lamp posts) while you admire the shining skyscrapers is not a good look – and is sure to distinguish you as a newcomer right away.

2. Look beyond the tourist traps:

Times Square, the Hard Rock Café and the Rockefeller Plaza are all exciting New York City highlights, and there is no shame in going to visit them when you first land in the city. However, after a few weeks, your tourist agenda should be ticked off and you should be looking into the city’s local favourites. From the little Italian restaurant on the corner to the part of Central Park that nobody goes for photographs, the city is filled with lesser-known spots for you to fall in love with.

3. Understand baseball:

You don’t need to pretend to enjoy something that you don’t – there are plenty of people in New York who don’t care about baseball and won’t act like they do. However, just like football in the UK and Aussie Rules in Australia, baseball is a huge talking point in New York and having a basic understanding of the sport and the top teams will help you to get to know your local colleagues and make new friends. If you happen to follow baseball but don’t support one of the city’s top teams, it may be wise to keep quiet about your allegiances for a while.

4. Don’t spend your time inside:

Most residents live in small spaces. From typical studio apartments in New York to flat-sharing arrangements, locals can’t get a lot done in their living quarters. As such, most locals spend much of their time exploring the city and hanging out with friends. From lively post-work drinks to restaurants that are open all night – why would you want to spend all of your time indoors? However, if your living space is important to you and you’re put off by the idea of cramped accommodation, explore luxury serviced apartment providers such as thesqua.re, who can provide you with your perfect space for short or long-term periods.

These tips are the perfect starting point to help you settle into your new city without standing out as an obvious tourist. However, the best way to feel like a local in New York City is to live there – for a long time. So relax, enjoy your stay and get to know this exciting city.

Mayuri Ghosh

Assistant Manager for Content. Can swear by Shakespeare, Love Karaoke.

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