40+ Struggles of Living in NYC

Living in New York makes you wonder why you live in New York. It’s loud and dirty, rude and congested, yet “there’s an undeniable energy that makes it all worth it” – as any New York City blog would say. Hmm, is what I say.

I lived in New York City for nearly five years – enough for me to have both deeply loved and deeply despised the city. Enough to realize that while I loved the brownstones and the high-rises, I was totally over sharing a 300 square foot studio to afford Harlem rent.

Enough to realize that while I enjoyed the efficiency and convenience of the MTA, I was done never having a seat on the train and never feeling like the MTA was properly using the $116.50 I put aside monthly for an unlimited metro card.

Enough to realize that while I loved discovering cheap, hidden gems like Tea House in Brooklyn, I don’t enjoy only knowing these places for just some time due to constantly rising rents.

Ok, we get it; I moved.

New York is a city of give and take, of sacrifice and struggle – and for me, that meant moving away to experience some other cities until maybe, one day, if my love for New York can triumph over the hate, and let’s be real, if one day I could afford a Monica Geller apartment from FRIENDS or nights out on the town like in Sex and the City, then maybe, just maybe I would move back.

For now that’s not the case. Read along and please comment below to add to the list of Struggles of Living in NYC.

  1. Lines everywhere (Trader Joe’s Union Square, we’re looking glaring at you).

  2. Addresses written as 940 Madison instead of the cross streets.

  3. Stopping a convo mid-sentence because the train is too loud.

  4. The extreme screech of the uptown 4 or 5 train at Union Square.

  5. Local/Express trains that don’t share a platform.

  6. No seats or plugs in coffee shops…ever.

  7. Minimums (on cards).

  8. The constant temptation of using the bodega

  9. Bodega men always charging what they want.

  10. The decision of waiting for the Express or getting on the Local.

  11. Having to go to Times Square…for anything.

  12. Knowing you’re not delayed because of “train traffic ahead of us.”

  13. Not seeing the sun when you’re Downtown.

  14. Apartment windows that face directly into another apartment’s

  15. It being muggier on the subway platform than outside.

  16. Weekend changes on the NQR456ACE123 and L trains.

  17. Dripping air conditioners that make you question if it’s a dripping air conditioner or someone’s spit. living-in-nyc-1

  18. Blasts of warm air over subway grates.

  19. Agressive New York pigeons.

  20. Construction and scaffolding every

  21. Really long bathroom lines at clubs.

  22. Feeling the pressure to donate big at Yoga to the People.

  23. The fundraiser-people who block the doors at Whole Foods or on any given sidewalk and ask you a question that makes you feel terrible to not respond to: “Do you like to laugh?”

  24. Avoiding the temptation of dollar

  25. Always carrying a backpack or big bag.

  26. Stairs, for everything.

  27. Literally over 50% of your income going to rent for a tiny apartment.

  28. Being brainwashed by subway ads because you have nothing else to look at.

  29. False hope of one day having your own apartment, with AC, an elevator, and a balcony. living-in-nyc-4

  30. Trying to model your life after FRIENDS, Sex & The City, or Gossip Girl and going completely broke.

  31. Having mixed feelings about the Central Park horses.

  32. Walking everywhere but still never feeling like you got a workout in. living-in-nyc-5

  33. Going out in Brooklyn if you live in Manhattan/Going out in Manhattan if you live in Brooklyn.

  34. Your gym always being overcrowded.

  35. People talking about gentrification. In every neighborhood.

  36. Being bombarded by ads no matter what street you take. living-in-nyc-6

  37. Never being able to fully have a conversation with a cashier or bartender because there’s always someone behind you.

  38. Realizing just how dirty the subway is.

  39. Outer-borough apartments still being just as expensive as Manhattan apartments because “they’re the calm away from the storm.”

  40. Your favorite coffee shop, bar, or restaurant closing because of rent.

  41. Getting off at Union Square to go to Strand, then realizing there are just as many people there as there are in Times Square.

  42. Always being by trashliving-in-nyc-7

    But “you’re in New York,” so welcome home.


Comment below your (many) NYC Struggles.

We all know you have some.


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  • Jelene Dela Cruz

    When you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, and the tourists in front of you are walking so slow because they’re seeing everything for the first time. And inside you’re thinking that they have NO IDEA what it’s really like.

  • starr

    i’mma be honest i never been to new york.

  • Madeline Mitchell

    I’ve been to NYC only a couple times, but I live in Boston and can totally relate to a lot of these things. High rent SUCKS although we’re still cheaper than NYC. One thing I’d add is everyone always being in a hurry!

  • Dionne Eleby

    Where does one begin?! There are sooooo many things that makes living in NYC so difficult.
    1. Quality of life.
    2. Alway being surrounded by people everywhere you go yet NYC can be the loneliest city at times.
    3. Simple tasks like laundry and grocery shopping take ALL DAMN DAY!
    4. THE RATS- need I say more?
    5. Everything is so DAMN expensive
    6. It takes an hour to get ANYWHERE from Brooklyn.
    7. The stark contrast between the Haves and the Have Nots
    8. Manners amongst the people of NYC are non-existent.
    But I chose to live here so I guess I shouldn’t complain. NYC is a great city for some, and I have learned that it is not the city for me. Enjoying the rest of my time here but saying goodbye in the summer will not be hard AT ALL!

    Thank you for sharing your life and inspiring others to SHUT UP and LIVE THEIR DREAMS!

  • 1. Nearly getting run over by either bikes, people, or cars anytime you walk ANYWHERE.
    2. People (in cars or taxis) cussing you out for no apparent reason just cause you decided to cross the street when it WAS your turn.
    3. Honking. Honking. And more honking/car alarm noises. You can never escape it.
    4. People always asking you questions/surveys or asking you to take a pamphlet or a “coupon” and they get extremely offended if you don’t (and might even start screaming at you in Chinese or random languages).
    5. People either walking extremely fast and shoving you out of the way…. or walking extremely slow and stopping *IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STINKING SIDE WALK AND NOT MOVING*. And then you proceed to go around them.

    –I’ve never lived in NYC but I have visited. I do admit I love it for the most part. (Although, there are a few flaws I will admit) but I just love the overall hustle and work hard kind of attitude about it. Definitely plan to live there one day in about 2/3 years. 😉 Love you both!!!!!!!!!!!