i saw a similar post about writing tips when it comes to having paris as a setting, so i thought it would be helpful to have the same thing except for……new york city! as a native new yorker i love seeing my home appearing in fics, because lbr nyc is pretty awesome. so if you’re looking to make nyc your setting, here are some tips when writing about it. these can help establish if your character is a native or non-native.
—first off, nyc is technically not one city. it’s five cities. the boroughs of manhattan, queens, staten island, bronx, and brooklyn are all part of nyc. however, the nyc that’s always on tv/movies is manhattan.
—if you live in any of the four other boroughs, manhattan is always referred to as “the city”. so if your character lives in brooklyn but is heading out to central park, they’re going to the city.
—public transportation is the way to go. unless it’s staten island, where cars are the easiest way to go. mta fare is $2.75 and we use metrocards. trains are divided by uptown and downtown, and some are express and some are local. we do not refer to the train lines by their color—only by their number or letter. buses are designated by their borough; a manhattan bus would have M in front of the number.
—taxis are mad expensive and sometimes public transportation can be too when you need to take a combo of buses and trains. many new yorkers walk a lot. the reason we walk fast is bc it makes it easier to get to your destination. walking up ten blocks can only take ten minutes if you speedwalk basically. which is why slow walkers annoy us, especially when they stop suddenly.
—trains run slower during weekends and nights so your character might be in for quite a wait. bus generally take 10 minutes to come, unless it’s a popular route. then buses come every five minutes.
—except for the very southern part of manhattan, the roads are numbered. so areas such as greenwich village, wall street, little italy, and chinatown do not have streets with numbers. streets run from east to west; avenues run from south to north. the east & west streets are separated by 5th Avenue. numbers increase as you move north and/or to the west.
—you can always find pizza and hot dogs for a dollar. busy areas such as times square and central park will try to overcharge you. no new yorker would be gullible enough to pay $2 for a pizza slice. for cheap $1 pizza, the chain 2Bros is good. speaking of pizza, we fold it in half bc it is easier to eat and walk then.
—a distinctly new yorker thing is saying “on the line”. such as asking someone “are you on the line?” no other state says this. drive into new jersey and they’ll say “in the line”.
—there is one international airport and one domestic airport for nyc, which are both in queens. there’s JFK (international) and La Guardia (domestic). a third option is newark airport (also international) in new jersey.
—smoking is not allowed in nyc parks nor in most public spaces whatsoever. also the legal age for smoking and drinking is 21.
—if your character is a college student, all public colleges are branded as CUNY (City University of New York). every borough has at least one CUNY college. public colleges have “cheap” tuition rates, which are usually around $5000-$8000. the “famous” colleges in NYC are not public. NYU and Columbia are both private and are ridiculously expensive. Wagner College (private) in Staten Island has a really good performing arts/music program.
—new yorkers avoid many of the sightseeing places bc they’re expensive and overcrowded. i have lived my whole life in nyc (almost 20 years) and have only visited the Empire State Building for the first time this summer—and that’s only bc my internship covers the expense of my tickets to such places.
—speaking of expenses, most of the homes in the boroughs are apartments. Staten Island however is suburban and residential. houses are abundant there. in manhattan, houses which are really just townhouses, are super expensive. we’re talking millions here.
—manhattan is an island. so is staten island. the only ways off manhattan are by cars/buses over bridges or tunnels, or by trains. the only way off staten island is by car, bus, or the Staten Island Ferry. the ferry is free of charge, running 24/7 between SI and Manhattan. all bridges have tolls, where ezpass holders have lower rates.
—yes we’re the city that never sleeps, but we do sleep. some areas like times square don’t appear to. i’ve shopped at the forever 21 in times square at 1 AM. it was still crowded.
—SI has a predominant Italian and Sri Lankan community. Queens has a predominant Indian community, most especially in the Jackson Heights neighborhood.
—coney island is in brooklyn. the rides are fun but expensive. the beach is crowded and dirty. brighton beach and rockaway beach are better choices. staten island has a more calmer (and actually fourth longest in the usa) boardwalk.
—if you’re mailing something to manhattan, the address should be written as new york, new york. it would not be manhattan, new york.
this got really long but if your heart is set on writing within new york, i think it’s really important to get your setting right. like i said before, these tips can really help your character stand out or not as someone who is or isn’t from new york. i hope this helps for all the fabulous writers out there!
It all started this morning. The worst day of my life.
I was a happy New Yorker happily strolling into the subway station. I grabbed my student MetroCard out and, being a “New Yorker”, I held out my card without worry, doing what I did everyday, one-swiping my card through the turnstiles. My hand swiftly ran through the slot in the side, and I felt something that never happened. I felt a sharp blow to my stomach.
What was that? I immediately got back to my senses, confused by the stuck bar in front of me. I’d been taking the subway all year, and this never happened before. Something struck my mind. Could it be? No. No way. I’m a New Yorker, after all! I shook the thought out of my mind as I looked up to see what had happened. My nightmare. The one thing I dreaded. The capital red words flashed across the LED screen: “PLEASE SWIPE AGAIN.”
I staggered back in shock of the reading the message. What’s this? Please swipe again? That can’t be real! I was the one that used to laugh at the passersby who couldn’t swipe their MetroCards quite right. Embarrassed, I quickly slipped the card through again, but to no avail. PLEASE SWIPE AGAIN AT THIS TURNSTILE, it blared, almost as if it was mocking me.
Panic slowly crept through me as I heard the sound of footsteps coming down the staircase. No! I’m not letting someone witness this horrendous event! I refuse to be mistaken as a tourist! I did what my friends would do: I went under the bar.
And just like that, crisis averted. Barely. Thankfully, I wasn’t cursed to repeat this forever, and I could continue one-swiping in peace.
P.S. I didn’t actually duck. I two-swiped it (like a scrub). Please don’t duck. It’s illegal 🦆
P.P.S. Thank you so much for reading this giant block of text! I hope you enjoyed this beautiful rant.
ok so my direct deposit got fucked up today (2/10) I was supposed to get paid for a sick day & it’s not reflected in my check so tbh right now I’m MAJORLY fucked up, I literally at this point have enough for my weekly metrocard that I need since I have to go to work, and my therapy co pay that I also can’t pass up, I really wouldn’t be asking unless I really needed it, if anybody could square cash me the money (it’s preferred b/c I definetly need cash ASAP) that would be greatly appreciated honestly
There are two metrocard machines in the station, one is cash only and the other has a woman using it so I got in line behind her. She fills up one card with $120 and then when I think she’s done, she fills up a second card with exactly $5.75 (?). I’m like tapping my foot and huffing because seriously why do you need to put $125 on two different metro cards right now??? She turns around and looks at me and says super rudely “you can use that one”, pointing at the other machine, so I say, equally as rude, “it’s cash only” and I’m not kidding, instantly her face totally changes and she smiles at me, puts her hand on my arm and says “oh I’m sorry, I thought you were some tourist and didn’t know what you were doing!” She then gives my arm a little squeeze, grabs her (second) metrocard and leaves
Ms. @pixiedoodlein tagged me the other day for a selfie but I wasn’t feeling it at the moment…So here’s a photo of a pendant I wear a lot.
My mother gave it to me as a birthday (Christmas?) gift several years ago. It is a 3D-printed, sterling silver model of the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tram. The real-life tram is my favorite place in NYC–it carries people from 59th St. over the East River to the tiny sliver of land between Manhattan and Queens. The ride is beautiful and exhilarating for the low price of a Metrocard swipe. The necklace was a thoughtful gift and I love wearing it as a conversation-starter.
(In case you’re wondering, “RIOC” stands for “Roosevelt Island Operating Corp., the authority that operates the tram and other things on the island.)
FIVE THINGS YOU’LL FIND IN MY BAG My purse A shit ton of papers Lipstick/lip gloss Metrocard my discarded will to live A few pens
FIVE THINGS IN MY BEDROOM Two beds Buckets of clean but not organized clothes A Big polar bear doll My dress with accessories all over A ps3
FIVE THINGS I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO IN MY LIFE Get married lol dont judge Go surfing See Hawaii Get tatted GET A DOG PLEASE MOM THANKS
FIVE THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY Playing my flute My friends/Family/Ex (me and my ex are besties so he’s a great person to go to when Im feeling down) Movies Relaxing in a warm comforter Being around animals
FIVE THINGS ON MY TO-DO LIST Study for my finals Finish this fic I havent updated since last year lmfao Go shopping for my trip to Italy Pack for said trip Relax because these past few weeks have been so stressful
FIVE THINGS PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT ME I’m bisexual (you guys do obviously but most people I know don’t) I can generally hold a conversation in Mandarin Chinese but I want to improve I taught myself to draw and paint but mostly had help from tips online I have been madly in love before but have also been heartbroken. (it’s not fun) My 86 year old grandma already has great-great grandchildren which means I have a few third cousins? lol