NYC Expectations Versus Realities

By Ella Bilu:


When I first found out my family was going to New York City for spring break, I was absolutely ecstatic. Soon, I’d be in the concrete jungle where dreams are made. As someone from the wild, wild west (Southern California), I didn’t know much about New York. Up until this point, my only knowledge about the city was through TikTok and Gossip Girl. To be honest, I was half expecting to ride the subway with the cities’ rats and rich. My expectations were a little bit off from the realities.


Expectation: I would need to worry about being mugged.

Reality: I should be more scared of the 40-year-olds dressed up as Elmo in Times Square. Once, I saw a TikTok saying that if you don’t tip them after taking a photo with them, they’ll chase you until your pants don’t fit because you sweat off two sizes.


Expectation: There are rats everywhere.

Reality: During the entirety of my trip, I only saw 2 rats. I saw more people trying to sell me marijuana, fake Louis Vuitton bags, and CDs of their latest diss track.


Expectation: People wait for the walk sign to walk across the street.

Reality: If there are no cars by, it’s go go go! And even if there are cars, a pack of aspiring Instagram influencers will trample you over and push you to the other side.


Expectation: Fashion is everything.

Reality: While yes, there are a fair amount of fashionistas strolling the streets of New York, the majority of people are just wearing their North Face puffer jackets. Occasionally though, I did see a shirtless man in an American flag speedo playing the guitar.


Expectation: The subway has some crazy people.

Reality: I once sat across from a borderline nudist. Not my proudest moment.


Expectation: The pizza is amazing.

Reality: I think my school cafeteria makes equally good pizza. Ok, maybe that's not true, but the pizza I had certainly wasn’t unconventional.


Expectation: You can take the same train anywhere.

Reality: This is mostly true, but you might just end up in front of a pop-up shop of Hello Kitty collectors items instead of the bagel shop you wanted to go to.


Expectation: You can hail a taxi by doing the YMCA dance.

Reality: Nowadays there aren’t many taxis that you can easily call over. The city is dominated by Uber and Lyft. Everyone and their grandmothers are Uber drivers.


Expectation: You will find your true love in New York.

Reality: I don’t think I will marrying a 30-something investment banker who calls Patagonia peak fashion.



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